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Bricks Without Straw
Moses' first appearance before the Pharaoh did not result in the Israelites being set free from their slavery. In fact, it made it even worse - their burden of work was increased. Does that mean that Moses failed? The Israelites certainly thought so (Exodus 5:20-21), and so did Moses (Exodus 5:22-23), but the LORD was simply allowing the Pharaoh's stubbornness and arrogance to provide the conditions for an Exodus that would be culminated with the Passover - exactly as He said that He was going to do beforehand. The LORD told Moses that before he returned to Egypt.
"4:21 And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go." (Exodus 4:21 KJV)
As explained also in the New Testament:
"9:17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might show my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth." (Romans 9:17 KJV)
"Ye shall no more give the people straw to make brick, as heretofore: let them go and gather straw for themselves"
Moses delivered the Word of the LORD to the Pharaoh. Moses obediently did what he was expected to do - to which the Pharaoh refused, just as he was expected to do.
"5:1 And afterward Moses and Aaron went in, and told Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness.
The Pharaoh didn't merely refuse to set the slaves free. He spitefully, to his own detriment (the quality of the work done for the Pharaoh was sure to decrease) declared that the workers would thereafter have to obtain the straw (that was used as a binder in the dried bricks) themselves.
"5:6 And Pharaoh commanded the same day the taskmasters of the people, and their officers, saying, 5:7 Ye shall no more give the people straw to make brick, as heretofore: let them go and gather straw for themselves. 5:8 And the tale of the bricks, which they did make heretofore, ye shall lay upon them; ye shall not diminish ought thereof: for they be idle; therefore they cry, saying, Let us go and sacrifice to our God. 5:9 Let there more work be laid upon the men, that they may labour therein; and let them not regard vain words.
The Israelites complained, first to their Egyptian masters, and then to Moses.
"5:15 Then the officers of the children of Israel came and cried unto Pharaoh, saying, Wherefore dealest thou thus with thy servants? 5:16 There is no straw given unto thy servants, and they say to us, Make brick: and, behold, thy servants are beaten; but the fault is in thine own people.
Fact Finder: Was the Israelite Exodus a part of the covenant that the LORD made with Abraham centuries before?