Exodus 5:10
And the taskmasters of the people went out, and their officers, and they spoke to the people, saying, Thus said Pharaoh, I will not give you straw.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
5:10-23 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.Some of the most ancient buildings in Egypt were constructed of bricks not burned, but dried in the sun; they were made of clay, or more commonly of mud, mixed with straw chopped into small pieces. An immense quantity of straw must have been wanted for the works on which the Israelites were engaged, and their labors must have been more than doubled by this requisition. 8. tale—an appointed number of bricks. The materials of their labor were to be no longer supplied, and yet, as the same amount of produce was exacted daily, it is impossible to imagine more aggravated cruelty—a perfect specimen of Oriental despotism. No text from Poole on this verse. And the taskmasters of the people went out,.... From the presence of Pharaoh, out of his court, to the respective places where they were set to see that the Israelites did their work:

and their officers; the officers of the Israelites, who were under the taskmasters, and answerable to them for the work of the people, and their tale of bricks:

and they spake to the people, saying, thus saith Pharaoh, I will not give you straw; that is, any longer, as he had used to do.

And the taskmasters of the people went out, and their officers, and they spake to the people, saying, Thus saith Pharaoh, I will not give you straw.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
10. went out] viz. from the Pharaoh’s court.

10–12. The ‘taskmasters’ communicate the Pharaoh’s commands to the people.Verses 10-14. - The command of Pharaoh gone forth - no straw was to be provided for the Israelites, they were themselves to gather straw. The taskmasters could not soften the edict; they could only promulgate it (vers. 10, 11). And the Israelites could only choose between rebelling and endeavouring to obey. To rebel seemed hopeless; Moses and Aaron did not advise rebellion, and so the attempt was made to carry out Pharaoh's behest (ver. 12). But experience proved that obedience to it was impossible. Though the people did their best, and the native officers set over them did their best, and the Egyptian taskmasters hurried them on as much as possible (ver. 13), the result was that the tale of bricks fell short. Then, according to a barbarous practice said to be even now not unknown in Egypt (Kalisch), the native officers who Had not delivered in the appointed "tale of bricks" were bastinadoed, suffering agonies for no fault of their own (ver. 16), but because the people Had been set an impossible task. Verse 10. - The taskmasters... went out, i.e. quitted the royal palace to which they Had been summoned (ver. 6), and proceeded to the places where the people worked. The vicinity of Zoan was probably one great brickfield. Thus saith Pharaoh. The exact words of Pharaoh. (ver. 7) are not repeated, but modified, according to men's ordinary practice in similar cases. But Pharaoh would hear nothing of any worship. He believed that the wish was simply an excuse for procuring holidays for the people, or days of rest from their labours, and ordered the messengers off to their slave duties: "Get you unto your burdens." For as the people were very numerous, he would necessarily lose by their keeping holiday. He called the Israelites "the people of the land," not "as being his own property, because he was the lord of the land" (Baumgarten), but as the working class, "land-people," equivalent to "common people," in distinction from the ruling castes of the Egyptians (vid., Jeremiah 52:25 : Ezekiel 7:27).
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