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Israel’s Last Night In Egypt – First Night as the Hebrew Nation

Breaking Chains

Israel’s Last Night In Egypt: First Night as the Hebrew Nation

Exodus 12: 42 “It is a night to be much observed unto the LORD for bringing them out from the land of Egypt: this is that night of the LORD to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations.”
 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Contents~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

1. Introduction

2. All Egypt Sleeps On That Dreadful Night

3. All In The Land Of Goshen Are Awake

4. It’s Almost Midnight

5. A Great Cry Was Heard

6. Pharaoh Urged Them To Leave That Night

7. The Children Of Israel Left With Haste

8. CONCLUSION

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1. INTRODUCTION:

This was the night of Israel’s birth. Before this night, a large family, a group of slaves. After this night, a nation on the rise, a nation which would affect every person born into this world since that memorial night.
Jehovah stood guard to protect Israel, therefore Israel must guard the memory of this night. It was the beginning of a history that shall flow with continuous current till time shall end. And that stream shall carry life and blessings to all nations of the earth.
On that memorial night God Himself appeared on the earth on behalf of an enslaved and despised race and brought them from the house of bondage to take their place among the great historical nations.
As suddenly as the sun-rise a nation was born. Never before, nor since, has a nation been formed so suddenly.  When the sun went down, the descendants of Abraham were sojourners and slaves toiling under the lash of the taskmaster and in a land not their own.
When the morning broke, they were a great nation on the march, with an army of six-hundred-thousand strong—with the God of Hosts for a guide.
Rome began as 30 to 40 shepherds and robbers were drawn together in a small cluster of huts. Yet it took 700 years to reach the summit of its greatness. The Hebrews numbered nearly 3½ million the first day of their life as a nation.
The Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Assyrians, all the great conquering nations of ancient times, have utterly passed away. They have few, if any, representatives to bear their name or to glory in their history. They have no influence in the life of the world today.
But the Hebrews, in all their wanderings and dispersions, are Hebrews still. And the descendants of the three-and-one-half-million, who marched out of Egypt that night, may be found on all the continents and in all great cities of the earth.
That nation under God in a night, has been the teacher and leader of the human race. Their laws, their sacred principals of morality, their God-given faith, the character of their great men, exert more influence upon the minds of men today than all the other nations of antiquity put together.
The birth-night of the Hebrew Nation was the great era of ancient times.
Let us study the events of that night that we may learn in what way God gave life to the Hebrew Nation. Let us suppose ourselves carried back to that night and become spectators as God works that night.

2. ALL EGYPT IS SLEEPING ON THAT DREADFUL NIGHT:

It is late March or early April; it is night throughout all the land of Egypt. A bright full moon is shines from a cloudless sky. It is dark in the twenty-thousand cities and villages that line the banks of the Nile—all is still.
The laborers have come in from the field, and are asleep. The Princes of Pharaoh are asleep in the palace on soft pillows of silk. The house-slaves are asleep are asleep in the floor. The bond-men, the wise-men, the magicians, which had withstood Moses and Aaron, are sleeping, along with Pharaoh and all his house—all Egypt slept.
The mighty Monarch has said that the man Moses shall not see his face any more. He has sworn that the hated Hebrew shall die the moment he appears again.
For many days this fugitive from the desert had haunted the proud king.  His shepherd’s staff has become more powerful than the scepter of Pharaoh. The wise-men and priests of Pharaoh had been confounded and put to shame by him.
The water of the sacred river had been changed to blood, the cattle had been smitten, creeping things, lice and locus, and frogs have invaded every home, at the bidding of Moses.
But Pharaoh has had enough, he has forbidden Moses to ever come again. Moses said, thou spoken well, I will see thy face again no more” (Exodus 10:29).
On this night the locusts are gone, the boils and blains which afflicted everyone are healed, the flax and barley that were beaten down by hail has been replaced by a harvest of wheat.
The blood-stained waters of the Nile have become pure and fresh—the thick darkness has given away to the light of the full moon. A weary Monarch sleeps forgetting all the threats against his kingdom. So in Egypt all sleep as of death—silence reigns.

3. ALL IN THE LAND OF GOSHEN ARE AWAKE:

No one is asleep in the Land of Goshen where the Hebrew slaves lived. In all the houses of the Hebrews, every soul is awake and every eye upon the watch. There is no stir in the streets; the families are all inside the house, as Rahab was commanded to “Get your family in.”
There is a blood-stain on the lintel and on the side-posts of every door. Children are clutched in their mother’s arms. They have just finished eating supper—a roasted lamb, unleavened bread and with bitter herbs, representing the bitterness of their toil.
They ate while standing, their long robes are gathered up and girded tightly around their loins. Their feet are shod with sandals for a journey (These sandals would last their lifetime).
They have a shepherd’s scrip (bag) on their shoulders filled with provisions for the way, (and also loaded with jewels of gold and silver borrowed from the Egyptians Exodus 11:3-4, “they spoiled the Egyptians” Exodus 12:36)
Men and women stand with staffs in their hands, ready to go forth when the sign was given.

4. IT’S ALMOST MIDNIGHT:

Strong men turn pale, women weep, children are too frightened to cry. They have been told by Moses “At Midnight,
The Lord God would visit Egypt and all the first-born in the land of Egypt shall die. From the firstborn of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of beasts. And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it any more.” (Exodus 11:4-6)
God had told Moses,
“And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites. Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them” (Exodus 3:7-9).
For 400 years God had heard the cry of the Hebrews—He remembered every cry, every sigh, every groan, now He would avenge 400 years of crying in one night.

5. A GREAT CRY WAS HEARD:

The midnight hour draws near.
Listen! Was not that the sound of someone yelling? This is followed by a piercing scream coming from a distant home. Cold chills ran up the spines of everyone who heard it.
Within minutes, not just one Egyptian home, but from every home, shrieks and howls break forth upon the stillness of the midnight air. Village after village, city after city, from the Palace of the King, to the mud-huts of the poor—The Cry Went Up. The young and old, rich and poor everyone was screaming.
There is universal terror throughout all Egypt for in one awful moment the Angel of Death has smitten every family in the whole nation with just one stroke which must have caused the most crushing sorrow.
“And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle,” “there was not a house where there was not one dead” (Exodus 12:29-30).

6. PHARAOH URGED THEM TO LEAVE IN THE NIGHT:

“And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; And he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the LORD, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also.  And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste;” Exodus 12:30-33).
 

Did you notice the little phrase at the end of verse 32? “And bless me also.” Here we have a very arrogant Egyptian Monarch brought to realization that there was a God who ruled the heaven and the earth, and His name was Jehovah, and at that dreadful moment he realized how much he need that God’s blessing. Once before, 400 years before this night, another Pharaoh received the blessing of Jehovah as Jacob was brought before him (Genesis 47:10).

7. THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL LEFT WITH HASTE:

“And the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneadingtroughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders. And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children. And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle” (Exodus 12:34-38).
Psalm has another account of that night, “He brought them forth also with silver and gold: and there was not one feeble person among their tribes. Egypt was glad when they departed: for the fear of them fell upon them. And he brought forth his people with joy, and his chosen with gladness:” (Psalm 105:37-38, 43).

8. CONCLUSION:

WHAT A GLORIOUS NIGHT FOR THE PEOPLE OF GOD
In one glorious night Israel was set free from bondage and servitude. Our lesson from this, Jesus Christ came to set us free from the bondage of sin.
In one glorious moment, it don’t take all night, we can be released from the chains which bind us, and come forth into the glorious liberty with God’s people.
Thank you for taking the time to read this section of NIGHT SCENES IN THE BIBLE and we hope you will read the other section of NIGHT SCENES IN THE BIBLE on this web site.

About the author

James Thornton

I am a retired pastor currently living in the Nashville, TN area. We attend First Church, Bro. Ron Becton pastor. We've been putting our sermons and Bible studies online for more than five years in an effort to continue our ministry.