Then & Now: Let my people go

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The Independent Online
13th century BC: Moses leads the people of Israel out of Egypt where, the Book of Exodus records, the King of Egypt had made 'their lives bitter with hard service'.

'When the King of Egypt was told that the people had fled, the mind of Pharaoh and his servants was changed towards the people, and they said: 'What is this we have done, that we have let Israel go from serving us?' So he made ready his chariot and took his army with him . . . When Pharaoh drew near, the people of Israel lifted up their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them; and they were in great fear . . . and they said to Moses: 'Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us, in bringing us out of Egypt? . . . For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.' '

Moses leads the people of Israel across the Red Sea and the Pharaoh's army is drowned.

'Then Moses led Israel onward from the Red Sea, and they went into the wilderness of Shur; they went three days in the wilderness and found no water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink the water of Marah because it was bitter . . . and the people murmured against Moses, saying: 'What shall we drink?' And the Lord showed him a tree, and he threw it into the water, and the water became sweet.'

22 December, 1992: More than 400 Palestinians remain stranded, with inadequate shelter, food and water, between Israeli and Lebanese forces, after Israel's Supreme Court fails to overturn a government decision to deport them.