Moses Accepted As Leader

Moses returned to his father-in-law in Midian, and asked for his approval to return to his brethren in Egypt. Jethro gave him his blessing, and Moses set out for Egypt. G‑d then ordered Aaron to meet Moses. They met in the desert by Mount Horeb, where Moses told his older brother of the great Divine mission they were to carry out.

Back in Goshen, they visited the sages and leaders of the children of Israel. Having performed the miracles as G‑d had instructed Moses, they told the people of the good tidings. The children of Israel believed in the Divine mission of the sons of Amram, and new hopes and faith filled their hearts.

Moses and Aaron before Pharaoh

Moses was eighty years old, and his brother eighty-three, when they entered the palace of King Pharaoh. Fearlessly, they went past the heavy guard of men and wild animals that surrounded his inner chambers, and which permitted no unbidden visitor to enter. Nobody had ever been able to see the King of Egypt in person, and speak to him, except his astrologers and counsellors. Astonished and frightened by their sudden appearance, Pharaoh asked the two brothers what they wanted. The message sounded like a command: "Thus has the Lord G‑d of Israel said, `Let My people go, that they may feast to Me in the desert.' " Pharaoh haughtily refused, saying that he had never heard of the G‑d of the Israelites, and that His name was not registered in his lists of gods of all nations. He further accused Moses and Aaron of a conspiracy against the government, and of interference with the work of the Hebrew slaves. The miracles they performed in his presence did not greatly impress him, for his magicians could do almost as well.

On the same day Pharaoh ordered his supervisors to increase the demands on the children of Israel and to make their burden still heavier. If they had time to think of liberty and worship of G‑d and similar ideas, quite unbecoming of slaves, then they must be getting too much leisure, Pharaoh thought. Whereas they had been supplied with the raw materials heretofore, they now had not only to produce the same amount of labor, but in addition, they had to procure their own raw materials for the bricks. The children of Israel were physically unable to cope with such an impossible task, and they suffered even more than before. In desperation the children of Israel bitterly reproached Moses and Aaron for making their fate even worse, instead of helping them.

Deeply hurt and disappointed, Moses prayed to G‑d. G‑d consoled him and assured him that his mission eventually would be successful, but not before Pharaoh and all of Egypt would be smitten by terrible plagues, in order to be adequately punished for oppressing the children of Israel. The children of Israel would then also see and recognize their true and faithful G‑d.