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Why was Pharaoh's heart hardened?


Why wouldn't he let the people go? Did God harden his heart? Was that fair?

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God says that he hardened Pharaoh’s heart in order to demonstrate his power by signs and wonders that would be remembered to all generations as a testimony that Israel’s God is the true God – which it undoubtedly is.
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Exodus 7:3 And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt.

4 But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay my hand upon Egypt, and bring forth mine armies, and my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments.5 And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch forth mine hand upon Egypt, and bring out the children of Israel from among them.
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Exodus 10:1 And the LORD said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might shew these my signs before him:2 And that thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son, and of thy son’s son, what things I have wrought in Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them; that ye may know how that I am the LORD.
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First of all, we need to understand that
Godcan do what He wants with his own creation.Having said that, let’s consider the following:
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The Egyptians had enslaved the whole of the people of Israel forgetting that they owed the deliverance and wealth of Egypt to the actions of God through Joseph.
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Exodus 1:13 And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour:
14 And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in morter, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour.
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Pharaoh had ordered all Israel’s male children to be killed at birth.
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Exodus 1:15 And the king of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwives...16...When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women... if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live.
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When that failed he ordered the Egyptians to throw the male children into the Nile.
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22 And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive.
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The Pharaoh at the time of the exodus had inherited the situation, did nothing to mitigate it and hardened his own heart.
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Exodus 8:15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.
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Exodus 8:32 And Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also, neither would he let the people go.
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Exodus 9:34 And when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders were ceased, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants.
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It provides a lesson to all who would harden themselves against God - that they may reach a point of no return.
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Exodus 34:6 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,
7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty...
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God gave Pharaoh every chance to repent. Each time Pharaoh hardened his own heart against God and His people. At last, there was no more hope for Pharaoh and it is only then that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart.
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I hope this helps.
Glenn Smith
 
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