Pharaoh’s Hard Heart

Pharaohs HeartWho hardened Pharaoh’s heart? When and why?

In the story of the Ten Plagues in Exodus, there are 20 comments on the condition of Pharaoh’s heart. In some verses, it is said that Pharaoh hardened his heart. In other verses, it is said that God hardened his heart. In other passages, it simply comments that his heart was hard ..and in two verses, he repented (heart was softened?)

In attempting to explain what is going on with Pharaoh’s heart, there are several explanations that people commonly give. Unfortunately, most of those explanations don’t consider what the Bible actually says about the story, and don’t take into consideration the deliberateness we see Moses using to describe the events. If we start with the assumption that Moses simply wasn’t babbling (this becomes evident as one studies the details), we actually see several patterns emerge. But in order to see the pattern, we need to list the details.

# Verse Who What A/C* When Why
1 God Hardened C Before Moses went to Egypt So that Pharaoh won’t let His people go
2 God Hardened C Before the plagues So that Pharaoh will resist, God will smite Egypt, bring His people out, and the Egyptians will know that He is Lord
3 N/S Hardened A Staff turned to serpent “As the Lord had said”
4 N/S Hardened A Water turned to blood “As the Lord had said”
5 Pharaoh Hardened A Frogs abated “As the Lord had said”
6 N/S Hardened A Dust to gnats “As the Lord had said”
7 Pharaoh Hardened A Flies abated
8 N/S Hardened A Egyptian livestock killed
9 God Hardened A Boils on all Egyptians “As the Lord had said”; “For this reason I have raised you up: to show you my power so that My name may be proclaimed in all the earth.” (v16)
10 Pharaoh Repented A Hail damage “I have sinned. The Lord is right. I and my people are wrong”
11 Pharaoh & Servants Hardened A Hail abated When Pharaoh saw the hail stop, he sinned and hardened his heart
12 N/S Hardened C Hail abated
13 God Hardened C Hail abated That I may show these signs of Mine among them; That you may tell your generations how harshly I dealt with the Egyptians; That you may know that I am the Lord
14 Pharaoh Repented A Locust Appeared “I have sinned against the Lord your God, and against you”
15 God Hardened A Locust Abated
16 God Hardened A Darkness
17 God Hardened C (Summary) “Pharaoh will not listen to you, that my wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt.” (v9)
18 God Hardened A Before the Red Sea “I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, and the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord.”
19 God Hardened A Pursuing the Israelites
20 God Hardened C Seeing Israelites walk through Red Sea “And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gotten glory over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.” (v18)
  1. * A/C = Action vs Comment
  2. * N/S = Non specified. Neither God nor Pharaoh is said to have hardened Pharaoh’s heart.

Quick Stats:

  • God hardened: 10
  • Pharaoh hardened: 3
  • Non specified: 5
  • Pharaoh softened: 2
  • God softened: 0

For the record, we will note that it is never said that God softened Pharaoh’s heart. This observation is quite relevant, as it completely undermines the the unstated objective of several attempts to explain what’s going on.

Here are the patterns that emerge:

  • God never says that Pharaoh hardened his heart – God always says that He hardened Pharaoh’s heart.
  • God stated first that He would harden Pharaoh’s heart.
  • Pharaoh repented twice, yet God still hardened Pharaoh’s heart. There are many who believe that God only did to Pharaoh what Pharaoh did to his own heart. This point should be cause for pause.
  • Pharaoh never really has a reason for hardening his heart. It is implied to be pride and arrogance.
  • God always has one consistent reason for hardening Pharaoh’s heart: “That the world will know that I am the Lord.” In retrospect, as we consider the story of Pharaoh, if we do not see God’s deliberately harsh actions as evidence of His glory and might (), then we are not getting the message that God intends for us to get – we’re not seeing God as He intends to be seen (which means, we might be seeing a figment of our imagination – an idol).
  • A peculiar instance occurs with the Plague of Hail. We see all three descriptions applied to one heart-hardening event: Pharaoh and his servants hardened their hearts (9:34), Pharaoh’s heart is described non-specifically as being hardened (9:35), and God is said to have hardened Pharaoh’s heart (10:1). These three verses are describing one event and, despite the chapter break, are all sequential. I believe this instance gives us a clue as to what is going on: God and Pharaoh, both together, are hardening Pharaoh’s heart: God, from His throne of sovereignty; Pharaoh from his fallen humanity – both are working in concert to harden Pharaoh’s heart so that God can use him as an example of His glory and sovereignty (10:1-3).
  • Even when we see Pharaoh softening his heart (twice), we do not see God and Moses rejoicing in this positive turn of events – instead, we see God going back in and hardening Pharaoh’s heart. It should be made abundantly clear that nowhere in this book are we given an indication that God intends for Pharaoh to repent. Paul echoes this divine intent in . It is God’s intention to raise Pharaoh to this elevated position and that Pharaoh’s heart be hardened and that he be destroyed and that through this, God’s name would be known around the world.
  • Although this document focuses on Exodus, we should note that the rest of the Bible is in agreement with what we see here in Exodus. There are no passages in the Bible that teach that Pharaoh was first to harden his heart.

Here is a brief list of incorrect explanations:

  • God wants all people to repent. Pharaoh hardened his own heart and Moses didn’t know the difference, ignorantly blaming God for the action. There are a number of problems with this approach.
    • It ignores the fact that God repeatedly gave the same reason as to why He would harden Pharaoh’s heart. God never says that His intention was Pharaoh’s salvation.
    • If God’s intention was for Pharaoh’s salvation, why did God and Moses not rejoice when Pharaoh repented twice? Instead of rejoicing, God hardened Pharaoh’s heart again.
    • Believing that Moses was incorrect ignores the gravity of Moses’ standing as a prophet of God (). Lying and dishonest prophets were to be killed and labeled as untrustworthy.
  • God hardened Pharaoh’s heart only after Pharaoh first hardened his own heart.
    While this appears true when we lay out the series of events chronologically from Pharaoh’s point of view, we need to consider the following:

    • It ignores the intention that God had at the outset and disregards His stated objective: “I will harden Pharaoh’s heart so that he will not let my people go.”
    • The Bible never implies that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart as a response to what Pharaoh first did.
    • God’s objective and actions were decided before Pharaoh comes on the scene, and God sees it through to the end. His intentions and actions before (; ), during () and after () Moses’ interaction with Pharaoh are consistently the same.
  • God didn’t harden Pharaoh’s heart – He simply turned Pharaoh over to his own heart and set him in spiraling downward ().
    This explanation has several problems:

    • It ignores God’s stated intentions with Pharaoh. picks up on this theme and elaborates on it. If Moses misunderstood the events and God’s intentions for Pharaoh, then it would appear that Paul misunderstood them as well. “For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: ‘I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.'” – .
    • God’s stated objective was to deliberately bring Pharaoh up to the head of his country for the express purpose of demonstrating His power in crushing Pharaoh so that His name would be proclaimed throughout the world. (Pharaoh was not the firstborn, and not the direct heir to the throne. If he was the firstborn, he would had died in the 10th plague.)  If we embrace any other reason for God hardening Pharaoh’s heart, we are walking away from the Bible.
    • nullifies the opinion that the first person to harden his heart was Pharaoh: [+] And the Lord made his people very fruitful and made them stronger than their foes. He turned their hearts to hate his people, to deal craftily with his servants. ()

If books, movies and documentaries are any indication, it’s worth noting that of the number one story in the Bible being repeated world-wide is the birth, life, crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. The second most often repeated Biblical story is the story of the Ten Plagues, the Exodus and the crossing of the Red Sea. In other words, because of the story of the Ten Plagues, Exodus and Ten Commandments, this story of history is the 2nd most frequently repeated story in the world. This is a good thing. It would be a bad thing if we ignored the reasons God gives  for the story.



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. (ESV)


But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, (ESV)


13 Still Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the Lord had said.

Exodus 7:14

13 Still Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the Lord had said.

Exodus 7:14

14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh’s heart is hardened; he refuses to let the people go. (ESV)


22 But the magicians of Egypt did the same by their secret arts. So Pharaoh’s heart remained hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the Lord had said. (ESV)


15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was a respite, he hardened his heart and would not listen to them, as the Lord had said. (ESV)


19 Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” But Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the Lord had said. (ESV)


32 But Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also, and did not let the people go. (ESV)


And Pharaoh sent, and behold, not one of the livestock of Israel was dead. But the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go. (ESV)


12 But the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he did not listen to them, as the Lord had spoken to Moses. (ESV)


27 Then Pharaoh sent and called Moses and Aaron and said to them, “This time I have sinned; the Lord is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong. (ESV)


34 But when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunder had ceased, he sinned yet again and hardened his heart, he and his servants. (ESV)


35 So the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people of Israel go, just as the Lord had spoken through Moses. (ESV)


10:1 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may show these signs of mine among them, (ESV)


16 Then Pharaoh hastily called Moses and Aaron and said, “I have sinned against the Lord your God, and against you. (ESV)


20 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the people of Israel go. (ESV)


27 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let them go. (ESV)


10 Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh, and the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the people of Israel go out of his land. (ESV)


And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, and the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord.” And they did so. (ESV)


And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued the people of Israel while the people of Israel were going out defiantly. (ESV)


17 And I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they shall go in after them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, his chariots, and his horsemen. (ESV)


10:1 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may show these signs of mine among them, and that you may tell in the hearing of your son and of your grandson how I have dealt harshly with the Egyptians and what signs I have done among them, that you may know that I am the Lord.”

So Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh and said to him, “Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? Let my people go, that they may serve me. (ESV)


9:1 I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit— that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. For this is what the promise said: “About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son.” 10 And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls— 12 she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.

19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” 20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— 24 even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? 25 As indeed he says in Hosea,

“Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’
and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’”
26 “And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’
there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’”

27 And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved, 28 for the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the earth fully and without delay.” 29 And as Isaiah predicted,

“If the Lord of hosts had not left us offspring,
we would have been like Sodom
and become like Gomorrah.”

30 What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. 32 Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33 as it is written,

“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense;
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” (ESV)


18:1 “The Levitical priests, all the tribe of Levi, shall have no portion or inheritance with Israel. They shall eat the Lord’s food offerings as their inheritance. They shall have no inheritance among their brothers; the Lord is their inheritance, as he promised them. And this shall be the priests’ due from the people, from those offering a sacrifice, whether an ox or a sheep: they shall give to the priest the shoulder and the two cheeks and the stomach. The firstfruits of your grain, of your wine and of your oil, and the first fleece of your sheep, you shall give him. For the Lord your God has chosen him out of all your tribes to stand and minister in the name of the Lord, him and his sons for all time.

“And if a Levite comes from any of your towns out of all Israel, where he lives—and he may come when he desires—to the place that the Lord will choose, and ministers in the name of the Lord his God, like all his fellow Levites who stand to minister there before the Lord, then he may have equal portions to eat, besides what he receives from the sale of his patrimony.

“When you come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations. 10 There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer 11 or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, 12 for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord. And because of these abominations the Lord your God is driving them out before you. 13 You shall be blameless before the Lord your God, 14 for these nations, which you are about to dispossess, listen to fortune-tellers and to diviners. But as for you, the Lord your God has not allowed you to do this.

15 “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen— 16 just as you desired of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God or see this great fire any more, lest I die.’ 17 And the Lord said to me, ‘They are right in what they have spoken. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. 19 And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him. 20 But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.’ 21 And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the Lord has not spoken?’— 22 when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him. (ESV)


24 And the Lord made his people very fruitful
and made them stronger than their foes.
25 He turned their hearts to hate his people,
to deal craftily with his servants. (ESV)


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. 22 Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord, Israel is my firstborn son, 23 and I say to you, “Let my son go that he may serve me.” If you refuse to let him go, behold, I will kill your firstborn son.’” (ESV)


16 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. (ESV)


16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. (ESV)


1:1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,

To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you 10 always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. 11 For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— 12 that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. 13 I want you to know, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles. 14 I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. 15 So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. (ESV)


9:1 I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit— that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. For this is what the promise said: “About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son.” 10 And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls— 12 she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.

19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” 20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— 24 even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? 25 As indeed he says in Hosea,

“Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’
and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’”
26 “And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’
there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’”

27 And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved, 28 for the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the earth fully and without delay.” 29 And as Isaiah predicted,

“If the Lord of hosts had not left us offspring,
we would have been like Sodom
and become like Gomorrah.”

30 What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. 32 Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33 as it is written,

“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense;
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” (ESV)


17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” (ESV)


105:1 Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name;
make known his deeds among the peoples!
Sing to him, sing praises to him;
tell of all his wondrous works!
Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!
Seek the Lord and his strength;
seek his presence continually!
Remember the wondrous works that he has done,
his miracles, and the judgments he uttered,
O offspring of Abraham, his servant,
children of Jacob, his chosen ones!

He is the Lord our God;
his judgments are in all the earth.
He remembers his covenant forever,
the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations,
the covenant that he made with Abraham,
his sworn promise to Isaac,
10 which he confirmed to Jacob as a statute,
to Israel as an everlasting covenant,
11 saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan
as your portion for an inheritance.”

12 When they were few in number,
of little account, and sojourners in it,
13 wandering from nation to nation,
from one kingdom to another people,
14 he allowed no one to oppress them;
he rebuked kings on their account,
15 saying, “Touch not my anointed ones,
do my prophets no harm!”

16 When he summoned a famine on the land
and broke all supply of bread,
17 he had sent a man ahead of them,
Joseph, who was sold as a slave.
18 His feet were hurt with fetters;
his neck was put in a collar of iron;
19 until what he had said came to pass,
the word of the Lord tested him.
20 The king sent and released him;
the ruler of the peoples set him free;
21 he made him lord of his house
and ruler of all his possessions,
22 to bind his princes at his pleasure
and to teach his elders wisdom.

23 Then Israel came to Egypt;
Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham.
24 And the Lord made his people very fruitful
and made them stronger than their foes.
25 He turned their hearts to hate his people,
to deal craftily with his servants.

26 He sent Moses, his servant,
and Aaron, whom he had chosen.
27 They performed his signs among them
and miracles in the land of Ham.
28 He sent darkness, and made the land dark;
they did not rebel against his words.
29 He turned their waters into blood
and caused their fish to die.
30 Their land swarmed with frogs,
even in the chambers of their kings.
31 He spoke, and there came swarms of flies,
and gnats throughout their country.
32 He gave them hail for rain,
and fiery lightning bolts through their land.
33 He struck down their vines and fig trees,
and shattered the trees of their country.
34 He spoke, and the locusts came,
young locusts without number,
35 which devoured all the vegetation in their land
and ate up the fruit of their ground.
36 He struck down all the firstborn in their land,
the firstfruits of all their strength.

37 Then he brought out Israel with silver and gold,
and there was none among his tribes who stumbled.
38 Egypt was glad when they departed,
for dread of them had fallen upon it.

39 He spread a cloud for a covering,
and fire to give light by night.
40 They asked, and he brought quail,
and gave them bread from heaven in abundance.
41 He opened the rock, and water gushed out;
it flowed through the desert like a river.
42 For he remembered his holy promise,
and Abraham, his servant.

43 So he brought his people out with joy,
his chosen ones with singing.
44 And he gave them the lands of the nations,
and they took possession of the fruit of the peoples’ toil,
45 that they might keep his statutes
and observe his laws.
Praise the Lord! (ESV)


24 And the Lord made his people very fruitful
and made them stronger than their foes.
25 He turned their hearts to hate his people,
to deal craftily with his servants. (ESV)