Romans 9:17
For the scripture said to Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.
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(17) The converse proposition is also true, that God also uses the wickedness of men as a means of exhibiting His power and justice.

Raised thee up.—Brought into the world and on to the scene of history.

Show my power.—By the plagues of Egypt and by the overthrow of Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea.

Romans 9:17-18. For — Or, moreover, rather, as it seems γαρ ought to be translated, (the passage here quoted being no proof of what immediately goes before,) God has an indisputable right to reject those who will not accept his blessings on his own terms. And this he exercised in the case of Pharaoh; to whom, after many instances of stubbornness and rebellion, he said, as it is recorded in Scripture; For this very thing have I raised thee up — That is, unless thou repent, this will surely be the consequence of my raising thee up, making thee a great and glorious king; that my power will be shown upon thee — As, indeed, it was, by the terrible judgments brought on Egypt, and overwhelming him and his army in the sea; and my name declared through all the earth — As it is at this day. Perhaps this may have a still further meaning. It seems that God was resolved to show his power over the river, the insects, other animals, (with the natural causes of their health, diseases, life, and death,) over meteors, the air, the sun, (all of which were worshipped by the Egyptians, from whom other nations learned their idolatry,) and, at once, over all their gods, by that terrible stroke, of slaying all their priests and their choicest victims, the firstborn of man and beast: and all this with a design, not only to deliver his people Israel, (for which a single act of omnipotence would have sufficed,) but to convince the Egyptians, that the objects of their worship were but the creatures of Jehovah, and entirely in his power; and to draw them and the neighbouring nations who should hear of all these wonders, from their idolatry, to worship the one God. For the execution of this design, (in order to the display of the divine power over the various objects of their worship, in a variety of wonderful acts, which were, at the same time, just punishments for their cruel oppression of the Israelites,) God was pleased to raise to the throne of an absolute monarchy, a man, not whom he had made wicked on purpose, but whom he found so, the proudest, the most daring, and obstinate, of all the Egyptian princes: and who, being incorrigible, well deserved to be set up in that situation, where the divine judgments fell the heaviest. Therefore — Or, so then, upon the whole, we may conclude; he hath mercy on whom he will have mercy — Namely, on those that comply with his terms, on them that repent and believe in Christ; and whom he will — Namely, them that remain in impenitence and unbelief, and who reject his counsel against themselves; he hardeneth — Leaves to the hardness of their hearts.9:14-24 Whatever God does, must be just. Wherein the holy, happy people of God differ from others, God's grace alone makes them differ. In this preventing, effectual, distinguishing grace, he acts as a benefactor, whose grace is his own. None have deserved it; so that those who are saved, must thank God only; and those who perish, must blame themselves only, Hos 13:9. God is bound no further than he has been pleased to bind himself by his own covenant and promise, which is his revealed will. And this is, that he will receive, and not cast out, those that come to Christ; but the drawing of souls in order to that coming, is an anticipating, distinguishing favour to whom he will. Why does he yet find fault? This is not an objection to be made by the creature against his Creator, by man against God. The truth, as it is in Jesus, abases man as nothing, as less than nothing, and advances God as sovereign Lord of all. Who art thou that art so foolish, so feeble, so unable to judge the Divine counsels? It becomes us to submit to him, not to reply against him. Would not men allow the infinite God the same sovereign right to manage the affairs of the creation, as the potter exercises in disposing of his clay, when of the same lump he makes one vessel to a more honourable, and one to a meaner use? God could do no wrong, however it might appear to men. God will make it appear that he hates sin. Also, he formed vessels filled with mercy. Sanctification is the preparation of the soul for glory. This is God's work. Sinners fit themselves for hell, but it is God who prepares saints for heaven; and all whom God designs for heaven hereafter, he fits for heaven now. Would we know who these vessels of mercy are? Those whom God has called; and these not of the Jews only, but of the Gentiles. Surely there can be no unrighteousness in any of these Divine dispensations. Nor in God's exercising long-suffering, patience, and forbearance towards sinners under increasing guilt, before he brings utter destruction upon them. The fault is in the hardened sinner himself. As to all who love and fear God, however such truths appear beyond their reason to fathom, yet they should keep silence before him. It is the Lord alone who made us to differ; we should adore his pardoning mercy and new-creating grace, and give diligence to make our calling and election sure.For the Scripture saith - Exodus 9:16. That is, God saith to Pharaoh in the Scriptures; Galatians 3:8, Galatians 3:22. This passage is designed to illustrate the doctrine that God shows mercy according to his sovereign pleasure by a reference to one of the most extraordinary cases of hardness of heart which has ever occurred. The design is to show that God has a right to pass by those to whom he does not choose to show mercy; and to place them in circumstances where they shall develope their true character, and where in fait they shall become more hardened and be destroyed; Romans 9:18.

Unto Pharaoh - The haughty and oppressive king of Egypt; thus showing that the most mighty and wicked monarchs are at his control; compare Isaiah 10:5-7.

For this same purpose - For the design, or with the intent that is immediately specified. This was the leading purpose or design of his sustaining him.

Have I raised thee up - Margin in Exodus 9:16, "made thee stand," that is, sustained thee. The Greek word used by the apostle (ἐξήγειρα exēgeira), means properly, I "have excited, roused, or stirred" thee up. But it may also have the meaning, "I have sustained or supported thee." That is, I have kept thee from death; I have preserved thee from ruin; I have ministered strength to thee, so that thy full character has been developed. It does not mean that God had infused into his mind any positive evil, or that by any direct influence he had excited any evil feelings, but that he had kept him in circumstances which were suited to develope his true character. The meaning of the word and the truth of the case may be expressed in the following particulars:

(1) God meant to accomplish some great purposes by his existence and conduct.

(2) he kept him, or sustained him, with reference to that.

(3) he had control over the haughty and wicked monarch. He could take his life, or he could continue him on earth. As he had control over all things that could affect the pride, the feelings, and the happiness of the monarch, so he had control over the monarch himself.

(4) "he placed him in circumstances just suited to develope his character." He kept him amidst those circumstances until his character was fully developed.

(5) he did not exert a positive evil influence on the mind of Pharaoh; for,

(6) In all this the monarch acted freely. He did what he chose to do. He pursued his own course. He was voluntary in his schemes of oppressing the Israelites. He was voluntary in his opposition to God. He was voluntary when he pursued the Israelites to the Red sea. In all his doings he acted as he chose to do, and with a determined "choice of evil," from which neither warning nor judgment would turn him away. Thus, he is said to have hardened his own heart; Exodus 8:15.

(7) neither Pharaoh nor any sinner can justly blame God for placing them in circumstances where they shall develope their own character, and show what they are. It is not the fault of God, but their own fault. The sinner is not compelled to sin; nor is God under obligation to save him contrary to the prevalent desires and wishes of the sinner himself.

My power in thee - Or by means of thee. By the judgments exerted in delivering an entire oppressed people from thy grasp. God's most signal acts of power were thus shown in consequence of his disobedience and rebellion.

My name - The name of Yahweh, as the only true God, and the deliverer of his people.

Throughout all the earth - Or throughout all the land of Egypt; Note, Luke 2:1. We may learn here,


17. For the scripture saith to Pharaoh—observe here the light in which the Scripture is viewed by the apostle.

Even for this same—"this very"

purpose have I raised—"raised I"

thee up, &c.—The apostle had shown that God claims the right to choose whom He will: here he shows by an example that God punishes whom He will. But "God did not make Pharaoh wicked; He only forbore to make him good, by the exercise of special and altogether unmerited grace" [Hodge].

that I might—"may"

show my power in thee—It was not that Pharaoh was worse than others that he was so dealt with, but "in order that he might become a monument of the penal justice of God, and it was with a view to this that God provided that the evil which was in him should be manifested in this definite form" [Olshausen].

and that my name might—"may"

be declared—"proclaimed"

in all the earth—"This is the principle on which all punishment is inflicted, that the true character of the Divine Lawgiver should be known. This is of all objects, where God is concerned, the highest and most important; in itself the most worthy, and in its results the most beneficent" [Hodge].

This verse shows, that God is not unjust in rejecting others of equal condition with the elect; for the proof of which, he cites a testimony out of Exodus 9:16. This verse must be joined with Romans 9:14.

God forbid; for the Scripture saith, i.e. God saith in the Scripture:

Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up; i.e. I have created or promoted thee to be king in Egypt. Or, (as some), I have raised or stirred thee up to oppress my people. Or, I have hardened thee, as it follows in the next verse, and given thee up to thy own rebellious and obstinate mind.

That I might show my power in thee, &c.: I have done what I have done for this very end, that the whole world may ring of my power and glory. And this shows, that it is not unjust in God to reject sinners of the children of men, because thereby he furthers his own glory. For this end all things are made, and all things are accordingly ordered and disposed, Proverbs 16:4. For the Scripture saith unto Pharaoh,.... , "The Scripture saith", is a Talmudic (l) way of speaking, used when any point is proved from Scripture; and is of the same signification with , "the merciful God says"; and so the sense of it here is, God said to Pharaoh; the testimony here cited, stands in Exodus 9:16; where it is read thus, "for this cause have I raised thee up", or "made thee stand", "for to show in thee my power, and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth"; and is produced by the apostle in proof of the other branch of predestination, called reprobation, and to vindicate it from the charge of unrighteousness: in which may be observed, that the act of raising up of Pharaoh is God's act,

even for this same purpose have I raised thee up; which may be understood in every sense that is put upon that phrase, unless that which some Jewish (m) writers have annexed to it, namely, that God raised Pharaoh from the dead; otherwise, I say, all the rest may well enough be thought to be comprised in it; as that God ordained and appointed him from eternity, by certain means to this end; that he made him to exist in time, or brought him into being; that he raised him to the throne, promoted him to that high honour and dignity; that he preserved him, and did not cut him off as yet; that he strengthened and hardened his heart, irritated, provoked, and stirred him up against his people Israel; and suffered him to go all the lengths he did, in his obstinacy and rebellion: all which was done,

that I might shew my power in thee; his superior power to him, his almighty power in destroying him and his host in the Red sea, when the Israelites were saved: and the ultimate end which God had in view in this was,

that my name might be declared throughout all the earth; that he himself might be glorified, and that the glory of his perfections, particularly of his wisdom, power, and justice, might be celebrated throughout the world. The sum of it is, that this man was raised up by God in every sense, for God to show his power in his destruction, that he might be glorified; from whence the apostle deduces the following conclusion.

(l) T. Bab. Pesachim, fol. 82. 2. & 84. 1. Bava Metzia, fol. 47. 1. Zebachim, fol. 4. 1, 2. & passim. (m) Pirke Eliezer, c. 42.

{13} For the {r} scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I {s} raised thee up, that I might {14} shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.

(13) Now he answers concerning the reprobate, or those whom God hates who are not yet born, and has appointed to destruction, without any respect of unworthiness. And first of all he proves this to be true, by alleging the testimony of God himself concerning Pharaoh, whom he stirred up to this purpose, that he might be glorified in Pharaoh's hardening and just punishing.

(r) God speaks unto Pharaoh in the scripture, or, the scripture in talking about God, in this way talks to Pharaoh.

(s) Brought you into this world.

(14) Secondly, he brings the goal of God's counsel, to show that there is no unrighteousness in him. Now the main goal is not properly and simply the destruction of the wicked, but God's glory which appears in their rightful punishment.

Romans 9:17. Γάρ] Establishment of this doctrine e contrario, as the inference of Romans 9:18 shows.

ἡ γράφη] for in it God speaks; comp. Galatians 3:8; Galatians 3:22.

τῷ Φαραώ] Paul has selected two very striking contemporaneous and historically connected examples, in Romans 9:15 of election, and here of rejection. The quotation is Exodus 9:16, with a free and partly intentional variation from the LXX.

ὅτι] does not form part of the declaration, but introduces it, as in Romans 9:12.

ΕἸς ΑὐΤῸ ΤΟῦΤΟ] brings the meaning into stronger relief than the ἝΝΕΚΕΝ ΤΟΎΤΟΥ of the LXX.: for this very purpose (for nothing else). Comp. Romans 13:6; 2 Corinthians 5:6; 2 Corinthians 7:11; Ephesians 6:22; Colossians 4:8.

ἐξήγειρά σε] The LXX. translates הֶעֱמַדְתִּיךָ by ΔΙΕΤΗΡΉΘΗς, i.e. vivus servatus es, and so far, leaving out of view the factitive form of the Hebrew word (to which, however, a reading of the LXX. attested in the Hexapla with ΔΙΕΤΉΡΗΣΆ ΣΕ corresponds), correctly in the historical connection (see Exodus 9:15). Paul, however, expands the special sense of that Hebrew word to denote the whole appearance of Pharaoh, of which general fact that particular one was a part; and he renders the word according to this general relation, which lies at the bottom of his view, and in reference to which the active form was important, by: I have raised thee up, that is, caused thee to emerge; thy whole historical appearance has been brought about by me, in order that, etc. Comp. the current use of ἐγείρειν in the N. T., as in Matthew 11:11; Matthew 24:11; John 7:52, et al.; Sir 10:4; 1Ma 3:49; and the Hebrew הֵקִים. So, in substance, Theophylact (ΕἸς ΤῸ ΜΈΣΟΝ ἬΓΑΓΟΝ), Beza, Calvin, Piscator, Bengel, and various others, including Reiche, Olshausen, Rückert, Beck, Tholuck, Philippi; formerly also Hofmann; comp. Beyschlag: “I have allowed thee to arise.” The interpretation: vivum te servavi (Vorstius, Hammond, Grotius, Wolf, and many, including Koppe, Morus, Böhme, Rosenmüller, Nösselt, Klee, Reithmayr), explains the Hebrew, but not the expression of the apostle; for Jam 5:15 ought not to have been appealed to, where the context demands the sense of “erigere de lecto graviter decumbentem.” Yet even now Hofmann compares Jam 5:15, and explains accordingly: I have suffered thee to rise from sickness. But this would only be admissible, provided it were the sense of the original text, which was assumed by Paul as well known; the latter, however, simply says: I allow thee to stand for the sake of, etc. (comp. Knobel, in loc.), with which also the LXX. agrees. Others explain: I have appointed thee to be king (Flatt, Benecke, Glöckler). Others: I have stirred thee up for resistance (Augustine, Anselm, Köllner, de Wette, Fritzsche, Maier, Bisping, Lamping, comp. Umbreit), as ἐγείρειν and ἘΞΕΓΕΊΡ. denote, in classical usage, to incite, both in a good and bad sense; comp. 2Ma 13:4; Hist. Sus. 45. But these special definitions of the sense make the apostle say something so entirely different both from the original and from the LXX., that they must have been necessitated by the connection. But this is not the case; not even in respect to the view of Augustine, etc., since in Romans 9:18 ὃν δὲ θέλει, σκληρύνει is not inferred from the verbal sense of ἐξήγ. σε, but from the relation of the ὍΠΩς Κ.Τ.Λ. to the ἘΞΉΓΕΙΡΆ ΣΕ (ΕἸς ΑὐΤῸ ΤΟῦΤΟ evinces this),—a relation which would presuppose a hardening of Pharaoh on the part of God, and for the reader who is familiar with the history (Exodus 4:21; Exodus 7:3; Exodus 11:10; Exodus 14:4, et al.), actually presupposes it.

ὅπως ἐνδείξ. κ.τ.λ.] namely, by means of thy final overthrow; not: by means of the leading out of Israel (Beyschlag), against which is ἘΝ ΣΟΊ.

.] may show, may cause to be recognised in thy case. Comp. Romans 3:25; Ephesians 2:7; 1 Timothy 1:16.

δύναμιν] LXX.: ἸΣΧΎΝ. With Paul not an intentional alteration, but another reading according to the Hexapla (in opposition to Philippi).

ΔΙΑΓΓ.] might be thoroughly published. Comp. Luke 9:60; Plat. Protag. p. 317 A; Pind. Nem. v. 5; Herodian, i. 15. 3, ii. 9. 1; Plutarch. Camill. 24.

τὸ ὄνομά μου] As naming Him who has shown Himself so mighty in the case of Pharaoh. For the opposite, see Romans 2:24; 1 Timothy 6:1.

ἐν πάσῃ τῇ γῇ] in the whole earth; a result, which in the later course of history (comp. Eusebius, praep. ev. ix. 29), especially was fulfilled in the dispersion of the Jews and the spread of Christianity, and continues to be fulfilled. The explanation: in the whole land (van Hengel), is less in keeping with the tendency of the original text than the all-comprehensive destination of this great judgment of God.Romans 9:17 f. But Paul goes further, and explains the contrary phenomenon—that of a man who does not and cannot receive mercy—in the same way. λέγει γὰρ ἡ γραφή: it is on Scripture the burden of proof is laid here and at Romans 9:15. A Jew might answer the arguments Paul uses here if they were the Apostle’s own; to Scripture he can make no reply; it must silence, even where it does not convince. τῷ φαραὼ: All men, and not those only who are the objects of His mercy, come within the scope of God’s sovereignty. Pharaoh as well as Moses can be quoted to illustrate it. He was the open adversary of God, an avowed, implacable adversary; yet a Divine purpose was fulfilled in his life, and that purpose and nothing else is the explanation of his very being. εἰς αὐτὸ τοῦτο ἐξήγειρά σε. The LXX in Exodus 9:16 read: καὶ ἕνεκεν τούτου διετηρήθης, the last word, answering to the Hebrew הֶֽעֱמַדְתִּיךָ, being used in the sense of “thou wast kept alive”—the sense adopted by Dillmann for the Hebrew; probably Paul changed it intentionally to give the meaning, “for this reason I brought thee on the stage of history”: cf. Habakkuk 1:6, Zechariah 11:16, Jer. 27:41 (S. and H.). The purpose Pharaoh was designed to serve, and actually did serve, on this stage, was certainly not his own; as certainly it was God’s. God’s power was shown in the penal miracles by which Pharaoh and Egypt were visited, and his name is proclaimed to this day wherever the story of the Exodus is told.17. For] See on Romans 9:15. In this verse St Paul recurs to the question “Is there unrighteousness, &c.?” and replies to it, by citing not now a general Divine utterance (as in Romans 9:15) but a special utterance, to an individual.

the Scripture saith] For a similar personification of the inspired word see Galatians 3:8; Galatians 3:22. Such phrases are a pregnant indication of the apostolic view of Scripture. (See below, on Romans 10:6.)

unto Pharaoh] Here quoted as an example of Divine Sovereignty. He appears as one who might (in human judgment) have been dealt with and subdued by a process of grace and mercy, but who was left to his own evil will. No evil was infused into him; but good influences were not infused, and his evil took its course.—It is instructive, and a relief in a certain sense, to read this passage in the light of the history of Exodus, where it is remarkable that the “hardening” (expressed in the Hebrew by three different verbs) seems to be attributed in ten places to the Lord and certainly in ten to Pharaoh himself; and where the narrative, in its living simplicity, at least shews how perfectly real was the action of the human consciousness and will.—But we must not think that this solves the mystery, nor must we lose sight of St Paul’s object in quoting Pharaoh’s case here—viz. to establish the fact of the sovereignty with which God shews, or does not shew, mercy.

Even for this, &c.] The quotation (Exodus 9:16) is mainly with LXX., but the first clause in LXX. runs, “and for this purpose thou wast preserved,” or “maintained.”

have I raised, &c.] Or, did I raise thee up. Lit. made thee stand. And this is better, for the special meaning seems to be that Pharaoh was not so much exalted to be king, as raised up and sustained under the plagues.—Here the Eternal gives “His glory” as a sufficient account of His action toward this individual soul and will.Romans 9:17. Λέγει) saith, i.e. exhibits God speaking in this manner, comp. ch. Romans 10:20, saith.—γὰρ, for) He proves, that it is of Him who shows mercy, even God.—τῷ Φαραὼ, to the Pharaoh) who lived in the time of Moses.—ὅτι εἰς αὐτὸ τοῦτο ἐξήγειρὰ σε, ὅπως ἐνδείξωμαι ἐν σοὶ τὴν δὑναμίν μον κ.τ.λ.) Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up that I might show my power in thee. The LXX, Exodus 9:16, καὶ ἒνεκεν τοὺτον διετηρήθης ἔως τοῦ νῦν, ἳνα ἐνδείξωμαι ἐν σοὶ τὴν ἰσχύν μου κ.τ.λ. For this cause, thou hast been preserved until now, that I might show my power, etc.—ἐξήγειρά σε) העמדתיך LXX. Int. διετηρήθης (as Exodus 21:21, עמד, διαβιοῦν, to pass one’s life), but Paul according to his custom says more significantly, ἐξήγειρά σε: but it should be carefully observed, that by ἐξεγείρω here the meaning of the word הקים is not expressed, as it is used in Zechariah 11:16, but העמיד, which in all cases presupposes the subject previously produced. See the difference of these two Hebrew verbs in 1 Kings 15:4. The meaning then is this: I have raised thee up to be a king very powerful (in whom I might show My power) and illustrious (by means of whom [owing to whom] My name might be proclaimed throughout all the earth). Therefore this ἐξέγερσις, raising up, includes the διατηρεῖν, preserving, as the LXX. render it, using the milder term: and also includes the ἐνεγκεῖν, which in Romans 9:22, is introduced from this very passage of Moses. The predecessor [the former Pharaoh] had previously begun rather to oppress Israel; Exodus 2:23 : nor yet did the successor repent. The Ordo Temporum, p. 161 [Ed. II. 142], determines his reign to have been very short, and therefore his whole administration was an experiencing of the Divine power. It must be added, that this was told to Pharaoh not at first, but after he had been frequently guilty of excessive obstinacy, and it was not even then intended to discourage him from acknowledging Jehovah and from letting the people go, but to bring about his reformation.—δύναμιν, power) by which Pharaoh with all his forces was drowned.—διαγγελῇ, might be declared) This is being done even to the present day.Verses 17, 18. - For the Scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose (rather, for this very purpose) did I raise thee up, that I might show in thee my power, and that my Name might be declared throughout all the earth. The conclusion follows: So then he hath mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. The passage quoted in ver. 17, taken (as it is intended to be) in conjunction with the whole history as given in Exodus - and especially with the passages in which God himself is said to have hardened Pharaoh's heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go - shows that not only the deliverance of Israel, but also the obduration of Pharaoh, was due to the determination of God that it should be so, in accordance with his own righteous purpose, which cannot be called in question by man. The particular declaration of Exodus 9:16 appears to be selected for quotation because of its relevancy to the case in hand, which it is intended to illustrate; viz. the present rejection of the majority of the Jews from gospel privileges. How this is will appear below. Now, this whole passage has been used in support of Calvinistic views of the original absolute reprobation of individuals irrespectively of their deserts. Calvin himself draws this conclusion from it, very decidedly, thus: "Neque enim praevideri ruinam impiorum a Domino Paulus tradit, sed ejus consilio et voluntate ordinari; quemadmodum et Solomon docet (Proverbs 16:4) non mode praecognitum fuisse impiorum interitum, sed impios ipsos fuisse destinato creates, ut perirent" ('In Epist. Pauli ad Romans,' on Romans 9:18). It is, therefore, important to consider carefully both the original meaning of the verse, quoted from Exodus, and the apostle's application of it. First, with reference to Pharaoh himself, what is meant by "I raised thee up (ἐξήγειρα)"? Not "created thee;" nor (as in the Vulgate, and as Augustine, Calvin, and some others interpret) excitavi te, i.e. "stirred thee up" to resist my will, that I might exhibit my power in confounding thee. Whether or not St. Paul's ἐξήγειρα would bear this sense, it is quite inadmissible in the LXX. (from which, in this expression, he varies), and also in the Hebrew, of which the proper rendering is, "I made thee to stand." The LXX. has ἕνεκεν τούτου διετηρήθης, meaning that Pharaoh had been kept alive instead of being at once cut off, that God's power might be displayed in him. (The idea thus expressed, it may be observed, accords closely with that of ver. 22 below, where the case of Pharaoh is still in view; "endured with much long-suffering," etc. Thus, though the rendering διετηρήθης may be incorrect, and varied by St. Paul, yet he still seems to recognize the idea which it expresses.) St. Paul's rendering, which is closer to the Hebrew than the LXX., seems to mean, "raised thee to thy present position of power and greatness" (or possibly, as Meyer explains, "caused thee to emerge," i.e. in history: "Thy whole historical appearance has been brought about by me, in order that," etc.). Thus the expression cannot mean, either that God had brought Pharaoh originally into existence for the sole purpose of destroying him, or that he had from the first irresistibly incited him to obduracy in order to condemn him, and so destroy him. The Lord says in effect to him, "Thou art now great and powerful; but it is! that made thee so, or still keep thee so: and this, not that thou mayest accomplish thine own will, but subserve mine, and that my power to work out my own purposes of mercy or of judgment may be the more notably displayed." For how is God's purpose in so raising Pharaoh up defined? "That I might show in thee my power, and that my Name might be declared throughout all the earth;" i.e., as is evident from the history, by the deliverance of Israel in spite of Pharaoh's opposition through the judgments sent on him and his people to that end. There is plainly nothing in the original history to imply Pharaoh's individual reprobation with regard to his own eternal salvation, but only his discomfiture in his opposition to the Divine purpose of mercy to Israel. But still, with a view to such execution of his purposes, God himself is said to have hardened Pharaoh's heart; and it is to this that the apostle draws special attention in conclusion, as denoting that which it is his design to show. It is thus certainly declared that this hardening was from God. But even so, it is nowhere said that God had made Pharaoh's heart hard from the first, so that he had been all along incapable of acting otherwise than he did. The inference rather is that, after wilful resistance to appeals, final obduracy was sent on him as a judgment. And it is further to be observed that in some verses in Exodus (Exodus 8:15, 19, 32; 9:34) Pharaoh is said to have hardened his own heart, with the addition, in Exodus 9:34, of "he sinned yet more;" while in others (Exodus 7:14, 22; Exodus 9:7, 35) it is only said generally that "his heart was hardened." The two forms of expression seem to denote two aspects of final obduracy in man - according to one as being self-induced, according to the other as judicial. Thus also in 1 Kings 22. the Lord himself is said to have sent the lying spirit into the heart of Ahab's prophets, in order that he might rush to his ruin, though it was obviously due to his own sins that he was thus finally doomed. A striking instance of the two aspects of human obduracy is found in Isaiah 6:9, etc., and the reference to the passage by our Lord in Matthew 13:15. In Isaiah it is, "Make the heart of this people fat," etc.; but in our Lord's reference, "For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed;" as if the closing had been their own doing (cf. Mark 4:12; Luke 8:10). The following lines express a like conception of judicial blindness-

"For when we in our viciousness grow hard (O misery on't!),
the wise gods seal our eyes,
In our own filth drop our clear judgments, make us
Adore our errors, laugh at us while we strut
To our confusion."
We may compare also the Latin saying, Quem Deus vult, perdere prius dementat, which by no means implies that the divinely dementated persons have not deserved destruction. Such, then, seems the view to be taken of what is said about Pharaoh himself. But the important thing to be kept in view for a proper understanding of the drift of the passage is that, though Pharaoh was himself an individual, his case is adduced in no connection with the question of individual predestination, but in illustration of the principle on which nations, or races of men, are elected to or rejected from the enjoyment of Divine favour. This is the real subject of the whole chapter; and hence to build on this part of it a doctrine of individual election or reprobation is to bring into it what is not there. The drift of the passage before us is this: Moses and the Israelites of old illustrate the position of the faithful remnant of the Jews together with all Christian believers now. Pharaoh illustrates the position of the obdurate majority of the Jewish nation now. As he, in setting himself against the Divine purpose, and relying on his own strength, was unable to thwart God's design of mercy to his chosen, and was himself hardened and rejected, so the Jews as a nation now. And as then, so now, both the election and the rejection are to be referred entirely to the will of God, having mercy on whom he will and hardening whom he will, his justice in doing both being nevertheless unimpeachable. Saith

Present tense. "There is an element of tirelessness in the utterance. If the scripture ever spoke at all, it continued and continues to speak. It has never been struck dumb" (Morison).


The original meaning of the word is now supposed to be the double house or palace. Compare the Sublime Porte.

Raised thee up (ἐξήγειρα)

Hebrew, caused thee to stand. Sept., διετηρήθης thou wast preserved alive. Only once elsewhere in the New Testament, 1 Corinthians 6:14, of raising from the dead. The meaning here is general, allowed thee to appear; brought, thee forward on the stage of events, as Zechariah 11:16. So the simple verb in Matthew 11:11; John 7:52. Other explanations are, preserved thee alive, as Sept., excited thee to opposition, as Habakkuk 1:6; created thee.

Might be declared (διαγγελῇ)

Published abroad, thoroughly (διά). So Rev. See on Luke 9:60. "Even to the present day, wherever throughout the world Exodus is read, the divine intervention is realized" (Godet).

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