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Bible Lexicons

Girdlestone's Synonyms of the Old Testament

Hardening of the Heart

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The hardening of the heart is described in Scripture as the work of God. Pharaoh's case is by no means unique; it is a sample of the history of all those who neglect the opportunities which God gives them, and thus lead Him to put in exercise that law to which the whole human race is subject - that moral impressions, if not acted upon, become (subjectively) weaker and weaker, until at last the heart of man becomes altogether callous in the case of Pharaoh three words are used to represent the hardening process: Chazak (חזק ), to brace up or strengthen, [This word is also used of God's bringing Israel out of Egypt 'with a strong right hand.' The firmness of the Creat or overcame the firmness of the creature.] points to the hardihood with which he set himself to act in defiance against God, and closed all the avenues of his heart to those signs and wonders that were wrought by the h and of Moses; Caved (כבד ), 'to be heavy, dull, or unimpressible,' denotes his insensibility and grossness of perception; and Kashah (קשׁה ), to be harsh, marks the restlessness, impatience, petulance, and irritability with which his course was characterised whilst he was resisting the urgent appeals, not of Moses only, but also of his own people. Each of these words is used under similar circumstances in other parts of the O.T. Thus Chazak is found in Joshua 11:20, 'It was of the Lord to harden their hearts.' Compare Jeremiah 5:3; Ezekiel 3:9. It is usually rendered to be strong, courageous, to hold fast, to be valiant, stout, mighty. Caved is used in 1 Samuel 6:6, 'Wherefore do ye harden your hearts, as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts?' Ezekiel 3:5-6, ' of a hard language.' It is usually rendered heavy. Kashah is found in Exodus 18:26; Deuteronomy 1:17; Deuteronomy 2:30, 'The Lord thy God hardened his spirit and made his heart obstinate, that he might deliver him into thy hand;' Deuteronomy 15:18; Deuteronomy 26:6, 'The Egyptians laid up on us a hard bondage.' Compare 2 Samuel 3:39; 2 Kings 2:10; 2 Kings 17:14; Nehemiah 9:16-17; Nehemiah 9:29; Job 9:4; Psalms 60:3; Psalms 95:8; Proverbs 28:14; Proverbs 29:1; Isaiah 8:21; Isaiah 14:3; Jeremiah 19:15; Ezekiel 3:7. The usual renderings are hard, grievous, cruel, stiff. It is to be noticed that in God's mission to Ezekiel, in the third chapter, the three words now mentioned occur together. Other words of similar meaning are Kashach (קשׁח ), which is found in Job 39:16, and Isaiah 63:17; and Tekeph (תקף ), which occurs in Daniel 5:20.

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Girdlestone, Robert Baker. Entry for 'Hardening of the Heart'. Synonyms of the Old Testament.
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