The Israelites (the descendants of Jacob) were getting so numerous that the new Pharaoh was afraid of them. So he decided to enslave them and have all their baby boys thrown into the Nile River.
Jacob’s great-grandson Amram and his aunt Jochebed had a baby boy, so they put the baby in the Nile… inside a waterproof basket, with their daughter watching over it. Pharaoh’s daughter found the baby in the basket while she was bathing in the Nile. She adopted the baby, named him Moses, and hired his mother to nurse him for her.
After Moses grew up, he was watching his fellow Hebrews working, when he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew. So Moses killed the Egyptian. When Pharaoh heard about that, he tried to kill Moses. The other Hebrews weren’t happy with what Moses had done, either. So Moses ran away from Egypt and lived in Midian until that Pharaoh died.
The Israelites were still slaves under the next Pharaoh. So when Moses was 80, God spoke to him from a burning bush and told him to go tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites leave Egypt. On the way back to Egypt, the all-good God tried to murder Moses for some reason. But Moses’s wife touched his feet with their son’s foreskin, which convinced the never-changing God not to kill him.
Moses and his brother Aaron told Pharaoh that the God of Israel wanted his people to go out into the wilderness for a festival. But Pharaoh didn’t know that god, so he refused to let them do that.
God could have instantly overcome that obstacle in a peaceful way, like by making Pharaoh no longer want to keep his slaves, or by teleporting the people out of Egypt. But God cared more about showing off than about the freedom of his people and the wellbeing of all the innocent people of Egypt. So instead, God decided to cause a lot of unnecessary death and suffering, and to let his people continue to be mistreated in the meantime.
God tries to convince Pharaoh to let his people go while preventing Pharaoh from being convinced
To show Pharaoh how great their God was, Moses and Aaron turned all the water in Egypt into blood. But Pharaoh wasn’t impressed, because the Egyptian magicians were also able to turn water (which was already blood) into blood.
So then Aaron summoned frogs from the waters of Egypt, and the land was covered with frogs. The Egyptian magicians were also able to summon frogs. But Pharaoh said if Moses could get God to take the frogs away, he would let his people go. So Moses prayed, and God killed all the frogs, so the land was covered with stinky dead frogs. But for some reason, Pharaoh still wouldn’t let the Israelites go.
Then Aaron turned the dust of Egypt into gnats, and the Egyptian magicians weren’t able to do that. The magicians were impressed, but Pharaoh wasn’t. So God filled Egypt with devastating flies, except in Goshen, where the Israelites lived. Pharaoh told Moses his people could go when the flies were gone, but then he changed his mind. Next, God killed all the Egyptians’ livestock, but left the Israelites’ livestock alone. This also failed to convince Pharaoh to give the Israelites what they wanted.
Then Moses made all the innocent Egyptian people and their dead animals break out in festering boils. The Egyptian magicians were too sick to even try to compete with Moses this time. Pharaoh might have let the people go then, but God made Pharaoh too stubborn to let them go. Then God punished Pharaoh for being stubborn.
After warning the Egyptians to bring their dead livestock indoors, Moses summoned a huge hailstorm. The hail destroyed the Egyptians’ crops, but avoided the Israelites. Pharaoh repented and decided to let the people go when the hailstorm was over, so God ended the storm. But then he made Pharaoh change his mind again, so God would get to keep showing off.
So Moses summoned a huge swarm of locusts, and the Egyptians’ ruined crops were destroyed again. But Pharaoh still wouldn’t let the Israelites go, because God kept making him stubborn. Then Moses brought darkness on Egypt, so no one could see anything, except where the Israelites lived. Pharaoh wanted to let the people go, but God made him “stubborn”, so he didn’t.
More mass infanticide
Moses and Pharaoh agreed that Moses would never appear before Pharaoh again, or Moses would die when he did. Before he left, Moses announced that God would kill every non-Israelite firstborn male in Egypt that night. Moses told the Israelites to paint around their doors with lamb blood, so the infallible, all-knowing God would be able to tell where the Israelites were, and wouldn’t accidentally kill them too.
That night, after all the firstborn Egyptian males died, Moses appeared before Pharaoh again, so he could die. Pharaoh told him to take the Israelites and all their livestock and leave Egypt. So dead Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, a land flowing with milk and honey, where they would have preferred to stay.
God forces the Egyptians into a death trap
But then God made Pharaoh stubborn again. Pharaoh realized that all his slaves were getting away, and he wanted them back. So he pursued them with his army and their dead horses. The Red Sea was in the way of the Israelites. So God sent a strong wind from his nostrils to split the sea in two and make a dry path that they could go through.
God made the Egyptian army follow them into the sea. Then he jammed the wheels of the Egyptians’ chariots so they couldn’t get all the way across. The Egyptians wanted to turn back and leave the Israelites alone, but God wouldn’t let them. After the Israelites made it across, Moses held out his hand over the sea. Then the water returned to its place and drowned the helpless Egyptians.
The moral of the story
God can help you get what you want! Especially when God is the only reason you couldn’t get it in the first place.