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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.

Moses In Egypt

"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.

5:2 And Pharaoh said, Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go.

5:3 And they said, The God of the Hebrews hath met with us: let us go, we pray thee, three days' journey into the desert, and sacrifice unto the LORD our God; lest he fall upon us with pestilence, or with the sword.

5:4 And the king of Egypt said unto them, Wherefore do ye, Moses and Aaron, let the people from their works? get you unto your burdens. 5:5 And Pharaoh said, Behold, the people of the land now are many, and ye make them rest from their burdens." (Exodus 5:1-5 KJV)

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.

5:10 And the taskmasters of the people went out, and their officers, and they spake to the people, saying, Thus saith Pharaoh, I will not give you straw. 5:11 Go ye, get you straw where ye can find it: yet not ought of your work shall be diminished. 5:12 So the people were scattered abroad throughout all the land of Egypt to gather stubble instead of straw. 5:13 And the taskmasters hasted them, saying, Fulfil your works, your daily tasks, as when there was straw. 5:14 And the officers of the children of Israel, which Pharaoh's taskmasters had set over them, were beaten, and demanded, Wherefore have ye not fulfilled your task in making brick both yesterday and to day, as heretofore?" (Exodus 5:6-14 KJV)

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.

5:17 But he said, Ye are idle, ye are idle: therefore ye say, Let us go and do sacrifice to the LORD. 5:18 Go therefore now, and work; for there shall no straw be given you, yet shall ye deliver the tale of bricks.

5:19 And the officers of the children of Israel did see that they were in evil case, after it was said, Ye shall not minish ought from your bricks of your daily task.

5:20 And they met Moses and Aaron, who stood in the way, as they came forth from Pharaoh: 5:21 And they said unto them, The LORD look upon you, and judge; because ye have made our savour to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to slay us." (Exodus 5:15-21 KJV)

Fact Finder: Was the Israelite Exodus a part of the covenant that the LORD made with Abraham centuries before?
See The Exodus Prophecy


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