Sunday, July 3, 2016

The hardening of Pharaoh's heart

The hardening of Pharaoh’s heart[1]

The options

A.  A good man is forced to do evil
B.  An evil man is forced to do more evil
C.  An eEvil man is not restrained to do more evil

Significant passages:  Genesis 6:3-5; Romans 3:10-20; James 1:13,14; Romans 1:24; Exodus 4:21; 7:3; Isaiah 63:7; Romans 9:13-18  - Defend both God’s greatness and HIS goodness

Human beings always use free will to choose evil.

"The Midrash (ancient Jewish Commentary 2nd Century AD) provides an answer:
To which Rabbi Shimon b. Lakish replied: "Let the mouths of the heretics be stopped up ... when God warns a man once, twice, and even a third time, and he still does not repent, then does God close his heart against repentance so that He should exact vengeance from him for his sins. Thus it was with the wicked Pharaoh. Since God sent five times to him and he took no notice, God then said: 'You have stiffened your neck and hardened your heart; well, I will add to your uncleanness.'" (Midrash Rabbah, Exodus 13:3)


And the magicians of Egypt did likewise with their enchantments, and Pharaoh's heart was hardened, nor did he listen to them, as the Lord had said. And Pharaoh turned and went to his house, nor did he set his heart to this. (Exodus 7:22-23)


But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and listened not to them, as the Lord had said. (Exodus 8:11)


Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, "This is the finger of God." And Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he listened not to them, as the Lord had said. (Exodus 8:15)

Swarms of flies:

And Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also, neither would he let the people go. (Exodus 8:28)


And Pharaoh sent, and, behold, there was not one of the cattle of the people of Israel dead. And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go. (Exodus 9:7)
After the first five plagues, we note a subtle yet essential shift in language.


And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he listened not to them; as the Lord had spoken to Moses. (Exodus 9:12)


And Pharaoh sent, and called for Moses and Aaron, and said to them, "I have sinned this time; the Lord is righteous, and I and my people are wicked..." And when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders had ceased, he sinned yet more and hardened his heart,3 he and his servants. And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, nor would he let the people of Israel go, as the Lord had spoken by Moses. (Exodus 9:27,34-35)
And the Lord said to Moses, "Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might show these my signs before him. (Exodus 10:1)


But the Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart so that he would not let the People of Israel go. (Exodus 10:20)


But the Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he would not let them go. (Exodus 10:27)

Death of Firstborn:

"And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, that he shall follow after them, and I will be honored over Pharaoh, and over all his army, that the Egyptians may know that I am the Lord." And they did so. And it was told the king of Egypt that the people fled, and the heart of Pharaoh and of his servants was turned against the people, and they said, "Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us?" (Exodus 14:4-5)"

Conclusion: God’s judgment on Pharaoh for hardening his heart was the hardening of his heart.

We should be careful not to harden our own hearts towards God.

"(8) Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, As in the day of Massah in the wilderness," [Psalm 95:8 NASB]


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