Nonfiction > Upton Sinclair, ed. > The Cry for Justice
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Upton Sinclair, ed. (1878–1968).
The Cry for Justice: An Anthology of the Literature of Social Protest.  1915.
 
The Labor Problem in Egypt

From the Book of Exodus

(Hebrew, B.C. Fourteenth Century; a record of one of the earliest of labor disputes)
 
PHARAOH said, “Who is the Lord, that I should hearken unto his voice to let Israel go? I know not the Lord, and moreover I will not let Israel go.… Wherefore do ye, Moses and Aaron, loose the people from their work? get you unto your burdens.… Let heavier work be laid upon the men, that they may labour therein; and let them not regard lying words.… Ye are idle, ye are idle; therefore ye say, Let us go and sacrifice to the Lord. Go therefore now, and work; for there shall no straw be given you, yet shall ye deliver the tale of bricks.”  1
  And the officers of the children of Israel did see that they were in evil case, when it was said, “Ye shall not minish aught from your bricks, your daily task.”  2
  And they met Moses and Aaron, who stood in the way, as they came forth from Pharaoh: and they said unto them, “The Lord look upon you and judge; because you have made our savour to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to slay us.”  3
  And Moses returned unto the Lord, and said, “Lord, wherefore hast thou evil entreated this people? Why is it that thou hast sent me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in thy name, he hath evil entreated this people; neither hast thou delivered thy people at all.”  4
  Then the Lord said unto Moses, “Now shalt thou see what I will do to Pharaoh: for with a strong hand shall he let them go, and with a strong hand shall he drive them out of his land.”  5
 
 
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