5:7 “You must no longer 1 give straw to the people for making bricks 2 as before. 3 Let them go 4 and collect straw for themselves. 5:8 But you must require 5 of them the same quota of bricks that they were making before. 6 Do not reduce it, for they are slackers. 7 That is why they are crying, ‘Let us go sacrifice to our God.’
5:14 The Israelite foremen whom Pharaoh’s slave masters had set over them were beaten and were asked, 8 “Why did you not complete your requirement for brickmaking as in the past – both yesterday and today?” 9
1 tn The construction is a verbal hendiadys: לֹא תֹאסִפוּן לָתֵת (lo’ to’sifun latet, “you must not add to give”). The imperfect tense acts adverbially, and the infinitive becomes the main verb of the clause: “you must no longer give.”
2 tn The expression “for making bricks” is made of the infinitive construct followed by its cognate accusative: לִלְבֹּן הַלְּבֵנִים (lilbon hallÿvenim).
3 tn Heb “as yesterday and three days ago” or “as yesterday and before that.” This is idiomatic for “as previously” or “as in the past.”
4 tn The jussive יֵלְכוּ (yelÿkhu) and its following sequential verb would have the force of decree and not permission or advice. He is telling them to go and find straw or stubble for the bricks.
5 tn The verb is the Qal imperfect of שִׂים (sim, “place, put”). The form could be an imperfect of instruction: “You will place upon them the quota.” Or, as here, it may be an obligatory imperfect: “You must place.”
6 tn Heb “yesterday and three days ago” or “yesterday and before that” is idiomatic for “previously” or “in the past.”
7 tn Or “loafers.” The form נִרְפִּים (nirpim) is derived from the verb רָפָה (rafah), meaning “to be weak, to let oneself go.” They had been letting the work go, Pharaoh reasoned, and being idle is why they had time to think about going to worship.
8 tn The quotation is introduced with the common word לֵאמֹר (le’mor, “saying”) and no mention of who said the question.
9 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.