The leaders of Israel, heads of their ancestral houses, the leaders of the tribes, who were over those who were enrolled, made offerings.  (Num. 7:2)

According to the midrash, these leaders were none other the foremen over the Israelites who worked in Pharoah’s brickyard.  These foremen were beaten when the Israelites did you not make the required quota of bricks (Exodus 5:14).  They did not, however, pass the blame along to the rest of the people, but protested the treatment.   According to the midrash, “These officers were wont to say: it is better for us to be beaten rather than that the rest of the people should suffer.”  Presenting the offering on behalf of their tribes is construed by the midrash as their reward.

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