340. "And it came to pass in the course of those many days" (Shemot 2:23). Rabbi Yehoshua of Sachnin said it was at the end of their exile that Yisrael were subjugated with all kinds of labor. "In the course of those many days." They were many in THE SOJOURN OF Yisrael in Egypt, MEANING THAT THE END HAD ARRIVED. Since the end of their exile was complete, it is written, "And the king of Egypt died" (Ibid.). What is the meaning? IT IS that the Minister of Egypt was lowered from his high position and fell from his glory. THEREFORE, THE TORAH SAYS ABOUT HIM, "AND THE KING OF EGYPT DIED," SINCE HIS DESCENT WAS CONSIDERED BY HIM AS DEATH. Since the king of Egypt who was their minister fell, the Holy One, blessed be He, remembered Yisrael and heard their prayers.
341. Rabbi Yehuda said, Come and behold. As RABBI YEHOSHUA OF SACHNIN SAID, as long as the minister held sway over Yisrael, the cries of Yisrael were not heard. But as soon as their minister fell, it is written, "And the king of Egypt died." Immediately, "the children of Yisrael sighed by reason of their bondage, and they cried, and their beseeching rose to the Elohim" (Ibid.). BUT until that time, their beseeching was not answered.