Exodus 7–8; Matthew 15:1–20

Moses and Aaron Before Pharaoh

And the Lord said to Moses, See, I have made you like oGod to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your pprophet. qYou shall speak all that I command you, and your brother Aaron shall tell Pharaoh to let the people of Israel go out of his land. But rI will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I smultiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, Pharaoh will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and bring my hosts, my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great acts of judgment. The Egyptians tshall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring out the people of Israel from among them. Moses and Aaron did so; they did just as the Lord commanded them. Now Moses was ueighty years old, and Aaron eighty-three years old, when they spoke to Pharaoh.

Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, When Pharaoh says to you, vProve yourselves by working a miracle, then you shall say to Aaron, Take your staff and cast it down before Pharaoh, that it may become a serpent. 10 So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the Lord commanded. Aaron cast down his staff before Pharaoh and his servants, and it became a serpent. 11 Then Pharaoh summoned the wise men and the sorcerers, and they, the wmagicians of Egypt, also xdid the same by their secret arts. 12 For each man cast down his staff, and they became serpents. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs. 13 Still rPharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he would not listen to them, ras the Lord had said.

The First Plague: Water Turned to Blood

14 Then the Lord said to Moses, Pharaoh’s heart is hardened; he refuses to let the people go. 15 yGo to Pharaoh in the morning, as he is going out to the water. Stand on the bank of the Nile to meet him, and take in your hand zthe staff that turned into a aserpent. 16 And you shall say to him, The bLord, the God of the Hebrews, sent me to you, saying, Let my people go, cthat they may serve me in the wilderness. But so far, you have not obeyed. 17 Thus says the Lord, By this dyou shall know that I am the Lord: behold, with the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water that is in the Nile, and eit shall turn into blood. 18 The fish in the Nile shall die, and the Nile will stink, and the Egyptians will fgrow weary of drinking water from the Nile. 19 And the Lord said to Moses, Say to Aaron, Take your staff and gstretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their rivers, their canals, and their ponds, and all their pools of water, so that they may become blood, and there shall be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, even in vessels of wood and in vessels of stone.

20 Moses and Aaron did as the Lord commanded. In the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants he hlifted up the staff and struck the water in the Nile, and all the iwater in the Nile turned into blood. 21 And the fish in the Nile died, and the Nile stank, so that the Egyptians jcould not drink water from the Nile. There was blood throughout all the land of Egypt. 22 But kthe magicians of Egypt did the same by their secret arts. So lPharaoh’s heart remained hardened, and he would not listen to them, as mthe Lord had said. 23 Pharaoh turned and went into his house, and he did not take even this to heart. 24 And all the Egyptians dug along the Nile for water to drink, for they could not drink the water of the Nile.

25 Seven full days passed after the Lord had struck the Nile.

The Second Plague: Frogs

1 Then the Lord said to Moses, Go in to Pharaoh and say to him, Thus says the Lord, Let my people go, that nthey may serve me. But if you orefuse to let them go, behold, I will plague all your country with pfrogs. The Nile shall swarm with frogs that shall come up into your house and into qyour bedroom and on your bed and into the houses of your servants and your people,2 and into your ovens and your kneading bowls. The frogs shall come up on you and on your people and on all your servants. 3 And the Lord said to Moses, Say to Aaron, rStretch out your hand with your staff over the rivers, over the canals and over the pools, and make frogs come up on the land of Egypt! So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and sthe frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt. But tthe magicians did the same by their secret arts and made frogs come up on the land of Egypt.

Then Pharaoh called Moses and Aaron and said, uPlead with the Lord to take away the frogs from me and from my people, and vI will let the people go to sacrifice to the Lord. Moses said to Pharaoh, Be pleased to command me when uI am to plead for you and for your servants and for your people, that the frogs be cut off from you and your houses and be left only in the Nile. 10 And he said, Tomorrow. Moses said, Be it as you say, so wthat you may know that xthere is no one like the Lord our God. 11 The frogs shall go away from you and your houses and your servants and your people. They shall be left only in the Nile. 12 So Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh, and Moses cried to the Lord about the frogs, as he had agreed with Pharaoh.4 13 And the Lord did according to the word of Moses. The frogs died out in the houses, the courtyards, and the fields. 14 And they gathered them together in heaps, and the land stank. 15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was a yrespite, he zhardened his heart and would not listen to them, as the Lord had said.

The Third Plague: Gnats

16 Then the Lord said to Moses, Say to Aaron, aStretch out your staff and strike the dust of the earth, so that it may become gnats in all the land of Egypt. 17 And they did so. Aaron stretched out his hand with his staff and struck the dust of the earth, and bthere were gnats on man and beast. All the dust of the earth became gnats in all the land of Egypt. 18 The cmagicians tried by their secret arts to produce gnats, but they could not. So there were gnats on man and beast. 19 Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, This is dthe finger of God. But Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the Lord had said.

The Fourth Plague: Flies

20 Then the Lord said to Moses, eRise up early in the morning and present yourself to Pharaoh, as he goes out to the water, and say to him, Thus says the Lord, fLet my people go, that they may serve me. 21 Or else, if you will not let my people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies on you and your servants and your people, and into your houses. And the houses of the Egyptians shall be filled with swarms of flies, and also the ground on which they stand. 22 But on that day gI will set apart the land of Goshen, where my people dwell, so that no swarms of flies shall be there, hthat you may know that I am the Lord in the midst of the earth.5 23 Thus I will put a division6 between my people and your people. Tomorrow this sign shall happen. 24 And the Lord did so. iThere came great swarms of flies into the house of Pharaoh and into his servants’ houses. Throughout all the land of Egypt the land was ruined by the swarms of flies.

25 Then Pharaoh called Moses and Aaron and said, Go, sacrifice to your God within the land. 26 But Moses said, It would not be right to do so, for the offerings we shall sacrifice to the Lord our God are an jabomination to the Egyptians. If we sacrifice offerings jabominable to the Egyptians before their eyes, will they not stone us? 27 We must go kthree days’ journey into the wilderness and sacrifice to the Lord our God las he tells us. 28 So Pharaoh said, I will let you go to sacrifice to the Lord your God in the wilderness; only you must not go very far away. mPlead for me. 29 Then Moses said, Behold, I am going out from you and I will plead with the Lord that the swarms of flies may depart from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people, tomorrow. Only let not Pharaoh ncheat again by not letting the people go to sacrifice to the Lord. 30 So Moses went out from Pharaoh and prayed to the Lord. 31 And the Lord did as Moses asked, and removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people; not one remained. 32 But Pharaoh ohardened his heart this time also, and did not let the people go.


Traditions and Commandments

15 eThen Pharisees and fscribes came to Jesus ffrom Jerusalem and said, gWhy do your disciples break hthe tradition of the elders? jFor they do not wash their hands when they eat. He answered them, And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God commanded, kHonor your father and your mother, and, lWhoever reviles father or mother must surely die. But you say, If anyone tells his father or his mother, What you would have gained from me is given to God,1 he need not honor his father. So for the sake of your tradition you have mmade void the word2 of God. nYou hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said:

oThis people honors me with their lips,

but their heart is far from me;

in vain do they worship me,

teaching as pdoctrines the commandments of men.

What Defiles a Person

10 And he called the people to him and said to them, qHear and understand: 11 rit is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person. 12 Then the disciples came and said to him, Do you know that the Pharisees were soffended when they heard this saying? 13 He answered, tEvery plant that my heavenly Father has not planted uwill be rooted up. 14 Let them alone; vthey are blind guides.3 And wif the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit. 15 But Peter said to him, xExplain the parable to us. 16 And he said, yAre you also still without understanding? 17 Do you not see that zwhatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled?4 18 But awhat comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. 19 For out of the heart come bevil thoughts, cmurder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, dslander. 20 eThese are what defile a person. But fto eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.