After ten devastating plagues and 430 years of cohabitation, the children of Israel are finally allowed to return to their homeland. Was it a happy parting? Depends on who you ask. The Egyptians were desperate to get these troublesome people out of their midst, and the Israelites were just as anxious to leave. So I guess you could so that both parties saw the benefit of separating. However, the Egyptians definitely got the short end of the stick.
“The Egyptians were urgent with the people to send them out of the land in haste. For they said, ‘We shall all be dead.’ So the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneading bowls being bound up in their cloaks on their shoulders. The people of Israel had also done as Moses told them, for they had asked the Egyptians for silver and gold jewelry and for clothing. And the LORD had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have what they asked. Thus they plundered the Egyptians.”
When Pharaoh finally gave the word that the Israelites could leave, the people of Egypt did everything they could to make sure that they left quickly. They pretty much drove the Israelites out of the land. However, I picture that they did it in a somewhat nice way, because I doubt the Egyptians wanted to cause more trouble with this favored people. So instead of causing waves, the Egyptians gave the Israelites whatever they asked for—gold, silver, and clothing—so that the Israelites left as a wealthy people, just as God said they would. Isn’t it amazing how God works?! He not only blesses us with freedom from slavery, but He also gifts us with everything we will have need of and more.
The actual event of the Exodus or leaving of Egypt may seem anti-climactic after the drama of the ten plagues and burning bush experience. However, we should not gloss over this monumental event. This was a direct fulfillment of God’s promises, and a turning point in Israel’s history. True, the children of Israel had a lot in store for them before they reached the Promised Land, but this was the beginning of the journey, the first steps of faith, the preliminary strides out of slavery and into freedom. Therefore, this is an important event to note and remember.
The official exodus out of Egypt ushered in a new era of the Israelites’ history. No longer were they a small patriarchal family. They had become a nation. No longer were they slaves and servants of Pharaoh. They had been set free.
Scholars estimate that over one million people left Egypt on that fateful morning so many years ago. And they left in a hurry. This was no vacation trip that was planned and packed for in advance. This was a “quick, pack up and leave while we can and don’t bother with trying to keep things organized” type of trip. As Moses records in Exodus 12:39:
“And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough that they had brought out of Egypt, for it was not leavened, because they were thrust out of Egypt and could not wait, nor had they prepared any provisions for themselves.”
It was a busy night. However, God was faithful and safely delivered all the children of Israel out of Egypt. While the Exodus may seem like the end of the story, it is just the beginning. The LORD freed the people, but He had a lot of work to do to make Himself known to the people in a meaningful way. Unbeknownst to anyone else—even Moses—the Israelites had a long journey ahead of them. A journey that would bring important lessons, sorrow, victory, and eventually, great joy. But that’s a story for another day.
Let’s rejoice with the Israelites as they journey out of Egypt and remember the faithfulness of the Lord to do as He promises and to keep His children safe as we follow His will.
“The time that the people of Israel lived in Egypt was 430 years. At the end of 430 years, on that very day, all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt. It was a night of watching by the LORD, to bring them out of the land of Egypt; so this same night is a night of watching kept to the LORD by all the people of Israel throughout their generations.”
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