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Exodus 5-6 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Moses and Aaron Before Pharaoh

After Moses and Aaron talked to the people, they went to Pharaoh and said, “The Lord,[a] the God of Israel, says, ‘Let my people go into the desert so that they can have a festival to honor me.’”

But Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord? Why should I obey him? Why should I let Israel go? I don’t even know who this Lord is, so I refuse to let Israel go.”

Then Aaron and Moses said, “The God of the Hebrews[b] has talked with us. So we beg you to let us travel three days into the desert. There we will offer a sacrifice to the Lord our God. If we don’t do this, he might become angry and destroy us. He might make us die from sickness or war.”

But Pharaoh said to them, “Moses and Aaron, you are bothering the workers. Let them do their work. Go back to your own work! There are very many workers, and you are keeping them from doing their jobs.”

Pharaoh Punishes the People

That same day Pharaoh gave a command to the slave masters and Hebrew foremen. He said, “You have always given the people straw to use to make bricks. But now, tell them they have to go and find their own straw to make bricks. But they must still make the same number of bricks as they did before. They have gotten lazy. That is why they are asking me to let them go. They don’t have enough work to do. That is why they asked me to let them make sacrifices to their God. So make these people work harder. Keep them busy. Then they will not have enough time to listen to the lies of Moses.”

10 So the Egyptian slave masters and the Hebrew foremen went to the Israelites and said, “Pharaoh has decided that he will not give you straw for your bricks. 11 You must go and get the straw for yourselves. So go and find straw, but you must still make as many bricks as you made before.”

12 So the people went everywhere in Egypt looking for straw. 13 The slave masters forced the people to work even harder. They forced the people to make as many bricks as before. 14 The Egyptian slave masters had chosen the Hebrew foremen and had made them responsible for the work the people did. The Egyptian slave masters beat these foremen and said to them, “Why aren’t you making as many bricks as you made in the past? If you could do it then, you can do it now!”

15 Then the Hebrew foremen went to Pharaoh. They complained and said, “We are your servants. Why are you treating us like this? 16 You give us no straw, but you tell us to make as many bricks as before. And now our masters are beating us. Your people are wrong for doing this.”

17 Pharaoh answered, “You are lazy, and you don’t want to work! That is why you ask me to let you go. And that is why you want to leave here and make sacrifices to the Lord. 18 Now, go back to work! We will not give you any straw. And you must still make as many bricks as you did before.”

19 The Hebrew foremen knew they were in trouble, because the Pharaoh had told them, “You must still make as many bricks as you made before.”

20 When they were leaving the meeting with Pharaoh, they passed Moses and Aaron. Moses and Aaron were waiting for them. 21 So they said to Moses and Aaron, “May the Lord judge and punish you for what you did! You made Pharaoh and his rulers hate us. You have given them an excuse to kill us.”

Moses Complains to God

22 Then Moses prayed to the Lord and said, “Lord, why have you done this terrible thing to your people? Why did you send me here? 23 I went to Pharaoh and said what you told me to say. But since that time he has made the people suffer, and you have done nothing to help them!”

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh. I will use my great power against him, and he will let my people go. He will be so ready for them to leave that he will force them to go.”

Then God said to Moses, “I am the Lord. I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They called me God All-Powerful. They did not know my name, the Lord. I made an agreement with them. I promised to give them the land of Canaan. They lived in that land, but it was not their own. Now, I have heard their painful cries. I know that they are slaves in Egypt. And I remember my agreement. So tell the Israelites that I say to them, ‘I am the Lord. I will save you. You will no longer be slaves of the Egyptians. I will use my great power to make you free, and I will bring terrible punishment to the Egyptians. You will be my people and I will be your God. I am the Lord your God, and you will know that I made you free from Egypt. I made a great promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I promised to give them a special land. So I will lead you to that land. I will give you that land. It will be yours. I am the Lord.’”

So Moses told this to the Israelites, but the people would not listen to him. They were working so hard that they were not patient with Moses.

10 Then the Lord said to Moses, 11 “Go tell Pharaoh that he must let the Israelites leave his land.”

12 But Moses answered, “Lord, the Israelites refuse to listen to me. So surely Pharaoh will also refuse to listen. I am a very bad speaker.”[c]

13 But the Lord talked with Moses and Aaron and commanded them to go and talk to the Israelites and to Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. He commanded them to lead the Israelites out of the land of Egypt.

Some of the Families of Israel

14 These are the names of the leaders of the families of Israel:

Israel’s first son, Reuben, had four sons. They were Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi.

15 Simeon’s sons were Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jakin, Zohar, and Shaul. (Shaul was the son from a Canaanite woman).

16 Levi lived 137 years. His sons were Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.

17 Gershon had two sons, Libni and Shimei.

18 Kohath lived 133 years. His sons were Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel.

19 Merari’s sons were Mahli and Mushi.

All these families were from Israel’s son Levi.

20 Amram lived 137 years. He married his father’s sister, Jochebed. Amram and Jochebed gave birth to Aaron and Moses.

21 Izhar’s sons were Korah, Nepheg, and Zicri.

22 Uzziel’s sons were Mishael, Elzaphan, and Sithri.

23 Aaron married Elisheba. (Elisheba was the daughter of Amminadab, and the sister of Nahshon.) Aaron and Elisheba gave birth to Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.

24 The sons of Korah (that is, the ancestors of the Korahites) were Assir, Elkanah, and Abiasaph.

25 Aaron’s son, Eleazar, married a daughter of Putiel. She gave birth to Phinehas.

All these people were from Israel’s son, Levi.

26 Aaron and Moses were from this tribe. And they are the men the Lord spoke to and said, “Lead my people out of Israel in groups.[d] 27 Aaron and Moses are the men who talked to Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, and told him to let the Israelites leave Egypt.

God Repeats His Call to Moses

28 The Lord spoke to Moses again in the land of Egypt. 29 He said, “I am the Lord. Tell the king of Egypt everything I tell you.”

30 But Moses, standing there before the Lord, said, “You know me. I’m a very bad speaker. How will I make the king listen to me?”


  1. Exodus 5:1 The Lord Or “Yahweh.” See “Yahweh” in the Word List.
  2. Exodus 5:3 Hebrews Or “Israelites.” Also in verses 10, 14, 15, 19.
  3. Exodus 6:12 I am a very bad speaker Or “I sound like a foreigner.” Literally, “I have uncircumcised lips.”
  4. Exodus 6:26 groups Or “divisions.” This is a military term. It shows that Israel was organized like an army.
Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Copyright © 2006 by Bible League International


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