Then the slave drivers1 and the foremen went out and said to the people, "This is what Pharaoh says: 'I will not give you any more straw.
Go and get your own straw wherever you can find it, but your work will not be reduced2 at all.' "
So the people scattered all over Egypt to gather stubble to use for straw.
The slave drivers kept pressing them, saying, "Complete the work required of you for each day, just as when you had straw."
The Israelite foremen appointed by Pharaoh's slave drivers were beaten3 and were asked, "Why didn't you meet your quota of bricks yesterday or today, as before?"
Then the Israelite foremen went and appealed to Pharaoh: "Why have you treated your servants this way?
Your servants are given no straw, yet we are told, 'Make bricks!' Your servants are being beaten, but the fault is with your own people."
Pharaoh said, "Lazy, that's what you are--lazy!4 That is why you keep saying, 'Let us go and sacrifice to the LORD.'
Now get to work.5 You will not be given any straw, yet you must produce your full quota of bricks."
The Israelite foremen realized they were in trouble when they were told, "You are not to reduce the number of bricks required of you for each day."
When they left Pharaoh, they found Moses and Aaron waiting to meet them,
and they said, "May the LORD look upon you and judge6 you! You have made us a stench7 to Pharaoh and his officials and have put a sword8 in their hand to kill us."9
Moses returned to the LORD and said, "O Lord, why have you brought trouble upon this people?10 Is this why you sent me?
Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble upon this people, and you have not rescued11 your people at all."