3 And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt.
KJV  Exodus 7:3

Pharaoh himself
34 And when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders were ceased, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants.
KJV  Exodus 9:34

SAB Contradiction 210

A seeming Bible Contradiction?

Who was responsible for Pharaoh’s behaviour? Was it God with his plagues? Or was it Pharaoh himself?

Is God the guilty one?

Ten plagues came over the land of Egypt. It was unnecessary, but it still happened. If Pharaoh had accepted Moses’ righteous demand to let the people go, not one single plague would have occurred. Instead, Pharaoh would have seen many blessings during his reign, for the man who humbles himself before God will certainly prosper by God’s blessings. Living after the Fall of mankind, suffering is part of everyone’s life, and God’s longing to lighten the burden of life by his blessings should be welcomed by everyone.

Pharaoh was responsible

Was it God’s goal to harden Pharaoh’s heart? No, it was his goal to set his people free. He knew Pharaoh’s heart and He knew that Pharaoh would resist Moses’ requirements. He knew that Pharaoh would harden his heart, but the hardening was certainly the responsibility of Pharaoh himself.

Pharaoh’s pattern of sin

Looking at Pharaoh’s behavior we see a pattern. Each plague made him anxious and meek, he promised to let the people go. But as soon as the plague was over – due to Moses’ prayer – Pharaoh’s meekness was over and he hardened his heart and broke his promise to let the people go. As it was certainly God’s will to set his people free, God then brought a stronger plague. Each time Pharaoh reacted in the same way.

As each new plague brought this hardening of heart, it is also possible to say that God indirectly hardened Pharaoh’s heart; the guilt was not God’s.


Did Pharaoh harden his heart? Yes, he did and he was guilty.
Did God harden Pharaoh’s heart? Yes, indirectly and without being guilty.

No Bible Contradiction