Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, "This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'Let my people go,1 so that they may hold a festival2 to me in the desert.' "
Pharaoh said, "Who is the LORD,3 that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the LORD and I will not let Israel go."43
Then they said, "The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Now let us take a three-day journey5 into the desert to offer sacrifices to the LORD our God, or he may strike us with plagues6 or with the sword."
But the king of Egypt said, "Moses and Aaron, why are you taking the people away from their labor?7 Get back to your work!"
Then Pharaoh said, "Look, the people of the land are now numerous,8 and you are stopping them from working."
That same day Pharaoh gave this order to the slave drivers9 and foremen in charge of the people:
"You are no longer to supply the people with straw for making bricks;10 let them go and gather their own straw.
But require them to make the same number of bricks as before; don't reduce the quota.11 They are lazy;12 that is why they are crying out, 'Let us go and sacrifice to our God.'139
Make the work harder for the men so that they keep working and pay no attention to lies."
Then the slave drivers14 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 reduced15 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 beaten16 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!17 That is why you keep saying, 'Let us go and sacrifice to the LORD.'
Now get to work.18 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 judge19 you! You have made us a stench20 to Pharaoh and his officials and have put a sword21 in their hand to kill us."22
Moses returned to the LORD and said, "O Lord, why have you brought trouble upon this people?23 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 rescued24 your people at all."