The Egyptians are Smitten with Plagues
Aaron went to Pharaoh and said: "The Lord God of Israel has sent us to you saying: 'Let my people go that they may hold a feast in the wilderness."' This made Pharaoh angry and he would not let the people go. On the other hand, he commanded the taskmasters of the people to make the burdens of the children of Israel heavier.
"Give the people no more straw to make brick as heretofore, but let them go and gather straw for themselves, but each one must make as many bricks as before. They are idle and need more work, because they have asked time to go into the wilderness to sacrifice to their God," said the cruel king to the taskmasters over the people of Israel.
And the taskmasters did as Pharaoh commanded and the people of Israel were beaten and their burdens became heavier day by day. Then Moses and Aaron went again to Pharaoh and told him that the Lord had sent them to give him a sign, and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh and it became a Serpent.
Pharaoh called for his magicians and the magicians cast down their rods and they also became serpents. But Aaron's rod that had become a serpent swallowed up all the rods of the magicians that had become serpents. Pharaoh hardened his heart and did riot believe in the signs and would not let the people go.
Moses and Aaron then went to Pharaoh in the morning as he sat by the side of the river and Moses carried in his hand the rod which had become a serpent. Moses said unto Aaron: "Take thy rod and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt upon their streams, rivers and ponds that they all may become blood, and that there may be blood in all the vessels of wood and stone in the land of Egypt."
Aaron stretched out his hand and lifted up the rod and smote the waters that were in the river in the very sight of Pharaoh and his servants and lo, all the waters of Egypt were turned into blood. The fish that were in the rivers died and the Egyptians could not drink the waters, because there was nothing but blood throughout the land of Egypt.
Now the magicians of Egypt did the same thing in their enchantments and Pharaoh's heart was still hardened and he would not let the people go. And the people of Egypt had to dig wells to get water to drink.
Moses then went to Pharaoh and said to him again: "Let my people go that they may serve God, and if you refuse to let them go he will smite all the land with frogs."
Pharaoh would not obey the commands of the Lord and behold, the rivers brought forth frogs abundantly. The frogs crawled into the streets and into the houses and even into the beds of the people and into the kitchens and ovens and there was a great plague of frogs until they covered the land of Egypt. The magicians did likewise with their enchantments and also brought frogs upon the land of Egypt.
Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron and begged them to take away the frogs and he would let the people go. The next day the frogs were gone, but Pharaoh hardened his heart and refused to do as he had promised. Therefore, the Lord told Moses to send another plague upon the land of Egypt.
This time it was a plague of lice, for Aaron stretched out his hand with his rod and smote the dust of the earth and it became full of lice that crawled on man and beast. The magicians of Pharaoh tried to do likewise but this time they could not. Still the heart of Pharaoh would not relent. Therefore, the Lord decided to send another plague upon the land of Egypt.
This time it was a plague of flies. Great swarms of flies infested the houses of the Egyptians and all the ground where they were, but Pharaoh would not let the people of Israel go into the wilderness to worship, even though he had promised Moses to do so if he took away the swarm of flies.
Then other plagues followed. All the cattle of Egypt died of a grievous malady but none of the cattle of the people of Israel died. Then the Lord told Moses and Aaron to take handfuls of ashes and sprinkle them towards the heavens in the sight of Pharaoh, and the ashes turned into a small dust that smote the people of Egypt with boils. Then followed terrible hail and fire in the land of Egypt so that many men and cattle in the fields were killed and all the crops were destroyed and the trees broken down. Only in the land of Goshen where the children of Israel lived was there no hail.
Still Pharaoh's heart was hard and he would not believe that all these things were sent upon him by the Lord for refusing to let the people of Israel go into the wilderness to worship. Therefore, the Lord sent a great plague of locusts that covered the face of the earth. The locusts ate what was left from the hail, and filled the houses of Egypt. They covered the face of the whole earth so that the land was darkened, and there remained no green thing in all the fields throughout the land of Egypt. Then there followed a plague of darkness over the land of Egypt. For three days not one person could see another nor did anyone rise from his place for three days. After each one of these plagues Pharaoh would agree to let the people go, but when Moses and Aaron would remove the plague at the entreaty of Pharaoh then he would break his promise and would not let the people go.
At last the Lord said: "I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh and upon Egypt then he will let my people go." The Lord told Moses, "I will go into the land of Egypt and all the first-born in the land of Egypt shall die, from the first-born of the servants and those that work in the mills and all the first-born of the beasts and there shall be a great cry in the land of Egypt."
The Lord promised Moses, however, that He would protect the children of Israel and would save all their first-born. Therefore, He told Aaron and Moses to tell the people of Israel that the head of each house should take a lamb that should be without blemish and kill it in the evening. Then they were to take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood of the lamb and strike each side of the door of the house and even over the door, so that the houses of the Israelites might be marked with the blood of the Iamb and thus be told from the houses of the Egyptians.
The flesh of the lamb was to be roasted with fire and eaten with unleavened bread and all of it was to be eaten or else consumed with fire. As they ate they were to stand with their clothes girded for a journey, with their shoes on their feet and their staves in their hands and they should eat the lamb in haste.
They were to follow these orders because at night the Lord intended to send His angel through the land of Egypt and smite all the first-born both of man and beast, but wherever the angel saw the blood on the door posts he was to pass over that house and not smite the first-born. This was called the Passover and the lamb that the people ate was known as the Feast of the Passover.
The Israelites did exactly as Moses and Aaron commanded them to do. The lamb was slain, the door posts were marked with blood, the Israelites prepared for their journey and the flesh of the lamb was roasted and eaten. At midnight the angel of the Lord passed over Egypt and smote all the first-born, from the first-born of Pharaoh that sat on the throne to the first-born of the captive that was in the dungeon and the first-born of all cattle.
The next morning when Pharaoh rose and all the people of Egypt saw what the angel of the Lord had done, there was a great cry and weeping and wailing in all the land for there was no single house where there was not one dead. Only in the houses of the Israelites there was no mourning for the angel had passed over those houses and the first born was spared.