3:18 “The elders 1 will listen 2 to you, and then you and the elders of Israel must go to the king of Egypt and tell him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has met 3 with us. So now, let us go 4 three days’ journey into the wilderness, so that we may sacrifice 5 to the Lord our God.’
1 tn Heb “And they will listen”; the referent (the elders) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
2 tn This is the combination of the verb שָׁמַע (shama’) followed by לְקֹלֶךָ (lÿqolekha), an idiomatic formation that means “listen to your voice,” which in turn implies a favorable response.
3 tn The verb נִקְרָה (niqra) has the idea of encountering in a sudden or unexpected way (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 25).
4 tn The form used here is the cohortative of הָלַךְ (halakh). It could be a resolve, but more likely before Pharaoh it is a request.
sn Was this a deceptive request if they were not planning on coming back? Since no one knows what the intent was, that question is not likely to be resolved. The request may have been intended to test the waters, so to speak – How did Pharaoh feel about the Israelites? Would he let them go and worship their God as they saw fit? In any case, it gave him the opportunity to grant to the Israelites a permission that other groups are known to have received (N. M. Sarna, Exodus [JPSTC], 19).
5 tn Here a cohortative with a vav (ו) follows a cohortative; the second one expresses purpose or result: “let us go…in order that we may.”