We all know the story of Moses freeing the Israelites from Pharaoh in Egypt after the many plagues. But there seems to be a contradiction over who hardened Pharaoh’s heart and for good reason. Some verses say it’s God, other’s Pharaoh. Let’s look…
God hardens Pharaoh’s heart:
Ex 4:21 21 The LORD said to Moses, “When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders I have given you the power to do. But I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go.
Ex 7:3 . 3 But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my miraculous signs and wonders in Egypt, 4 he will not listen to you.
Ex 9:12 12 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart and he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had said to Moses.
Pharaoh hardens his heart:
Ex 8:15 15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had said.
Ex 8:32 32 But this time also Pharaoh hardened his heart and would not let the people go.
1 Sam 6:6 Why do you harden your hearts as the Egyptians and Pharaoh did?
There are more verses but you get the gist.
So who hardened Pharaoh’s heart? We have to remember that Pharaoh witnessed a first-hand account of the Holy Spirit’s work because Egypt was the recipient of God’s plagues. He tried to attribute these plagues to evil spirits instead of God (thus being guilty of blasphemy by denying the power of the Holy Spirit) and so his heart became hardened after each plague. But God did not harden his heart directly. It was because of God that Pharaoh hardened his own heart because God is the Author of those plagues. So it is correct to say that God hardened his heart, because He is the cause, even though Pharaoh hardened his own heart due to His plagues.
So simple yet it is a stumbling block for the casual reader or for those looking to invalidate the Bible.
There are no contradictions in God’s perfect Word!