Courtesy of the Louvre

“Paherypedjet son of Paser” is one of the brickmakers who fails to deliver his quota of 2,000 bricks, according to a list on a leather scroll from the fifth year of Ramesses II, now in the Louvre. The text echoes the Biblical story: Pharaoh, angry at Moses, stops providing the Israelites with straw for the bricks, leaving them to forage for it on their own but still requiring them to fulfill the same quota of bricks. Pharaoh says to Moses, “‘Lazy, that’s what you are—lazy! That is why you keep saying, “Let us go and sacrifice to the Lord.” Now get to work. You will not be given any straw, yet you must produce your full quota of bricks’” (Exodus 5:18).