Context: God, hearing the cry of the oppressed Hebrews in Egypt, commissioned Moses to deliver them from bondage. Fearfully anticipating several problems involved in this task, Moses was assured by God in respect to each of them. To convince his own people that he was their divinely appointed deliverer, he was assured the power to perform three specific miracles as signs. Because Moses was not eloquent and feared a confrontation with Pharaoh, he was assured divine assistance and given Aaron to be his spokesman. In regard to his greatest apprehension, that Pharaoh would ignore his request that the Hebrews be granted their freedom, God assured him of divine intervention. Moses specifically was commanded to ask of Pharaoh that his people be allowed to worship their God for a period of three days, during which time they were to be released from their duties. This request only angered Pharaoh, however, and, thinking it to be an attempt by the Hebrews to shirk their duties, responded by increasing their labor. To the taskmasters went his command:
Ye shall no more give the people straw to make brick, as heretofore: let them go and gather straw for themselves.
And the tale of the bricks, which they did make heretofore, ye shall lay upon them: ye shall not diminish ought thereof: for they be idle; therefore they cry, saying, Let us go and sacrifice to our God.