Well, now that God has been alerted to the situation (because apparently that has to happen), he starts bothering Moses. Moses is out tending the flock when he sees a bush that is somehow on fire but not burning. He goes over to check it out, when suddenly the bush demands that he remove his sandals. After that, the bush announces that it is God, and it is very concerned about the suffering of the Hebrews in Egypt. The bush has big plans to take the Hebrews to "a land flowing with milk and honey." Also the bush would really like it if Moses would do all of this so it doesn't have to.
Well, I do hope someone remembers to dig up Joseph's corpse and take it with them...those were his final wishes ya know.
Anyway, Moses is like, "Why me?"
And God says, "I will be with you." (Way to dodge the question, God.)
Moses asks God what his name is (ballsy).
God says, "I am who I am." (again, nice dodge)
God tells Moses to go tell the elders of the Israelites about all of this. Then Moses and the elders are to go tell the Pharaoh that they would like to take a 3-day journey into the desert to offer sacrifices to God. Apparently God knows that the Pharaoh will not let them go unless "a mighty hand compels him." Therefore, God will "strike the Egyptians with all the wonders that I will perform among them." Hmm, I think I know where this is going...I don't think 'wonders' is the word I'd have chosen.
God also encourages the Hebrews to "plunder the Egyptians" by asking their neighbors (their Egyptian neighbors?) for gold or silver, or clothing, which they should dress their children in. OK, whatever.
Moses asks God what he should do if no one believes him. So God imbues him with the power of 3 cheesy magic tricks: he can throw his staff on the ground, where it becomes a snake; he can put his hand in his cloak, and it comes out leprous, then put it back in the cloak and it comes out fine; and he can make water turn to blood when he pours it on the ground.
Then Moses says, "I am slow of speech and tongue."
God says, "Go; I will help you speak and teach you what to say."
Moses says, "please send someone else."
God gets pissed and says fine! I'll get your brother Aaron to help you.
God apparently also told Moses that it was safe to go back to Egypt because everyone who was trying to kill him had died. Bwah ha ha! So Moses packs up his wife and son and goes back to Egypt.
Prepare yourself for Exodus 4:21-26 - the most confusing reading known to mankind (or maybe just to me).
God is apparently coaching Moses for his confrontation with the Pharaoh. God says to be sure to do all 3 of your cheesy magic tricks. But it won't work anyway, because "I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go." Then what the goddamn hell is the point, I would like to know.
So after the magic tricks fail, Moses is supposed to say "This is what the LORD says: Israel is my firstborn son, and I told you, 'Let my son go, so he may worship me.' But you refused to let him go; so I will kill your firstborn son."
Huh... Israel. Is that Jacob? Is that all of the Israelites?
So Israel (whoever that is) is... God's firstborn son? Moses's firstborn son? WTF? Neither one makes any sense at all.
All I can figure is this must be about how they were planning to ask for a 3-day journey to make a sacrifice to God. But Pharaoh will refuse (because his heart had been hardened by God), therefore, God is going to kill the Pharaoh's son. That makes no fucking sense. You refuse what I ask, because I made you refuse, therefore I will punish you. Gah, I think my head just exploded. Seriously, I would expect this scenario to come up when some sadistic 5 year old is playing with his dolls (or action figures!), not when the Creator of the universe is trying to free his chosen people.
Then, Moses and his family are lodging somewhere on the way to Egypt, when suddenly God shows up and tries to kill Moses. Yeah, seriously. WTF. Why, God...is your bloodlust so insatiable that you apparently have to kill your own people??? So obviously his wife cuts off their son's foreskin and touches it to Moses's feet. God is apparently satisfied that Moses has foreskin on his feet, and leaves him alone. For fuck's sake.
OK, that was Exodus 4:21-26. Moving on...
Then God goes and tells Aaron to meet Moses in the desert. They find each other, and Moses tells Aaron about what God told him to say, and his fancy new magic tricks. They go to the elders of the Israelites, and they believed them.
Then Moses and Aaron go see the Pharaoh, and ask him to let the Hebrews go worship God in the desert for a while. The Pharaoh says, (paraphrase) "I don't know God! So why should I obey him!" They say, (paraphrase) "But God told us to take a 3 day journey into the desert! He might punish us if we don't go!" The Pharaoh says, (paraphrase) "Get back to work!" Hmm, they forgot to say the bit about how God would kill the Pharaoh's son. That surely would have closed the deal for them.
Then the Pharaoh decides that the slave's problem is they are lazy, so he tells the foremen to stop providing them with straw to make bricks with, so the slaves will have to go gather it themselves. Then they beat the slaves when they can't make as many bricks as usual. Hmm.
The Isrealites complain to the Pharaoh...yeah we can't make as many bricks, but it's your own fault for not giving us straw. The Pharaoh says, (paraphrase) "Back to work you lazy slaves!!"
So now all the Israelites hate Moses and Aaron. Awesome.
Moses asks God, "why have you brought trouble upon this people?" I did what you said and things are worse than ever! Waah!
Then God told Moses, "Because of my mighty hand he will let them go." Well that's just fucking great, God, why didn't you do that before?
God also told Moses about the covenant that he established with Abraham, and apparently now that he's strung those guys along for 3 generations, and then vanished entirely for who knows how long, now he is ready to make good on his promise!!! Oh joy.
Moses told this to the Israelites, but somehow they fail to be excited by it. Perhaps they're too busy being beaten for not making enough bricks.
Then God tells Moses to go ask the Pharaoh to let them go again. Moses says, seriously old man? he won't listen to me.
Then there's a random segue into the genealogy of Jacob and his sons.
Then God tells Moses, just say what I tell you to say, for fuck's sake. But Moses is still like, "I speak with faltering lips!" Holy shit, that Moses complains.
So, Genesis gave me the impression that God is sort of a bumbling, inept idiot who would much rather kill people than make them better.
After reading this last bit I am reforming that impression.... God is a temperamental 5 year old and we are all his dolls.