Exodus Chapters 17, 18, & 19

Chapter 17

As we read in the previous chapter, the Israelites complained about not having enough to eat, so God gave them manna from heaven. This time, they’re whining that they don’t enough water to drink. Moses is afraid that they’re going to stone him to death, so God commands him to take his staff and hit the Rock of Horeb and water will come out of it. So he does it and sure enough, water came forth. The Israelites quarreled and tested the Lord and wondered if he was with them.

Then we get the story where Amalek came and fought with Israel. So Joshua was told to choose some men to go out and fight while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up on the hill and as long as Moses raised his arms, the Israelites would be winning, but if his arms dropped, then Amalek would start winning. Eventually, Moses got tired, and so Aaron and Hur each held up an arm, which to me sounds like cheating.

14Then the LORD said to Moses, “Write this as a reminder in a book and recite it in the hearing of Joshua: I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.”

Bibles, Harper . NRSV Bible with the Apocrypha (p. 164). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

If you write down a person’s name in a book that you intend to blot out of remembrance, are you actually doing just that? This makes no sense.

Chapter 18

So apparently Moses sent his wife and kids back to her father, Jethro (pictured), but now sent word that he was coming to see him and bringing his wife and kids. They met up, Moses told him all that had happened, and they made burnt offerings, and ate bread.

The next day, Moses sat as judge for the people to settle their disputes, but Jethro convinced him to created a municipal court system where judges would be appointed to settle lesser disputes. That’s it. That’s the chapter. It’s a lot of words for not a lot of substance.

Chapter 19

After three months, the Israelites came to Mount Sinai and the Lord told Moses to tell the people, paraphrasing here, “obey God.” God also tells Moses that he will appear as a dense cloud so that the people could hear what Moses is being told so that they will trust him.

So God tells Moses to tell the people not to go up the mountain or even touch the edge of it or else they will be stoned (not in the good way) or shot with arrows (also, not in the good way). They were to wash their clothes and prepare for the third day, and not go near a woman. Of course, if the person in question is a woman, that would be difficult to do.

God appeared as a pillar of smoke and descended on the mountain as he said would and Moses introduced Israel to God. Then God summoned him up the mountain and told him to go down and tell the people to stay off the mountain. Moses had to be in spectacular shape from going up and down the mountain so many times. Moses was told to go down the mountain and bring Aaron up, again, telling the people not to come up.

Exodus Chapters 14, 15, & 16

Chapter 14

We now come to the crossing of the Red Sea. God tell Moses where to camp so that it looks to Pharaoh like they’re wandering aimlessly. Then God decides that he is going to…oh here, read for yourself.

4I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them, so that I will gain glory for myself over Pharaoh and all his army; and the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD. And they did so.

Bibles, Harper . NRSV Bible with the Apocrypha (p. 157). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

At this point, God just looks like he has two pawns that he is playing against each other. This is not a good and just God. This is pure evil in any context. He is going to drown the entire army of Egypt because he hardened their hearts.

Moses stretched out his over the sea and it parted so that there was land for the Israelites to walk on and cross to the other side. Of course, the Egyptian army chased after them and God told Moses to once again stretch out his hand over the sea so that the waters would close up around the Egyptian army and drown them all.

30Thus the LORD saved Israel that day from the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. 31Israel saw the great work that the LORD did against the Egyptians. So the people feared the LORD and believed in the LORD and in his servant Moses.

Bibles, Harper . NRSV Bible with the Apocrypha (p. 159). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

The Lord made the Egyptians chase after the Israelites in the first place so that he could prove his manliness as a God. He also killed a lot of men and horses. The God of Exodus is a monster.

Chapter 15

The first part is song of praise to God for drowning the chariot drivers and their horses. It’s also a recounting of the events of the last chapter with no mention of Pharaoh’s hardened heart.  Then the prophet Miriam (Aaron’s sister) joined in to celebrate the deaths of horses and riders.

They ended up in Marah, which means bitterness, and they could not drink the water because it was, you guessed it, bitter. So Moses cried out to God who gave him a piece of wood and he threw it into the water and that bitterness cleared right up.

Finally, God tells his people that they won’t catch any of the diseases that the Egyptians caught if the listen to him and heed his commandments. This is the God that heals them. They camped a lovely oasis with twelve springs and seventy palm trees.

Chapter 16

This is a long story about bread with a lot of repetition. Anyway, it’s a test by God to see how well the Israelites follow directions. Each morning, God will provide the Israelites bread and they have to gather enough for the day for their families, no more, no less. They are not to keep the bread until the following morning. Some do just that and it bred worms (I see what they did there) and was inedible. So, they learned their lesson and collected and ate the bread in the same day.

On the sixth day, they were told to gather twice the amount of bread, which they did. They were told this time to save half for the following morning, which they did. This time the bread did not grow worms and go bad. The seventh morning, they went out to gather bread and found none and God got upset because they weren’t keeping the Sabbath. Aaron placed a portion before God as an offering to kept for generations.