All the plagues and wholesale slaughter was largely unnecessary. If God hardened the Pharoah's heart, couldn't the Almighty just as easily softened the Pharoah's heart? Oh yea. He definitely could have, but it wouldn't be nearly as good a story.
Well, after God did the equivalent of Nagasaki (He was just showing off) and the Pharoah witnessed the death of his firstborn son, the Pharoah decided to let the Israelites go.
"This Yahweh guy means business," he is reported to have said.
An interesting comment that God told Moses and Aaron, that I'm going to fictionalize: "Commemorate this day (the day that God killed Egypt's firstborn) with a special passover dinner ..."
Then God starts to walk away and stops, seemingly in thought, and turns around. "Oh yea, if there's any dudes that still have that extra penis skin, they can't partake of that meal. That's just disgusting."
And so God walked away into the sunset.
I'm not sure how to interpret the beginning of Exodus 13. God asks that before they cross the Red Sea, the Israelites have to 'sanctify' their own firstborn males - man and animal. Does this mean to sacrifice them? Without an apologist over my shoulder telling me what to think, I am starting to think that this is indeed what God wants. Pretty scary!
In Chapter 14, I guess God isn't finished with his wily ways. He AGAIN hardens the Pharoah's heart so that the Pharoah will follow the Israelites. If I were an Israelite and I knew that the Almighty was doing this, I'd be a little bit pissed off. "Let's just go already," I would yell at the sky.
"Stupid unpatient American," sayeth the Lord. "Don't you want to be part of an awesome story?"
The Pharoah, who was more likely pissed that his son had died (if this story is even true), mustered 600 chariots and took off after the Israelites.
When they the Egyptians closed in, God created a cool fog of darkness (sounds like a spell from World of Warcraft), and the Egyptians couldn't find the Israelites while inside the cloud.
Then Moses held his rod over the Red Sea and the waters parted, and the Israelites started their trek to the other side. Finally, after a healthy head start, God lifts the fog of darkness (which is cool) and the Egyptians chase after the Israelites, and the rest I think everyone knows.
You know what? Fuck the Egyptians. They deserved it. Anyone who is stupid enough to fight against people who have an all-powerful, psychotic, blood-crazed deity on their side deserves to die.
Wait. Doesn't EVERYONE think they have that deity on their side? That could be a problem.