Making Bricks Without Straw

Afterward Moses and Aaron went and said to Pharaoh, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Let my people go, that they may hold (A)a feast to me in the wilderness.’” But Pharaoh said, (B)“Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and moreover, (C)I will not let Israel go.” Then they said, “The (D)God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please let us go a three days' journey into the wilderness that we may 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, “Moses and Aaron, why do you take the people away from their work? Get back to your (E)burdens.” And Pharaoh said, “Behold, (F)the people of the land are now many,[a] and you make them rest from their burdens!” The same day Pharaoh commanded the (G)taskmasters of the people and their (H)foremen, “You shall no longer give the people straw to make bricks, as in the past; let them go and gather straw for themselves. But the number of bricks that they made in the past you shall impose on them, you shall by no means reduce it, for they are idle. Therefore they cry, ‘Let us go and offer sacrifice to our God.’ Let heavier work be laid on the men that they may labor at it and pay no regard to lying words.”

10 So the (I)taskmasters and the foremen of the people went out and said to the people, “Thus says Pharaoh, ‘I will not give you straw. 11 Go and get your straw yourselves wherever you can find it, but your work will not be reduced in the least.’” 12 So the people were scattered throughout all the land of Egypt to gather stubble for straw. 13 The (J)taskmasters were urgent, saying, “Complete your work, your daily task each day, as when there was straw.” 14 And the foremen of the people of Israel, whom Pharaoh's (K)taskmasters had set over them, were beaten and were asked, “Why have you not done all your task of making bricks today and yesterday, as in the past?”

15 Then the foremen of the people of Israel came and cried to Pharaoh, “Why do you treat your servants like this? 16 No straw is given to your servants, yet they say to us, ‘Make bricks!’ And behold, your servants are beaten; but the fault is in your own people.” 17 But he said, “You are idle, you are idle; that is why you say, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to the Lord.’ 18 Go now and work. No straw will be given you, but you must still deliver the same number of bricks.” 19 The foremen of the people of Israel saw that they were in trouble when they said, “You shall by no means reduce your number of bricks, your daily task each day.” 20 They met Moses and Aaron, who were waiting for them, as they came out from Pharaoh; 21 and (L)they said to them, “The Lord look on you and judge, because you have made us stink in the sight of Pharaoh and his servants, and have put a sword in their hand to kill us.”

22 Then Moses turned to the Lord and said, “O Lord, why have you done evil to this people? Why did you ever send me? 23 For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has done evil to this people, and you have not delivered your people at all.”

Footnotes

  1. Exodus 5:5 Samaritan they are now more numerous than the people of the land

Laws Concerning Warfare

20 “When you go out to war against your enemies, and see (A)horses and chariots and an army larger than your own, you shall not be afraid of them, for the Lord your God is (B)with you, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. And when you draw near to the battle, (C)the priest shall come forward and speak to the people and shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel, today you are drawing near for battle against your enemies: let not your heart faint. Do not fear or panic or be in dread of them, for the Lord your God is he who goes with you (D)to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.’ Then the officers shall speak to the people, saying, ‘Is there any man who has built a new house and has not dedicated it? Let him go back to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man dedicate it. And is there any man who has planted a vineyard and has not (E)enjoyed its fruit? Let him go back to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man enjoy its fruit. (F)And is there any man who has betrothed a wife and has not taken her? Let him go back to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man take her.’ And the officers shall speak further to the people, and say, (G)‘Is there any man who is fearful and fainthearted? Let him go back to his house, lest he make the heart of his fellows melt like his own.’ And when the officers have finished speaking to the people, then commanders shall be appointed at the head of the people.

10 “When you draw near to a city to fight against it, (H)offer terms of peace to it. 11 And if it responds to you peaceably and it opens to you, then all the people who are found in it shall do forced labor for you and shall serve you. 12 But if it makes no peace with you, but makes war against you, then you shall besiege it. 13 And when the Lord your God gives it into your hand, (I)you shall put all its males to the sword, 14 (J)but the women and the little ones, the livestock, and everything else in the city, all its spoil, you (K)shall take as plunder for yourselves. And (L)you shall enjoy the spoil of your enemies, which the Lord your God has given you. 15 Thus you shall do to all the cities that are very far from you, which are not cities of the nations here. 16 But (M)in the cities of these peoples that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance, you shall save alive nothing that breathes, 17 but (N)you shall devote them to complete destruction,[a] the Hittites and the Amorites, the Canaanites and the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, as the Lord your God has commanded, 18 that (O)they may not teach you to do according to all their abominable practices that they have done for their gods, and so you (P)sin against the Lord your God.

19 “When you besiege a city for a long time, making war against it in order to take it, (Q)you shall not destroy its trees by wielding an axe against them. You may eat from them, but you shall not cut them down. Are the trees in the field human, that they should be besieged by you? 20 Only the trees that you know are not trees for food you may destroy and cut down, that you may build siegeworks against the city that makes war with you, until it falls.

Footnotes

  1. Deuteronomy 20:17 That is, set apart (devote) as an offering to the Lord (for destruction)

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