There’s very little advancement of the plot in this chapter. Instead, most of it continues with instructions on the Passover, and the dedication of firstborn males. You’d almost think that maybe the Bible was meant as a ritual and liturgical work rather than a history book, but that would be crazy, right?
The dedication of the firstborn is tied directly into Passover, so I guess the idea is that since God spared the lives of the Israelites’ firstborn, they now owe those lives to God. Not as sacrifices, but as special dedications. Well, the animals they seem to sacrifice, but you’re supposed to pay back for the human son with a sheep. Also, donkeys for some reason. I should really look into the why of that.
Apparently the Bible gets the historical detail of the sea route correct – it is the shortest route to Canaan, but it was also lined with Egyptian fortresses. But it’s also interesting that God opts for the arduous journey in the desert because he thinks the Israelites will put up with that more than they will having to fight. Really? They’re supposed to be huge in number, and if I recall the little I know of Numbers (aka “In the Wilderness”) they complain constantly and always want to turn back, and a whole ton of them die because they don’t behave right anyway, so why not brave the forts?
Also interesting is that they do fulfill their promise to Joseph to take his bones back with them. I remember that bit in The Ten Commandments, as they carry a sarcophagus with them as they leave. Its inclusion there always felt odd. Yes, it happens, but since this is the first time in the movie they’ve even mentioned Joseph, it’s rather out of place.
This feels like a transition chapter, as we move from the Passover and into the wilderness. The next big set piece in the tale is next chapter.
The Japanese: hitai “forehead” (v 9), aganau “to make up for, to pay for” (v 13), chikamichi “shortcut, shortest path,” koukai suru “to regret” (v 17), ukai suru “to detour around,” taigo “ranks,” totonoeru “to prepare for” (v 18), katai “serious, formal” (v 19), sentou “vanguard” (v 22).
I’m fairly certain that a number of these are words I’ve encountered before – they seem familiar, but I couldn’t remember the exact definition.