In parshat Bo, we read:
And the Lord said to Moses... Speak, please, in the ears of the people, and let them ask every man of his neighbor, and every woman of her neighbor, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold. [Ex. 11:1-2]
Why? To compensate them for slavery, as the Torah later says must be done for all freed slaves? But what use did they have for riches when facing the desert? All they needed was God's guidance and provision for their material needs. And we know what they ended up doing with this gold: Build an idol. Moses even castigates God for that in the Talmud:
Master of the Universe, the gold and silver that you lavished upon Israel ... is what caused Israel to make the Golden Calf. [Berakhot 32a]
Note God's "dabber na" -- "speak, please". It's an entreaty. The Israelites were not inclined to ask for these riches. Also, they were in such a hurry that they didn't have time for the dough to rise, yet they had enough time to ask for silver, gold and jewels from the Egyptians?
I know God promised these riches to Abraham [Genesis 15:14]. My question is: Why did He?