Chronicles of Jerahmeel, by M. Gaster , at sacred-texts.com
XLVII. (1) At that time Moses used to tend the flocks of Reuel the Midianite behind the wilderness of Sin, with his staff in his hand. But the Lord was zealous for His people and His inheritance, and, hearing their cry, said He would rescue them from the descendants of Ham, and give them the land of Canaan. He appeared to Moses, His servant, in Horeb, in a burning bush; but the fire did not consume the bush. Then God called him from the midst of the bush, and commanded him to go down to Egypt to Pharaoh, King of Egypt, and to ask him to send away His chosen people as free men. He showed him signs and wonders to perform in Egypt that they might believe that the Lord had sent him. God gave him confidence by saying, 'Go, and return to Egypt, for those that sought thy life are now dead, and they have no power to do thee harm.' (2) Moses then returned to Midian, and related to his father-in-law all that had happened. 'Go in peace,' said he. So Moses arose and went away with his wife and sons. They lodged at a certain place, and an angel came down and attacked him for his transgression of the covenant which God made with Abraham His servant, in that he did not circumcise his eldest son, and he wanted to slay him. Zipporah then immediately took one of the sharp flint stones which she found there and circumcised her son, and she rescued her husband from the power of the angel.
(3) As Aaron the Levite was walking in Egypt by the river God appeared to him, and said, 'Go now, and meet thy brother Moses in the wilderness.' He accordingly went and met him on the mountain of God, and kissed him. On beholding the woman and her children, he said to Moses, 'Who are these?' 'These are,' said he, 'my wife
and sons whom God gave me in Midian.' But Aaron was displeased, and he told him to send the woman and her sons back to her father's house. This Moses did. And Zipporah and her sons remained in the house of Reuel, her father, until the Lord visited His people, and delivered them from Egypt from the hand of Pharaoh. (4) Moses and Aaron then went alone to Egypt to the Israelites, whom they told all that the Lord had spoken. Thereat the people exceedingly rejoiced. The next morning they rose up early and went to Pharaoh's house, taking the staff of God with them.
(5) When they came to the gate of the king's palace they saw there two young lions bound in iron chains. No one could enter or pass out from within unless the king commanded it. The keepers on seeing them loosened the chains, and by charms set the lions free to pounce upon them; but Moses hastily waved his wand upon them, and Moses and Aaron entered the king's palace, followed by the young lions playing round them as a dog plays on seeing its master coming home from the field. When Pharaoh saw this he was greatly astonished, and still more confused on account of these men, whose appearance was like that of the children of God. The king then said to them, 'What do you wish?' And Moses said, 'The Lord God of the Hebrews has sent us to thee, saying, "Send out My people, that they may serve Me."' Pharaoh was greatly afraid of them, and told them to go away and come again to-morrow, which they did.
(6) When they were gone Pharaoh ordered Bala‘am the enchanter, and Janis (###) and Jambris (###), his sons, the wizards, and all the magicians of Egypt to be summoned before him. He then related to them what these men had spoken. The magicians then asked, 'How did these men pass the lions that were chained at the gate of the palace?' 'They waved their staves upon the lions,' said the king, 'and they let them loose, and they followed them just as dogs who were pleased to meet them.' 'They are nothing else than wizards like ourselves,' said Bala‘am. 'Send now
after them and let them come, and we shall try them.' The king acted accordingly.
(7) Taking the staff, they came before the king, and repeated the words which they had spoken at first. 'But how can one believe,' said Pharaoh, 'that you are messengers of God, and that by His word you have come here? Give us a sign and we shall believe you.' Aaron then threw his staff upon the ground, and it was immediately changed into a serpent. The magicians, seeing this, did the same by their incantations, and the staff of each one of them became a serpent; but Aaron's serpent at that moment lifted its head, and, opening its mouth, swallowed up the serpents of Pharaoh's magicians. Bala‘am the wizard, seeing this, said, 'This has been done from time immemorial, that one serpent should swallow up his neighbour just as the fish swallow each other. But change it back to a staff as we shall do, and then if thy staff is able to swallow ours we shall thereby know that the Spirit of the Lord is with thee; but if it cannot swallow them, then thou art a wizard as we are.' Aaron then hastily took hold of the serpent by its tail, and it became a stick again. This the magicians likewise did. Then Aaron, as previously, cast his staff upon the ground, and it swallowed up those of the magicians.
(8) Pharaoh then ordered the Book of Chronicles of the Kings of Egypt to be brought to him; therein were contained the names of all the gods of Egypt. When the list was read over to Pharaoh, he said, 'I do not find your God written in this book, nor do I know Him.' 'The Lord God of gods is His name,' replied they (Moses and Aaron). But who is the Lord,' added Pharaoh, 'that I should listen to His voice and send Israel forth? I do not know Him, and shall not allow the Israelites to go.' 'From the days of our forefathers He has been called "The God of the Hebrews." Now give us permission to go a journey of three days in the wilderness to sacrifice unto the Lord, for ever since we came down to Egypt He has not received from our hands a burnt offering, meal offering, or sacrifice.
[paragraph continues] If, however, thou wilt not let us go forth, the Lord will assuredly wax angry and smite the land of Egypt with pestilence or with the sword.'
(9) 'Tell us something of His might and power,' said Pharaoh. 'He created the heavens and all their host; the earth and all it contains; the seas with all their fishes. He it was who formed the light and who created the darkness; who caused the rain to fall upon the earth to irrigate it. He caused the young plants and the grass to spring forth. He created man, animals, the beasts in the forest, the birds in the heavens, and the fish in the seas. Through Him they live, through Him they die. Did He not create thee in the womb of thy mother, and give thee the spirit of life? did He not make thee grow up, and place thee on the royal throne of Egypt? He shall also take away thy spirit and thy soul, and return thee to the dust from which thou wast taken.' The anger of Pharaoh was kindled, and he said, 'Who is there among all the gods of the people that can do this? Behold, I it was who created the river, and who created myself.' He then drove them out of his presence, and from that day he made the slavery more oppressive than heretofore.