"Plundering" the Egyptians?

By the way, I have a question. I was reading in the newspaper yesterday an article about an Egyptian lawyer who wants to sue Israel and the Jews for stealing gold from them in the Exodus. The question is, why did God order them to do so? How could it be explained ethically (not lawfully)?

I think there are several misunderstandings here. Let me just quote what the Bible actually says.

Exodus 3:
 6  Then he said, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, 
    the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob." At this, Moses hid his 
    face, because he was afraid to look at God. 
 7  The LORD said, "I have indeed seen the misery of my people in
    Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave 
    drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. 
 8  So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the 
    Egyptians ...             
 9  And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have 
    seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. 

20  So I will stretch out my hand and strike the Egyptians with 
    all the wonders that I will perform among them. After that, 
    he will let you go. 
21  "And I will make the Egyptians favorably disposed toward this 
    people, so that when you leave you will not go empty-handed. 
22  Every woman is to ask her neighbor and any woman living in 
    her house for articles of silver and gold and for clothing, 
    which you will put on your sons and daughters. And so you will 
    plunder the Egyptians." 

Exodus 11:
 2  Tell the people that men and women alike are to ask their 
    neighbors for articles of silver and gold." 
 3  (The LORD made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the 
    people, and Moses himself was highly regarded in Egypt by 
    Pharaoh's officials and by the people.) 

Exodus 12:
35  The Israelites did as Moses instructed and asked the Egyptians 
    for articles of silver and gold and for clothing. 
36  The LORD had made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward 
    the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they 
    plundered the Egyptians. 


1. The Israelites didn't steal the gold. It was given voluntarily
   to them by the Egyptians. And it was an act of God in the hearts
   of the Egyptians. The word plundering is metaphorical indicating
   the great amount they received, but not that they took it with 
   force or without the knowledge of the Egyptians. It was not 

2. God commands also the Israelites (who should not mistreat their
   slaves/servants as they have been mistreated and oppressed in 
   Egypt) to NOT send them away empty-handed after their service, 
   but to generously supply them after their service. 
   The Israelits have been slaves of the Egytians for several 
   decades. Should they be send away empty-handed? God himself 
   sees to it that they do not leave poor. But, again, it is 
   important that it is a voluntary act. I don't see how anyone
   can sue on that basis.

Deuteronomy 15:
12  If a fellow Hebrew, a man or a woman, sells himself to you 
    and serves you six years, in the seventh year you must let 
    him go free. 
13  And when you release him, do not send him away empty-handed. 
14  Supply him liberally from your flock, your threshing floor 
    and your winepress. Give to him as the LORD your God has 
    blessed you. 
15  Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the LORD your God
    redeemed you. That is why I give you this command today. 
16  But if your servant says to you, "I do not want to leave you," 
    because he loves you and your family and is well off with you, 
17  then take an awl and push it through his ear lobe into the door, 
    and he will become your servant for life. Do the same for your 
18  Do not consider it a hardship to set your servant free, because 
    his service to you these six years has been worth twice as much 
    as that of a hired hand. And the LORD your God will bless you 
    in everything you do. 

I hope those passages and observations help and answer your question satisfactorily.

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