5:8 But you must require 1 of them the same quota of bricks that they were making before. 2 Do not reduce it, for they are slackers. 3 That is why they are crying, ‘Let us go sacrifice to our God.’
5:18 So now, get back to work! 4 You will not be given straw, but you must still produce 5 your quota 6 of bricks!”
1 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.”
2 tn Heb “yesterday and three days ago” or “yesterday and before that” is idiomatic for “previously” or “in the past.”
3 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.
4 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.”
5 tn The imperfect תִּתֵּנּוּ (tittennu) is here taken as an obligatory imperfect: “you must give” or “you must produce.”
6 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).