Pharaoh Will Not Let Israel Go
1Afterward, Moses and Aaron went and said to Pharaoh, “This is what Adonai, God of Israel, says: Let My people go, so that they may hold a feast for Me in the wilderness.”
2But Pharaoh said, “Who is Adonai, that I should listen to His voice and let Israel go? I do not know Adonai, and besides, I will not let Israel go.”
3They answered, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness, so we may sacrifice to Adonai our God, else He may strike us with pestilence or with the sword.”
4But the king of Egypt said to them, “Why do you, Moses and Aaron, make the people break loose from their work? Go to your labors!”
5Then Pharaoh said, “Look, the people of the land are now so numerous, yet you would have them rest from their labors?”
6Then on the same day Pharaoh commanded the slave masters of the people and their foremen saying,
7“You are not to give the people any more straw to make bricks, as before. Let them go and gather straw for themselves.
8But impose on them the quota of bricks that they made previously; don’t reduce it. For they are lazy—that’s why they cry out saying, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to our God.’
9Let even heavier work be laid upon the men, so that they must labor, paying no attention to deceptive words.”
10Then the slave masters of the people went out, along with their officers, and they spoke to the people saying: “This is what Pharaoh says: I will not give you straw.
11Go and get straw for yourselves wherever you can find it, for there will be no reduction of your work.”
12So the people were scattered throughout all the land of Egypt to gather stubble for straw.
13But the slave masters pressured, saying, “Fulfill your work, your daily amount, just as when there was straw.”
14Moreover the foremen of Bnei-Yisrael, whom Pharaoh’s slave masters had set over them, were beaten and asked, “Why haven’t you met your quota of bricks, both yesterday and today like before?”
15The foremen of Bnei-Yisrael came and cried out to Pharaoh saying, “Why do you deal this way with your servants?
16No straw is given to your servants, yet they say to us, ‘Make bricks!’ and look, your servants are beaten. But it is your own people at fault.”
17But he said, “Lazy! You’re lazy! That’s why you were saying, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to Adonai.’
18So go now and work! No straw will be given to you—but you must deliver the quota of bricks.”
19So the foremen of Bnei-Yisrael saw that they were in trouble when they were told, “You are not to reduce the number of bricks from day to day.”
20Then they met Moses and Aaron, who were waiting for them as they came from Pharaoh.
21So they said to them, “May Adonai look on you and judge, because you have made a stench in the eyes of Pharaoh and in the eyes of his servants—putting a sword in their hand to kill us!”
22So Moses returned to Adonai and said, “Adonai, why have You brought evil on these people? Is this why You sent me?
23Ever since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your Name, he has brought evil on these people. You have not delivered Your people at all.”