Exodus 2:23 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Exodus 2:23, NIV: "During that long period, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God."

Exodus 2:23, ESV: "During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God."

Exodus 2:23, KJV: "And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage."

Exodus 2:23, NASB: "Now it came about in the course of those many days that the king of Egypt died. And the sons of Israel groaned because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry for help because of their bondage ascended to God."

Exodus 2:23, NLT: "Years passed, and the king of Egypt died. But the Israelites continued to groan under their burden of slavery. They cried out for help, and their cry rose up to God."

Exodus 2:23, CSB: "After a long time, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned because of their difficult labor; and they cried out; and their cry for help because of the difficult labor ascended to God."

What does Exodus 2:23 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Verses 23 through 25 briefly look back on the situation of the fellow Jews Moses has left in Egypt. The "many days" described here is a period of some forty years (Acts 7:30). During this time, the king of Egypt who sought to put Moses to death had died. The slavery the Jews experienced continued and seems to have gotten even worse. The Jews responded in two ways. First, they are said to have "groaned," implying an expression of pain in their slavery. They complained or made a plea and God heard them (Exodus 2:24). Later, God would tell Moses He has "heard the groaning of the people" (Exodus 6:5) and remembered His covenant to help.

Second, The Hebrews prayed, and God heard that prayer. This "crying out" is both an ongoing call and also took place on specific occasions (Exodus 14:10). This pattern would repeat in the book of Judges, where the people would "cry out" when in trouble and receive the help of the Lord (Judges 3:9, 15; 4:3; 6:6¬–7).

The plight of the nation of Israel, and God's response, are important when interpreting the Bible's stance on slavery. Modern audiences typically think of the pre-Civil War United States when encountering the word "slavery." This brings to mind racial, inhuman, permanent, inherited, lifelong, brutal drudgery; the concept is also known as "chattel slavery." This is exactly what the people of Israel are experiencing under Egypt, and it's a practice God will fiercely judge in the coming chapters. Not all servitude mentioned in the Bible is exactly the same, and neither is it all morally equal.