ImmerseBeginnings NLT - Page 103



5:4-23
E x od u s
91
us,” they declared. “So let us take a t­ hree-­day journey into the wilderness
so we can offer sacrifices to the Lord our God. If we don’t, he will kill us
with a plague or with the sword.”
Pharaoh replied, “Moses and Aaron, why are you distracting the people
from their tasks? Get back to work! Look, there are many of your people
in the land, and you are stopping them from their work.”
That same day Pharaoh sent this order to the Egyptian slave drivers and
the Israelite foremen: “Do not supply any more straw for making bricks.
Make the people get it themselves! But still require them to make the same
number of bricks as before. Don’t reduce the quota. They are lazy. That’s
why they are crying out, ‘Let us go and offer sacrifices to our God.’ Load
them down with more work. Make them sweat! That will teach them to
listen to lies!”
So the slave drivers and foremen went out and told the people: “This is
what Pharaoh says: I will not provide any more straw for you. Go and get
it yourselves. Find it wherever you can. But you must produce just as many
bricks as before!” So the people scattered throughout the land of Egypt in
search of stubble to use as straw.
Meanwhile, the Egyptian slave drivers continued to push hard. “Meet
your daily quota of bricks, just as you did when we provided you with
straw!” they demanded. Then they whipped the Israelite foremen they
had put in charge of the work crews. “Why haven’t you met your quotas
either yesterday or today?” they demanded.
So the Israelite foremen went to Pharaoh and pleaded with him. “Please
don’t treat your servants like this,” they begged. “We are given no straw,
but the slave drivers still demand, ‘Make bricks!’ We are being beaten, but
it isn’t our fault! Your own people are to blame!”
But Pharaoh shouted, “You’re just lazy! Lazy! That’s why you’re saying, ‘Let us go and offer sacrifices to the Lord.’ Now get back to work!
No straw will be given to you, but you must still produce the full quota
of bricks.”
The Israelite foremen could see that they were in serious trouble when
they were told, “You must not reduce the number of bricks you make each
day.” As they left Pharaoh’s court, they confronted Moses and Aaron, who
were waiting outside for them. The foremen said to them, “May the Lord
judge and punish you for making us stink before Pharaoh and his officials.
You have put a sword into their hands, an excuse to kill us!”
Then Moses went back to the Lord and protested, “Why have you brought
all this trouble on your own people, Lord? Why did you send me? Ever
since I came to Pharaoh as your spokesman, he has been even more brutal
to your people. And you have done nothing to rescue them!”





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