When Moshe (Moses) Initially Appeared Before Pharaoh, the Oppression of Israel Increased with Haamek Davar’s commentary to Exodus 6:1

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When Moshe (Moses) Initially Appeared Before Pharaoh, the Oppression of Israel Increased

Exodus 5:15 – Exodus 6:1 with Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan’s Translation

Haamek Davar’s commentary to Exodus 6:1 explains Hashem’s reply to Moshe

15 The Israelite foremen came and protested to Pharaoh. “Why are you

doing this to us?” they said. 16 “We are no longer given straw, but we are told

to make bricks. We are the ones being flogged, but it is your people’s fault.”


17 “You are lazy!” retorted Pharaoh. “Lazy! That’s why you are saying that

you want to sacrifice to God. 18 Now go! Get to work! You will not be given

any straw, but you must deliver your quota of bricks.”


19 The Israelite foremen realized that they were in serious trouble. They

had been clearly told that they could not reduce their daily brick quota.


20 When they were leaving Pharaoh, [the foremen] encountered Moses and

Aaron waiting to meet them. 21 “Let God look at you and be your Judge,”

they said. “You have destroyed our reputation with Pharaoh and his

advisors. You have placed a sword to kill us in their hands.’’


22 Moses returned to God and said, “O Lord, why do You mistreat Your

people? Why did You send me? 23 As soon as I came to Pharaoh to speak in

Your name, he made things worse for these people. You have done nothing to

help Your people.”


1 God said to Moses, “Now you will begin to see what I will do to

Pharaoh. He will be forced to let them go. [Not only that, but] he will be

forced to drive them out of his land.”

Haamek Davar’s Commentary to Exodus 6:1

Now you will begin to see. Not like you think that this evil is just for their harm and not for their benefit and because of this you make a commotion over “the hiding of the face”; not so is the matter, rather specifically now you will begin to see, that by the matter that they did evil to Israel, the time of redemption became near and it can be by means of a miracle, that which was not possible beforehand; but today you will begin to see, with a mighty hand, against the will of Pharaoh  and with a might hand, against the will of Israel in accordance with Rashi’s commentary; and this is in accordance with what will be clarified in verse 6, that the meaning of a mighty hand is pestilence, that there was a pestilence against those of Israel that refused entirely to leave, and this is a reply against the claim of diminishing the belief of Israel to leave after seeing that the word of Hashem (to Pharaoh) caused them (initially) harm; regarding this he (Hashem) answered that nevertheless they would leave with a mighty hand. And Rashi explained, with a mighty hand of Pharaoh, and also this commentary is necessary by the term he will drive them out of his land. That is to say, towards those that procrastinate to leave.