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Exodus 5:18-19

Context
5:18 So now, get back to work! 1  You will not be given straw, but you must still produce 2  your quota 3  of bricks!” 5:19 The Israelite foremen saw 4  that they 5  were in trouble when they were told, 6  “You must not reduce the daily quota of your bricks.”

1 tn The text has two imperatives: “go, work.” They may be used together to convey one complex idea (so a use of hendiadys): “go back to work.”

2 tn The imperfect תִּתֵּנּוּ (tittennu) is here taken as an obligatory imperfect: “you must give” or “you must produce.”

3 sn B. Jacob is amazed at the wealth of this tyrant’s vocabulary in describing the work of others. Here, תֹכֶן (tokhen) is another word for “quota” of bricks, the fifth word used to describe their duty (Exodus, 137).

4 tn The common Hebrew verb translated “saw,” like the common English verb for seeing, is also used to refer to mental perception and understanding, as in the question “See what I mean?” The foremen understood how difficult things would be under this ruling.

5 tn The text has the sign of the accusative with a suffix and then a prepositional phrase: אֹתָם בְּרָע (’otam bÿra’), meaning something like “[they saw] them in trouble” or “themselves in trouble.” Gesenius shows a few examples where the accusative of the reflexive pronoun is represented by the sign of the accusative with a suffix, and these with marked emphasis (GKC 439 §135.k).

6 tn The clause “when they were told” translates לֵאמֹר (lemor), which usually simply means “saying.” The thing that was said was clearly the decree that was given to them.



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