Exodus 5

Moses and Aaron speak to Pharaoh

1 After this, Moses and Aaron went to visit Pharaoh. They said to him: ‘Listen to what the LORD says. He is the God of Israel. He says, “Let my people go. Let them prepare a party for me in the desert.” ’

2 But Pharaoh said: ‘I do not know the LORD. I do not know why I should obey his voice. I do not know why I should let the Israelites go. I do not know the LORD. I will not let the Israelites go.’

3 Moses and Aaron said: ‘The God of the Israelites has met us. Please let us go. We must go on a journey of three days into the desert. There we must give gifts to the LORD our God. If we do not do this, God may attack us with illness. Or he may use soldiers to attack us.’

4 But the king of Egypt said: ‘Moses and Aaron, you must not take the people away from their work! Go back to your jobs!’ 5 And Pharaoh said: ‘Look, there are now many people in the country. But you stop them doing their work.’

6 On that day, Pharaoh gave a command to the masters of the slaves. He also gave the command to the leaders of the work. 7 This was the command: ‘Do not give the people any more straw with which to make bricks. They must find their own straw. 8 But they must still make the same number of bricks as before. Do not let the amount become smaller. They are lazy. That is why they ask to go. They say: “Let us go to give gifts to our God.” 9 So you must cause them to work harder. They will then be too busy to listen to false words.’

5:9Verse 7 ‘straw with which to make bricks’ When they made bricks, they mixed straw with the clay. This made the bricks stronger. Pharaoh was making the Israelites work harder. Now they had to look for straw before they could use it in the bricks.

10 So the slaves' masters and the leaders of the work went to the people. They said to them: ‘Pharaoh says: “I will not give you straw. 11 You must find your own straw, where you can. But you will still have to make the same number of bricks.” ’ 12 So the people went everywhere in the land of Egypt, to get straw from the fields. 13 The slaves' masters made the Israelites work fast. They said: ‘Finish your work for each day, as when you had straw.’ 14 Pharaoh's slave masters hit the leaders who had authority over the people. They said to them: ‘Why have you not made as many bricks today, as you did before?’

15 Then the Israelite leaders went to Pharaoh. They asked him: ‘Why do you do these things to us, your servants? 16 Our masters do not give us any straw. But they say “Make bricks!” Then they hit us. But it is your people that are doing wrong things.’

17 But Pharaoh said: ‘You are lazy! You are only lazy! That is why you say: “Let us go. Let us take gifts to the LORD.” 18 Now go and do your work. Nobody will give you any straw. But you must make the same number of bricks.’

19 The Israelite leaders heard Pharaoh say: ‘You must make the same number of bricks as you made before.’ Then they knew that they were in bad trouble. 20 Then the Israelite leaders met with Moses and Aaron. Moses and Aaron were waiting for them to return from Pharaoh. 21 And the leaders spoke to Moses and Aaron. They said: ‘We hope that the LORD will look at you. We hope that the LORD will judge you! You have made us like a bad smell to Pharaoh and to his servants. You have given them a reason to kill us.’

22 Then Moses returned to the LORD. He said: ‘Oh Master, why have you done bad things to this people? Why did you send me to them? 23 I came to speak in your name. But since I spoke to Pharaoh, he has done only bad things to the people. And you have done nothing to save your people.’