After speaking to the elders of the sons of Israel, Moses and Aaron come to Pharaoh and said to him, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, Let My people go that they may celebrate a feast to Me in the wilderness” (Exodus 5:1 NASB).
In the Bible, this is the first time Yahweh is called the God of Israel. In Genesis chapter thirty-three verse twenty, Yahweh is called the God of Israel, the father of the sons of Israel, but here Yahweh is called the God of Israel, the people.
When Moses and Aaron came before Pharaoh, they came as ambassadors of the King of kings and Lord of lords. In Egypt, Pharaoh was not considered a representative of the gods of Egypt, he was a god; what we have here is a confrontation between Yahweh and an Egyptian god. When Yahweh’s ambassadors told Pharaoh, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel,” he immediately understood this was no request but a command. When Pharaoh replied to the command, and Pharaoh replied, “Who is the Lord, Yahweh, that I should obey His voice.” Yahweh, was not one of the names of the Egyptian’s gods, therefore, Pharaoh wanted to know why he should obey what Moses and Aaron told him the God of the Israel people told them to tell him.
There is also another reason why he wanted to know why he should obey the command to let the sons of Israel go into the wilderness to celebrate a feast to Yahweh. Pharaoh viewed Moses and Aaron as representatives of a king of another country. When Pharaoh said he did not know Yahweh, he was telling Moses and Aaron, he did not know of any existing treaty with another kingdom that would require him to release a citizen of that kingdom that was being held captive in Egypt. Since no such treaty existed Pharaoh saw no reason why he should obey the command to let the sons of Israel go into the wilderness and celebrate a feast to their God. Note something important in Pharaoh’s statement he will not let the sons of Israel leave Egypt. Pharaoh’s refusal to let the sons of Israel leave Egypt was a refusal that included the breaking of a treaty.
What do we see today occurring time after time when Israel agrees to a peace treaty with her enemies or a cease fire agreement; who is the first to fire the first shot. A peace treaty or a cease fire agreement is nothing more than the means for the enemy to replace the weapons and troops lost in the battle.
Pharaoh will not permit the sons of Israel to leave Egypt if he must go to war. Keep this in mind.
Note what Moses and Aaron did in Exodus chapter five verse three. Go back and read what the Lord told Moses to do when he went into Egypt and went before the king of Egypt; where do you find the Lord telling Moses to strike a deal with Pharaoh are plea bargain? The Lord told Moses that Pharaoh would not let the sons of Israel leave Egypt except under compulsion, unless Egypt is struck by the mighty hand of God.
In these last days, the mighty hand of God is about to strike the Middle East and the rest of the world.
In verse three there are two statements made by Moses and Aaron that is an addition to what the Lord told Moses. Moses and Aaron, probably Aaron is the one who spoke to Pharaoh, they tell Pharaoh the God of the Hebrews, and they refer to Yahweh as the God of the Hebrews because Pharaoh has told them he did not know a god that is called Yahweh. The first thing implied in the plea bargain, is it was not their idea to come to Pharaoh and ask Pharaoh to let the sons of Israel go three days, that was not stated in verse one, to celebrate a feast, but Yahweh appeared to them and told them to come to Egypt and request the king to let the sons of Israel go into the wilderness to celebrate a feast and as servants and worshipers of Yahweh they were obligated to come to the king of Egypt; the king would have no problem in accepting Moses and Aaron’s reason for coming to Egypt. Moses and Aaron turn the command that Pharaoh permit the sons of Israel to go into the wilderness to celebrate a feast into a request.
Note the second thing Moses and Aaron does; they try to play on the sympathy of the king by claiming if the king does not let the sons of Israel go into the wilderness, Yahweh will punish them. Where in His instructions to Moses did Yahweh tell him, He would punish Moses or Aaron if the king did not let the sons of Israel leave Egypt?
When you try to make deals with the enemy you come out on the wrong end of the stick. Note what Pharaoh asked Moses and Aaron, why Moses and Aaron are keeping the sons of Israel away from their work; then he tells Moses and Aaron to get back to their labors, and he commanded the taskmasters to increase their oppression of the sons of Israel. The taskmasters are to no longer give the sons of Israel the straw used in the making of bricks. The sons of Israel must go out into the field and gather the straw used in the making of the bricks. But the quota of bricks that must be produced each day was not reduced. Pharaoh claims the reason for not giving straw to the sons of Israel to make bricks and making the sons of Israel gather the straw was because they had too much leisure time and the request to go into the wilderness and offer a sacrifice to their God was merely a way of finding more time to listen to what Moses and Aaron was telling them about deliverance from Egypt that, according to Pharaoh was not going to happen.
The taskmasters went out and told the people and the officers of the sons of Israel who were under the taskmasters and answerable to them if the workers did not meet their quota of bricks that they would no longer be given straw to make the bricks and they must go out and gather the straw to make the bricks. The gathering of the straw not only added to the physical burden laid upon the sons of Israel, it was a financial burden, because the sons of Israel were required to pay for the straw they gathered from the fields and barns of the farmers.
It is obvious the requirement to gather the straw to make the bricks would result in a loss of time making the bricks and when the quota was not met, the taskmasters would beat the officers they had put over the workers as supervisors. When the officers complained to Pharaoh the blame for any decrease in the production of bricks was put on the officers and not the failure on the part of the taskmasters who were no longer giving the workers the straw, per orders from Pharaoh. Knowingly or unknowingly when the officers blamed the reduction in the production of bricks on the taskmasters, they were also putting the blame on Pharaoh. Instead of apologizing for the behavior of the taskmasters and telling the officers he would rectify the situation, Pharaoh, in an insulting and sarcastic manner charges the officers and the workers with laziness and he uses the request to go into the wilderness to offer a sacrifice to the Lord as a sign of the laziness, and orders the officers to go back to work and tells them they will not be given straw to make the bricks and they will also meet the daily quota of the number of bricks that must be produced.
There is something we should see in this incident, who is blamed for the problems that exist in the world today?
The officers that brought this complaint to Pharaoh didn’t need some one to hit them in the head with a base ball or club; they realized very quickly they were in a serious situation and it was not going to get better. They not only saw they were in a serious situation, they saw the people were in a situation worse then theirs. They had some advantages the common people did not have.
Read carefully what the officers do when they leave Pharaoh (Exodus 5:19-21).
Note what Moses did instead of answering the officers he goes to the Lord and inquires why the Lord has permitted the oppression of the sons of Israel to increase. Moses was doing what we have all been guilty of doing; he expected the Lord to bring about the deliverance of the sons of Israel according to his time table. The Lord has a purpose in permitting the oppression of the sons of Israel to increase, just as He has a purpose in permitting the evil in the world to increase in these last days.
Moses has forgotten what the Lord told him when He sent Moses to deliver the command to let the sons of Israel leave Egypt and go into the wilderness to offer a sacrifice. The Lord told Moses Pharaoh would not permit the sons of Israel to go into the wilderness. When we question the Lord about the evil existing and increasing in these last days, we need to go back to Matthew chapter twenty-four and twenty-five and refresh our minds as to what Jesus said would occur prior to His return to the earth.
What is happening in Egypt in the days of Moses is according to God’s predetermined plan for the course of history. There is a future judgment predicted for not only Egypt but every nation that has oppressed the children of God and that includes the United States and professing Christians.
In this battle between Yahweh and Pharaoh the mighty power of Yahweh is going to be revealed in such a way there will be no question who is behind the deliverance of the sons of Israel from their bondage.
In chapter six of Exodus we will examine Yahweh’s response to Moses’ complaint.