Summary: God begins a new phase of the plan when he frees Israel from Egypt, and he gives them a new name to go with it.
God commanded Moses to demand the Israelites’ release from Pharaoh, but Moses feels inadequate, so God grants that Aaron will speak for him:
And the LORD said to Aaron, Go into the wilderness to meet Moses. And he went, and met him in the mount of God, and kissed him. 28And Moses told Aaron all the words of the LORD who had sent him, and all the signs which he had commanded him. 29And Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel: 30And Aaron spake all the words which the LORD had spoken unto Moses, and did the signs in the sight of the people. 31And the people believed: and when they heard that the LORD had visited the children of Israel, and that he had looked upon their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshipped.
The story of the Exodus begins. God’s people believe the signs and worship God for their upcoming deliverance. I imagine Moses and Aaron are feeling pretty good after this. But if they’re thinking that it’s going to be a breeze they’re about to get a different reaction from Pharaoh:
5:1And afterward Moses and Aaron went in, and told Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness. 2And Pharaoh said, Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go.
The people worshipped because they knew Moses’ God, but Pharaoh didn’t care at all. He had his own Egyptian gods, and he wasn’t afraid of the God of the Hebrews.
But even more than that, the Pharaohs were thought to be the physical manifestation of Horus. Pharaoh and all his people thought he was a god! This, of course, is his downfall, and the reason for his destruction.
3And they said, The God of the Hebrews hath met with us: let us go, we pray thee, three days’ journey into the desert, and sacrifice unto the LORD our God; lest he fall upon us with pestilence, or with the sword.
It’s interesting to me that the people feared the very things that would happen to the Egyptians. They believed that disobedience would end in punishment, so they begged Pharaoh to set them free.
4And the king of Egypt said unto them, Wherefore do ye, Moses and Aaron, let the people from their works? get you unto your burdens. 5And Pharaoh said, Behold, the people of the land now are many, and ye make them rest from their burdens. 6And Pharaoh commanded the same day the taskmasters of the people, and their officers, saying, 7Ye shall no more give the people straw to make brick, as heretofore: let them go and gather straw for themselves. 8And 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. 9Let there more work be laid upon the men, that they may labour therein; and let them not regard vain words. 10And the taskmasters of the people went out, and their officers, and they spake to the people, saying, Thus saith Pharaoh, I will not give you straw. 11Go ye, get you straw where ye can find it: yet not ought of your work shall be diminished. 12So the people were scattered abroad throughout all the land of Egypt to gather stubble instead of straw. 13And the taskmasters hasted them, saying, Fulfil your works, your daily tasks, as when there was straw. 14And the officers of the children of Israel, which Pharaoh’s taskmasters had set over them, were beaten, and demanded, Wherefore have ye not fulfilled your task in making brick both yesterday and to day, as heretofore?
Pharaoh's solution is to call them lazy and increase their tasks. If they didn’t have so much time to sit around then they wouldn’t be talking about going out into the wilderness. His demand is simple: they’ll make the same number of bricks as before, but now they have to produce their own materials as well.
15Then the officers of the children of Israel came and cried unto Pharaoh, saying, Wherefore dealest thou thus with thy servants? 16There is no straw given unto thy servants, and they say to us, Make brick: and, behold, thy servants are beaten; but the fault is in thine own people. 17But he said, Ye are idle, ye are idle: therefore ye say, Let us go and do sacrifice to the LORD. 18Go therefore now, and work; for there shall no straw be given you, yet shall ye deliver the tale of bricks.