106-107 : Pharaoh And The Israelites
MOSES and Aaron went before Pharaoh and spoke to him,
saying: "These are the words of the God of Israel: 'Let my people go, so that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness."'
But Pharaoh said:"Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, nor will I let Israel go.
Why do you, Moses and Aaron, interfere with the work of the people? Get back to your tasks.
The people of the land are many now, and you make them rest from their labours."
The same day Pharaoh gave orders to the taskmasters of the people and their officers, saying:
"You shall no longer give the people straw to make bricks, as you have done in the past.
Let them go and gather straw for themselves.
But the number of bricks which they made before, you are still to demand of them.
You shall require as much from them as before, for they are idle.
That is why they cry out saying, 'Let us go and sacrifice to our God.' Let the men be given more work, so that they may have no time to listen to empty talk."
The taskmasters and officers went out and spoke to the People, saying:
"Pharaoh says, 'I will not give You straw.
Go out and get straw where you can find it, for you shall make no fewer bricks than before."'
So the people were scattered throughout all the land of Egypt.
And their taskmasters kept after them, saying, "Fulfil your works and your daily tasks, as when there was straw."
And the officers of the children of Israel, whom Pharaoh's taskmasters had set over them, were beaten and asked, "Why have you not fulfilled your task of making bricks both yesterday and today, as many as You have made before?"
So the officers of the children of Israel came and cried out to Pharaoh, saying:
"Why do you deal with Your servants in this way? No straw is given to us, and we are told,'Make bricks.'
We are beaten, but the fault is with your own people."
"You are idle," Pharaoh answered. "That is why you say, 'Let us go and sacrifice to the Lord.'
"So go now and work.
There shall be no straw given to you. And still you shall have to make as many bricks as before."
The officers of the children of Israel, seeing that the number of bricks to be made was to be no less, went forth from Pharaoh.
On their way,they met Moses and Aaron, and they said to them:
"May the Lord look upon you and judge you, because you have made us hateful in the eyes of Pharaoh and in the eyes of his servants, so that they want to kill us."
Then Moses returned to the Lord and said: "Lord, why have you treated these people so badly? Why have you sent me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has done evil to these people, and you have done nothing to save them."
Then God said to Moses: "Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh.
For with a strong hand he shall let the people go.
With a strong hand he will drive them out of his land. "For I am the Lord. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob by the name of God Almighty. I made a promise to them, to give them the
land of Canaan."
Say to the children of Israel, 'I am the Lord and I will free you from the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will take you out of slavery. I will make you my people and I will be to you a God. I will bring you to the land I promised to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. And I will give it to you and your descendants."'
Moses told the children of Israel all that the Lord had said.
But they did not listen to Moses in their suffering and their misery.
And God said to Moses: "You shall say all that I have to tell you. And Aaron your brother shall
speak to Pharaoh, telling him to send the children of Israel out of his land. But I will harden Pharaoh's heart and perform many signs and miracles in the land of Egypt. Still Pharaoh will not listen to you, so I will lay my hand on Egypt and bring forth my armies and my people out of Egypt by my great judgments. "The Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord when I stretch forth my hand
upon Egypt and bring the children of Israel out from among them." .
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