Pharaoh’s Heart

followFollow Me: Deliverance[1]

Observations as I follow God through the Chronological Bible

Exodus 4:21 [2]

“And Jehovah saith unto Moses, ‘In thy going to turn back to Egypt, see — all the wonders which I have put in thy hand — that thou hast done them before Pharaoh, and I — I strengthen his heart, and he doth not send the people away” (Young’s Literal Translation)

I believe Young’s Literal Translation is the most accurate version of verse 21 in Exodus. Most of the other versions say “hardened”. To harden carries a negative tone when the context implies God hardened his heart “that” or “so that” Pharaoh will not let the Hebrews go. There is the suggestion God hardened Pharaoh’s heart in a bad way, so he could destroy Pharaoh and the nation of Egypt out of vengeance for the mistreatment of his people.

The Hebrew word translated as “harden” means to cure, help, or repair.[3] The wonders God performed imparted to Pharaoh the strength to believe the God Moses represented existed and was greater than Egypt’s Gods. Few people have received more irrefutable evidence of God’s existence and power than Pharaoh. Yet Pharaoh will admit his sinfulness, acknowledge God’s righteousness and still deny the Hebrews freedom to worship their God.

God chose to be gracious to Pharaoh so we can understand his righteous indignation with leaders who know the truth, because God made the truth plain to them. These leaders suppress the truth in a quest to turn their people away from God. They know God but do not glorify him or give thanks to him. They claim to be wise but are fools who lead multitudes astray.[4] “Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”[5] Leaders with a heart like Pharaoh’s justify the existence of Hell.

[1] From the time God promised to change Jacob’s name to Israel, Jacob and his descendants were addressed as both Jacob and Israel, which can be confusing. In Follow Me: Deliverance, I will use “Hebrews” to identify the children of Jacob.

[2] All scripture quotes are from the NIV Bible unless otherwise noted.

[3] H2388 חזק châzaq khaw-zak’ A primitive root; to fasten upon; hence to seize, be strong (figuratively courageous, causatively strengthen, cure, help, repair, fortify), obstinate; to bind, restrain, conquer: – aid, amend,

[4] Romans 1:18-22

[5] Romans 1:32

About Teena Myers

Teena Myers is the Chairman of Southern Christian Writers, a freelance writer and author of three books.
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