Chapter 12 While Moses and Aaron were still in Egypt, the Lord spoke to them. He said, “This month[a] will be the first month of the year for you. This command is for the whole community of Israel: On the tenth day of this month each man must get one lamb for the people in his house. If there are not enough people in his house to eat a whole lamb, then he should invite some of his neighbors to share the meal. There must be enough lamb for everyone to eat. The lamb must be a one-year-old male, and it must be completely healthy. This animal can be either a young sheep or a young goat. You should watch over the animal until the 14th day of the month. On that day all the people of the community of Israel must kill these animals just before dark. You must collect the blood from these animals and put it on the top and sides of the doorframe of every house where the people eat this meal.

“On this night you must roast the lamb and eat all the meat. You must also eat bitter herbs and bread made without yeast. You must not eat the lamb raw or boiled in water. You must roast the whole lamb over a fire. The lamb must still have its head, legs, and inner parts. 10 You must eat all the meat that night. If any of the meat is left until morning, you must burn it in the fire.

11 “When you eat the meal, you must be fully dressed and ready to travel. You must have your sandals on your feet and your walking stick in your hand. You must eat in a hurry, because this is the Lord’s Passover.

12 “Tonight I will go through Egypt and kill every firstborn man and animal in Egypt. In this way I will judge all the gods of Egypt and show that I am the Lord. 13 But the blood on your houses will be a special sign. When I see the blood, I will pass over[b] your house. I will cause bad things to happen to the people of Egypt. But none of these bad diseases will hurt you.

14 “You will always remember tonight—it will be a special festival for you. Your descendants will honor the Lord with this festival forever. 15 For this festival you will eat bread made without yeast for seven days. On the first day, you will remove all the yeast from your houses. No one should eat any yeast for the full seven days of this festival. Anyone who eats yeast must be separated from the rest of Israel. 16 There will be holy assemblies on the first day and the last day of the festival. You must not do any work on these days. The only work you can do is preparing the food for your meals. 17 You must remember the Festival of Unleavened Bread, because on this day I took all of your people out of Egypt in groups.[c] All of your descendants must remember this day. This is a law that will last forever. 18 So on the evening of the 14th day of the first month, you will begin eating bread without yeast. You will eat this bread until the evening of the 21st day of the same month. 19 For seven days, there must not be any yeast in your houses. Anyone, either a citizen of Israel or a foreigner living among you,[d] who eats yeast at this time must be separated from the rest of Israel. 20 During this festival you must not eat any yeast. You must eat bread without yeast wherever you live.”

21 So Moses called all the elders together and told them, “Get the lambs for your families. Kill the lambs for the Passover. 22 Take bunches of hyssop and dip them in the bowls filled with blood. Paint the blood on the sides and top of each doorframe. No one must leave their house until morning. 23 At the time the Lord goes through Egypt to kill the firstborn, he will see the blood on the sides and top of each doorframe. Then he will protect[e] that house and not let the Destroyer come into any of your houses and hurt you. 24 You must remember this command. This law is for you and your descendants forever. 25 You must remember to do this even when you go to the land the Lord is giving you. 26 When your children ask you, ‘Why are we doing this ceremony?’ 27 you will say, ‘This Passover is to honor the Lord, because when we were in Egypt, he passed over the houses of Israel. He killed the Egyptians, but he saved the people in our houses.’”

Then the people bowed down and worshiped the Lord. 28 The Lord had given this command to Moses and Aaron, so the Israelites did what the Lord commanded.

29 At midnight the Lord killed all the firstborn sons in Egypt, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh (who ruled Egypt) to the firstborn son of the prisoner sitting in jail. Also all the firstborn animals died. 30 That night someone died in every house in Egypt. Pharaoh, his officials, and all the people of Egypt began to cry loudly.

Israel Leaves Egypt

31 So that night Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron and said to them, “Get up and leave my people. You and your people can do as you say. Go and worship the Lord. 32 Take all of your sheep and cattle with you, just as you said you would. Go! And say a blessing for me too.” 33 The people of Egypt also asked them to hurry and leave. They said, “If you don’t leave, we will all die!”

34 The Israelites did not have time to put the yeast in their bread. They just wrapped the bowls of dough with cloth and carried them on their shoulders. 35 Then the Israelites did what Moses asked them to do. They went to their Egyptian neighbors and asked for clothing and things made from silver and gold. 36 The Lord caused the Egyptians to be kind to the Israelites, so the Egyptians gave their riches to the Israelites.

37 The Israelites traveled from Rameses to Succoth. There were about 600,000 men, not counting the small boys. 38 A great number of people who were not Israelites went with them, along with many sheep, cattle, and other livestock. 39 The people did not have time to put yeast in their bread or make any special food for their journey. So they had to bake their bread without yeast.

40 The Israelites had lived in Egypt[f] for 430 years. 41 After 430 years, to the very day, all the armies of the Lord[g] left Egypt. 42 The night they left, the Lord watched over them to bring them safely out of Egypt. So the Israelites will always celebrate this night each year to remember what the Lord did.

43 The Lord told Moses and Aaron, “These are the rules for Passover: No foreigner[h] is allowed to eat the Passover meal. 44-45 A foreigner who is only a hired worker or is only staying in your country is not allowed to eat the meal. But if someone buys a slave and circumcises him, then the slave can eat the Passover meal.

46 “Each family must eat the meal in one house. None of the food is to be taken outside the house. Don’t break any of the lamb’s bones. 47 The whole community of Israel must do this ceremony. 48 If a foreigner living among you wants to share in the Lord’s Passover, he must be circumcised. Then he can share in the meal like any other citizen of Israel. But a man who is not circumcised cannot eat the Passover meal. 49 The same rules are for everyone. It doesn’t matter if they are citizens or foreigners living among you.”

50 So all the Israelites obeyed the commands that the Lord gave to Moses and Aaron. 51 On that same day the Lord led all the Israelites out of the country of Egypt. The people left in groups.

Chapter 13 Then the Lord said to Moses, “You must give me every male in Israel who is his mother’s first child. That means that every firstborn baby boy and every firstborn male animal will be mine.”

Moses 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. Today, in the month of Abib, you are leaving Egypt. The Lord made a special promise to your ancestors. He promised to give you the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Hivites, and Jebusites. After the Lord leads you to the land filled with many good things,[i] then you must remember this day. You must have a special day of worship on this day during the first month of every year.

“For seven days, you must eat only bread without yeast. On the seventh day there will be a great festival to show honor to the Lord. So for seven days, you must not eat any bread made with yeast. There must be no bread with yeast any place in your land. On this day you should tell your children, ‘We are having this festival because the Lord took me out of Egypt.’

“This festival will help you remember; it will be like a string tied on your hand. It will be like a sign before your eyes.[j] This festival 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. 10 So remember this festival every year at the right time.

11 “The Lord will lead you into the land he promised to give you. The Canaanites live there now. But God promised your ancestors that he would give you this land. When that happens, 12 you must remember to give the Lord every firstborn boy. And every male animal that is the firstborn must also be given to the Lord. 13 Every firstborn donkey can be bought back. You can offer a lamb and keep the donkey. If you don’t want to buy back the donkey like this, then you must break its neck to kill it. But every firstborn baby boy[k] 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 he led us out and brought us here. 15 In Egypt, Pharaoh was stubborn and refused to let us leave. So the Lord killed every firstborn in all the land. (The Lord killed the firstborn males—animal and human.) 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 him.’ 16 This is like a string tied on your hand, like a sign in front of your eyes. It helps you remember that the Lord brought us out of Egypt with his great power.”

The Trip Out of Egypt

17 Pharaoh made the people leave Egypt. God did not let the people take the road leading to the land of the Philistines. That road by the Mediterranean Sea is the shortest way, but God said, “If the people go that way they will have to fight. Then they might change their minds and go back to Egypt.” 18 So God led them another way through the desert by the Red Sea.[l] The Israelites were dressed for war when they left Egypt.

Joseph Goes Home

19 Moses carried the bones of Joseph with him. Before Joseph died, he made the Israelites promise to do this for him. He said, “When God saves you, remember to carry my bones with you out of Egypt.”

The Lord Leads His People

20 The Israelites left Succoth and camped at Etham. Etham was near the desert. 21 The Lord led the way. During the day, he used a tall cloud to lead the people. And during the night, he used a tall column of fire to lead the way. This fire gave them light so that they could also travel at night. 22 The cloud was always with them during the day, and the column of fire was always with them at night.

Chapter 14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell the people to go back to Pi Hahiroth. Tell them to spend the night between Migdol and the Red Sea, near Baal Zephon. Pharaoh will think that the Israelites are lost in the desert and that the people will have no place to go. I will make Pharaoh brave, and he will chase you. But I will defeat Pharaoh and his army. This will bring honor to me. Then the people of Egypt will know that I am the Lord.” So the Israelites did what he told them.

Pharaoh Chases the Israelites

Pharaoh received a report that the Israelites had escaped. When he heard this, he and his officials changed their minds about what they had done. Pharaoh said, “Why did we let the Israelites leave? Why did we let them run away? Now we have lost our slaves!”

So Pharaoh prepared his chariot and took his men with him. He took 600 of his best men and all of his chariots. There was an officer in each chariot.[m] The Israelites were leaving with their arms raised in victory. But the Lord caused Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, to become brave. And Pharaoh chased the Israelites.

The Egyptian army had many horse soldiers and chariots. They chased the Israelites and caught up with them while they were camped near the Red Sea at Pi Hahiroth, east of Baal Zephon.

10 When the Israelites saw Pharaoh and his army coming toward them, they were very frightened and cried to the Lord for help. 11 They said to Moses, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt? Did you bring us out here in the desert to die? We could have died peacefully in Egypt; there were plenty of graves in Egypt. 12 We told you this would happen! In Egypt we said, ‘Please don’t bother us. Let us stay and serve the Egyptians.’ It would have been better for us to stay and be slaves than to come out here and die in the desert.”

13 But Moses answered, “Don’t be afraid! Don’t run away! Stand where you are and watch the Lord save you today. You will never see these Egyptians again. 14 You will not have to do anything but stay calm. The Lord will do the fighting for you.”

15 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you still crying to me? Tell the Israelites to start moving. 16 Raise the walking stick in your hand over the Red Sea, and the sea will split. Then the people can go across on dry land. 17 I have made the Egyptians brave, so they will chase you. But I will show you that I am more powerful than Pharaoh and all of his horses and chariots. 18 Then Egypt will know that I am the Lord. They will honor me when I defeat Pharaoh and his horse soldiers and chariots.”

The Lord Defeats the Egyptian Army

19 Then the angel of God moved to the back of the people. (The angel was usually in front of the people, leading them.) So the tall cloud moved from in front of the people and went to the back of the people. 20 In this way the cloud stood between the Egyptians and the Israelites. There was light for the Israelites. But there was darkness for the Egyptians. So the Egyptians did not come any closer to the Israelites that night.

21 Moses raised his hand over the Red Sea, and the Lord caused a strong wind to blow from the east. The wind blew all night long. The sea split, and the wind made the ground dry. 22 The Israelites went through the sea on dry land. The water was like a wall on their right and on their left. 23 Then all of Pharaoh’s chariots and horse soldiers followed them into the sea. 24 Early that morning the Lord looked down from the tall cloud and column of fire at the Egyptian army. Then he made them panic. 25 The wheels of the chariots became stuck. It was very hard to control the chariots. The Egyptians shouted, “Let’s get out of here! The Lord is fighting against us. He is fighting for the Israelites.”

26 Then the Lord told Moses, “Raise your hand over the sea to make the water fall and cover the Egyptian chariots and horse soldiers.”

27 So just before daylight, Moses raised his hand over the sea. And the water rushed back to its proper level. The Egyptians were running as fast as they could from the water, but the Lord swept them away with the sea. 28 The water returned to its normal level and covered the chariots and horse soldiers. Pharaoh’s army had been chasing the Israelites, but that army was destroyed. None of them survived!

29 But the Israelites crossed the sea on dry land. The water was like a wall on their right and on their left. 30 So that day the Lord saved the Israelites from the Egyptians. Later, the Israelites saw the dead bodies of the Egyptians on the shore of the Red Sea. 31 The Israelites saw the great power of the Lord when he defeated the Egyptians. So the people feared and respected the Lord, and they began to trust the Lord and his servant Moses.


  1. Exodus 12:2 month Abib (or Nisan). See “Abib” in the Word List.
  2. Exodus 12:13 pass over Or “protect.” Also in verse 27.
  3. Exodus 12:17 groups Or “divisions.” This is a military term. It shows that Israel was organized like an army. Also in verse 51.
  4. Exodus 12:19 foreigner living among you That is, someone who has chosen to live among the Israelites and obey their laws and customs. Also in verse 48.
  5. Exodus 12:23 protect Or “pass over.”
  6. Exodus 12:40 Egypt The ancient Greek and Samaritan versions say, “Egypt and Canaan.” This would mean they counted the years from about Abraham’s time, not from Joseph’s. See Gen. 15:12-16 and Gal. 3:17.
  7. Exodus 12:41 armies of the Lord The Israelites.
  8. Exodus 12:43 foreigner Here, this means someone who has not agreed to follow the laws and customs of Israel.
  9. Exodus 13:5 land … things Literally, “land flowing with milk and honey.”
  10. Exodus 13:9 string … eyes Literally, “a mark on your hands and a reminder between your eyes.” This might refer to the special things an Israelite ties to his arm and forehead to help him remember God’s laws for him. Also in verse 16.
  11. Exodus 13:13 baby boy Or “baby.”
  12. Exodus 13:18 Red Sea Or “Reed Sea.” Also in 14:2, 9, 16, 21, 30. See 1 Kings 9:26.
  13. Exodus 14:7 There was … chariot Or “There were three soldiers in each chariot.”