Pharaoh knows Jehovah appeared to Moses. Pharaoh knows Jehovah is Lord and there is no one like him. Pharaoh knows Jehovah is Lord in the midst of Egypt and there is no one like him in all the earth. Pharaoh knows he sinned. Pharaoh knows Jehovah is righteous. Pharaoh knows he is wicked and his servants are wicked. Pharaoh knows enough. God taught Pharaoh the truth and Pharaoh made his choice. There was nothing more that could be done for Pharaoh, yet God continued to send healing until the day Pharaoh died except for the plague of locust.
Educating Pharaoh had educated Moses. Moses learned that Pharaoh and his servants would never change, but there was something Moses did not know. Therefore when Pharaoh gave Moses what he had been asking for, Jehovah refused to let Israel leave.
Now the Lord said to Moses, “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, 2 and 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.”
The miracles performed in Egypt are not as important as the lessons the miracles taught Pharaoh, Moses and us. Jehovah told Moses I have “kabad” Pharaoh’s heart, or made Pharaoh’s heart heavy with the truth for a reason: that Moses, would know who is Lord and tell it “in the hearing of your son and your son’s son.” Jehovah concern was that Israel, Egypt and future generations would know that he is Lord.
So Moses and Aaron came in to Pharaoh and said to him, “Thus says the Lord God of the Hebrews: ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before Me? Let My people go, that they may serve Me. 4 Or else, if you refuse to let My people go, behold, tomorrow I will bring locusts into your territory. 5 And they shall cover the face of the earth, so that no one will be able to see the earth; and they shall eat the residue of what is left, which remains to you from the hail, and they shall eat every tree which grows up for you out of the field. 6 They shall fill your houses, the houses of all your servants, and the houses of all the Egyptians — which neither your fathers nor your fathers’ fathers have seen, since the day that they were on the earth to this day.'” And he [Moses] turned and went out from Pharaoh. 7 Then Pharaoh’s servants said to him, “How long shall this man be a snare to us? Let the men go, that they may serve the Lord their God. Do you not yet know that Egypt is destroyed?”
Pharaoh and his servants know from experience that Jehovah can and will do exactly what he says he will do. This time Pharaoh’s servants do more than tell Pharaoh “this is the finger of God.” In a quest to salvage the little that had not been destroyed in Egypt, they encouraged Pharaoh to grant Israel religious freedom.
Pharaoh knew his servants told him the truth, so he called Moses and Aaron to come back. Before he gave Israel a leave of absence to worship Jehovah, he wanted to clarify exactly who would attend the church service in the wilderness.
Moses said everyone would go, young, old, sons, daughters, flocks and herds. Pharaoh’s response was rather shocking. Listen carefully as I read Exodus 10:11 in several different translations of the Bible.
Not so! Go now, you who are men, and serve the Lord, for that is what you desired.”
No! Have only the men go; and worship the Lord, since that’s what you have been asking for.”
From the first day Moses walked into Pharaoh’s throne room and thundered “Let my people go” he only requested a leave of absence for the men. Our contemporary Christian belief based on Cecil B DeMill’s version of the Exodus has blinded us to the truth about God. Yes, Israel left and started a new nation, but it wasn’t Jehovah’s original intent. Israel started a new nation for the same reason many of our forefathers came to America and started a new nation – a quest for religious freedom.
Before this meeting with Pharaoh, Jehovah stated that he wanted Moses and the sons of Israel to know who is Lord. Jehovah had no intention of Israel trading one tyrant for another tyrant. At some point after the negotiations with Pharaoh began, Jehovah corrected Moses. Everyone would go into the wilderness to worship him, not just the men.
Pharaoh did not like this new request. A man accustomed to absolute control does not appreciate unexpected changes. Pharaoh had already made up his mind to let the men go, and he wasn’t going to let Moses change what he had been asking for at the last minute.
Now stop and think about it. Pharaoh said the men could have a leave of absence to worship God, and then drove Moses and Aaron from his presence. So, why didn’t the men of Israel leave?
If God had not been present to deliver Israel, I believe the men would have left without the women. Men have been excluding women who desire to serve Jehovah from that day to this. The men had Pharaoh’s permission to leave, but they didn’t have Jehovah’s. The men were not the only ones with a calling to fulfill.
Micah 6:4 Todays English Version
I brought you out of Egypt; I rescued you from slavery; I sent Moses, Aaron, and Miriam to lead you.
Moses was not the only one called to be a leader in Israel. Moses brother, Aaron, was not the only one called to be a leader in Israel. Their sister, Miriam, had a God ordained place of leadership too. We are incomplete until everyone is in his or her place. Jehovah is Lord and he will not let Pharaoh or Moses dictate who will worship him with their service. If the sisters can’t go, no one will go.
There men in the church who think only men should lead and only men are gifted to serve in the church. Jehovah’s people forgot what the miracle of locusts taught Moses – Jehovah is Lord and you have no right to exclude someone Jehovah has called to do a work for him.
Jehovah told Moses to teach this lesson to your sons and your son’s sons. The sons grow up to be the men, who oppress the daughters who grow up to be women and the sons need to know who is Lord. Jehovah chooses who will serve him not his enemies or his friends. Moses witnessed what Jehovah will do to those who hinder anyone from fulfilling his or her calling. He will send the locust to devour what little is left of a ministry led with arrogance.
This issue is greater than relationships between men and women. Jehovah does not favor women. He fought for the women to have a place in his church, because they were being oppressed by men. More and more women are finding freedom to lead ministries today, and some of them have already proved that women corrupt just as easily as men do.
16 Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron in haste, and said, “I have sinned against the Lord your God and against you. 17 Now therefore, please forgive my sin only this once, and entreat the Lord your God, that He may take away from me this death only.”
At the last meeting, Pharaoh drove Moses and Aaron from his presence. This time they are summoned to return with “haste”. Pharaoh was so full of the truth; he couldn’t stop it from running out of his mouth. This time he not only acknowledges he sinned against Jehovah but he also sinned against Jehovah’s people, and he pleads for forgiveness and prayer.
As soon as Moses left Pharaoh’s presence, he prayed, and Jehovah gave Pharaoh another reason to believe and obey him. Unlike the frogs that were left in the land to stink, not one locust remained in all of Egypt. God’s loving kindness endures forever, but Pharaoh’s heart was not moved by God’s love. When the locusts were gone, Pharaoh refused to let Israel worship their God.
When you know that you have sinned, and refuse to repent, you will step into darkness.
21 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, darkness which may even be felt.” 22 So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days. 23 They did not see one another; nor did anyone rise from his place for three days. But all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.
Pharaoh sat in the dark for three days before he changed his mind. He gave everyone in Israel permission to leave, but they could not take their livestock – another unacceptable offer. Israel needed their livestock to offer sacrifices to God. Moses refused to accept Pharaoh’s offer. Pharaoh ordered Moses and Aaron to leave and warned them if he ever saw them again they would die. God was not the first one to say die. Pharaoh threatened Moses and Aaron with death. If it’s death Pharaoh wants then its death Pharaoh will get.