Exodus 51 After these things, Moses and Aaron entered, and they said to Pharaoh: “Thus says the Lord God of Israel: Release my people, so that they may sacrifice to me in the desert.” 2 But he responded: “Who is the Lord, that I should listen to his voice and release Israel? I do not know the Lord, and I will not release Israel.” 3 And they said: “The God of the Hebrews has called us, so that we may go three days’ journey into the wilderness and sacrifice to the Lord our God. Otherwise, a pestilence or the sword may befall us.” 4 The king of Egypt said to them: “Why do you, Moses and Aaron, distract the people from their works? Go back to your burdens.” 5 And Pharaoh said: “The people of the land are many. You see that the turmoil has increased: how much more if you give them rest from the works?” 6 Therefore, on the same day, he instructed the overseers of the works, and the taskmasters of the people, saying: 7 “You shall no longer give chaff to the people to form bricks, as before. But they may go and gather straw. 8 And you shall impose upon them the same quota of bricks that they made before. Neither will you lessen anything, for they are idle, and therefore they cry out, saying: ‘We shall go and sacrifice to our God.’ 9 They shall be oppressed with works, and these shall occupy them, so that they may not agree to lying words.” 10 And so the overseers of the works and the taskmasters went out and said to the people: “Thus says Pharaoh: I give you no chaff. 11 Go, and collect it wherever you are able to find it. Neither will anything of your work be diminished.” 12 And the people were dispersed through all the land of Egypt, in order to gather straw. 13 Likewise, the overseers of the works pressured them, saying: “Complete your work each day, just as you were accustomed to do before, when straw was given to you.” 14 And those who were first in the works of the sons of Israel were scourged by Pharaoh’s taskmasters, saying: “Why have you not filled the quota of bricks, neither yesterday, nor today, just as before?” 15 And the first among the sons of Israel came, and they cried out to Pharaoh, saying: “Why do act against your servants in this way? 16 Straw is not given to us, and yet the same amount of bricks is commanded. So we, your servants, are cut up by scourging, and injustice is done against your people.” 17 And he said: “You are idle. And for this reason you say, ‘We shall go and sacrifice to the Lord.’ 18 Therefore, go and work. Straw will not be given to you, and you will return the customary number of bricks.” 19 And the first among the sons of Israel saw themselves in a crisis, because it was said to them, “Nothing at all will be lessened from the bricks throughout each day.” 20 And they met with Moses and Aaron, who stood opposite them as they departed from Pharaoh. 21 And they said to them: “May the Lord see and judge, because you have caused our odor to become foul before Pharaoh and his servants, and you have provided him with a sword, in order to kill us.” 22 And Moses returned to the Lord, and he said: “Lord, why have you afflicted this people? Why have you sent me? 23 For from the time that I entered to Pharaoh, so as to speak in your name, he has afflicted your people. And you have not freed them.”
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