Good morning! Today (in chapters 5-7) we see the tensions that rise to the surface when “troublemakers” Moses and Aaron return to Egypt and start what will be a long process of turning up the heat on Pharaoh in order to free the Hebrew people.
When Aaron and Moses first arrive back in Egypt, they make the acquaintance of local Hebrew contacts and slaves. When they start lobbying for permission to go away with the tribes for three days, they experience how attached Egypt has become to the slavery status quo. The oppressors use one of the oldest tricks in the book for subjugating people: they attempt to divide the Hebrews from Moses and Aaron by making the slaves work so hard they resented the trouble that these outsiders had brought to light. Moses has second thoughts too about whether he really can serve as a liberator, in what has been a long line of doubting. He really does seem to have a glass jaw sometimes.
But Moses also has the confidence of God in him, and this makes the difference eventually. At God’s urging, Moses doubles down and tells the Hebrew people to believe a different vision of what’s going on. The God who has been faithful to generations earlier will liberate them from slavery and bring them to freedom. But the people disbelieve, and at the same time Moses doubts the power of his own tongue also. God perseveres however, and a genealogy interrupts the action at the end of chapter 6. You might be able to find greater meaning than this, but the one interesting tidbit I found in the genealogy is that both Moses and Aaron are descended from the house of Levi (which will later come to be known as a holy, God-serving tribe).
Finally in chapter 7 the first of what will be ten plagues starts to increase the pressure on Pharaoh to let the Hebrew people go. 80-year-old Moses (that doesn’t fit my mental picture of him at all!) conducts a minor miracle in Pharaoh’s court, turning Aaron’s staff into a snake which devours the snakes of the other court magicians. This is not persuasive enough for Pharaoh, so Moses raises the ante. However, the first plague (turning the waters of Egypt into blood) is similarly unimpressive to Pharaoh, even though it lasts a week. The plagues will mount in severity over the next few chapters, as the battle between what amounts to two divinities (Pharaoh and God) has graphic consequences for all of Egypt. Happy reading!
Please join discussion of this passage at the Daily Bible Facebook group, or comment below. Tomorrow’s passage is Exodus 8-10. Thanks for reading!