Exodus 5:18
Go therefore now, and work; for there shall no straw be given you, yet shall you deliver the tale of bricks.
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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.Ye are idle - The old Egyptian language abounds in epithets which show contempt for idleness. The charge was equally offensive and ingenious; one which would be readily believed by Egyptians who knew how much public and private labors were impeded by festivals and other religious ceremonies. Among the great sins which, according to Egyptian belief, involved condemnation in the final judgment, idleness is twice mentioned. 13-19. And the taskmasters hasted them … officers … beaten—As the nearest fields were bared and the people had to go farther for stubble, it was impossible for them to meet the demand by the usual tale of bricks. "The beating of the officers is just what might have been expected from an Eastern tyrant, especially in the valley of the Nile, as it appears from the monuments, that ancient Egypt, like modern China, was principally governed by the stick" [Taylor]. "The mode of beating was by the offender being laid flat on the ground and generally held by the hands and feet while the chastisement was administered" [Wilkinson]. (De 25:2). A picture representing the Hebrews on a brick field, exactly as described in this chapter, was found in an Egyptian tomb at Thebes. No text from Poole on this verse. Go therefore now, and work,.... Go about your business, attend to your work, even you officers, as well as your people; work yourselves, as well as see that your people do theirs, and do not trouble me with such impertinent applications:

for there shall no straw be given you, yet shall ye deliver the tale of bricks; the usual number of bricks, as the Vulgate Latin version has it; though in Exodus 5:8, it is rendered in that version the measure of bricks, and so another word is translated by them, Exodus 5:14, and perhaps both may be intended, both number and measure; that is, that it was expected and insisted on that they delivered the full number of bricks they used to make, and these of full measure; for bricks were made of different measures, as Vitruvius (p) observes; some among the bricks were of two hands' breadth, others of four, and a third sort of five. See Gill on Exodus 5:7.

(p) Ut supra. (Vide Vitruvium de Architectura, l. 2. c. 3. p. 46)

Go therefore now, and work; for there shall no straw be given you, yet shall ye deliver the tale of bricks.
Verse 18. - Go therefore now and work - i.e. "Off with you to the brickfields at once, and get to your own special work of superintendence, which you are neglecting so long as you remain here. It is useless to remain. I reject both of your requests. Straw shall not be given; and the tale of bricks required shall be no less." ק לקשׁשׁ: "to gather stubble for straw;" not "stubble for, in the sense of instead of straw," for ל is not equivalent to תּחת but to gather the stubble left in the fields for the chopped straw required for the bricks.
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