God hardened Pharaoh’s heart because He wanted to demonstrate His power and have His name proclaimed across the earth. We find this answer in the Bible. Let’s check it out.
In Exodus 7: 3-4 we see that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he decided not to let the Israelites leave the country in freedom:
But I will make Pharaoh’s heart endure; and although he multiplies my signs and wonders in Egypt, he will not hear them. Then I will put my hand on Egypt, and with mighty acts of judgment I will take my armies out of Egypt, my people, the Israelites.
God later sends a message to Pharaoh through Moses, which we can read in Exodus 9:16 and even remembered by Paul in Romans 9:17 :
But I kept him standing for exactly this purpose: to show you my power and to make my name proclaimed throughout the land.
Through the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart, God miraculously demonstrated His power , freeing His people from slavery and causing this story to be told to this day, for His glory .
See also: what were the plagues of Egypt?
But isn’t that unfair?
“But then is it right for God to harden an innocent man’s heart?” The problem with this question is that we are assuming that Pharaoh has no responsibility in this story. Even before God said he was going to harden Pharaoh’s heart, he himself had already hardened his heart, as he says in Exodus 7:13 :
However, Pharaoh’s heart hardened, and he did not want to listen to Moses and Aaron, as the Lord had said.
It is also good to remember that Pharaoh was not a good man, much less God-fearing. The Egyptian people through the government of their pharaohs, who considered themselves authentic “gods”, enslaved the Hebrew people for more than 400 years, and was responsible for numerous deaths, as in the case of the order to kill all Hebrew babies at birth.
In Romans 9:18 we read that God “has mercy on those he wants and hardens those he wants”. However, no one has an excuse and is responsible for his own sin. This concept may be a little difficult for us to accept, but we know that God is good and just, and always has a good purpose to fulfill, for His glory.