In Exodus chapter 3, God very clearly outlined how the deliverance from Egypt would take place. God commanded Moses to address Pharaoh with the following words: “and you with the elders of Israel will come to the king of Egypt and you will say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. So now, please, let us go a three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God.’” Exodus 3:18 (NASB).
The Egyptians, as a people, were for the most part vegetarians and the sacrificial killing and eating of animals was something they found disgusting. To the Egyptians, everything from a cat to a crocodile had some form of divinity and was to be honored in this life and to be mummified for the next life.
Additionally, city-dwelling Egyptians did not respect the Hebrews’ lifestyle as shepherds. Therefore, a three days journey into the wilderness to worship and offer sacrifices to their God was a most reasonable wording of God’s command to “let my people go,” Exodus 5:1. It allowed the Israelites to mobilize, collect their belongings and gather as an organized company while Moses and Aaron negotiated with Pharaoh.
Moses and all the Israelites knew that God had promised to deliver them out of Egypt and into the land promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God had determined ahead of time that Pharaoh would not willingly release this enslaved nation. God is omniscient. “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please,’” Isaiah 46:10. Therefore, God’s request to pharaoh offered a diplomatic solution for the Hebrews to exit Egypt.
The dreadful series of plagues and the final triumphant exodus accomplished God’s will for the deliverance of the Hebrews and the birth of their nation, Israel.