After a long time, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned because of their difficult labor, and they cried out; and their cry for help ascended to God because of the difficult labor.
Moses told this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their broken spirit and hard labor.
Then the LORD said to Abram, "Know this for certain: Your offspring will be strangers in a land that does not belong to them; they will be enslaved and oppressed 400 years.
Our fathers went down to Egypt, and we lived in Egypt many years, but the Egyptians treated us and our fathers badly.
But the LORD selected you and brought you out of Egypt's iron furnace to be a people for His inheritance, as you are today.
But the Egyptians mistreated and afflicted us, and forced us to do hard labor.
"Don't call me Naomi. Call me Mara," she answered, "for the Almighty has made me very bitter.
He dealt deceitfully with our race and oppressed our forefathers by making them leave their infants outside so they wouldn't survive.
I have certainly seen the oppression of My people in Egypt; I have heard their groaning and have come down to rescue them. And now, come, I will send you to Egypt.
While you lie among the sheepfolds, the wings of a dove are covered with silver, and its feathers with glistening gold.
"I relieved his shoulder from the burden; his hands were freed from [carrying] the basket.
Draw water for the siege; strengthen your fortresses. Step into the clay and tread the mortar; take hold of the brick-mold!
was with rigour
They worked the Israelites ruthlessly
"Don't continue to supply the people with straw for making bricks, as before. They must go and gather straw for themselves.
But require the same quota of bricks from them as they were making before; do not reduce it. For they are slackers-- that is why they are crying out, 'Let us go and sacrifice to our God.'
Impose heavier work on the men. Then they will be occupied with it and not pay attention to deceptive words."
So the overseers and foremen of the people went out and said to them, "This is what Pharaoh says: 'I am not giving you straw.
Go get straw yourselves wherever you can find it, but there will be no reduction at all in your workload.'"
So the people scattered throughout the land of Egypt to gather stubble for straw.
The overseers insisted, "Finish your assigned work each day, just as [you did] when straw was [provided]."
Then the Israelite foremen, whom Pharaoh's slave drivers had set over the people, were beaten and asked, "Why haven't you finished making your prescribed number of bricks yesterday or today, as [you did] before?"
So the Israelite foremen went in and cried for help to Pharaoh: "Why are you treating your servants this way?
No straw has been given to your servants, yet they say to us, 'Make bricks!' Look, your servants are being beaten, but it is your own people who are at fault."
But he said, "You are slackers. Slackers! That is why you are saying, 'Let us go sacrifice to the LORD.'
Now get to work. No straw will be given to you, but you must produce the same quantity of bricks."
The Israelite foremen saw that they were in trouble when they were told, "You cannot reduce your daily quota of bricks."
When they left Pharaoh, they confronted Moses and Aaron, who stood [waiting] to meet them.
"May the LORD take note of you and judge," they said to them, "because you have made us reek in front of Pharaoh and his officials-- putting a sword in their hand to kill us!"
I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery.
You are not to rule over them harshly but fear your God.
You may leave them to your sons after you to inherit as property; you can make them slaves for life. But concerning your brothers, the Israelites, you must not rule over one another harshly.
He will stay with him like a man hired year by year. A foreign owner is not to rule over him harshly in your sight.
It struck the peoples in anger with unceasing blows. It subdued the nations in rage with relentless persecution.
I will put it into the hands of your tormenters, who said to you: Lie down, so we can walk over you. You made your back like the ground, and like a street for those who walk on it.
So now what have I here"-- the LORD's declaration-- "that My people are taken away for nothing? Its rulers wail"-- the LORD's declaration-- "and My name is continually blasphemed all day long.
Isn't the fast I choose: To break the chains of wickedness, to untie the ropes of the yoke, to set the oppressed free, and to tear off every yoke?
This is what the LORD of Hosts says: Israelites and Judeans alike have been oppressed. All their captors hold them fast; they refuse to release them.
Their Redeemer is strong; the LORD of Hosts is His name. He will fervently plead their case so that He might bring rest to the earth but turmoil to those who live in Babylon.
You eat the flesh of my people after you strip their skin from them and break their bones. You chop them up like flesh for the cooking pot, like meat in a caldron."