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CHAPTER 5 Feb.1 
Moses and Aaron Meet Pharaoh
Afterward Moses and Aaron came, and said to Pharaoh, This is what Yahweh, the God of Israel, says, ‘Let My people go, that they may hold a feast to Me in the wilderness’. 2Pharaoh said, Who is Yahweh, that I should listen to His voice to let Israel go? I don’t recognize Yahweh, and moreover I will not let Israel go. 3They said, The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please let us go three days’ journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice to Yahweh, our God, lest He fall on us with plague, or with the sword. 4The king of Egypt said to them, Why do you, Moses and Aaron, take the people from their work? Get back to your burdens! 5Pharaoh said, Behold, the people of the land are now many, and you make them rest from their burdens. 6The same day Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters of the people, and their officers, saying, 7You shall no longer give the people straw to make brick, as before. Let them go and gather straw for themselves. 8The number of the bricks, which they made before, you are to still require from them. You shall not diminish anything of it, for they are idle; therefore they cry, saying, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to our God’. 9Let heavier work be laid on the men, that they may labour therein; and don’t let them pay any attention to lying words.
The Israelites Abused Even More
10The taskmasters of the people went out, and their officers, and they spoke to the people, saying, This is what Pharaoh says: ‘I will not give you straw. 11Go yourselves, get straw where you can find it, for nothing of your work shall be diminished’. 12So the people were scattered abroad throughout all the land of Egypt to gather stubble for straw. 13The taskmasters were urgent saying, Fulfil your work quota daily, as when there was straw! 14The officers of the children of Israel, whom Pharaoh’s taskmasters had set over them, were beaten, and demanded questioned, Why haven’t you fulfilled your quota both yesterday and today, in making brick as before? 15Then the officers of the children of Israel came and cried to Pharaoh, saying, Why do you deal this way with your servants? 16No straw is given to your servants, and they tell us, ‘Make brick!’ and behold, your servants are beaten; but the fault is in your own people. 17But he said, You are idle! You are idle! Therefore you say, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to Yahweh’. 18Go therefore now, and work, for no straw shall be given to you, yet you shall deliver the same number of bricks! 19The officers of the children of Israel saw that they were in trouble, when it was said, You shall not diminish anything from your daily quota of bricks!
Israelite Anger with Moses and Aaron
20They met Moses and Aaron, who stood in the way, as they came out from Pharaoh: 21and they said to them, May Yahweh look at you, and judge, because you have made us a stench to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to kill us. 22Moses returned to Yahweh and said, Lord, why have You brought evil on this people? Why is it that You have sent me? 23For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has brought trouble on this people; neither have You delivered Your people at all.


5:3 Lest He fall on us- This isn’t what God had threatened (3:18); Moses almost makes God out to be an unreasonable and draconian deity. It seems Moses added to God’s word to make it sound more credible, rather like Adam added “… neither shall you touch it” when relating God’s word to Eve. If we accept the Bible as God’s inspired word, we must be careful never to add to it, even implicitly, in order to make the message sound better in human terms.
5:16 Three times in 5:15,16 the Israelites assure Pharaoh that they are his servants, whereas Yahweh had requested that His people be allowed to leave so that they might serve Him (4:23). We cannot serve two masters- and they chose to serve Pharaoh and not Yahweh, in the hope that their hard lives might be made a fraction lighter by doing so. There was no fire of devotion in them for Yahweh, no desire to make a radical revolt against their surrounding world; they were interested in the offer of a better life which Moses offered them (4:31), they believed it for a brief moment, but any short term suffering was enough to bring them back to serving Egypt.
5:22 Brought evil- God is the ultimate source of “evil” in the sense of disaster (Is. 45:5-7), not any superhuman Satan being.
Moses is presented as initially a very unwilling co-operator with God, all too willing to give up and go home when there wasn’t the expected response. Yet he developed very quickly.