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Exodus 5 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 5

Pharaoh’s Hardness of Heart. Afterwards, Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Let my people go, that they may hold a feast[a] for me in the wilderness.” Pharaoh answered, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord,[b] and I will not let Israel go.” They replied, “The God of the Hebrews has come to meet us. Let us go a three days’ journey in the wilderness, that we may offer sacrifice to the Lord, our God, so that he does not strike us with the plague or the sword.” The king of Egypt answered them, “Why, Moses and Aaron, do you make the people neglect their work? Off to your labors!” Pharaoh continued, “Look how they are already more numerous[c] than the people of the land, and yet you would give them rest from their labors!”

That very day Pharaoh gave the taskmasters of the people and their foremen[d] this order: “You shall no longer supply the people with straw for their brickmaking[e] as before. Let them go and gather their own straw! Yet you shall levy upon them the same quota of bricks as they made previously. Do not reduce it. They are lazy; that is why they are crying, ‘Let us go to offer sacrifice to our God.’ Increase the work for the men, so that they attend to it and not to deceitful words.”

10 So the taskmasters of the people and their foremen went out and told the people, “Thus says Pharaoh,[f] ‘I will not provide you with straw. 11 Go and get your own straw from wherever you can find it. But there will not be the slightest reduction in your work.’” 12 The people, then, scattered throughout the land of Egypt to gather stubble for straw, 13 while the taskmasters kept driving them on, saying, “Finish your work, the same daily amount as when the straw was supplied to you.” 14 The Israelite foremen, whom the taskmasters of Pharaoh had placed over them, were beaten, and were asked, “Why have you not completed your prescribed amount of bricks yesterday and today, as before?”

Complaint of the Foremen. 15 Then the Israelite foremen came and cried out to Pharaoh:[g] “Why do you treat your servants in this manner? 16 No straw is supplied to your servants, and still we are told, ‘Make bricks!’ Look how your servants are beaten! It is you who are at fault.” 17 He answered, “Lazy! You are lazy! That is why you keep saying, ‘Let us go and offer sacrifice to the Lord.’ 18 Now off to work! No straw will be supplied to you, but you must supply your quota of bricks.”

19 The Israelite foremen realized they were in trouble, having been told, “Do not reduce your daily amount of bricks!” 20 So when they left Pharaoh they assailed Moses and Aaron, who were waiting to meet them, 21 and said to them, “The Lord look upon you and judge! You have made us offensive to Pharaoh and his servants, putting a sword into their hands to kill us.”

Renewal of God’s Promise. 22 Then Moses again had recourse to the Lord and said, “Lord, why have you treated this people badly? And why did you send me? 23 From the time I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has treated this people badly, and you have done nothing to rescue your people.”

Footnotes:

  1. 5:1 Hold a feast: the Hebrew verb used here, hagag (“to celebrate a feast or a festival”; see 12:14; 23:14), refers to a community celebration marked above all by a procession to the sanctuary. It is used especially of three major feasts: Unleavened Bread, Pentecost (in 23:16, “the Feast of Harvest,” but customarily “the Feast of Weeks” [Shavuot]), and Succoth/Sukkoth (in 34:16, “the Feast of Ingathering,” but more frequently “of Booths, or Tabernacles,” as in Dt 16:13, 16; 31:10; Lv 23:34; Zec 14:16; passim) and—along with the related noun hag—the Passover in 12:14. See 23:14–18; 34:18–25.
  2. 5:2 I do not know the Lord: whether or not he had heard of the Lord, the God of Israel, Pharaoh here refuses to acknowledge the Lord’s authority. See note on 1:8.
  3. 5:5 They are already more numerous: a recollection of Pharaoh’s earlier words to his subjects in 1:9.
  4. 5:6 The taskmasters of the people and their foremen: the former were higher officials and probably Egyptians; the latter were lower officials (perhaps recordkeepers or clerks), chosen from the Israelites themselves. Cf. v. 14.
  5. 5:7 Straw was mixed with clay to give sun-dried bricks greater cohesion and durability.
  6. 5:10 Thus says Pharaoh: the standard formula for prophetic oracles, but with Pharaoh rather than the Lord as the subject. This heightens the sense of personal conflict between Pharaoh, who acts as if he were God, and the Lord, whose claims are spurned by Pharaoh.
  7. 5:15 Cried out to Pharaoh: the Hebrew verb translated “cry out” and its related noun are normally used of appeals to God by Moses (8:8; 14:15; 15:25; 17:4), the people (3:7, 9; 14:10), or an oppressed individual (22:22, 26). Here, by implication, these minor Israelite officials appeal to Pharaoh as if he were their God. See v. 10.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Exodus 5 New International Version (NIV)

Bricks Without Straw

Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Let my people go, so that they may hold a festival to me in the wilderness.’”

Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord and I will not let Israel go.”

Then they said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Now let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God, or he may strike us with plagues or with the sword.”

But the king of Egypt said, “Moses and Aaron, why are you taking the people away from their labor? Get back to your work!” Then Pharaoh said, “Look, the people of the land are now numerous, and you are stopping them from working.”

That same day Pharaoh gave this order to the slave drivers and overseers in charge of the people: “You are no longer to supply the people with straw for making bricks; let them go and gather their own straw. But require them to make the same number of bricks as before; don’t reduce the quota. They are lazy; that is why they are crying out, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to our God.’ Make the work harder for the people so that they keep working and pay no attention to lies.”

10 Then the slave drivers and the overseers went out and said to the people, “This is what Pharaoh says: ‘I will not give you any more straw. 11 Go and get your own straw wherever you can find it, but your work will not be reduced at all.’” 12 So the people scattered all over Egypt to gather stubble to use for straw. 13 The slave drivers kept pressing them, saying, “Complete the work required of you for each day, just as when you had straw.” 14 And Pharaoh’s slave drivers beat the Israelite overseers they had appointed, demanding, “Why haven’t you met your quota of bricks yesterday or today, as before?”

15 Then the Israelite overseers went and appealed to Pharaoh: “Why have you treated your servants this way? 16 Your servants are given no straw, yet we are told, ‘Make bricks!’ Your servants are being beaten, but the fault is with your own people.”

17 Pharaoh said, “Lazy, that’s what you are—lazy! That is why you keep saying, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to the Lord.’ 18 Now get to work. You will not be given any straw, yet you must produce your full quota of bricks.”

19 The Israelite overseers realized they were in trouble when they were told, “You are not to reduce the number of bricks required of you for each day.” 20 When they left Pharaoh, they found Moses and Aaron waiting to meet them, 21 and they said, “May the Lord look on you and judge you! You have made us obnoxious to Pharaoh and his officials and have put a sword in their hand to kill us.”

God Promises Deliverance

22 Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Why, Lord, why have you brought trouble on this people? Is this why you sent me? 23 Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble on this people, and you have not rescued your people at all.”

New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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