The Fulfillment of God’s Promise to Avraham

In Breisheet 15:13-16, God makes a promise to Avraham stating: “Know with certainty that your offspring shall be aliens in a land that is not their own, they will serve them and they will oppress them for four hundred years. But also the nation that they shall serve, I shall judge and afterwards they shall leave with great wealth…And the fourth generation shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorite shall not yet be full until then.”


In Parshat Shmot 3:19-22, God instructs Moshe that “I know that the king of Egypt will not allow you to go except through a strong hand. I shall stretch out My hand and I shall strike Egypt with all My wonders that I shall perform in its midst, and after that he will send you out. I shall grant this people favor in the eyes of Egypt, so that it will happen that when you go, you will not go empty handed. Each woman shall request from her neighbor and from the one who lives in her house silver vessels, golden vessels and garments and you shall put them on your sons and daughters and you shall empty out Egypt.”   


In Parshat Bo,God told Moshe (Shmot 11:2) “Please speak in the ears of the people: Let each man request of his fellow and each woman of her fellow silver vessels and gold vessels”.


 In chapter 12, we see the fulfillment of God’s promise to Avraham. God is getting ready to take B’nai Yisrael out of Egypt and therefore it says in Shmot 12:35-36: “Meanwhile the children of Israel had done Moshe’s bidding, asking the Egyptians for silver and gold jewelry and clothing. God gave the people favor in the eyes of the Egyptians and they granted their request- so they emptied Egypt.”


Nechama Leibowitz points out that “we must, therefore, regard this transaction not as the spontaneous, impulsive action of runaway slaves, but the deliberate implementation of a predetermined Divine plan, neither unforeseen nor unexpected.”


The gold, silver and clothing that B’nai Yisrael took out of Egypt can be looked at as payment for all of the years that they worked for Pharaoh without being paid. We don’t see objections from the Egyptians as they knew that B’nai Yisrael deserved payment for their labor.


Once B’nai Yisrael took the objects and left Egypt, they were ready for the next challenge that God promised to Avraham, that the fourth generation would return to the Land of Israel.