Jacob and his sons and daughters grew old and died.
But their children and grandchildren had children and grandchildren of their own. Jacobs family grew and grew. They became known as the people of Israel (Israel was the name God had given Jacob years before).
At the same time, the Pharaoh who had welcomed Joseph and his family also died.
A new, fearsome Pharaoh took his place. He didnt know Joseph, or his family, or the good things that the people of Israel had done for his father. He just knew that there were many, many Israelites, and one day they might side with one of the Egyptians enemies and take over the land.
So he began to treat the people of Israel cruelly.
He put slave masters over them, and put them to work, building things for the Egyptians. He made them work all day long, in the hot sun, day after day, year after year.
At last, the people of Israel cried out to God.
And so God appeared in a burning bush to a sheep herder named Moses. God said to him, "I have heard my people's cry. I am sending you to Pharaoh to set my people free."
"I don't want to!" Moses said. "I can't talk to the mighty Pharaoh! I wouldn't even know what to say!"
"Don't worry," said God, "I will be with you in all my power."
So, with God at his side, Moses went to the magnificent palace of the mighty Pharaoh.
Let my people go! Moses said to Pharaoh.
No! said Pharaoh.
This wasn't going to be easy!
But God was about to stretch out his mighty arm. He was going to change Pharaohs mind.
God sent ten plagues, ten terrible things, to the people in Egypt. He turned the river into blood. He sent flies and frogs and swarms of gnats. All the animals of the Egyptians got sick and died. The Egyptians broke out in terrible sores. Great chunks of ice fell from the sky. Anything that was left after that, a great cloud of locusts came and ate it all. And finally, a terrible darkness fell over all of Egypt. For three days the sun did not shine at all.
Still, Pharaoh refused to let Gods people go.
At last, Moses said to Pharaoh,
Set my people free, or the first born son of everyone who lives in Egypt will die, even the first born of your pets and cattle will die.
Pharaoh wouldnt budge.
So God said to Moses, "Tell my people to choose a spotless lamb. On the night I tell you, mark your doorposts with its blood. When the time came, everyone who believed in God did just as he said.
That night, God sent the angel of death to Egypt. The first born of every Egyptian died, even the first born of every animal.
What a terrible cry was heard through all of Egypt!
But the angel of death passed over every house that was marked by the blood of a lamb.
At last, Pharaoh learned that he couldnt stand against God.
That very night, Pharaoh called Moses and commanded, Take your people and go!
Back to the Red Sea!