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Bricks Without Straw

And afterward Moses and Aaron went in and said to Pharaoh, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Let My people go, that they may hold a feast to Me in the wilderness.’ ”

And Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, nor will I let Israel go.”

They said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Let us go, we pray you, three days’ journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice to the Lord our God, lest He fall upon us with pestilence or with the sword.”

But the king of Egypt said to them, “Why do you, Moses and Aaron, take the people from their work? Get back to your labor.” Pharaoh said, “Look, the people of the land now are numerous, and you make them rest from their labor.”

Pharaoh commanded the same day the taskmasters of the people and their officers, saying, “You shall no more give the people straw to make brick, as before. Let them go and gather straw for themselves. However, the quota of the bricks, which they were making previously, you shall lay upon them. You shall not diminish any of it. For they are idle. Therefore they cry out, saying, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to our God.’ Let there be more work laid upon the men so that they may labor therein, and let them not regard deceptive words.”

10 The taskmasters of the people and their officers went out, and they spoke to the people, saying, “Thus says Pharaoh, ‘I will not give you straw. 11 Go, get straw where you can find it, yet nothing of your work shall be diminished.’ ” 12 So the people scattered abroad throughout all the land of Egypt to gather stubble for straw. 13 The taskmasters pushed them, saying, “Fulfill your works, your daily tasks, just as when there was straw.” 14 The officers of the children of Israel, which Pharaoh’s taskmasters had set over them, were beaten and were asked, and demanded, “Why have you not fulfilled your task in making brick both yesterday and today, as previously?”

15 Then the officers of the children of Israel came and cried to Pharaoh, saying, “Why do you deal this way with your servants? 16 There is no straw being given to your servants, and they say to us, ‘Make brick.’ And indeed, your servants are beaten, but the fault is in your own people.”

17 But he said, “You are slackers! Slackers! Therefore you say, ‘Let us go and do sacrifice to the Lord.’ 18 Go therefore now and work, for there shall no straw be given you, yet shall you deliver the quota of bricks.”

19 The officers of the children of Israel saw that they were in trouble, after it was said, “You shall not diminish anything from your bricks of your daily task.” 20 Then they met Moses and Aaron, who stood in the way, as they came forth from Pharaoh. 21 And they said to them, “May the Lord look on you and judge, because you have made our scent stink in the estimation of Pharaoh and in the estimation of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to slay us.”

God Promises Deliverance

22 Moses returned to the Lord, and said, “Lord, why have You caused trouble for this people? Why is it that You have sent me? 23 For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done evil to this people; neither have You delivered Your people at all.”