Monday, September 9, 2013

Exodus 5: Why Not Give Your Slaves a Vacation?

Today's Podcast


God appeared to Moses and told him to go free his people from the Egyptians. So Moses gathered up his wife, son and "brother" Aaron and went to Egypt.

Making Bricks Without Straw (v. 1-23)

Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and asked if his people go hold a feast for God in the wilderness.

Already I don't understand the strategy here. They are asking Pharaoh to give his people some time to go worship their God by throwing some kind of a party. Essentially he's asking Pharaoh to give his slaves some time off. It's certainly possible there is a plan here that I just don't see, but it seems like a strange move.

Hell, maybe he just thought Pharaoh would let them do it and he planned on having them all just run off. A bit of a silly plan looked at in that way, but I guess it's something.

From Guzik:
It seems strange to many that Moses only asked for a three-day weekend; after all, he knew what God wanted to do. Was Moses deceptive in only asking for three days?
Not at all. God had Moses ask first for three days off to test Pharaoh's heart. God gave Pharaoh the chance to agree to something small and to have his heart softened before the big request came.

I suppose that's as good of an explanation as anything. Ultimately he's asking the Pharaoh to release a bunch of slaves, which at the time was seen as valuable property. This clearly wasn't going to work, but neither would just asking to free them. 

Pharaoh was upset at the suggestion. He increased the slave's workload by keeping their quota the same but made them gather some of their own building materials.

Seems like a bit of an overreaction by the Pharaoh. One guy makes a request on behalf of the slaves and Pharaoh punishes them all. I suppose it is an effective way to keep a group of people in line, but damn.

Picture source: Wikipedia

Now the slaves are pissed at Moses and Aaron for making their lives harder, and Moses is upset at God for sending him and making the slave's lives worse.

These seem like reasonable questions on both counts. Of course that is because they can't see the future, all they know is things have just gotten worse and they are all asking what is up.


  1. I know the story turns out better in the end for the Israelites, but one would expect a better plan from God.

    1. Pretty much exactly what I was thinking. I suppose Christians would argue that God wanted the first plan to fail and show that believing in God isn't just a free ride or something. You grow strong through hardship type of thing


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