And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not by a mighty hand.
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Augustine of Hippo
Accordingly on the one hand the Egyptians deserved being deceived, and on the other the people of Israel were then situated at such a level of morality, because of the age of the human race, that it would not be unworthy of them to deceive an enemy. It therefore came about that God commanded them (or, rather, permitted them because of their desire) to ask of the Egyptians gold and silver implements which these seekers of a kingdom as yet earthly were gazing upon longingly, even though they were not going to return them, and to take them as if they were going to return them. God did not want to be unjust in the matter of the reward for such lengthy hardship and labor—a reward adapted to the level of such souls; nor did he want to be unjust in the matter of the punishments of the Egyptians, whom appropriately enough he caused to lose what they were under obligation to pay. And so God is not a deceiver.
Whether then the reason was what I have said, or whether in the secret appointment of God there was some unknown reason for his telling the people by Moses to borrow things from the Egyptians and to take them away with them, this remains certain. This was said for some good reason and Moses could not lawfully have done otherwise than God told him, leaving to God the reason of the command, while the servant’s duty is to obey. Against Faustus, a Manichaean
The Lord commanded the Hebrews through Moses to take gold and silver vessels and garments from the Egyptians, and he added, “And you will despoil them.” The judgment implied in this command cannot be unjust. For it is a commandment of God. It was not to be judged but obeyed. For God knew how just his command was. It pertains to the servant obediently to do what was commanded.
He said to Moses, “Go and speak to Pharaoh, that he may let my people go, but I know that he will not let them go….” He manifests his divinity by foreseeing what is to happen and also his love for man by offering to the free will of man an opportunity to repent. .
The Egyptians put in a claim on the Hebrews for these gold and silver vessels. The Hebrews assert a counterclaim, alleging that by the bond of their respective fathers, attested by the written engagement of both parties, there were due to them the arrears of that laborious slavery of theirs for the bricks they had so painfully made and the cities and palaces which they had built. .