Exodus 5 - Outline of Exodus (MENU page)
At the end of chapter 4, Moses and Aaron told the elders of Israel all of God's words, which He had spoken to Moses. The LORD had seen their bondage, heard their cries, and would bring them out of Egypt. (3:9,10; 4:21-23). Then, "the people believed... and worshipped" (4:29-31).
 
5:1 And afterward Moses and Aaron went in, and told Pharaoh,
Thus saith the LORD God of Israel,
Let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness.
5:2 And Pharaoh said, Who [is] the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go?
I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go.
5:3 And they said, The God of the Hebrews hath met with us:
let us go, we pray thee, three days' journey into the desert, and sacrifice unto the LORD our God;
lest he fall upon us with pestilence, or with the sword.
Let my people go, that they may hold a feast...-
Moses' initial message to Pharaoh corresponds with the Lord's specific instructions (3:18).
Some have thought that Moses and Aaron lacked the fortitude to deliver the harsh message of 4:21-23. But those words were provided to Moses as a preview of where the confrontation with Pharaoh would lead (cp. 3:19,20).
Pharaoh said, Who is the LORD?... I know not the LORD...-
The 10 plagues were designed to answer Pharaoh's question. They would reveal that the Egyptian gods were powerless, and that the LORD, He is God. cp. 9:14-16; 12:12; 14:4
5:4 And the king of Egypt said unto them,
Wherefore do ye, Moses and Aaron, let the people from their works?
get you unto your burdens.
5:5 And Pharaoh said, Behold, the people of the land now [are] many,
and ye make them rest from their burdens.
5:6 And Pharaoh commanded the same day the taskmasters of the people, and their officers, saying,
5:7 Ye shall no more give the people straw to make brick, as heretofore:
let them go and gather straw for themselves.
5:8 And the tale
{quantity} of the bricks, which they did make heretofore, ye shall lay upon them;
ye shall not diminish [ought] thereof:
for they [be] idle; therefore they cry, saying, Let us go [and] sacrifice to our God.
5:9 Let there more work be laid upon the men, that they may labour therein;
and let them not regard vain words.
Let them not regard vain words...-
This is the estimation of the things of the Lord, by the wise of the world.
cp. Acts 26:24; 1Cor 1:20,21; 3:18,19
5:10 And the taskmasters of the people went out, and their officers, and they spake to the people,
saying, Thus saith Pharaoh, I will not give you straw.
5:11 Go ye, get you straw where ye can find it:
yet not ought
{ie., not anything} of your work shall be diminished.
5:12 So the people were scattered abroad throughout all the land of Egypt
to gather stubble instead of straw.
5:13 And the taskmasters hasted [them], saying,
Fulfil your works, [your] daily tasks, as when there was straw.
5:14 And the officers of the children of Israel, which Pharaoh's taskmasters had set over them,
were beaten, [and] demanded,
Wherefore have ye not fulfilled your task in making brick both yesterday and to day, as heretofore?
5:15 Then the officers of the children of Israel came and cried unto Pharaoh, saying,
Wherefore dealest thou thus with thy servants?
5:16 There is no straw given unto thy servants, and they say to us, Make brick:
and, behold, thy servants [are] beaten; but the fault [is] in thine own people.
5:17 But he said, Ye [are] idle, [ye are] idle:
therefore ye say, Let us go [and] do sacrifice to the LORD.
5:18 Go therefore now, [and] work; for there shall no straw be given you,
yet shall ye deliver the tale of bricks.
5:19 And the officers of the children of Israel did see [that] they [were] in evil [case], after it was said,
Ye shall not minish
{ie., diminish} [ought] from your bricks of your daily task.
The elders of Israel appealed their case to Pharaoh, and were rejected.
Their situation was bad. They had no human recourse.
5:20 And they met Moses and Aaron, who stood in the way, as they came forth from Pharaoh:
5:21 And they said unto them, The LORD look upon you, and judge;
because ye have made our savour to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh,
and in the eyes of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to slay us.
5:22 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?
5:23 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 elders, in distress and disillusionment, assigned blame to Moses and Aaron. cp. 4:31; 6:9
Moses, in his distress, turned to the Lord with their complaint.
Was it wrong for him to approach God with an attitude of impatience and discouragement?
Had he not been forewarned that Pharaoh would reject God's demands? (3:19,20)
Note that God does not rebuke him.
Rather, He reconfirms His promise to deliver Israel (6:1-8).
(Especially, in a time of distress and confusion, it is good to draw near to God. cp. Psa 73:22-28).

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