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Bricks without Straw
1Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, "Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, 'Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness.' " 2But Pharaoh said, "Who is the Lord, that I should heed his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and moreover I will not let Israel go." 3Then they said, "The God of the Hebrews has met with us; let us go, we pray, a three days' journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice to the Lord our God, lest he fall upon us with pestilence or with the sword." 4But the king of Egypt said to them, "Moses and Aaron, why do you take the people away from their work? Get to your burdens." 5And Pharaoh said, "Behold, the people of the land are now many and you make them rest from their burdens!" 6The same day Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters of the people and their foremen, 7"You shall no longer give the people straw to make bricks, as heretofore; let them go and gather straw for themselves. 8But the number of bricks which they made heretofore you shall lay upon them, you shall by no means lessen it; for they are idle; therefore they cry, 'Let us go and offer sacrifice to our God.' 9Let heavier work be laid upon the men that they may labor at it and pay no regard to lying words."
10So the taskmasters and the foremen of the people went out and said to the people, "Thus says Pharaoh, 'I will not give you straw. 11Go yourselves, get your straw wherever you can find it; but your work will not be lessened in the least.' " 12So the people were scattered abroad throughout all the land of Egypt, to gather stubble for straw. 13The taskmasters were urgent, saying, "Complete your work, your daily task, as when there was straw." 14And the foremen of the people of Israel, whom Pharaoh's taskmasters had set over them, were beaten, and were asked, "Why have you not done all your task of making bricks today, as hitherto?"
15Then the foremen of the people of Israel came and cried to Pharaoh, "Why do you deal thus with your servants? 16No straw is given to your servants, yet they say to us, 'Make bricks!' And behold, your servants are beaten; but the fault is in your own people." 17But he said, "You are idle, you are idle; therefore you say, 'Let us go and sacrifice to the Lord.' 18Go now, and work; for no straw shall be given you, yet you shall deliver the same number of bricks." 19The foremen of the people of Israel saw that they were in evil plight, when they said, "You shall by no means lessen your daily number of bricks." 20They met Moses and Aaron, who were waiting for them, as they came forth from Pharaoh; 21and they said to them, "The Lord look upon you and judge, because you have made us offensive in the sight of Pharaoh and his servants, and have put a sword in their hand to kill us."
Israel's Deliverance Assured
22Then Moses turned again to the Lord and said, "O Lord, why hast thou done evil to this people? Why didst thou ever send me? 23For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in thy name, he has done evil to this people, and thou hast not delivered thy people at all."