Exodus 13

1Then the Lord said to Moses, 2“You must give me every male in Israel that is its mother's first child. That means that every firstborn baby ˻boy˼ and every firstborn ˻male˼ animal will be mine.” 3Moses said to the people, “Remember this day. You were slaves in Egypt. But on this day the Lord used his great power and made you free. You must not eat bread with yeast. 4Today, in the month of Abib, you are leaving ˻Egypt˼. 5The Lord made a special promise to your ancestors. The Lord promised to give you the land of the Canaanite people, the Hittite people, the Amorite people, the Hivite people, and the Jebusite people. After the Lord leads you to the land filled with many good things, then you must remember this day. You must have a special day of worship on this day during the first month of every year. 6“For seven days you must eat only bread that has no yeast. On the seventh day there will be a great feast. This feast will show honor to the Lord. 7So for seven days you must not eat any bread made with yeast. There must be no bread with yeast any place in your land. 8On this day, you should tell your children, 'We are having this feast because the Lord took me out of Egypt.’ 9“This holiday will help you remember—it will be like a string tied on your hand. It will be like a sign before your eyes. This holiday will help you remember the Lord’s teachings. It will help you remember that the Lord used his great power to take you out of Egypt. 10So remember this holiday every year at the right time. 11“The Lord will lead you into the land he promised to give you. The Canaanite people now live there. But God promised your ancestors that he would give you this land. After God gives you this land, 12you must remember to give him every firstborn boy. And every male animal that is the firstborn must be given to the Lord. 13Every firstborn donkey can be bought back from the Lord. You can offer a lamb and keep the donkey. If you don’t want to buy the donkey from the Lord, then kill it. It will be a sacrifice—you must break its neck. But every firstborn baby boy must be bought back from the Lord. 14“In the future, your children will ask why you do this. They will say, 'What does all this mean?’ And you will answer, 'The Lord used his great power to save us from Egypt. We were slaves in that place. But the Lord led us out and brought us here. 15In Egypt, Pharaoh was stubborn. He refused to let us leave. So the Lord killed every firstborn in all the land. (The Lord killed the firstborn animals and the firstborn sons.) That is why I give every firstborn male animal to the Lord. And that is why I buy back each of my firstborn sons from the Lord.’ 16This is like a string tied on your hand. And it is like a sign in front of your eyes. It helps you remember that the Lord brought us out of Egypt with his great power.” 17Pharaoh made the people leave Egypt. The Lord did not let the people take the road leading to the land of the Philistines. That road ˻by the sea˼ is the shortest way, but the Lord said, “˻If the people go that way˼ they will have to fight. Then they might change their minds and go back to Egypt.” 18So the Lord led them another way. He led them through the desert by the Red Sea. The people of Israel were dressed for war when they left Egypt. 19Moses carried the bones of Joseph with him. Before Joseph died, he made the sons of Israel promise to do this for him. Joseph said, “When God saves you, remember to carry my bones with you out of Egypt.” 20The people of Israel left Succoth and camped at Etham. Etham was near the desert. 21The Lord led the way. During the day, the Lord used a tall cloud to lead the people. And during the night, the Lord used a tall column of fire to lead the way. This fire gave them light so they could also travel at night. 22The tall cloud was always with them during the day, and the column of fire was always with them at night.

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