After the first seven plagues, Moshe and Aharon again warned Pharaoh to let the nation go, lest Egypt suffer an eighth plague. Pharaoh’s advisors encouraged him to agree. However, he only agreed to let the men leave temporarily, not the women or children.

The 8th plague: Moshe stretched his staff “over Egypt”. A wind brought a swarm of locusts over Egypt, eating any grass and foliage still left after the plague of hail. Pharaoh admitted his sin of not letting the people go and asked Moshe and Aharon to pray for the plague to end. God sent a wind which carried away the locusts. God hardened Pharaoh’s heart and he refused to let the people go.

The 9th plague: Moshe raised his hand towards the heavens. For three days, a thick darkness descended over all of Egypt, except for where the Israelites lived.

Moshe once again asked Pharaoh to allow the entire nation to leave so that they can bring offerings in the desert. He added that they should be allowed to take livestock with them. God hardened Pharaoh’s heart and he refused.

Moshe warned Pharaoh about the plague of the first born, which will only affect the Egyptians. God told Moshe and Aharon the laws of Rosh Chodesh. They were also told to instruct the nation about the Pesach offering: a lamb must be designated on 10th Nissan and slaughtered on the afternoon of 14th Nissan. Its blood was to be placed on the door frame and the meat eaten, together with matza and maror, on the night of 15 Nissan. This would be commemorated every year with the seven day Pesach festival.

The 10th plague: Moshe related the laws of the Pesach offering to the elders. The blood on the door frame would ‘indicate’ to God to ‘pass over’ the Israelite houses and only smite the Egyptians. The plague struck Egypt at midnight, leaving no house without a death.

Pharaoh searched frantically for Moshe and Aharon and tells them to leave. The Egyptian people also urged the Israelites to leave. They took their dough with them before it has time to rise. The Egyptians agreed to let them take gold and silver items. The nation travelled from Ra’amses to Succot. They baked the unleavened dough, making matzot. Additional laws of the Pesach offering were given.

God related to Moshe the mitzvah of redeeming firstborn male children (pidyon ha’ben). Firstborn animals also have a special sanctity. The mitzvah of tefilin was stated twice.

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