The chains restrained the Jewish slave by the ankle so he couldn’t escape, like everyone else had. Hordes of Jews ran by him, as if he were invisible. They yelled “We are free. The Jewish people are free!” Finally, Nachshon was able to wriggle out of his chains and take off. Slavery had been hell.
And the choshech (darkness) enveloped the former slave owners so they would walk into a wall of it. The darkness was palpable. You could feel it.
“They did not see each other, and no one rose from his place for three days, but for all the children of Israel there was light in their dwellings” (Exodus 10:23).
The Jewish people had been instructed to meet at 10 different exit points outside of the Egyptian cities. Soon enough, they would all group together and head into the desert under the protection of God’s cloud.
“And it came to pass in that very day, that all the legions of the Lord went out of the land of Egypt. It is a night of anticipation for the Lord, to take them out of the land of Egypt; this night is the Lord’s, guarding all the children of Israel throughout their generations” (Ex. 12:41-2).
There was a plan. God had developed one. Moses implemented it. Moses was a good leader, the best there would ever be. His ruach ha-kodesh (divine inspiration) allowed him to see that Jews would one day have vast loads of iron weapons to defend themselves, even one which would illuminate the entire sky and destroy a multitude of villages and towns in one blast if need be.
“It came to pass on that very day that the Lord took the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt with their legions” (Ex. 12:51).
Now Moses relied on the fortitude of the Jewish people and a promise from God that they would multiply like the stars. Soon enough, the Jews – all the men, women and children, together with those Egyptians who wanted to join them, as well as plenty of livestock – came together as one very large group, tattered but hopeful, sad at their past, but joyful about the days to come.
“Who has Joseph’s bones?” Nachshon asked. The keeper of the bones responded that he had them and would hold on to them dearly for all the days required of him.
The Jews camped out. Manna fell when they were hungry and it tasted like a fine meal of whatever the eater imagined. The water was plentiful when the Jewish people became thirsty. Not a detail was left unexamined. The Jewish people felt safe knowing their exodus from Egypt was not willy-nilly in nature, but instead bolted to the ground, stable, as determined by ha-Kadosh Baruch Hu, together with his eved (servant) and much beloved Moses. There was a plan.
Seven days passed since the Jews had fled slavery, but they were not alone. Pharaoh and the Egyptian army pursued them right up until the Red Sea.
Moses prayed. God told Moses to raise his staff. He did. A powerful east wind blew mightily. The sea parted. The Jews walked through it on dry land. The Egyptians tried the same, but their lives were done. The waters covered them and their horses and chariots. They drowned. God’s plan worked to a T. Moses and the Jewish people sang the Song of the Sea, and Miriam and the women played tambourines and danced.
There was a plan for the Jewish people’s survival. There always had to be.