5:14 The Israelite foremen whom Pharaoh’s slave masters had set over them were beaten and were asked, 1 “Why did you not complete your requirement for brickmaking as in the past – both yesterday and today?” 2
1 tn The quotation is introduced with the common word לֵאמֹר (le’mor, “saying”) and no mention of who said the question.
2 sn The idioms for time here are found also in 3:10 and 5:7-8. This question no doubt represents many accusations shouted at Israelites during the period when it was becoming obvious that, despite all their efforts, they were unable to meet their quotas as before.
3 sn The last section of this event tells the effect of the oppression on Israel, first on the people (15-19) and then on Moses and Aaron (20-21). The immediate reaction of Israel was to cry to Pharaoh – something they would learn should be directed to God. When Pharaoh rebuffed them harshly, they turned bitterly against their leaders.
4 tn The imperfect tense should be classified here with the progressive imperfect nuance, because the harsh treatment was a present reality.