And God? Compassionate! Forgave the sin! Didn’t destroy! Over and over he reined in his anger, restrained his considerable wrath. He knew what they were made of; he knew there wasn’t much to them, How often in the desert they had spurned him, tried his patience in those wilderness years. Time and again they pushed him to the limit, provoked Israel’s Holy God. How quickly they forgot what he’d done, forgot their day of rescue from the enemy, When he did miracles in Egypt, wonders on the plain of Zoan. He turned the River and its streams to blood— not a drop of water fit to drink. He sent flies, which ate them alive, and frogs, which bedeviled them. He turned their harvest over to caterpillars, everything they had worked for to the locusts. He flattened their grapevines with hail; a killing frost ruined their orchards. He pounded their cattle with hail, let thunderbolts loose on their herds. His anger flared, a wild firestorm of havoc, An advance guard of disease-carrying angels to clear the ground, preparing the way before him. He didn’t spare those people, he let the plague rage through their lives. He killed all the Egyptian firstborns, lusty infants, offspring of Ham’s virility. Then he led his people out like sheep, took his flock safely through the wilderness. He took good care of them; they had nothing to fear. The Sea took care of their enemies for good. He brought them into his holy land, this mountain he claimed for his own. He scattered everyone who got in their way; he staked out an inheritance for them— the tribes of Israel all had their own places.
He lifted his mercy and let loose his fearful anger and did not spare their lives. He released the judgment-plagues to rage through their land. God struck down in death all the firstborn sons of Egypt— the pride and joy of each family.
And he smote all the first engendered thing(s) in the land of Egypt [And he smote all the first begotten in the land of Egypt]; the first fruits of all the travail of them in the tabernacles of Ham. (And he struck down all the first-born in the land of Egypt; yea, the first fruits of all their travail in the tents of Ham.)
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