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Products>God, Pharaoh and Moses: Explaining the Lord’s Actions in the Exodus Plagues Narrative

God, Pharaoh and Moses: Explaining the Lord’s Actions in the Exodus Plagues Narrative

ISBN: 9781842274200

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The story of the Exodus from Egypt is of fundamental importance, both in the Old Testament and beyond. However, it also contains issues that are theologically problematic for readers, especially concerning the actions of God. Why does God send a series of plagues on Egypt? How do we understand the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart? What do the answers to these questions say about the character of God?

This book addresses these questions, taking a narrative theological approach, reading the story as story. The picture that emerges is of God as responsive, speaking and acting to challenge the hearer to make the appropriate response to him.

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“First it is almost unparalleled in terms of the concentration of YHWH’s acts and intervention.4” (Pages 1–2)

“Keil and Delitzsch offer another variant on this approach.44 They understand the change from Pharaoh to YHWH as YHWH’s response to Pharaoh’s initial actions. The one who refused to listen to YHWH and learn from him leads himself into judgement, which is expressed by YHWH hardening him as he has hardened himself.” (Page 10)

“Therefore, as regards the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart, one key difference in our approach to many of those mentioned earlier is that we will not be attempting to find ‘an answer’ to the question of who is causing the hardening. Instead we will be trying to understand how these references can be sensibly understood within the narrative of which they form a part. To put it another way, we will not be abstracting the hardening as a separate theological theme; discussing issues of theodicy; or considering discussions of the hardening in post-biblical theology.53 Our focus is on the text and the role of the hardening within it.” (Page 14)

“Thus for him, YHWH’s actions, far from demonstrating power, have confirmed his original views of YHWH as one who can be ignored. YHWH’s use of power (through restraint) is so different from Pharaoh’s concept of power (through domination), that for him it appears as weakness.” (Page 73)

“YHWH’s interactions with Pharaoh have been deliberately restrained. Rather than acting unilaterally, he has been looking for a certain response from Pharaoh. However, Pharaoh has refused to give it, preferring to use that restraint to exalt himself over YHWH’s people. As a result YHWH changes or increases his methods of interacting with Pharaoh.” (Page 82)

  • Title: God, Pharaoh and Moses: Explaining the Lord’s Actions in the Exodus Plagues Narrative
  • Author: William A. Ford
  • Series: Old Testament Studies Collection
  • Publisher: Paternoster Press
  • Publication Date: 2007
  • Pages: 248

William A. Ford studied at Oxford before completing his doctorate at Durham University.


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Digital list price: $33.99
Save $7.00 (20%)