Who Hardened Pharaoh’s Heart?

Exodus 4:21
“And the Lord said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you do before Pharaoh all the miracles that I have put in your power. But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go.”

Exodus 8:32
“But Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also, and did not let the people go.”

There are two different opinions regarding who hardened Pharaoh’s heart, within Christian circles. Was it God, or was it Pharaoh? Scripture describes both.


Because, when God leaves man alone, man’s heart hardens. And also, when man ignores God, man’s heart hardens. Here are examples of both points:

Romans 9:18
“So then He has mercy on whomever He wills, and He hardens whomever He wills.”

Proverbs 28:14
“Blessed is the one who fears the Lord always, but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity.”

Our hearts are hardened more easily than they are softened. In fact, it’s all that our hearts do, when they are devoid of God.

I find it interesting how scripture uses “hardening” terminology to describe the condition of our hearts. It makes the point very well. I also find it interesting how man was formed. Man was formed from a substance which hardens easily. He was formed from the dust of the ground (earth, dirt, clay)…

Genesis 2:7
“…then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.”

And, we are pliable in God’s hands…

Jeremiah 18:6
“…Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel.”

Think about it, scripture likens us to clay, because we are made from the dust of the ground. And, what happens when clay is left alone? It hardens… just like our hearts.

So, what softens clay?


John 4:7-30
“A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”
Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, He will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.” Just then His disciples came back. They marveled that He was talking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?” So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” They went out of the town and were coming to Him.”

It continues…

John 4:39-42
“Many Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” So when the Samaritans came to Him, they asked Him to stay with them, and He stayed there two days. And many more believed because of His word. They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.””

The true “living water”, Jesus Christ, softened their hearts.

May our Lord and Savior keep our hearts soft, until He returns…

Godspeed, to the brethren!

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  1. JC Rooney, this was an excellent explanation and depiction of how the Lord our God deals with people. Many thanks and keep the good words coming.


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