Exodus 5:2

2 Pharaoh said, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the LORD and I will not let Israel go.”

Exodus 5:2 in Other Translations

KJV
2 And Pharaoh said, Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go.
ESV
2 But Pharaoh said, "Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, and moreover, I will not let Israel go."
NLT
2 “Is that so?” retorted Pharaoh. “And who is the LORD ? Why should I listen to him and let Israel go? I don’t know the LORD, and I will not let Israel go.”
MSG
2 Pharaoh said, "And who is God that I should listen to him and send Israel off? I know nothing of this so-called 'God' and I'm certainly not going to send Israel off."
CSB
2 But Pharaoh responded, "Who is the Lord that I should obey Him by letting Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and what's more, I will not let Israel go."

Exodus 5:2 Meaning and Commentary

Exodus 5:2

And Pharaoh said, who is the Lord
Jehovah, they made mention of, which, whether he took it for the name of a deity, or of a king, whose ambassadors they declared themselves to be, was a name he had never heard of before; and this being expressed and pronounced, shows that this name is not ineffable, or unlawful to be pronounced, as say the Jews:

that I should obey his voice, to let Israel go?
he knew of no superior monarch to him, whose orders he was obliged to obey in any respect, and particularly in this, the dismission of the people of Israel out of his land, though it was but for a short time:

I know not the Lord;
who this Jehovah is, that made this demand, and required Israel's dismission. The Targum of Jonathan paraphrases it,

``I have not found the name of Jehovah written in the book of angels, I am not afraid of him.''

An Egyptian book, in which, the paraphrast supposes, were written the names of gods and of angels; and no such name being there, he was the more bold and insolent:

neither will I let Israel go;
determining he would pay no regard to such an unknown Deity, or King, be he who he would.

Exodus 5:2 In-Context

1 Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘Let my people go, so that they may hold a festival to me in the wilderness.’ ”
2 Pharaoh said, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the LORD and I will not let Israel go.”
3 Then they said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Now let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the LORD our God, or he may strike us with plagues or with the sword.”
4 But the king of Egypt said, “Moses and Aaron, why are you taking the people away from their labor? Get back to your work!”
5 Then Pharaoh said, “Look, the people of the land are now numerous, and you are stopping them from working.”

Cross References 2

  • 1. Judges 2:10; 2 Kings 18:35; Job 21:15; Malachi 3:14
  • 2. Exodus 3:19