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Daily manna from the Torah by Dr Ketriel Blad

VaEra 14-6

And (I) appeared

Exodus 8:23 (19 Heb) 9:16

But Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also, and did not let the people go But the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he did not listen to them, as the LORD had spoken to Moses But for this purpose I have raised you up, to show you my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.  

Ex. 8:32 (28 Heb); 9:12, 16

Who hardens the heart?

The Torah teaches us on the one hand that Pharaoh hardened his heart and on the other hand that the Eternal hardened Pharaoh's heart. Then, who hardened his heart?

If someone refuses to humble himself before the Eternal's calling to repentance, he is hardening his own heart. The Eternal is very patient and compassionate with men and thus tries to take him to repentance many times and in many ways. But if the person insists on sinning, and not taking heed to the divine call, his heart is hardened and in time, there will be no room for repentance for him and that soul will be lost for ever.

In the beginning it is the person himself who hardens his heart as in Pharaoh's case. Then the Eternal strengthened Pharaoh's heart's desire so that he kept his resistance standing before such evidences of power from the Eternal. Pharaoh's case was already lost. He had chosen not to humble himself and thus hardened his heart. But there was no way for his soul to be rescued and saved. He was already lost.

However, the Eternal took advantage of that situation and used Pharaoh's hardness and increased his heart's resistance with a very specific purpose; that His miraculous power was shown and that His name was proclaimed in all the earth. Without Pharaoh's resistance, there would have been no place for the ten plagues and the powerful miracles. Pharaoh's soul was lost, but not his mission in this world. HaShem used him and his heart's hardness to fulfill His purposes for His people.

Blessed be the Eternal that can use everything to carry out His plans!

Don't harden your heart to the Eternal's calling. Humble yourself and ask Him for a soft heart. It is dangerous when someone's heart closes up or hardens. May the Eternal deliver us from such  a thing!

Peace and mercy,


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