The Israelites in Egypt 1These are the names of the sons of Israel (that is, Jacob) who moved to Egypt with their father, each with his family: 2Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, 3Issachar, Zebulun, Benjamin, 4Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. 5In all, Jacob had seventy descendants in Egypt, including Joseph, who was already there. 6In time, Joseph and all of his brothers died, ending that entire generation. 7But their descendants, the Israelites, had many children and grandchildren. In fact, they multiplied so greatly that they became extremely powerful and filled the land. 8Eventually, a new king came to power in Egypt who knew nothing about Joseph or what he had done. 9He said to his people, “Look, the people of Israel now outnumber us and are stronger than we are. 10We must make a plan to keep them from growing even more. If we don’t, and if war breaks out, they will join our enemies and fight against us. Then they will escape from the country.” 11So the Egyptians made the Israelites their slaves. They appointed brutal slave drivers over them, hoping to wear them down with crushing labor. They forced them to build the cities of Pithom and Rameses as supply centers for the king. 12But the more the Egyptians oppressed them, the more the Israelites multiplied and spread, and the more alarmed the Egyptians became. 13So the Egyptians worked the people of Israel without mercy. 14They made their lives bitter, forcing them to mix mortar and make bricks and do all the work in the fields. They were ruthless in all their demands. 15Then Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, gave this order to the Hebrew midwives, Shiphrah and Puah: 16“When you help the Hebrew women as they give birth, watch as they deliver. If the baby is a boy, kill him; if it is a girl, let her live.” 17But because the midwives feared God, they refused to obey the king’s orders. They allowed the boys to live, too. 18So the king of Egypt called for the midwives. “Why have you done this?” he demanded. “Why have you allowed the boys to live?” 19“The Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women,” the midwives replied. “They are more vigorous and have their babies so quickly that we cannot get there in time.” 20So God was good to the midwives, and the Israelites continued to multiply, growing more and more powerful.21And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own. 22Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: “Throw every newborn Hebrew boy into the Nile River. But you may let the girls live.”
The Birth of Moses 1About this time, a man and woman from the tribe of Levi got married. 2The woman became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She saw that he was a special baby and kept him hidden for three months. 3But when she could no longer hide him, she got a basket made of papyrus reeds and waterproofed it with tar and pitch. She put the baby in the basket and laid it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile River. 4The baby’s sister then stood at a distance, watching to see what would happen to him. 5Soon Pharaoh’s daughter came down to bathe in the river, and her attendants walked along the riverbank. When the princess saw the basket among the reeds, she sent her maid to get it for her. 6When the princess opened it, she saw the baby. The little boy was crying, and she felt sorry for him. “This must be one of the Hebrew children,” she said. 7Then the baby’s sister approached the princess. “Should I go and find one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?” she asked. 8“Yes, do!” the princess replied. So the girl went and called the baby’s mother. 9“Take this baby and nurse him for me,” the princess told the baby’s mother. “I will pay you for your help.” So the woman took her baby home and nursed him. 10Later, when the boy was older, his mother brought him back to Pharaoh’s daughter, who adopted him as her own son. The princess named him Moses, for she explained, “I lifted him out of the water.” Moses Escapes to Midian 11Many years later, when Moses had grown up, he went out to visit his own people, the Hebrews, and he saw how hard they were forced to work. During his visit, he saw an Egyptian beating one of his fellow Hebrews. 12After looking in all directions to make sure no one was watching, Moses killed the Egyptian and hid the body in the sand. 13The next day, when Moses went out to visit his people again, he saw two Hebrew men fighting. “Why are you beating up your friend?” Moses said to the one who had started the fight. 14The man replied, “Who appointed you to be our prince and judge? Are you going to kill me as you killed that Egyptian yesterday?” Then Moses was afraid, thinking, “Everyone knows what I did.” 15And sure enough, Pharaoh heard what had happened, and he tried to kill Moses. But Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in the land of Midian. When Moses arrived in Midian, he sat down beside a well. 16Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters who came as usual to draw water and fill the water troughs for their father’s flocks. 17But some other shepherds came and chased them away. So Moses jumped up and rescued the girls from the shepherds. Then he drew water for their flocks. 18When the girls returned to Reuel, their father, he asked, “Why are you back so soon today?” 19“An Egyptian rescued us from the shepherds,” they answered. “And then he drew water for us and watered our flocks.” 20“Then where is he?” their father asked. “Why did you leave him there? Invite him to come and eat with us.” 21Moses accepted the invitation, and he settled there with him. In time, Reuel gave Moses his daughter Zipporah to be his wife. 22Later she gave birth to a son, and Moses named him Gershom, for he explained, “I have been a foreigner in a foreign land.” 23Years passed, and the king of Egypt died. But the Israelites continued to groan under their burden of slavery. They cried out for help, and their cry rose up to God.24God heard their groaning, and he remembered his covenant promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 25He looked down on the people of Israel and knew it was time to act.
1O LORD, God of my salvation, I cry out to you by day. I come to you at night. 2Now hear my prayer; listen to my cry. 3For my life is full of troubles, and death draws near. 4I am as good as dead, like a strong man with no strength left. 5They have left me among the dead, and I lie like a corpse in a grave. I am forgotten, cut off from your care. 6You have thrown me into the lowest pit, into the darkest depths. 7Your anger weighs me down; with wave after wave you have engulfed me. Interlude 8You have driven my friends away by making me repulsive to them. I am in a trap with no way of escape. 9My eyes are blinded by my tears. Each day I beg for your help, O LORD; I lift my hands to you for mercy. 10Are your wonderful deeds of any use to the dead? Do the dead rise up and praise you? Interlude 11Can those in the grave declare your unfailing love? Can they proclaim your faithfulness in the place of destruction? 12Can the darkness speak of your wonderful deeds? Can anyone in the land of forgetfulness talk about your righteousness? 13O LORD, I cry out to you. I will keep on pleading day by day. 14O LORD, why do you reject me? Why do you turn your face from me? 15I have been sick and close to death since my youth. I stand helpless and desperate before your terrors. 16Your fierce anger has overwhelmed me. Your terrors have paralyzed me. 17They swirl around me like floodwaters all day long. They have engulfed me completely. 18You have taken away my companions and loved ones. Darkness is my closest friend.
The Widow’s Offering 1While Jesus was in the Temple, he watched the rich people dropping their gifts in the collection box. 2Then a poor widow came by and dropped in two small coins. 3“I tell you the truth,” Jesus said, “this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. 4For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.” Jesus Foretells the Future 5Some of his disciples began talking about the majestic stonework of the Temple and the memorial decorations on the walls. But Jesus said, 6“The time is coming when all these things will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!” 7“Teacher,” they asked, “when will all this happen? What sign will show us that these things are about to take place?” 8He replied, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and saying, ‘The time has come!’ But don’t believe them. 9And when you hear of wars and insurrections, don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place first, but the end won’t follow immediately.” 10Then he added, “Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11There will be great earthquakes, and there will be famines and plagues in many lands, and there will be terrifying things and great miraculous signs from heaven. 12“But before all this occurs, there will be a time of great persecution. You will be dragged into synagogues and prisons, and you will stand trial before kings and governors because you are my followers. 13But this will be your opportunity to tell them about me. 14So don’t worry in advance about how to answer the charges against you,15for I will give you the right words and such wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to reply or refute you!16Even those closest to you—your parents, brothers, relatives, and friends—will betray you. They will even kill some of you. 17And everyone will hate you because you are my followers. 18But not a hair of your head will perish!19By standing firm, you will win your souls. 20“And when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then you will know that the time of its destruction has arrived. 21Then those in Judea must flee to the hills. Those in Jerusalem must get out, and those out in the country should not return to the city. 22For those will be days of God’s vengeance, and the prophetic words of the Scriptures will be fulfilled. 23How terrible it will be for pregnant women and for nursing mothers in those days. For there will be disaster in the land and great anger against this people. 24They will be killed by the sword or sent away as captives to all the nations of the world. And Jerusalem will be trampled down by the Gentiles until the period of the Gentiles comes to an end. 25“And there will be strange signs in the sun, moon, and stars. And here on earth the nations will be in turmoil, perplexed by the roaring seas and strange tides. 26People will be terrified at what they see coming upon the earth, for the powers in the heavens will be shaken. 27Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming on a cloud with power and great glory. 28So when all these things begin to happen, stand and look up, for your salvation is near!” 29Then he gave them this illustration: “Notice the fig tree, or any other tree. 30When the leaves come out, you know without being told that summer is near. 31In the same way, when you see all these things taking place, you can know that the Kingdom of God is near. 32I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene until all these things have taken place. 33Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear. 34“Watch out! Don’t let your hearts be dulled by carousing and drunkenness, and by the worries of this life. Don’t let that day catch you unaware, 35like a trap. For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth. 36Keep alert at all times. And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming horrors and stand before the Son of Man.” 37Every day Jesus went to the Temple to teach, and each evening he returned to spend the night on the Mount of Olives. 38The crowds gathered at the Temple early each morning to hear him.