One of our questions today asked if the request of Pharaoh made by Moses and Aaron was reasonable? That is a very interesting question on a lot of levels. If the goal was to free the Israelite people from bondage, is it deception to ask for a 3-day pass?
But I believe, like everything else in the bible, this is here for a purpose. Let’s look deeper.
1. There was no law against worship. Egypt didn’t have a state religion, in fact the Egyptians worshiped many different gods and had feasts and feast days for many of them. Everything from the sun god to the god of the Nile, the frog god and the god of flies. They lacked not for gods and temples to worship them. So it was not unprecedented for people to worship.
2. Pharaoh had the authority to grant the request. As is evident later in Exodus 5, the slave drivers took their orders from Pharaoh. He gave the quotas and provided the raw materials for their work. He was the one in charge and the only one in Egypt with authority to grant this request.
3. It was not an ongoing or outlandish request. They were not asking for a stop to labor or a 50% reduction in work. They weren’t asking to go to work for Egypt’s competitors. They weren’t asking for major, ongoing concessions, just a respite for worship.
I think this is here so we can truly see Pharaoh’s heart and his view of the Israelite workers. If this request and response weren’t here, then we wouldn’t know. We may have thought that, while slavery is never good, but maybe things weren’t so bad. Maybe if they had just worked with Pharaoh he would have been supportive. Maybe if presented with the option, Pharaoh would have chosen God.
But, here we see the truth. Pharaoh didn’t know the Lord nor did he want to. Pharaoh did not care about the Hebrews. To Pharaoh, they were a resource. They were machines in the production or buildings. They were slaves. They weren’t people.
But to God, they were people. They would be His people and He would be their God.
The sacrifices they would offer to the Lord would be detestable to the Egyptians and they would stone the Israelites
Yes, they did not ask for Pharaoh to free the Egyptians, just to give them the opportunity to worship God by holding a festival in the wilderness a 3 day journey
I do not know the Lord – why are you taking them from their labor, get back to work, they are numerous (i.e., it would be a major impact to productivity to shut down for 3 days)
Slave drivers were Egyptians, Forement (overseers) were Hebrews
They were taking the brunt of the punishment and blame, they were being beaten, they were in a position of authority and honor (better to be foreman than making the bricks). They are “part of management”