Manuscript for Exod 7:8-10:29: The Hardening of Pharaoh’s Heart, Part 2 © 2004 by R W Glenn
The language of permission here in the
does not convey strongly enoughthe idea of the Hebrew that lay behind the phrase translated
I have allowed you toremain
capture more precisely the sense of the word: “I have raisedyou up.”So the Lord is saying something like this: “I know you know that I could havecompletely crushed you and your nation. But I haven’t. And the only reason I haven’tdone so is that I have established you as Pharaoh over Egypt in order to accomplish mytwo-fold purpose:
in order to show you My power and in order to proclaim My namethrough all the earth
. That’s it! You serve at
pleasure and my pleasure alone!”This is a powerful statement of Yahweh’s sovereignty. To the ruler who hasasked in 5:2: “Who is the LORD that I should obey His voice to let Israel go?” Godanswers with “the same Lord who has your reign in his command!” What this means forPharaoh at the very least is that he is impotent to stand against his purpose. As Isaiahthe prophet says,
For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens…“I am the LORD,and there is none else” (Isaiah 45:18)....
”Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times thingswhich have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I willaccomplish all My good pleasure’…Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it topass. I have planned it, surely I will do it” (Isaiah 46:10-11).
God’s absolute sovereignty over Pharaoh is highlighted as well by the repeatedreferences to the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart cf.
7:13, 14, 22-23; 8:15, 19, 32; 9:7,12, 35; 10:1, 20, 27
.Now the reason we make reference to
of these passages and not only thosethat expressly state that
had hardened Pharaoh’s heart, is the repeated phrase
(just) as the Lord had spoken (to Moses)
. What this means is that the hardening ofPharaoh’s heart had been declared to Moses. The narrator is reminding us of a priorinteraction or even perhaps prior interactions between God and Moses. And as wemove backward from Ch 10 through Exodus, we find that there are two passages thatrecord such interactions.First, look at 7:1-4. Let’s read:
Then the LORD said to Moses, "See, I makeyou as God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet. You shallspeak all that I command you, and your brother Aaron shall speak to Pharaoh thathe let the sons of Israel go out of his land. But I will harden Pharaoh's heart that Imay multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt. When Pharaoh doesnot listen to you, then I will lay My hand on Egypt and bring out My hosts, Mypeople the sons of Israel, from the land of Egypt by great judgments.”
In verse 3, after telling what Moses would do and what Aaron would do, the Lordtells Moses what he will do. The narrator calls attention to God’s activity with the