Exodus 5

* Pharaoh's displeasure, He increases the tasks of the

Israelites. (1-9) The sufferings of the Israelites, Moses'

complaint to God. (10-23)

1-9 God will own his people, though poor and despised, and will

find a time to plead their cause. Pharaoh treated all he had

heard with contempt. He had no knowledge of Jehovah, no fear of

him, no love to him, and therefore refused to obey him. Thus

Pharaoh's pride, ambition, covetousness, and political

knowledge, hardened him to his own destruction. What Moses and

Aaron ask is very reasonable, only to go three days' journey

into the desert, and that on a good errand. We will sacrifice

unto the Lord our God. Pharaoh was very unreasonable, in saying

that the people were idle, and therefore talked of going to

sacrifice. He thus misrepresents them, that he might have a

pretence to add to their burdens. To this day we find many who

are more disposed to find fault with their neighbours, for

spending in the service of God a few hours spared from their

wordly business, than to blame others, who give twice the time

to sinful pleasures. Pharaoh's command was barbarous. Moses and

Aaron themselves must get to the burdens. Persecutors take

pleasure in putting contempt and hardship upon ministers. The

usual tale of bricks must be made, without the usual allowance

of straw to mix with the clay. Thus more work was to be laid

upon the men, which, if they performed, they would be broken

with labour; and if not, they would be punished.
10-23 The Egyptian task-masters were very severe. See what need

we have to pray that we may be delivered from wicked men. The

head-workmen justly complained to Pharaoh: but he taunted them.

The malice of Satan has often represented the service and

worship of God, as fit employment only for those who have

nothing else to do, and the business only of the idle; whereas,

it is the duty of those who are most busy in the world. Those

who are diligent in doing sacrifice to the Lord, will, before

God, escape the doom of the slothful servant, though with men

they do not. The Israelites should have humbled themselves

before God, and have taken to themselves the shame of their sin;

but instead of that, they quarrel with those who were to be

their deliverers. Moses returned to the Lord. He knew that what

he had said and done, was by God's direction; and therefore

appeals to him. When we find ourselves at any time perplexed in

the way of our duty, we ought to go to God, and lay open our

case before him by fervent prayer. Disappointments in our work

must not drive us from our God, but still we must ponder why

they are sent.
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