Y O U N G P E O P L E ' S D I C T I O N A R Y O F S C R I P T U R A L • & • R E L I G I O U S T E R M S
The word “Taskmasters” is found six times in the KJV Bible, however the same Hebrew word
(‘nagas’) is also often rendered ‘oppressor’ in the Old Testament. The Greek equivalent in the
New Testament is often rendered as ‘lord’ or ‘ruler’. However the sense of these words, when
so used is generally negative. Or, as we may say, the reference would be to one who not only has
authority over workers or slaves, but is oppressive, cruel, and forceful in how they use their
We first hear of ‘taskmasters’ in the time of Moses when the Children of Israel were made slaves
by a Pharaoh who did not remember Joseph’s kindness to Egypt, nor even knew about Joseph.
The Israelites were blessed by God and grew into a great company that caused that wicked
Pharaoh to fear they were stronger than the Egyptians and would side with an enemy to over-
throw the kingdom of Egypt. Thus, Pharaoh made the Israelites slaves and placed taskmasters
over them to cruelly pressure the Israelite people to make bricks and do other slave work that
the Egyptians required.
This is a very solemn picture of the world under Satan’s control. He is the ultimate wicked and
cruel taskmaster and, though it may seem for awhile like fun, he drives with a demonic fury the
souls of men who, until they come to know the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour, are his slaves. He
has no love nor does he even know what love is and thus, those without Christ are or will be, at
some point in their lives, very miserable and unhappy and oppressed with sin.
“And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have
heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows” (Exo. 3:7). How won-
derful that God is love! He knows the heartaches, sorrows, and cruelties that those under Satan’s
power are constantly afflicted by, and He desires, through faith in His beloved Son, the Lord
Jesus Christ, that all under Satan’s evil power be saved and brought into freedom and liberty
and receive eternal life.