Exodus 5:2

2 But Pharaoh said, "Who is the Lord, that I should heed him and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and 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, "Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, "Let my people go, so that they may celebrate a festival to me in the wilderness.' "
2 But Pharaoh said, "Who is the Lord, that I should heed 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 revealed himself to us; let us go a three days' journey into the wilderness to sacrifice to the Lord our God, or he will fall upon us with pestilence or sword."
4 But the king of Egypt said to them, "Moses and Aaron, why are you taking the people away from their work? Get to your labors!"
5 Pharaoh continued, "Now they are more numerous than the people of the land and yet you want them to stop working!"