Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Who hardened Pharaoh's heart?

Okay, I can't let go of this issue. It all started with Dr. James White critiquing a sermon from Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel on Romans 9. Romans 9 mentions Pharaoh and so pretty soon we are back in the Exodus story.

Chuck Smith said there are two Hebrew words for "harden." A cursory reading of my study Bible notes only two Hebrew words. However, as Dr. James White indicated, there are actually three Hebrew words used in the Exodus story (one word is used only one time). He contends the three are interchangeable; I am not so sure. (See, I do not just take his word for it; I check it out for myself.)

So here are the verses with their Hebrew words. I'm quoting from the New American Standard Bible. You are welcome to look up these verses in any translation you wish.

4:21 - "I will harden Pharaoh's heart" - chazaq
7:3 - "I will harden Pharaoh's heart" - qashach (the only time this word is used)
7:13 - "Pharaoh's heart was hardened" - chazaq
7:14 - "Pharaoh's heart is stubborn" - kabed
7:22 - "Pharaoh's heard was hardened" - chazaq
8:15 - "Pharaoh hardened his heart" - kabad
8:19 - "Pharaoh's heart was hardened" - chazaq
8:32 - "Pharaoh's hardened his heart" - kabad
9:7 - "The heart of Pharaoh was hardened" - kabed
9:12 - "The Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart" - chazaq
9:34 - "Pharaoh sinned again and hardened his heart" - kabad
9:35 - "Pharaoh's heart was hardened" - chazaq
10:1 - "Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart" - kabad
10:20 - "The Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart" - chazaq
10:27 - "The Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart" - chazaq
11:10 - "The Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart" - chazaq
14:4 - "Thus I will harden Pharaoh's heart" - chazaq
14:8 - "The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh" - chazaq
14:17 - "I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians" - chazaq

Chazaq is used 12 times. Strong's entry
Kabad or kabed is used 6 times. Strong's entry
Qashach is used 1 time. Strong's entry

Almost every time Pharaoh hardens his own heart, kabad or kabed is used, though there are exceptions such as 10:1. Every time the text explicitly states that God hardened Pharaoh's heart, chazaq is used. Qashach is used only once in 7:3, and there it is an action of God.

When the text says "Pharaoh's heart was hardened" or "The heart of Pharaoh was hardened" both chazaq and kabad/kabed are used. They may be interchangeable or the author may be using each word to indicate who did the hardening: God (chazaq) or Pharaoh (kabad/kabed). I will admit this is speculation on my part, but this is what I am seeing after finding each Hebrew word and plugging it into the text.

Thoughts or ideas? Did I miss something obvious?

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