The Hebrews, or Israelites, as they became known, were commonly used as laborers by the Egyptian Pharaohs. Judging by the magnitude of many Egyptian rulers’ building projects, including the Pyramids of Giza, it is of course no wonder that the labor that was being done was arduous to say the least. During this time, in its lack of technology, it was commonplace to utilize slave labor. In this case, it was the Hebrews who were the slave labor in Egypt. Out of desperation, the Hebrews fled Egypt to escape the brutality of their merciless slave duties.
The Israelites were beside themselves with relief following their escape from Israel. They were led by Moses, who would assume great responsibility. After leaving their troubled past in Egypt behind them, Yahweh, God of the Israelites, entered an agreement with Moses. The Hebrews at this point were wandering vast deserts in search of a place or settlement to call home. Ever grateful to Yahweh, the Israelites agreed in a covenant to obey the laws he saw fit for them. In exchange, Yahweh would forever “take special care” of the Hebrew people, that they would be his “treasured possession” among all other nations.
From this covenant with Yahweh, we begin to see a spiritual rejuvenation of the Israelites. It became the work of the prophets to help their population abide by the laws of Yahweh.