1 Samuel 6:6
Why then do you harden your hearts, as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? when he had worked wonderfully among them, did they not let the people go, and they departed?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(6) As the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts.—We have here the traditional account of the deliverance of Israel from Egypt, no doubt, as it was preserved in Philistia. These constant references to the story of Moses and the Exodus are indications of the deep impression those events had made on the surrounding nations; hence the value they set on the Ark, which they looked upon as the visible symbol of the mighty Hebrew God. The argument here used by the priests and diviners is:—You all remember the well-known story of the obduracy of the powerful Egyptians in connection with these Israelites, yet even they in the end had to let them go. You Philistines have had the experience of one plague; will you, like those foolish Egyptians, harden your hearts till you. like them, have been smitten with ten?”

1 Samuel 6:6. Wherefore then do ye harden your hearts — They express themselves thus, either because some opposed the sending home the ark, though most had consented to it; or because they thought they would hardly send it away in the manner prescribed, by giving glory to God, and taking shame to themselves.6:1-9 Seven months the Philistines were punished with the presence of the ark; so long it was a plague to them, because they would not send it home sooner. Sinners lengthen out their own miseries by refusing to part with their sins. The Israelites made no effort to recover the ark. Alas! where shall we find concern for religion prevail above all other matters? In times of public calamity we fear for ourselves, for our families, and for our country; but who cares for the ark of God? We are favoured with the gospel, but it is treated with neglect or contempt. We need not wonder if it should be taken from us; to many persons this, though the heavies of calamities, would occasion no grief. There are multitudes whom any profession would please as well as that of Christianity. But there are those who value the house, the word, and the ministry of God above their richest possessions, who dread the loss of these blessings more than death. How willing bad men are to shift off their convictions, and when they are in trouble, to believe it is a chance that happens; and that the rod has no voice which they should hear or heed!It was a prevalent custom in pagan antiquity to make offerings to the gods expressive of the particular mercy received. Thus, those saved from shipwreck offered pictures of the shipwreck, etc., and the custom still exists among Christians in certain countries.

The plague of the mice is analogous to that of the frogs in Egypt. The destructive power of field-mice was very great.

6. Wherefore then do ye harden your hearts, as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts?—The memory of the appalling judgments that had been inflicted on Egypt was not yet obliterated. Whether preserved in written records, or in floating tradition, they were still fresh in the minds of men, and being extensively spread, were doubtless the means of diffusing the knowledge and fear of the true God. Do ye harden or, should ye harden; the future tense of the indicative mood being put potentially, as is not unusual. They express themselves thus, either because they perceived that some opposed the decree of sending home the ark, though the most had consented to it; or because they thought they would hardly send it away in the manner prescribed, by giving glory to God, and taking shame to themselves.

As the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts; which they might easily learn, either by tradition from their ancestors, or by the reports of the Hebrews. Wherefore then do ye harden your hearts, as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts?.... And would not let Israel go, when their dismission was demanded by Moses and Aaron in the name of the Lord; but was refused from time to time, being given up to judicial blindness and hardness of heart: and it seems by this, that though it was proposed by some to send back the ark, and which the priests and diviners approved of; yet there were some that were against it, who, notwithstanding the plagues inflicted on them, like Pharaoh and the Egyptians hardened their hearts; which story these priests were acquainted with by the tradition of their ancestors, this being a fact then generally known in the world; or by the relation of the Israelites, over whom they had ruled many years, and were conversant with them:

when he had wrought wonderfully among them: that is, the God of Israel, though they mention not his name, who had wrought wonders in the land of Egypt; the ten plagues he inflicted on them are referred to:

did they not let the people go, and they departed? who were convinced by these plagues that they ought to let Israel go, and by them were prevailed upon to dismiss them, and the people did go out of their land; and therefore should not we let the ark go likewise, on whom plagues have been inflicted for detaining it? and may we not expect more and greater, should we refuse to dismiss it?

Wherefore then do ye harden your hearts, as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? when he had wrought wonderfully among them, did they not let the people go, and they departed?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
6. as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts] A second allusion (cp. ch. 1 Samuel 4:8) to the events of the Exodus. See Exodus 8:15; Exodus 8:32; Exodus 9:34.

when he had wrought wonderfully among them] Or, wrought his will upon them. The word is used in Exodus 10:2 (E. V. wrought), and 1 Samuel 31:4 (E. V. abuse). The Sept. renders it by ἐμπαίζειν = mock. But the E. V. may be right here.Verse 6. - Wherefore do you harden your hearts, as the Egyptians and Pharaoh? On this reference to Egypt see on 1 Samuel 4:8. It is remarkable that they so correctly point out that it was the obduracy of the Egyptians which made their punishment so severe. Yet finally even they, in spite of their determined opposition were compelled to let Israel go. So now the question is whether the Philistines will restore the ark on the warning of one plague, or whether they will hold out till they have been smitten with ten. They therefore sent the ark of God to Ekron, i.e., Akir, the north-western city of the Philistines (see at Joshua 13:3). But the Ekronites, who had been informed of what had taken place in Ashdod and Gath, cried out, when the ark came into their city, "They have brought the ark of the God of Israel to me, to slay me and my people" (these words are to be regarded as spoken by the whole town); and they said to all the princes of the Philistines whom they had called together, "Send away the ark of the God of Israel, that it may return to its place, and not slay me and my people. For deadly alarm (מות מהוּמת, confusion of death, i.e., alarm produced by many sudden deaths) ruled in the whole city; very heavy was the hand of God there. The people who did not die were smitten with boils, and the cry of the city ascended to heaven." From this description, which simply indicates briefly the particulars of the plagues that God inflicted upon Ekron, we may see very clearly that Ekron was visited even more severely than Ashdod and Gath. This was naturally the case. The longer the Philistines resisted and refused to recognise the chastening hand of the living God in the plagues inflicted upon them, the more severely would they necessarily be punished, that they might be brought at last to see that the God of Israel, whose sanctuary they still wanted to keep as a trophy of their victory over that nation, was the omnipotent God, who was able to destroy His foes.
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