Think about it. God gave us His firstborn. It was also His ONLY begotten Son. God gave Himself to us to die for us. He asked for the same in return. The firstborn was His. And just as the Firstborn of God would redeem us, so the Israelites were given a way to redeem their firstborns. The interesting thing about the fact that firstborn donkeys also had to be redeemed is that if they weren't, their necks were to broken. This would leave their blood in their bodies, which was not the normal way of killing an animal in their culture. This may have been to make sure the donkey would not be used as food. Bit by bit God was constructing a picture that would be -- or should have been -- inescapable. When the Messiah came, He would fulfill all of this. The Israelites mostly wouldn't recognize this, but there would come a time when they would, and so the picture was put into place. Firstborn in trade for firstborn. It wasn't the way it was in truth -- no one can trade anything for God. But the picture was important. And through Moses God instructed the Israelites to remove all yeast from their territories and houses when the time came each year to celebrate Passover. God's Firstborn would remove all sin from those who would believe and follow. This removal of yeast, the picture of sin, would "be for you like a sign on youyr hand and a reminder on your forehead that the law of the Lord is to be on your lips." In years to come, legalistic Jews would turn this idea into the wearing of phylacteries. But God was not asking for an external appearance. He was commanding the memory and speaking of His law. David knew this. Look at these words from Psalm 1: Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.. and these words from Psalm 119 Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord. Blessed are they who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart. ...How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Praise be to you, O Lord; teach me your decrees. With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth. I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word. There was a young woman, centuries later, who would bring her firstborn into the Temple to consecrate Him and redeem Him in accordance with God's command. That Firstborn of Mary's was God Himself, Jesus Christ. As they started out on what was to be a forty year journey, we read that the Israelites were armed for war. Nevertheless, Moses was instructed to avoid the shorter route. What the Bible does not tell us here was that the Egyptians had a very strong fortification on the shorter route. This is implied, however, by God telling Moses that "if they face war, theyu might change their minds and return to Egypt." They took Joseph's bones with them, as had been promised to Joseph over 300 years before. And God Himself guided them. In a miracle cloud that was probably the Shekinah glory cloud, He led them. The cloud was 'pillar of cloud by day' and a 'pillar of fire by night.' On a naturalistic basis, this kind of phenomena might be able to be explained for a day or two. But this cloud continued for the full forty years they were in the desert. And it moved. I know of no natural explanation for this. It was of and from God. Moses states that the LORD Himself went ahead of them, in that pillar. Moses knew God. Moses told it 'like it was.' God was there.