Was Pharaoh the victim of supernatural mind-control?
by, 03-21-11 at 03:10 AM (2570 Views)
“YHWH said to Moshe:
See, I will make you as a god for Pharaoh,
and Aharon your brother will be your prophet.
You are to speak all that I command you,
And Aharon your brother is to speak to Pharaoh
so that he may send free the Children of Israel from his land.
I will harden Pharaoh’s heart,
I will make my signs and my portents many in the land of Egypt:
Pharaoh will not hearken to you,
so I will set my hand against Egypt,
and I will bring out my forces,
my people, the Children of Israel,
from the land of Egypt, with great (acts of) judgment;
the Egyptians will know that I am YHWH,
when I stretch out my hand over Egypt and bring the Children of
Israel out from their midst.”
“YHWH said to Moshe and to Aharon, saying:
When Pharaoh speaks to you, saying: Give, you, a portent,
then say to Aharon:
Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh: Let it become
Moshe and Aharon came to Pharaoh,
they did thus, as YHWH had commanded,
Aharon threw down his staff before Pharaoh and before his
servants, and it became a serpent.
Pharaoh too called for the wise men and for the sorcerers,
that they too, the magicians of Egypt, should do thus with their
they threw down, each-man, his staff, and these became serpents.
But Aharon’s staff swallowed up their staffs.
Yet Pharaoh’s heart remained strong-willed, and he did not
hearken to them,
as YHWH had spoken.
YHWH said to Moshe:
Pharaoh’s heart is heavy-with-stubbornness—he refuses to send
the people free.”
(from: The Schocken Bible: Volume 1, literal translation by Everett Fox)
Some have argued that Pharaoh had no choice in the way he dealt with his Hebrew slaves, because God “hardened his heart” and thereby directly intervened in the sequence of events which brought about the ten plagues in Egypt, led to the demise of Pharaoh and his chariot host, and caused the Exodus of the children of Israel.
The question really is: does God cause people to make evil decisions?
Let the scriptures answer:
“And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,
Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear [the guilty]; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth [generation].”
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.”
Jeremiah 29:11-12 (KJV)
“The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, [saying], Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”
“Say unto them, [As] I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?”
“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
2 Peter 3:9
“Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.”
There are many more verses which express that God does not want men and women, whom He formed in His image, to do wickedly.
He does however permit men and women to exercise free choice in their lives, and that includes letting them exhibit evil traits of character if they so choose.
It appears that Pharaoh was a hard-hearted idolatrous slave driver, who worshipped the god of this world and trusted in the power of sorcery. He did not seek the God of Heaven nor was he interested in Him.
“And Pharaoh said, Who [is] the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go.”
God, who sets up kings and disposes of them at His will, permitted this Pharaoh to reign in Egypt at this time, in order to work out His plans in this heathen nation.
In order to harden Pharaoh’s heart God had to do exactly nothing, because Pharaoh’s heart was already very hard and stubborn.
At the time of the Exodus God chose to leave Pharaoh to his own devices without any divine interference or pleading, and no subduing or softening influence of the Holy Spirit.
Therefore, Pharaoh continued in his natural course, doing what came natural to his stubborn, evil and hard heart.
I believe that by saying He hardened Pharaoh’s heart, God took full responsibility for this course of non-action on His part.
This is in contrast to how He dealt with the Egyptian populace as a whole.
During the plague of hail the Egyptians were forewarned:
“Whoever had awe for the word of YHWH among Pharaoh’s
servants had his servants and his livestock flee into the houses,
but whoever did not pay any mind to the word of YHWH left his
servants and his livestock out in the field.”
Exodus 9:20-21 (Schocken Bible, Everett Fox)
It appears that Pharaoh was among those who did not have awe for the word of God.
God intervened among the Egyptians again at Exodus 11:
“Pray speak in the ears of the people:
They shall ask, each man of his neighbor, each woman of her
neighbor, objects of silver and objects of gold.
And YHWH gave the people favor in the eyes of Egypt,
while the man Moshe was (considered) exceedingly great in the
land of Egypt,
in the eyes of Pharaoh’s servants and in the eyes of the people.”
Exodus 11:2-3 (Schocken Bible)
I believe that Pharaoh, like all other men, had many opportunities to repent and to turn away from his sinful course, even during the ordeal of the plagues.
Had he repented of his sins and had he asked God for forgiveness and mercy he could have obtained it at any time, thereby working out his own salvation and saving himself and his people from some of the terrible consequences of the plagues.
But he did not find it in his heart to do so, especially after being left completely to his own devices and to the control of the god whom he worshiped.
The Bible mentions another instance where God will withdraw His beneficial influence from men and women and leave them to their own devices, without any interference from the Holy Spirit.
Interestingly this occurs at the time of the second Exodus, at the second coming of Christ, of which the first Exodus was a type.
“And he saith unto me, seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.
He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.
And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward [is] with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.”
Possibly the worst human fate is to grieve away the Holy Spirit until He does not plead with us anymore and leaves us to pursue our own natural course.
Left to our own devices we will pursue a sinful course which will lead us to eternal death.
“For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
See also Matthew 12, Luke 12, and Ephesians 4 regarding the influence of the Holy Spirit and how this relates to salvation and redemption.
My reading of the scriptures tells me that Pharaoh died while engaged in active opposition to his Creator.
I do not know whether or not Pharaoh still has a chance of salvation. To my knowledge, no one has died the second death yet, however Hebrews 9:27 points out that men die once and after that comes the judgment. Only God knows the details of this.