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1 And afterward Moses and Aaron went in, and tolde Pharaoh, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Let my people goe, that they may holde a feast vnto mee in the wildernesse.

2 And Pharaoh said, Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voyce to let Israel goe? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel goe.

3 And they said, The God of the Hebrewes hath met with vs: let vs goe, we pray thee, three dayes iourney into the desert, and sacrifice vnto the Lord our God, lest hee fall vpon vs with pestilence, or with the sword.

4 And the King of Egypt said vnto them, Wherfore doe ye, Moses and Aaron, let the people from their workes? get you vnto your burdens.

5 And Pharaoh said, Behold, the people of the land now are many, & you make them rest from their burdens.

6 And Pharaoh commanded the same day the taske-masters of the people, and their officers, saying;

7 Yee shall no more giue the people straw to make bricke, as heretofore: let them goe and gather straw for themselues.

8 And the tale of the brickes which they did make heretofore, you shall lay vpon them: you shall not diminish ought thereof: for they be idle; therefore they cry, saying, Let us goe and sacrifice to our God.

9 Let there more worke be layde vpon the men, that they may labour therein, and let them not regard vaine wordes.

10 And the taske-masters of the people went out, and their officers, and they spake to the people, saying, Thus saith Pharaoh, I will not giue you straw.

11 Goe ye, get you straw where you can find it: yet not ought of your worke shall be diminished.

12 So the people were scattered abroad throughout al the land of Egypt, to gather stubble in stead of straw.

13 And the taske-masters hasted them, saying; Fulfill your workes, your dayly taskes, as when there was straw.

14 And the officers of the children of Israel, which Pharaohs task-masters had set ouer them, were beaten, and demanded, Wherefore haue ye not fulfilled your taske, in making bricke, both yesterday and to day, as heretofore?

15 Then the officers of the children of Israel came and cryed vnto Pharaoh, saying, Wherefore dealest thou thus with thy seruants?

16 There is no straw giuen vnto thy seruants, and they say to vs, Make bricke: and beholde, thy seruants are beaten; but the fault is in thine owne people.

17 But he said, Ye are idle, ye are idle: therefore ye say, Let vs goe and doe sacrifice to the Lord.

18 Goe therefore now and worke: for there shall no straw bee giuen you, yet shall ye deliuer the tale of brickes.

19 And the officers of the children of Israel did see that they were in euill case, after it was said, Yee shall not minish ought from your brickes of your dayly taske.

20 And they met Moses and Aaron, who stood in the way, as they came foorth from Pharaoh.

21 And they said vnto them; The Lord looke vpon you, and iudge, because you haue made our sauour to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of his seruants, to put a sword in their hand to slay vs.

22 And Moses returned vnto the Lord, and said, Lord, Wherefore hast thou so euill intreated this people? Why is it that thou hast sent me?

23 For since I came to Pharaoh to speake in thy Name, he hath done euill to this people, neither hast thou deliuered thy people at all.

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Commentary for Exodus 5

Pharaoh's displeasure, He increases the tasks of the Israelites. (1-9) The sufferings of the Israelites, Moses' complaint to God. (10-23)1-9 God will own his people, though poor and despised, and will find a time to plead their cause. Pharaoh treated all he had heard with contempt. He had no knowledge of Jehovah, no fear of him, no love to him, and therefore refused to obey him. Thus Pharaoh's pride, ambition, covetousness, and political knowledge, hardened him to his own destruction. What Moses and Aaron ask is very reasonable, only to go three days' journey into the desert, and that on a good errand. We will sacrifice unto the Lord our God. Pharaoh was very unreasonable, in saying that the people were idle, and therefore talked of going to sacrifice. He thus misrepresents them, that he might have a pretence to add to their burdens. To this day we find many who are more disposed to find fault with their neighbours, for spending in the service of God a few hours spared from their wordly business, than to blame others, who give twice the time to sinful pleasures. Pharaoh's command was barbarous. Moses and Aaron themselves must get to the burdens. Persecutors take pleasure in putting contempt and hardship upon ministers. The usual tale of bricks must be made, without the usual allowance of straw to mix with the clay. Thus more work was to be laid upon the men, which, if they performed, they would be broken with labour; and if not, they would be punished.

10-23 The Egyptian task-masters were very severe. See what need we have to pray that we may be delivered from wicked men. The head-workmen justly complained to Pharaoh: but he taunted them. The malice of Satan has often represented the service and worship of God, as fit employment only for those who have nothing else to do, and the business only of the idle; whereas, it is the duty of those who are most busy in the world. Those who are diligent in doing sacrifice to the Lord, will, before God, escape the doom of the slothful servant, though with men they do not. The Israelites should have humbled themselves before God, and have taken to themselves the shame of their sin; but instead of that, they quarrel with those who were to be their deliverers. Moses returned to the Lord. He knew that what he had said and done, was by God's direction; and therefore appeals to him. When we find ourselves at any time perplexed in the way of our duty, we ought to go to God, and lay open our case before him by fervent prayer. Disappointments in our work must not drive us from our God, but still we must ponder why they are sent.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Discussion for Exodus 5

  • Stanjett
    Why did they need straw to make bricks?
  • Ruben Hartness
    Stanjett, straw mixed with the clay to make bricks adds strength to the brick. Example steel wire iron rods make concrete strong for building. Same principle.
    Reply Flag
  • Ham
    Because straw holds the mud together against the rain, floods, and hail.
    Reply Flag
  • BSP
    Verse 1~Jehovah God gave Moses and Aaron boldness to go and speak to Pharoah to give the message to send his people away.
  • A disciple
    "And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Lord, wherefore hast thou so evil entreated this people? why is it that thou hast sent me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in thy name, he hath done evil to this people; neither hast thou delivered thy people at all." "The mills of God grind slow but exceedingly fine." We have to learn how to wait for God's purposes to come to full fruition.
  • BSP
    Verse 2: Pharaoh had such disrespect for Jehovah God. God was listening to this haughty and disrespectful attitude and he made sure that Pharaoh acknowledged and knew who he was by the end of the 10 plagues.
  • A disciple
    "But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that hears the word, and anon with joy receives it; yet hath he not root in himself, but endures for a while: for when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, by and by he is offended." Mt. 13:20-21 Easily scandalized and thin-skinned; a questioning and doubting mind; naivete and stupidity concerning spiritual reality!
  • Iboro
    Fervent prayer is essential to deliverance...

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