For the scripture said to Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised you up, that I might show my power in you…
Note the present tense, "the Scripture says." It is not a thing of the past; there is an element of timelessness in the utterance. If the Scripture ever spoke at all, it continues to speak. It speaks to the autocrat of Egypt in no faltering tone. Greater than He was at work, who indeed had raised him up — not merely to the throne of Egypt, nor from the sickness of boils and blains; for no mention is made of illness but (see also Zechariah 11:16; Matthew 11:11; John 7:52) in the sense of among men, on the stage of the world. God said, "Let him be, and he was." He became a man and a monarch. He had a place in the Divine plan — to display the Divine power. In those idolatrous days the minds of thoughtful men were perplexed by the "gods many "whose reality was assumed by less considerate minds. Pharaoh scorned the authority of the God of the Hebrews (Exodus 5:2). who now appealed to various demonstrations of His peerless power — a kind of proof readiest for argument, and most adapted to the spirit of the age and that of the tyrant. It requires, in some measure, a wise mind or a benevolent heart to appreciate exhibitions of wisdom or benevolence; but it requires little more than a capacity for terror to appreciate exhibitions of power. Pharaoh was compelled time after time to pause and reflect, but continued unsubdued, and the voice of retribution is first heard in the words, "that I may display," etc., pointing ultimately to the catastrophe of the Red Sea (Exodus 15:9-11). But the Hebrew says, "That I might show thee — conveying the idea of mercifulness which goes before retribution which is to be reluctantly resorted to only in the sad event of mercy being spurned. The LXX., however, show in thee," uses a liberty in harmony with the acknowledged principles of the Divine government, and so Paul held himself justified in adopting it. The display of peerless power was in the first place for the instruction of Pharaoh; and it was only when that was repelled that the Lord turned to the dread alternative which runs onward, "and that My name might be published in all the earth," i.e., "failing thy repentance." The intervenience of latent conditional clauses is common in both promises and threatenings — e.g., in "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved," there is a latent condition, "and if thou persevere in thy faith." In the reverse threat, "He that believeth not shall be condemned," there is a corresponding intervenience, "and persisteth in his unbelief." Jonah's message to the Ninevites is a case in point: and on this principle we are to interpret this solemn warning to Pharaoh. "I raised thee up that I might show thee (Hebrews) My power, and failing thine improvement of this instruction that by thy overthrow My name may be magnified, all the world over, above all the gods."
(J. Morison, D.D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.