The Children's Bible
Pharaoh The Stubborn Ruler
hen Jehovah said to Aaron, "Go into the wilderness to meet Moses." So he went and met him on the mountain of God and kissed him. And Moses told Aaron all that Jehovah had sent him to declare. So Moses and Aaron gathered all the leaders of the Israelites, and Aaron repeated all the words which Jehovah had spoken to Moses. The people believed; and when they heard that Jehovah had remembered the Israelites and that he had seen their suffering, they bowed their heads and worshipped.
Then Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said to him, "Jehovah, the God of Israel commands, 'Let my people go that they may hold a feast in my honor in the wilderness.'" But Pharaoh said, "Who is Jehovah that I should obey his command to let Israel go? I do not know Jehovah, and I will not let Israel go." They said, "The God of the Hebrews has appeared to us; let us go three days' journey into the wilderness that we may offer a sacrifice to Jehovah our God, that he may not attack us with pestilence or with the sword." But the king of Egypt replied, "Moses and Aaron, why do you try to turn the people from their work? Go to your tasks!"
The same day Pharaoh gave this command to the taskmasters who were over the people: "You shall no longer give the people straw for making bricks as before. Let them go and gather straw for themselves. But you shall demand of them the same number of bricks that they have been making before; you shall not lessen the number at all, for they are lazy; that is why they cry out, 'Let us go and offer a sacrifice to our God.' Let heavier work be laid upon the men, that they may be kept so busy that they will not pay attention to lying words."
So the taskmasters who were over the people went out and said to them, "This is Pharaoh's order, 'I will no longer give you straw. Go yourselves, get straw wherever you can find it; but your work shall not be made less.'" So the people were scattered over all the land of Egypt to gather stubble for straw. The taskmasters urged them on, saying, "You must finish your daily task just as when there was straw." The overseers of the Israelites, whom Pharaoh's taskmasters had put over them, were also beaten and asked, "Why have you not finished to-day as many bricks as yesterday?"
Then the overseers of the Israelites went to Pharaoh and said, "Why do you deal in this way with your servants? No straw is given to your servants, and yet they say to us, 'Make bricks.' See how your servants are beaten and how you wrong your people." But he said, "You are lazy, you are lazy; therefore you say, 'Let us go and offer a sacrifice to Jehovah.' Now go and work, for no straw shall be given you; yet you must make the same number of bricks."
Then Moses turned again to Jehovah and said, "Jehovah, why hast thou brought misfortune upon this people? Why is it that thou has sent me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in thy name he has wronged this people, and thou hast done nothing at all to rescue thy people."
Jehovah answered Moses, "Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh; for compelled by a mighty power he shall surely let them go, and compelled by a mighty power he shall drive them out of his land."