That is a question which is often pondered by many.. Most are confused as to why Jehovah would harden the heart of Pharaoh when He wanted him to let the people go. It would seem at first glance that God was defeating the very thing that He set out to do.
When we read the passages like Exodus 9:12, 10:20, of "The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh", it is quite easy to come to erroneous conclusions if we aren't careful. But the truth is, the Lord was not making Pharaoh do evil, the Lord was "allowing" him to do evil.
"For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:"
Only God truly understands the total depravity of man's heart against Him.
"And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:"
"The Heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: Who can know it?
I the Lord search the heart, I try the reigns, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doing." God is releasing His restraint of sin in Pharaoh, that his heart would be in it's normal unreasonable and deceitful state. In this hardening of Pharaoh's heart, the Glory of God will be seen in the signs and wonders for generations to come.
"And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt."
The sin of the hardened heart, was truly Pharaoh's.
"But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said." Indeed, it was He that made Pharaoh's heart hardened 'by'removing His hand of restraint of his sin. He indirectly hardened it, as this was His judgment and He takes responsibility for this hardening. A judgment upon Pharaoh and a Blessing for generations to come.
While God removed His hand of restraint and hardened the Heart of Pharaoh by this action, the sin is Pharaoh's, not God's. We see this plainly in verses such as,
lets let God answer he says in exodus:
1 “Go in to Pharaoh; for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his servants, that I may show these signs of Mine before him, 2and that you may tell in the hearing of your son and your son’s son the mighty things I have done in Egypt, and My signs which I have done among them, that you may know that i am the LORD.
There's the answer.
Some question what about Pharaohs free will?
when pharaoh was asked to let the people go or god would take his first born.(exo 7) his own answer was...
"Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and moreover, I will not let Israel go"
"but pharaoh The God of the Hebrews has met with us" says moses
“Moses and Aaron, why do you take the people away from their work? Get back to your burden. the people are now many, and you make them rest from their burden!”
pharaoh then chooses to increase there burdens and not let the people go on his own free will.
Now then, from this point foward if pharaoh chooses to let the people go its Only because of the plagues, this is why again the Lord must harden his heart so all 10 plagues can be performed for the children of Israel can know that the god of Israel is the Lord god and that they are his children so they may serve him.
Final note: Not one Hebrew who saw these 10 plagues entered the Promise land, If they couldn't have obeyed after 10, how long would they have lasted with just 2?
comments and questions email me firstname.lastname@example.org
I can't believe I came across this question! When my daughter Emily, who is now 31, became a Bat Mitzvah her Torah portion was from the Book of Exodus. As the mother of the Bat Mitvah I prepared a speech to give to the congregation. I wanted it to speak of Emily's attributes and somehow make it relevant to her Torah portion. I thought and thought about what connection to make and came up with what I thought was an inspired idea.
Emily has always been a very insightful person at any age, voicing comments about things that she observed that were really well beyond her years. I recalled that when she was in kindergarten she came home from school one day in early December and told me that the class had made Christmas ornaments that day. She said that her teacher, knowing Emily was Jewish, told her that she could paint her ornament blue instead of red and green. As she was relaying this to me she came out with I thought was the strangest statement for a five year old to say - "It wasn't right for her to say that."
Eight years later, as I pondered her Torah portion, especially the part that said God hardened Pharaoh's heart, I realized that my explanation for both of these seemingly odd statements was the same. I believe that had God softened Pharaoh's heart then any good that was bestowed on the Israelites would not really be coming from Pharaoh, but from God. By hardening his heart, he left it for Pharaoh to be kind because he wanted to be - because he saw that would be what was right; that what the Jews were receiving from Pharaoh would be meaningful. And I think Emily's comment came from the same place. She didn't want her teacher making concessions like allowing a different color of paint to be used. Even in her five-year old mind, Emily knew that her teacher was showing that she didn't understand that Christmas is a holiday for Christians, and not Jews. Emily felt as if the teacher was "throwing her a bone", so to speak, but what Emily really wanted, what she knew to be right, was that Jewish children shouldn't be asked to make ornaments for Christmas; that she would have felt so much more comfortable if the activity was just to make "something pretty" - to be used however the children and their family's wanted to. In other words, if the offer wasn't coming from a place of true understanding then it was meaningless. That if it wasn't coming from Pharaoh's true heart, in the end it could not be trusted.
This may sound blasphemous, but has it ever occurred to you that this particular phrase might have been altered inadvertently by a translator somewhere along the way?
Everything that occurs is part of G-d's plan. G-d know the bigger picture.
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