After the death of Jacob and Joseph, the Pharaoh feared the growing power of the Hebrews and sought to kill all their male children.
One of these, Moses, was hidden in a basket by his mother and floated on the Nile, to be found by the Pharaoh’s daughter, who brought him up as her own son. Moses was appointed by God to lead his tribe out of slavery in Egypt to find the Promised Land. When the Pharaoh forbade the Children of Israel to leave, God sent ten plagues to rain on Egypt and Moses performed miracles. He and his brother, Aaron, turned the Nile waters into blood, caused a plague of frogs, then of lice, and of flies. When the Pharaoh still refused to let the Israelites go, he was afflicted with boils, and all the Egyptians’ cattle died, to be followed by hail mixed with fire which fell from the heavens. Then came a plague of locusts, and for three days darkness covered the land. Then all the first- born offspring of the Egyptians, both human and animal, died. These disasters affected everyone except the Children of Israel. After the tenth plague, the Pharaoh relented and gave permission for the Israelites to go. The Children of Israel left immediately, not waiting for the yeast to leaven their bread. This exodus from Egypt, thought to have occurred around 1300 BCE, is commemorated by the Feast of Unleavened Bread, known as the Pesach or Passover. The Children of Israel, pursued by the Pharaoh’s army, were saved by the parting of the waters of the Red Sea, which then flowed back, to drown the pursuing Egyptian soldiers.
When the Children of Israel reached the Sinai Desert, God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, which are said to have been written by God on stone tablets. Acting on instructions from God, Moses tells the Children of Israel to make the Ark of the Covenant in which to keep these stone tablets, and then It was placed in the Temple in Jerusalem.