Monday, September 12, 2011

Exodus 3:18-22 Preview, Plans and Payback

"The elders of Israel will listen to you.
Then you and the elders are to go to the king of Egypt and say to him,
'The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us.
Let us take a three-day journey into the desert
to offer sacrifices to the LORD our God.'

But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go
unless a mighty hand compels him.
So I will stretch out my hand and strike the Egyptians
with all the wonders that I will perform among them.
After that, he will let you go.

And I will make the Egyptians favorably disposed toward this people,
so that when you leave you will not go empty-handed.
Every woman is to ask her neighbor and any woman living in her house
for articles of silver and gold and for clothing,
which you will put on your sons and daughters.
And so you will plunder the Egyptians."

Exodus 3:18-22 (NIV)

The LORD of the Hebrews knows exactly what the future will hold.  He directs Moses and the elders of Israel to go to Pharaoh and request a three-day journey into the desert so that they may offer sacrifices to their God.

He also knows that the king of Egypt will not agree to this request, unless he is forced into it by a higher power.  So, God plans to perform wonders among the Egyptians.  Unfortunately, these wonders do not sound as if they will be beneficial towards the Egyptians, for God proclaims that He will 'strike' them with these events.  Calmly, God declares that after that, Pharaoh would indeed let the Hebrews go.

Not only that, but God also plans some recompense for the years of slavery which the Israelites have endured.  The Israelite women are to request gold and silver articles and clothing from their Egyptian neighbors.  This 'plunder' will not be taken violently, for God will make the Egyptians favorably disposed to give it to them.

[Perhaps this is why the women were directed to perform this part of the mission.  Not that women can't be just as violent as men, but just that there would be less opportunity for any type of violent 'payback' or skirmishes to erupt.  Also, I notice that the women were to ask their neighbors or women living in their households for the items -- another factor which might make the Egyptians more willing to give, and the freed slaves less inclined to exact revenge.]

God's command over every detail of the Hebrews' departure is very reassuring.  He has had a plan from before their forefathers even arrived in Egypt, and even now, He is concerned with doing what is right, for the Israelites should be compensated for their years of labor among the Egyptians.  The book of Exodus often gives us glimpses about the character of God in this way. 

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