Why did God allow the Israelites to plunder the Egyptians?

This page is also available in: العربية (Arabic)

God called Moses at the burning Bush in the desert. And He foretold of what He will do to the Egyptians for oppressing the Israelites:

“But I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not even by a mighty hand. 20 So I will stretch out My hand and strike Egypt with all My wonders which I will do in its midst; and after that he will let you go.  And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and it shall be, when you go, that you shall not go empty-handed.  But every woman shall ask of her neighbor, namely, of her who dwells near her house, articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing; and you shall put them on your sons and on your daughters. So you shall plunder the Egyptians” (Exodus 3:19-22).

Compensation for labor

Before the Exodus, the Israelites were instructed to ask for gifts from their Egyptian neighbors. This contribution would be necessary for expenses of the long journey. The Hebrews had toiled for many decades as slaves, to the profit of the Egyptians. And their masters’ taxes had been lighter in proportion to the value of the free labor of the Hebrews.

And God promised, “I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, and it shall be, when you go, that you shall not go empty-handed. But every woman shall ask of her neighbor, namely, of her who dwells near her house, articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing; and you shall put them on your sons and on your daughters. So you shall plunder the Egyptians” (Exodus 3:21-22; 12:35-36).

The Hebrews were certainly entitled to what would in reality be but a small reward for their long years of labor. They worked under stern and unfair regime that clearly took advantage of them. The Egyptians had spoiled the Hebrews, and now the Hebrews carried off the spoil of Egypt as partial compensation.

God gave the Israelite’s favor

God disposed favor in the hearts of Egyptians toward the Israelites (v. 21). But the Egyptians were acting of their own free will. They gave the Israelites gifts. God may have given favor in the minds of the Egyptians to His children, but He didn’t force them to give. The Egyptians could have chosen to ignore their inclination towards giving the Hebrews what they asked for.

But in reality, the Egyptians also wanted to please God that have impressed them with His might and power. In giving gifts to the Hebrews, the Egyptians were giving peace offerings to the God of Israel and seeking His blessings. Their gifts were an atonement for their mistreatment to His people

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

This page is also available in: العربية (Arabic)

Subscribe to our Weekly Updates:

Get our latest answers straight to your inbox when you subscribe here.

You May Also Like