In the story of the conflict between Pharaoh and Moses in Exodus 10 the details are very much contributory, but God's purposes continue to be explained as well.
We had already seen by Ex 8 a new detail, the making of distinctions between Pharaoh's servants and people, and God's (8:21-23). This "division between My people and your people" is reflected in some of the further plagues (9:11; 9:26), but Ex 9:20 stands out as an important detail about a moral aspect of the distinction.
These distinctions made by God (10:23; 11:7) or regarding God (9:21) are understandable also as demonstrations of God's mastery. Pharaoh attempts to mimic this by unsuccessfully trying to make some empty stipulations of his own (10:10; 10:24).
The narrative is very deliberately repetitive in its details about the hardness and hardening of Pharaoh's heart (10:27; 11:10). As a preview, in the original time with Moses, God announces to Moses "I know that the king of Egypt will not permit you to go, except under compulsion ... after that he will let you go." (3:19-20). Very early, before Moses' meeting with the elders and the first meeting with Pharaoh, God tells Moses that he will harden Pharaoh's heart (4:21).
Pharaoh hardens his own heart (8:15; repeatedly, perhaps in each case, 8:32). God holds Pharaoh responsible (7:16; 8:29; 9:2; 9:7; 9:17; 9:30), even though He hardens Pharaoh's heart. And our chapter for today's One Year Bible adds Pharaoh's servants to the puzzle! (10:1-2). Yet they too are responsible: "As for you and your servants, I know that you do not yet fear before the Lord God." (9:30). God through Moses asks Pharaoh directly, "how long will you refuse ...?" (10:3; cf. 9:2).
Part of the explanation from the text regarding the meaning of the hardening of Pharaoh's heart comes in the two purposes God mentions in today's chapter: "I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants,  that I may perform these signs of Mine among them." That's the first reason God gives. Then He adds "and  that you may tell in the hearing of your son, and of your grandson, how I made a mockery of the Egyptians and how I performed My signs among them, that you may know that I am the LORD." (10:2). Yet it is not all for mockery.
We cannot be anachronistic from the point of view of thousands of years later, knowing the fame of the event and the story here and in the rest of the Bible. We cannot say "well of course God can demonstrate mastery over Egypt. Look at subsequent history!" We can't say in the first or second inning, "of course they won; look at the final score!"
So far, Genesis has been about the activity of God, beginning with Creation itself; it included His providence over the whole world (Gen 9:17), and in Egypt (Gen 50:20). With the patriarchs His activity was providential, but mostly interpersonal. The goal for these events in Exodus would not alone be for His people, nor alone to keep His promises, nor alone to show His making a distinction between His people and others, .... Not only to mock Egypt, but also for Egypt: "so that you may know that there is no one like Me in all the earth" (Ex 9:14).
Why teach Egypt? The saying is that bad news travels fast. God wanted it to also travel far. God's providential care under Joseph, for Egypt, may have been forgotten (Ex 1:8). But in these events God's name may have been more successfully spread: "in order to show you My power and in order to proclaim My name through all the earth." (9:16).
- ► 2017 (59)
- ► 2011 (152)
- Ex 10 for Jan 30
- Moo Commentary on Romans (p. 67)
- Moo Commentary on Romans (pp. 65ff)
- Ex 8 for Jan 29
- Moo Commentary on Romans (pp. 63-64)
- Mt 18 for Jan 28
- Ex 4 for Jan 27
- Ps 22:1 for Jan 26
- Gen 50 for Jan 25
- Moo Commentary on Romans (pp. 53-63)
- Mt 15:29 - 16:12 for Jan 24
- Gen 46-47 for Jan 23
- Moo Commentary on Romans (pp. 50-52)
- Gen 44-45 for Jan 22
- Ps 18:16-36 for Jan 21
- Mt 13:24-46 for Jan 20
- Moo Commentary on Romans (pp. 44-50)
- Gen 39-41 for Jan 19
- Gen 37-38 for Jan 18
- Gen 35 for Jan 17
- Moo Commentary on Romans (pp. 33-43)
- Mt 11:7-30 for Jan 16
- Pr 3:16ff for Jan 15
- Gen 30-31 for Jan 14
- Gen 28 for Jan 13
- Moo Commentary on Romans (pp. 27-32)
- Mt 9:1-17 for Jan 12
- Ps 10:1ff. for Jan 11
- Pr 3:1-6 for Jan 10
- Moo Commentary on Romans (pp. 21-26)
- Gen 20-22 for Jan 9
- Mt 7 for Jan 8
- Moo Commentary on Romans (pp. 13-20)
- Gen 16 for Jan 7
- Gen 13-15 for Jan 6
- Moo Commentary on Romans (pp. 9-13)
- Gen 12 for Jan 5
- Mt 4 for Jan 4
- Moo Commentary on Romans (pp. 1-8)
- Gen 5-7 for Jan 3
- Gen 3-4 for Jan 2
- ▼ January (41)
- ► 2006 (24)