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MOSES RETURNS TO EGYPT - Part 1 Pharaoh looked down his long nose at the two bearded men before him. So these are the two who've been stirring up the Hebrew slaves! he thought. And one of them, according to court gossip, was raised as a prince of Egypt, destined for the very throne on which I sit. Well, this Moses will soon discover the power of a real pharaoh! Aaron's words interrupted the king's thoughts. "Yahweh, the God of Israel, says, 'Let my people go!“ The Egyptian's lips curled in a sneer. "Yahweh?" he asked mockingly. "And who is Yahweh? Why should I listen to him? 1 do not know 'Yahweh,' and I will not let Israel go. His so-called people are my slaves!" The brothers ignored his insult and replied, "The God of the Hebrews has revealed Himself to us. Now allow us to travel three days into the desert to make sacrifices to Him." The king threw back his head and laughed, a most unpleasant sound. Abruptly he leaned forward, gripping the arms of his throne.
"'Let my people go!'" he mocked. "You two certainly have your nerve. Now you've got my Hebrew slaves in an uproar. But I'll calm them down. What they need is more work. From now on, let them gather their own straw to bind the mud in the bricks together instead of having it brought to them. But they must make just as many bricks as they did before.” In keeping with the king's decree, the Hebrews worked feverishly under the blazing sun, digging clay, mixing it with water and straw, pouring it into molds to dry in the sun. After stacking the bricks, they had to leave their work and scour the riverbanks and fields for more stubble to mix with the mud. Running, panting under loads of straw or stacks of bricks, they only fell farther and farther behind. Then the foremen's whips slashed across their backs.
Moses looked with anguish on the suffering of his people. "O God," he cried, "why did You send me? I've just made things worse!" He knew that many of the slaves were now angry at him But God answered, "Just wait and see what I will do to the king. He will let My people go. In fact, he'll be so happy to see them go, he'll drive them out of his land." Once more Moses and Aaron stood before Pharaoh. Now what do they want? Pharaoh wondered. Whatever it is, they won't get it. This 'god' of theirs is no match for Egypt's gods. He's no match for me, for I, Pharaoh, am a god! Aloud he said, "Don't speak to me of 'Yahweh,' for I don't believe in him!”
Softly Moses whispered to Aaron, "Throw down your rod." Aaron tossed down his walking stick, and just as Moses' rod had done at the burning bush, it turned into a twisting snake, its tongue darting out of its wedge-shaped head. For just an instant the king jumped back. Then he yelled, "Magicians! Come here! Show these bearded rascals that they're not the only ones who can perform magic." His magicians hurried across the throne room. Seeing the snake before them, they lay down their wooden staffs carved like snakes, and smirked as each seemed to turn into a slithering reptile. Moses smiled a little, remembering how long ago he had studied Egyptian magic. Pharaoh turned proudly to Moses and Aaron. Just as he was about to speak, something happened. Aaron's snake attached the others and swallowed them. Red with anger and embarrassment, Pharaoh commanded, “Get out of here all of you! But get this, I will not let your people go!” (to be continued) Please try the activity on the next page
Aaron's rods turned into snakes. The Egyptian priests tried to make their rods look as if they'd turned into snakes too. But only Aaron had the real thing. Can you find the two snakes that are exactly alike in the snake pit below? (Snakes may be at different angles on the page, but everything else should be alike.)