Reading through the Bible together
In the first seven verses, God tells Moses and Aaron what He is going to do. This is a contest between the God of Heaven and the gods of Egypt. Moses is going to be a god to Pharaoh, and humiliate all the major gods of Egypt. Aaron will be his spokesman. Moses and Aaron visited Pharaoh in his palace, but though Aaron’s rod (snake) ate up all the magician’s rods (snakes), Pharaoh would not listen. They next meet one morning at the river bank with Pharaoh and give him another chance. He refuses to let Israel go, and the mother god of all Egypt is smitten by the rod, and it turns to blood and kills all the fish.
Who hardened Pharaoh’s heart? This is a question that has vexed many Christians. This “Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart” is likely an idiomatic Hebrew expression. “God hardened Pharaoh’s heart” in the sense that God provided the circumstances and the occasion for Pharaoh to be forced to make a decision. Moses announced the divine instructions and accompanied God’s commands with miracles, to confirm the divine origin of the message. Pharaoh made up his own mind to resist God’s demands. Of his own accord, he stubbornly refused to comply. God was the instigator and initiator of the dilemma, but He was not the author of Pharaoh’s defiance.
Kenneth Matthews, Jr