Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Exodus 5:6-9 Pharaoh's Reaction to Moses' Request

"That same day, Pharaoh gave this order
to the slave drivers and foremen in charge of the people:
'You are no longer to supply the people with straw for making bricks;
let them go and gather their own straw.

But require them to make the same number of bricks as before;
don't reduce the quota.
They are lazy; that is why they are crying out,
"Let us go and sacrifice to our God."

Make the work harder for the men
so that they keep working and pay no attention to lies.' "

Exodus 5:6-9 (NIV)

There is an immediate effect from Moses and Aaron's message, but it is not a positive one.  Pharaoh quickly issues an order that same day, which will make the men's work much harder to accomplish.  In this way he hopes to refocus their attention upon the work at hand instead of festivals to their God.

The fact that Pharaoh moves so quickly to squelch any support for the proposed festival shows how concerned he was about a popular uprising.  Also, word must have leaked out to the Hebrews about the message which God sent through Moses and Aaron, for some of the people seem to have begun calling out to Pharaoh to support the three day break. (Exodus 5:8)  That probably only served to make him more determined to not let the multitudes get a taste of freedom.

On a side note, I remember reading that the Pharaoh considered it his main duty to maintain order in the universe, or at least his part of it.  You can read more about that here, but evidently the Pharaoh would be quite averse to allowing any kind of uproar or dissent to develop.  Not to mention that the idea of Pharaoh facilitating the worship of any other God except the 'gods' of Egypt would be unacceptable.

This setback did not take God by surprise, though.  Even before Moses left on his journey back to Egypt, God had known that Pharaoh would not willingly allow the Israelites to leave, and that He would have to perform wonders before Pharaoh would let them go.  (Exodus 3:19-20)

Long before Pharaoh had even heard of Moses and Aaron, God had made plans to facilitate His people's release from Pharaoh's stubbornness and from their slavery in Egypt.

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