Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart:
Exodus 5:1-9 (ESV)
Making Bricks Without Straw
5 Afterward Moses and Aaron went and said to Pharaoh, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness.’” 2 But Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and moreover, I will not let Israel go.” 3 Then they said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please let us go a three days’ journey into the wilderness that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God, lest he fall upon us with pestilence or with the sword.” 4 But the king of Egypt said to them, “Moses and Aaron, why do you take the people away from their work? Get back to your burdens.” 5 And Pharaoh said, “Behold, the people of the land are now many, and you make them rest from their burdens!” 6 The same day Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters of the people and their foremen, 7 “You shall no longer give the people straw to make bricks, as in the past; let them go and gather straw for themselves. 8 But the number of bricks that they made in the past you shall impose on them, you shall by no means reduce it, for they are idle. Therefore they cry, ‘Let us go and offer sacrifice to our God.’ 9 Let heavier work be laid on the men that they may labor at it and pay no regard to lying words.”
After God heard the cries of the Israelite slaves, He called Moses to speak to Pharaoh, and win the release of God’s people. This took a long time because Pharaoh was determined to keep the slaves who had been so profitable for him. There are several important items in this section. In verse 5:2 Pharaoh says “I do not know the LORD.” This means that he does not think Moses’ God is important enough to respect. We live in a similar world, where many people work for people who do not respect God. They demand people work under great stress, inhumane hours, dangerous conditions, and demand that workers cut corners or do things which are morally questionable. If you question this, you are fired. It is all in the name of more money for the boss, the owner, the stockholders.