Lambs to the Slaughter
Exodus 1221 Moses gathered the elders of Israel, and he told them, ‘Go and select a lamb from your flocks and slaughter it for the Passover.’
‘What’s the Passover?’ they asked.
‘I’ll explain that in a bit!’ snapped Moses.
Aaron leaned in to Moses and whispered, ‘But they’re supposed to pamper the lambs first. You’re going to get us into trouble!’
22 ‘I don’t care!’ retorted Moses. Then he turned back to the elders, ‘Use a bunch of hyssop as a brush to paint some of the lamb’s blood on the lintels of your doors and windows. I want you to stay indoors tonight for your own safety. 23 God has decided to go on a murderous rampage tonight, and this is the only way to escape his wrath.’
The elders of Israel started to tremble with terror.
24 ‘Don’t worry,’ reassured Moses. ‘If you put the blood on the outside of your house, the Lord won’t touch you. 25 There will come a time when we will all look back on this and remember what happened here tonight. 26 God wants us to have a festival to mark this date when the Lord passed over the houses of the Israelites and spared them - hence the name Passover. 27 He wants me to get you to do the whole ceremony first, but I’m tired of waiting. When this is over, we’ll be free.’
So, the Israelites did as Moses had instructed, and Moses went to confront God.
‘Lord,’ he called.
‘What?’ replied the Lord. ‘Have you given my people my instructions for the ceremony?’
‘No, they’re making the sacrifice of the lambs and marking their houses tonight.’
‘What?’ exclaimed the Lord. ‘Why the fuck have you done this?’
‘Because, this has to end. My people must be free!’
The sky grew dark, and storm clouds gathered. God’s rage seethed through the atmosphere sending sparks of lightning through the clouds. But Moses stood firm.
He yelled, ‘I’m not taking this shit from you Lord! I’ve spent weeks running back and forth to Pharaoh for you, and all the while, my people have still been slaves! It’s time to let my people go!’
‘But I wanted a party!’ roared the Lord, sending a blast of wind at Moses.
‘You’ll get your fucking party!’ spat Moses. ‘But the truth is, you need us. You need us so that you can get the worship you so badly crave! Well, if you want us to praise you, let my fucking people go!’
Suddenly, a bolt of lightning struck the mountain top right next to Moses, and the Lord cried out, ‘Argh!’ Then the storm clouds dissipated, and the sky grew calm.
Moses stood quivering and slightly singed. ‘Are you all done?’ he stuttered.
‘Yes,’ replied the Lord sullenly.
‘Look, you can have your party when we are free. Please, just do the last plague tonight.’
The Lord sighed and agreed to do as Moses had asked.
29 At midnight, the Lord came through Egypt striking down the firstborn of every Egyptian. From Pharaoh’s firstborn to the prisoners in his dungeon, from full-grown men to newborn babies, God slaughtered them indiscriminately without mercy.
30 A loud cry went up from Egypt that night. The grief was palpable. Every family had a child to mourn. The land had never experienced such loss, such sorrow.
And what happened then? Well...in Egypt they say, that Pharaoh’s hard heart became squishy that day!
31 He summoned Moses and Aaron. ‘You can leave,’ he said sombrely. 32 ‘Take your people and your flocks, and leave and never return.’
And he left to console his wife over the death of their son.