I've had some discussions with my atheist friend about why the Lord felt it was necessary to harden Pharaoh's heart. "Wouldn't it have been better," said my friend "to simply make Pharaoh want to release the israelites. After reading the necessary section of the Bible, I am convinced that Pharaoh with or without the Lord's intervention should have decided it was a good idea to let the israelites go. How many plagues does a man need to endure before he gets a clue? I know men can be pretty dense sometimes (which is why they almost never ask for directions) but this was excessive. There was lice, flies, boils, dead cattle, hail that was on fire, and finally dead crops. How many more clues do you need? Personally, for me, I would have drawn the line at flaming hail. That cannot occur! And if it does something is very wrong. I know that the Lord hardened his heart initially, but shouldn't the leader of a country be smart enough to realize that this is not working out. Whatever you're inclined to do. I guess it's like George Bush who didn't realize that making war with people who didn't cause 9/11 was not going to stop terrorism.
The thing is: why did he lie to Moses on three separate occasions? Hasn't he learned that he will get into trouble if he does that? If I had been an Egyptian back in the day, I would have organized people to go and overthrow Pharaoh because he was bringing all these problems onto me and the Egyptians knew what was going on because they believed what Moses said. In America, we kicked out King George over a tax on tea. This is not as severe as a boil, frog, flies, or flaming hail plagues.
I felt sorry for the average Egyptian in these chapters. He or she did nothing. It was all Pharaoh's fault. I guess it's like when George Bush was in office. I'm not republican and I wouldn't vote for Bush if my life was in danger. However, when I went abroad, I still had to deal with people saying "Oh you're an American. What's up with George Bush?" Tried though I might, I couldn't explain to them that i didn't vote for Bush and that he never asked me for my opinion. I think the Egyptians must have felt that way.
Another thing I didn't understand was why Moses kept going on about having an uncircumcised penis which he was convinced would make him less believable when he went to speak to Pharaoh. What this a custom in the olden times to display your penis when you went to talk to someone. Nowadays, of course, it would be most rude to display your penis when going to meet with someone, particularly the ruler of the country. Does anyone know about this? It's the weirdest thing I've ever heard of.