Pharaoh Makes Life Harder for the Israelites
Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Let My people go that they may celebrate a feast to Me in the wilderness.’”
Pharaoh says that he doesn’t know the Lord and that he will not let Israel go. Moses and Aaron repeat their request and add a warning that God will hand out punishment if the people are not allowed to go. Pharaoh again refuses and insists that Moses and Aaron go back to their labors. He says that there are many Israelites and it would be a burden if they were all to leave their work for three days. Later, Pharaoh tells his taskmasters to stop providing straw to the Israelites for the brick they are making. The Israelites must gather for themselves and still meet the same quota. Pharaoh wants them distracted so they cannot listen to Moses. The people were not able to keep up with the quota so the Israelite foremen were beaten. They entreat with Pharaoh for leniency- but he calls them lazy and that he won’t have them asking to leave. The foremen run into Moses and Aaron as they leave Pharaoh’s presence. The foremen lay the blame for their troubles at Moses’ feet. Moses prays to God asking why things have become more difficult.
Verses 1-13 The Lord answers Moses question. He says, “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh; for under compulsion he will let them go, and under compulsion he will drive them out of his land.”
God declares that He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He made a promise to them that He would give them the land of Canaan. He has heard the groaning of the people and so He has remembered His covenant.
“Say therefore, to the sons of Israel, ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from their bondage. I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. Then I will take you for My people, and I will be your God; and you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.’”
Moses said these things, but the people didn’t listen because of their despondency and cruel bondage.
God tells Moses to go tell Pharaoh to let the people go. Moses hesitates because the people have not listened to him. He is concerned that his lack of speaking ability is causing the trouble. So the Lord speaks to both Moses and Aaron to give them the charge to take to Pharaoh to allow Israel to leave Egypt.
Verses 14-27 The families that are in Egypt are listed: The sons of Reuben, Israel’s firstborn and the sons of Simeon. The sons of Levi, noting that Levi lived to 137 years old; Levi’s lineage is detailed to show that Moses and Aaron are of Levi’s second son, Kohath’s line. Kohath lived to be 133 years old. Amram is Levi’s grandson and Kohath’s son; he marries Jochebed, Kohath’s sister, and they have Aaron and Moses. Amram lived to be 137 years old. These are the same Aaron and Moses who God appointed to go before Pharaoh.
The Lord says to Moses that He has made Moses as God to Pharaoh and Aaron is Moses’ prophet. “You shall speak all that I command you, and your brother Aaron shall speak to Pharaoh that he let the sons of Israel go out of his land.” God explains that Pharaoh’s heart will be hardened against them and God will multiply His signs and wonders in Egypt. When Pharaoh refuses to listen to God, God will lay His hand on Egypt and bring about the leaving of the nation of Israel.
“The Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch out My hand on Egypt and bring out the sons of Israel from their midst.”
Moses and Aaron did as the Lord commanded them. At this time Moses is 80 years old and Aaron is 83 years old.
God then tells Moses and Aaron that Pharaoh will ask for a miracle when they come before him. Moses and Aaron go to Pharaoh as God said, and things happened just as God said that they would. Aaron threw down his staff before Pharaoh and it became a snake. Pharaoh called his wise men and sorcerers and they also threw down their staffs which turned into serpents. BUT, Aaron’s staff swallowed up all the other staffs.
“Yet Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the Lord had said.”
In Your Bible:
Genesis 12:1-3; 7
Ex. 6:21 re: Korah (nephew of Amram, cousin to Moses) – see also Numbers 16; Num. 26:9-11; Psalm 106:13-18
Ex. 6:23 re: Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar (sons of Aaron) – see also Leviticus 10:1-11; Num. 3:4; Num. 26:61
Ex. 6:25 re: Phinehas (grandson of Aaron, son of Eleazar) – see also Num. 25:1-13; Joshua 22:30-34; Judges 20:18-28;
1 Chron. 9:20; Ezra 7:1-5 (Ezra is a descendant of Aaron and Phinehas); Psalm 106:28-31
1 Samuel 6:6
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