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Bible Commentaries

Sermon Bible Commentary
Exodus 7



Verse 3-4

Exodus 7:3-4.

The text brings before us the two great results which God forewarned Moses would rise from the struggle between His will and that of the king. On the one hand, the tyranny was to be gradually overthrown by the sublime manifestations of the power of the Lord; on the other, the heart of Pharaoh himself was to be gradually hardened in the conflict with the Lord. Here two questions arise for consideration.

I. Why was the overthrow of Pharaoh's tyranny through the miracles of Moses so gradual? Why did not God, by one overwhelming miracle, crush for ever the power of the king? (1) It was not God's purpose to terrify Pharaoh into submission. He treats men as voluntary creatures, and endeavours by appealing to all that is highest in their natures to lead them into submission. (2) In his determination to keep Israel in slavery Pharaoh had two supports—his confidence in his own power, and the flatteries of the magicians. Through both these sources the miracles appealed to the very heart of the man. (3) The miracles appealed to Pharaoh through the noblest thing he had left, his own sense of religion. When the sacred river became blood, and the light turned to darkness, and the lightning gleamed before him, he must have felt that the hidden God of nature was speaking to him. Not until he had been warned and appealed to in the most powerful manner did the final judgment come.

II. We are told that the heart of Pharaoh was hardened by the miracles which overthrew his purpose. What does this mean? One of the most terrible facts in the world is the battle between God's will and man's will. In the case of Pharaoh we see an iron will manifesting itself in tremendous resistance, the results of which were the hardening and the overthrow. There are three possible explanations of the hardening of Pharaoh's heart. (1) It may be attributed entirely to the Divine Sovereignty. But this explanation is opposed to the letter of Scripture. We read that Pharaoh hardened his heart. (2) We may attribute it wholly to Pharaoh himself. But the Bible says distinctly, "The Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart." (3) We may combine the two statements, and thus we shall get at the truth. It is true that the Lord hardened Pharaoh, and true also that Pharaoh hardened himself.

E. L. Hull, Sermons, 3rd series, p. 94.

References: Exodus 7:3.—Parker, vol. ii., p. 50. 7:8-10:29, 30.—W. M. Taylor, Moses the Lawgiver, p. 77. Exodus 7:9.—Parker, vol. ii., p. 311. Exodus 7:12.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. ix., No. 521, and Evening by Evening, p. 181.


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Bibliography Information
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Exodus 7:4". "Sermon Bible Commentary".

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020
the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
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