Shemot–Hardened, Part 2

And Pharaoh said [to Moses and Aaron], “Behold the people of the land now are many, and you would make them cease* from their burdens.”  (Ex. 5:5)

Which is to say,”The Hebrew workforce has become vast; the Egyptian economy has come to depend on this multitude of slave laborers and can scarcely afford an interruption of their work.”  The desire to maintain wealth can harden the heart.

Or perhaps, “This vast alien population will become a threat to us as soon as we remove their yoke of servitude.” Fear of the other can harden the heart.

*and yes, “cease” translates shabbat.

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