When Moses was forty years old he had to flee from Egypt. He went to Midian, where he dwelt for forty years; at the end of which time God appeared to him, and instructed him to return to Egypt; where he was appointed by God to lead the Israelites from bondage to the land of Canaan. Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and delivered to him God's command to let the people of Israel go; telling him that if he disobeyed terrible plagues would come upon his land. Pharaoh hardened his heart against God, and refused to let the people go; so ten dreadful plagues were sent, the last of which was that the firstborn of every Egyptian should die, whether it were man or beast. But not a single Israelite was to suffer harm. This plague God said should come in the night; when an angel would pass through the land, destroying the Egyptians but sparing the Israelites.
Each family of the Israelites was commanded, on the evening that God had appointed, to kill a lamb, and to dip a bunch of hyssop in its blood, sprinkling this blood upon the top and side posts of the door. All the houses thus marked God said would be spared when the destroying angel passed through the land. In the night, while the Israelites were, according to God's command, eating the lambs that had been slain, all ready to depart, a great cry arose among the Egyptians. In every house, from the palace downwards, the eldest child lay dead.
Then the Egyptians arose, and thrust the Israelites out; and they left Egypt, and journeyed towards the Red Sea.
[Illustration: SPRINKLING THE BLOOD.]