Hello. My name is Jabed and I have a story to tell. A story about what happened to me and my family.

For many years my people, the Hebrews, had been in bondage to the Egyptians. We lived in Goshen, a land given to our people by Pharaoh because of Pharaoh’s love for Joseph.  When Joseph died and the pharaohs no longer remembered Joseph, we became slaves to the Egyptians. Moses, born a Hebrew, became our leader, a godly man who had become our go-between with God and us. God had told Moses that He was going to set us free. Moses had pleaded repeatedly with Pharaoh to let us go and he had refused.

I will never forget what happened. Each time Pharaoh refused Moses’s plea, God would send a plague. The first plague was having all of the water turned to blood, the Nile was worshipped by the Egyptians and God wanted to make an example of it.  The second plague was frogs to mock the Egyptians because they worshipped a frog god. The third plague was ice that covered the Egyptians and their animals. This was the first of the plagues that the pharaoh’s magicians couldn’t do. The fourth plague was flies that would bite and leave terrible sores, it drove their animals mad trying to escape from the flies. This plague was very troublesome because the Egyptians honored cleanliness.  The fifth plague made their livestock sick, they began dying and the stench was terrible. This was also devastating because the Egyptians worshipped their animals. The sixth plague was boils, nasty, seeping boils that covered their bodies. The seventh plague was hail, the sky grew black and hailstones, of tremendous size, fell, killing whatever they struck. It was to prove that their gods Isis and Osiris were not in control of the earth. The eighth plague was locusts, swarms of them arrived and ate all of the vegetation they could find. This plague was to prove that the Egyptian god Serapis couldn’t control the insects.  The ninth plague God sent was darkness, it was pitch black for three days, proving that the gods of the Egyptians were nothing compared to the God of the Hebrews.

None of this affected my people, just the Egyptians underwent the horrors of the plagues. We lived among the Egyptians in Goshen. They were our overseers and ruled over us. I watched in amazement when a plague would ravish the Egyptian families, who lived in our village, and not us. I couldn’t believe it. I watched their livestock die, locusts eat their crops, lice, flies, and frogs all over their bodies and in their homes. And none of this affected us. I couldn’t understand why Pharaoh would allow the plagues to ravage his people. It made no sense to me. I was glad that I wasn’t an Egyptian.

Moses talked to God and God told him what was going to happen next and how we were to prepare for it. The tenth plague would be the worst one yet and this one could affect us also. Because the Egyptians lived among us we had to take precautions. Moses informed all of the elders and the word was passed down to the people. My father came home after talking to the elders.

“Jabed, I want you to search for an unblemished lamb or goat that is a male yearling.”

“Yes, but why?” What is going to happen?” I had asked.

“We have four days to prepare. I have been told to slaughter the animal at twilight, collect its blood, and smear it on our lintel and doorpost. Something drastic is going to happen to the Egyptians,” he replied.

“What is it? And why do we have to smear blood on our house?” I asked.

“Quit asking questions. Your mother has been told to bake unleavened bread. We’re are to eat the animal and bread that night. We are also told that we must stay in our homes and not leave. That is all that I am going to tell you,” answered my father.

I immediately began searching for the sacrifice. It seems as though everyone was doing the same. My friends were going house to house inquiring about the availability of a lamb or goat. My best friend was Obed and his father had a flock and I was able to get a fine, young lamb.

The appointed day arrived and we were ready. You could sense that something was going to happen. There was tension in the air. At dusk, I held the lamb down as Father slit its throat over an earthen bowl, collected its blood, took a bunch of hyssops, and painted the doorposts and lintel with it.

“Come, Jabed, it is done. Let us go inside.”

My mother had the unleavened bread ready. She quickly prepared the lamb and we sat down to eat. Breaking the bread, Father blessed it and we ate. I didn’t care for the taste of the bread, I was not used to it but I ate it anyway.

I will never forget that night and what happened. We went to bed and around midnight it began. We could hear screams and cries of anguish all around us. I wanted to go outside and look but was forbidden to do so.

The next morning we awoke to utter chaos. Going outside, I watched Egyptian fathers carrying their dead children through the streets, asking everyone they met why it had happened. Mothers lay prostrated in the streets, wailing, thrashing about in anguish. Others stood over their dead livestock and stared in disbelief.

“Father, what has happened?” I asked

“It is as I was told. I kept it from you because it is horrible. Moses told us that the Angel Of Death would come in the middle of the night and kill the firstborn of every child and animal of anyone that did not have blood on their doorposts and lintels. That is why we stayed in last night. That is why we smeared the blood. Because we did the Angel passed over us. We are to remember this as the Passover,” answered my father.

I went to check on my friends. They were as amazed as I was. The uproar was intense and I noticed something I had never seen before. Fear. The Egyptians were afraid of me. I knew of an Egyptian boy who had a pair of identical twin baby goats. I walked by him as he cried while holding one of them in his arms. It was dead, the firs born of the pair.

Returning home, I found my family hastily packing our belongings.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“Moses has talked to Pharaoh. He has finally said that we can leave. His firstborn child died last night. He told us to leave and we are going before he changes his mind. Hurry, help us pack. Tomorrow morning we will gather and leave this place, hopefully for good.”

I quickly packed my things in a goat skin pouch and went out into the street to watch. My people were scurrying about, packing carts, gathering their animals, and heading for the assembly location, wanting to be first in line. My family decided to join them and the most amazing thing happened. We would have Egyptians approach us and offer us valuable things, gold, silver, clothing, and animals. It was as if we were being paid to leave. Others were approaching the Egyptians and demanding their riches and were given amazing things. We could tell that they were glad to get rid of us.

I had an Egyptian boy, about my age, approach me leading a lamb. He offered it to me, I took the lead rope, and he ran away with tears in his eyes. I could tell it was his pet because of the fancy harness it was wearing. I couldn’t believe it was happening because his father had been mean to my Father on many occasions.

Moses led us from the city. Six hundred thousand men, their families, and their livestock were in the exodus. It was a sight to see. Some of the people laughed, sang, and danced as we left, making a joyful sound unto the Lord, while others kept quiet and watched for any signs of trouble. We did not trust the Egyptians or Pharaoh.

“Father, where are we going?” I asked.

“I am not sure, but I do know that we want to get as far away as we can in case Pharaoh changes his mind.”

We had thought that we would pass through the land of the Philistines but Moses took us in another direction. Our journey took us into the wilderness. We knew that God was in control because the Angel Of God was leading us. There was a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. It was very comforting knowing that the Lord was with us.

My task was helping with the flocks. There were thousands of sheep and goats. The Egyptians, out of fear, had given us a large portion of what they had. We were blessed.

The Angel Of God led us to the Red Sea where we were told to camp. We were in the process of pitching our tents when I looked back the way we came. On the horizon were dust, thick, billowing clouds of dust. I shouted the alarm and my people turned to watch. As it came closer I could tell that it was chariots, Egyptian chariots. Immediately panic set in. Women and children were crying and the men began arming themselves. The elders went to speak with Moses. I and the other boys tried to keep the flocks under control.

All of a sudden, something amazing happened. The pillar of cloud passed over us and settled as a barrier between us and the Egyptians. I could no longer see them because of the cloud.

Turning back toward the sea I could just barely see Moses. He was standing on a rock with his arm and staff stretched out over the water. Suddenly an east wind began to blow over the water and the sea divided, in the middle, as if a wall was holding it back. Moses motioned for us to follow him. Hesitant at first, but when we realized that the seafloor was dry, we started across.

I was amazed. God had made a way for us to escape from Pharaoh. I still remember watching fish swim by me as I herded the sheep by the unseeable wall. I reached out and touched the water and got my hand wet. Surprised, I didn’t do it again. I didn’t want to do something that would make the water come in on us. I could see the fear on people’s faces. It was hard to understand how this was happening.

My family was at the back of the exodus. As we walked I looked back and was startled to see that the pillar was gone. I immediately got everyone around me’s attention.

“Look! Here they come!”

They turned to look and the strangest thing happened. As the Egyptians entered the divided sea, the wheels of the chariots fell off, it was as if some unseen force was pulling them off. We watched as the Egyptians began putting them back on. Somehow we knew that God was doing this. He was protecting us. It gave us time to get everybody across safely to the other side.

I remember passing Moses as I herded the flock. He was standing on the shore facing the Egyptians. He nodded his head in obedience, lifted his staff again over the water and the walls collapsed with a loud crash. I watched as the entire Egyptian army and Pharaoh drowned.

Leaving the flock, I rushed to my family.

“What happened?” I cried.

“God, God happened,” came the reply.

This is my story. Some, to this day, still don’t believe it. I was there. I know that it did. God delivered my people out of the bondage to the Egyptians. We were free at last.

November 5, 2020