THE PASSOVER is the Old Testament feast that celebrates and remembers God’s liberation of Israel from Egypt. After Joseph saved Egypt from starvation (Genesis 41), the Israelites lived in Egypt as guests. Eventually, the Egyptians forgot about Joseph and enslaved the Israelites for hundreds of years. (Exodus 1:6-14) Overburdened with work and mistreatment, the Israelites suffered a great deal and called out to the Lord. God responded to their cry and raised a great leader, Moses, who challenged the Pharoah and Egypt’s power.
The book of Exodus explains how God freed his people from Egypt. Because of the hardness of Pharoah’s heart, God punished Egypt with ten plagues. (Exodus 7-11) However, instead of recognizing the true God of heaven and earth, Pharoah grew angrier and oppressed the Israelites even more. One way Pharoah increased the Israelites’ suffering was by refusing to give them straw, one of the key materials to produce bricks. (Exodus 5)
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