Sh'mot 5:1-2 And afterward Moshe and Aharon came and said to Pharaoh, "Thus says the L-RD, the G-d of Israel, 'Let My people go that they may celebrate a feast to Me in the wilderness.'" But Pharaoh said, "Who is the L-RD that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the L-RD, and besides, I will not let Israel go."
Notice Pharaoh will not even allow them to leave for a few days, much less free them to leave to return to the Promised Land.
HaShem was hardening the heart of Pharaoh.
Who is the L-RD? - Many people today ask the same question. They do not know HaShem and therefore do not feel that they need to answer to Him. Just as Pharaoh will learn that even he must answer to the L-rd, each of us will also answer to Him someday.
Isaiah 45:21-23 "Declare and set forth your case; Indeed, let them consult together. Who has announced this from of old? Who has long since declared it? Is it not I, the L-RD? And there is no other G-d besides Me, A righteous G-d and a Savior; There is none except Me. "Turn to Me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth; For I am G-d, and there is no other. "I have sworn by Myself, The word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness And will not turn back, That to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance.
Philippians 2:9-11 Therefore also G-d highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Yeshua (Jesus) every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ) is L-rd, to the glory of G-d the Father.
Sh'mot 5:3-9 Then they said, "The G-d of the Hebrews has met with us. Please, let us go a three days' journey into the wilderness that we may sacrifice to the L-RD our G-d, lest He fall upon us with pestilence or with the sword." But the king of Egypt said to them, "Moshe and Aharon, why do you draw the people away from their work? Get back to your labors!" Again Pharaoh said, "Look, the people of the land are now many, and you would have them cease from their labors!" So the same day Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters over the people and their foremen, saying, "You are no longer to give the people straw to make brick as previously; let them go and gather straw for themselves. But the quota of bricks which they were making previously, you shall impose on them; you are not to reduce any of it. Because they are lazy, therefore they cry out, 'Let us go and sacrifice to our G-d.' "Let the labor be heavier on the men, and let them work at it that they may pay no attention to false words."
The Pharaoh's heart hardened.
Imagine how disheartened Aharon and Moshe must have been. Imagine having to face the people and tell them that not only are they not leaving their workload has increased.
Sh'mot 5:10-14 So the taskmasters of the people and their foremen went out and spoke to the people, saying, "Thus says Pharaoh, 'I am not going to give you any straw. 'You go and get straw for yourselves wherever you can find it; but none of your labor will be reduced.' " So the people scattered through all the land of Egypt to gather stubble for straw. And the taskmasters pressed them, saying, "Complete your work quota, your daily amount, just as when you had straw." Moreover, the foremen of the sons of Israel, whom Pharaoh's taskmasters had set over them, were beaten and were asked, "Why have you not completed your required amount either yesterday or today in making brick as previously?"
Often one 's manager at work requires the impossible with next to no resources to carry out the task to a successful completion. When this happens we can take comfort in knowing G-d cares about us and will ultimately get us through the situation.
The corresponding letter to this chapter is Hay - breath; Spirit of G-d.
Sh'mot 5:15-17 Then the foremen of the sons of Israel came and cried out to Pharaoh, saying, "Why do you deal this way with your servants? "There is no straw given to your servants, yet they keep saying to us, 'Make bricks!' And look, your servants are being beaten; but it is the fault of your own people." But he said, "You are lazy, very lazy; therefore you say, 'Let us go and sacrifice to the L-RD.'
The foremen of the sons of Israel - The foremen appear to be Israelites. The taskmasters appear to be Egyptians.
Is HaShem concerned with straw?
Yeshua said: Matthew 10:28-33 "And do not fear those who kill the body, but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in gehenna. "Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. "But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. "Therefore do not fear; you are of more value than many sparrows. "Everyone therefore who shall confess Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. "But whoever shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.