Erich Lessing

Like the biblical Israelites, workmen labor at the task of making bricks in this wall painting from the tomb of the vizier Rekhmere. The details of Israelite slavery in the Bible mesh well with historical research: One Egyptian text bemoans the lack of straw for brickmaking (a detail also recorded by the Bible)—the fact that straw was used at all shows a familiarity with conditions in Egypt (straw was not typically used for making mudbrick in Canaan); the burdensome increase of forced labor under the pharaoh of the oppression may reflect the building boom under Ramesses II.