1 And afterward Moses and Aaron went in, and told Pharaoh, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness.

Pharaoh is given his first chance to free the Israelites. Moses and Aaron don’t waste any time in lengthy preamble, they get straight to the point, and they don’t show any special reverence to the Pharaoh, either. It is also worth noting that they do not speak on their own authority, it is clear right from the beginning that this demand is from “the Lord God of Israel.”

Something that I never noticed in my previous readings was that they were approaching Pharaoh under false pretenses. They told Pharaoh that they simply meant to have a feast in the wilderness, after which they would return, but clearly they didn’t intend to ever come back! Further on in the story it will become apparent that Pharaoh was perfectly aware of what their real purpose was, so it wouldn’t be accurate to say that he was actually tricked, but it was false pretenses still the same.

My understanding of this is that the Lord was not content to just free captive Israel, He was here to repay the many crimes that the Israelites had suffered at the hands of the Egyptians, and He would do so by cursing them, by plundering their wealth, and by slaying all their firstborn. Pushing the Pharaoh to agree to something that he knew was a trick was the final step for the Lord’s utter demoralization of the Egyptian people. It was a recompense for the earlier generations that had welcomed the Israelites with open arms, but then turned that gift into a punishment. Frankly, this is a side of God we don’t often consider, but the fact is He is a jealous God, and He does demand equal retribution for our crimes.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s