5 After Moses and Aaron arrived, they told Pharaoh, “This is what the Lord God of Israel says: ‘Let my people go so they may make a pilgrimage for me in the desert.’”
2 Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord that I should listen to[a] him and let Israel go? I don’t know about[b] the Lord, nor will I let Israel go!”
3 Then they said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please let us go a three-day journey into the desert to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God so he does not strike us with pestilence or sword.”[c]
4 The king of Egypt replied to them, “Moses and Aaron, why are you keeping the people from their labor? Go back to your work!”[d]5 Then Pharaoh said, “Look, the people in the land are now numerous, and you are stopping them from working.”[e]
Pharaoh Increases the Israelis’ Work
6 That day Pharaoh ordered the taskmasters of the people and their officials, 7 “You’re no longer to give the people straw for making bricks, as in the past.[f] They must gather straw for themselves. 8 But you’re to impose the previous quota[g] of bricks that they’re making. You’re not to reduce it! It is because they’re lazy that they’re crying out, ‘Let’s go offer sacrifices to our God.’ 9 So increase the work load on the people,[h] and let them do it so they don’t pay attention to deceptive speeches.”
10 Then the taskmasters of the people and their officials went out and told the people, “This is Pharaoh’s response: ‘I’ll no longer give you any[i] straw. 11 Go get straw for yourselves wherever you can find it, but your work quotas won’t be reduced at all.’”[j]12 So the people scattered throughout the entire land of Egypt to collect stubble[k] for straw.
13 The taskmasters pressured them by saying, “Finish your work—each day’s quota[l]—just as when you were given straw.”[m]
14 The Israeli supervisors whom Pharaoh’s taskmasters had appointed over them were beaten and told,[n] “Why didn’t you, both yesterday and today, fulfill[o] your quota[p] for making bricks as before?”
The Israelis’ Appeal Rejected by Pharaoh
15 The Israeli supervisors came and cried out to Pharaoh, “Why are you doing this to us?[q]16 No straw is being given to us, yet they’re saying to us, ‘Make bricks!’ Look, we are being beaten. It’s wrong how you are treating your people!”
17 Then Pharaoh[r] said, “You are lazy, lazy! That’s why[s] you’re saying, ‘Let’s go offer sacrifices to the Lord.’ 18 Now, go! Get to work! And straw won’t be given to you, but you are to deliver the same[t] number of bricks!” 19 The Israeli supervisors realized they were in trouble when he said,[u] “You won’t reduce each day’s quota of bricks!”[v]
The Israelis Blame Moses and Moses Complains to God
20 As they left Pharaoh’s presence,[w] they met Moses and Aaron standing there.[x]21 The supervisors[y] told them, “May the Lord look on you and judge you![z] You have made us repulsive to[aa] Pharaoh and his servants. You have put[ab] a sword in their hands to kill us.”
22 So Moses returned to the Lord and asked him, “Lord, why have you caused trouble for this people? Why have you sent me here? 23 Ever since I came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has caused trouble for this people, and you have done nothing to deliver your people.”
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