(Ex. 5:3) Why would God kill his own people with pestilence or a sword?

CLAIM: Moses tells Pharaoh that God “will fall upon [the Jews] with pestilence or with the sword” (v.3). Why would God do this?

RESPONSE: Actually, God never told Moses this at all (c.f. Ex. 4)! Instead, in a moment of fear and panic, Moses added this claim onto God’s original message to make it more urgent and more believable to Pharaoh. He was probably arguing that Pharaoh would lose his free labor. The lesson here is to refrain from adding onto the word of God to accommodate to the culture. As we see, God didn’t empower Moses, when he did this. Instead, Moses was only met with defeat and discouragement.