The opening verses of week’s study from Parashat Shemot (Shemot / Exodus 1:1-6:1) detail the sons of Yisrael who had come to Mitzrayim (Egypt), that Yoseph and all of his brothers had passed away and a new king arose in Mitzrayim that did not know Yoseph (1:1-7). This king of Mitzrayim feared the people of Yisrael and placed them into bondage (slavery) (1:9-14). The narrative continues with Pharaoh commanding that all boys of the Hebrew’s are to be killed, and it is at this time Moshe is born (1:15-2:10). According to the biblical text, Moshe grew up knowing who he was, born from the Hebrews (2:11-12) and one day he protected his brethren by killing an Egyptian man. As a result of this he was afraid for his life and fled from Mitzrayim and Pharaoh to Midian (2:13-15). In Midian Moshe married Zipporah (2:21-22) and worked as a shepherd. At this time God heard the cry of His people and remembers the covenant that he made with Avraham, Yitzchak (Isaac), and Yaakov (Jacob) and God calls to Moshe from the midst of the burning bush on the mountain of Horeb (2:24-3:10). Moshe fears Pharaoh (3:11-22-4:1) and the Lord God gives him signs, the staff that turns into a serpent (4:3-5) and a hand covered in Tzaraat(4:6-8). The Lord then says וְהָיָה אִם-לֹא יַאֲמִינוּ לָךְ וְלֹא יִשְׁמְעוּ לְקֹל הָאֹת הָרִאשׁוֹן וְהֶאֱמִינוּ לְקֹל הָאֹת הָאַחֲרוֹן 4:8 ‘If they will not believe you or heed the witness of the first sign, they may believe the witness of the last sign. (NASB) The Lord tells Moshe that He will be with him and his brother Aharon and give them words to speak to Pharaoh and the ability to perform signs before him and all of Mitzrayim. Moshe went to Goshen, assembled all of the elders of the sons of Yisrael and spoke to them the words of the Lord and performed the signs of the staff/serpent and leprous hand before the people. The people believed Moshe and bowed down and worshiped the Lord. Moshe and Aharon then spoke to Pharaoh but Pharaoh would not let the people go and Pharaoh said the people are lazy in their request to make a sacrifice to their God (5:7-9). As a result he increased their labor and the people cried out to Moshe and to God.
פרשת שמות ספר שמות פרק א פסוק ט-י
ט וַיֹּאמֶר אֶל-עַמּוֹ הִנֵּה עַם בְּנֵי יִשְֹרָאֵל רַב וְעָצוּם מִמֶּנּוּ: י הָבָה נִּתְחַכְּמָה לוֹ פֶּן-יִרְבֶּה וְהָיָה כִּי-תִקְרֶאנָה מִלְחָמָה וְנוֹסַף גַּם-הוּא עַל-שֹֹנְאֵינוּ וְנִלְחַם-בָּנוּ וְעָלָה מִן-הָאָרֶץ:
פרשת שמות ספר שמות פרק ה, ו פסוק כב-כג, א
כב וַיָּשָׁב מֹשֶׁה אֶל-יְהוָֹה וַיֹּאמַר אֲדֹנָי לָמָה הֲרֵעֹתָה לָעָם הַזֶּה לָמָּה זֶּה שְׁלַחְתָּנִי: כג וּמֵאָז בָּאתִי אֶל-פַּרְעֹה לְדַבֵּר בִּשְׁמֶךָ הֵרַע לָעָם הַזֶּה וְהַצֵּל לֹא-הִצַּלְתָּ אֶת-עַמֶּךָ: א וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָֹה אֶל-מֹשֶׁה עַתָּה תִרְאֶה אֲשֶׁר אֶעֱשֶֹה לְפַרְעֹה כִּי בְיָד חֲזָקָה יְשַׁלְּחֵם וּבְיָד חֲזָקָה יְגָרֲשֵׁם מֵאַרְצוֹ:
The last verse of this week’s study reveals to us that the purpose for the increase in labor was so that the Lord will demonstrate His power and authority and Pharaoh would drive out the people from the land. An interesting parallel is drawn here, at the beginning of the Parashah, Pharaoh enslaves the children of Yisrael in order to keep them from leaving the land, but in the end God will cause Pharaoh to drive them out. These Scriptures reveal that in order to be the people of God, we must be driven from the bondage (slavery) to sin in order to be holy and righteous before the Lord. Is there sin in your life you are holding onto that God wants you to be driven away from and set free? Read More here.