Relationships – Moses and Pharaoh

Then a new king, to whom Joseph meant nothing, came to power in Egypt. “Look,” he said to his people, “the Israelites have become far too numerous for us. Come, we must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks out, will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the country.”
So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh.

  • Exodus 1:8-11

Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Let my people go, so that they may hold a festival to me in the wilderness.’”
Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord and I will not let Israel go.”
Then they said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Now let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God, or he may strike us with plagues or with the sword.”
But the king of Egypt said, “Moses and Aaron, why are you taking the people away from their labor? Get back to your work!” Then Pharaoh said, “Look, the people of the land are now numerous, and you are stopping them from working.”
That same day Pharaoh gave this order to the slave drivers and overseers in charge of the people: “You are no longer to supply the people with straw for making bricks; let them go and gather their own straw. But require them to make the same number of bricks as before; don’t reduce the quota. They are lazy; that is why they are crying out, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to our God.’ Make the work harder for the people so that they keep working and pay no attention to lies.”
Then the slave drivers and the overseers went out and said to the people, “This is what Pharaoh says: ‘I will not give you any more straw. Go and get your own straw wherever you can find it, but your work will not be reduced at all.’” So the people scattered all over Egypt to gather stubble to use for straw. The slave drivers kept pressing them, saying, “Complete the work required of you for each day, just as when you had straw.” And Pharaoh’s slave drivers beat the Israelite overseers they had appointed, demanding, “Why haven’t you met your quota of bricks yesterday or today, as before?”

  • Exodus 5:1-14

Then the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet. You are to say everything I command you, and your brother Aaron is to tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go out of his country. But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in Egypt, he will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and with mighty acts of judgment I will bring out my divisions, my people the Israelites. And the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring the Israelites out of it.”
Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord commanded them. Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three when they spoke to Pharaoh. …
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh’s heart is unyielding; he refuses to let the people go. Go to Pharaoh in the morning as he goes out to the river. Confront him on the bank of the Nile, and take in your hand the staff that was changed into a snake. Then say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to say to you: Let my people go, so that they may worship me in the wilderness. But until now you have not listened. This is what the Lord says: By this you will know that I am the Lord: With the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water of the Nile, and it will be changed into blood. The fish in the Nile will die, and the river will stink; the Egyptians will not be able to drink its water.’”

  • Exodus 7:1-7, 14-18

But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he was not willing to let them go. Pharaoh said to Moses, “Get out of my sight! Make sure you do not appear before me again! The day you see my face you will die.”
“Just as you say,” Moses replied. “I will never appear before you again.”

  • Exodus 10:27-29

The Egyptians pursued them, and all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots and horsemen followed them into the sea. During the last watch of the night the Lord looked down from the pillar of fire and cloud at the Egyptian army and threw it into confusion. He jammed the wheels of their chariots so that they had difficulty driving. And the Egyptians said, “Let’s get away from the Israelites! The Lord is fighting for them against Egypt.”
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may flow back over the Egyptians and their chariots and horsemen.” Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at daybreak the sea went back to its place. The Egyptians were fleeing toward it, and the Lord swept them into the sea. The water flowed back and covered the chariots and horsemen—the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them survived.

  • Exodus 14:23-28

Moses summoned all the Israelites and said to them:
Your eyes have seen all that the Lord did in Egypt to Pharaoh, to all his officials and to all his land.

  • Deuteronomy 29:2

A Quote

[Challenge for Exodus 14-15] ”Everything comes out from God and returns to God again. The great God Almighty, the Lord God omnipotent, reigneth. He has now the same amount of power that He had when He made the heaven and the earth and called the stars into being. He will never have any less power than He has now, nor will He ever have any more since He has all the power there is. That is the God we serve!
“Therefore I cannot for the life of me see any reason in the world why anyone should be fearful and timid, saying, ‘I’m afraid l can’t make it; I‘m afraid God can’t keep me.’ God can keep the stars in their courses and the planets in their orbits; God can keep all His vast display of might everywhere throughout His universe. Surely God can keep you!”

  • A. W. Tozer, The Attributes of God II

What Do We Know about their Relationship?

We know that nothing is mentioned about the murder of the Egyptian slave master.

Until the ninth plague, Moses is granted an audience before Pharaoh.  In the Scriptures above, Moses agrees at that point to never see Pharaoh again.  He holds to that promise, although he saw Pharaoh at a distance when the Red Sea swallows up the army.

And we know, from underwater archaeology of the Red Sea floor, the point in which the army of Pharaoh is washed away.

For more details of each plague, I wrote five posts in early 2018.  These posts talk about such things as whether Pharaoh’s magicians could duplicate the plague, did the plague affect just the Egyptians or everyone, did Pharaoh harden his own heart or did God harden it (to ensure the full ten plagues to prove God’s power to Pharaoh and God’s Chosen People), etc.  Here are the links:

Blood and Frogs
Gnats and Flies
Livestock and Boils
Hail and Locusts
Darkness and Death

What Can We Infer about their Relationship?

Moses has been gone for forty years.  He may have grown up in the house of Pharaoh, but did this get him entrance to Pharaoh’s presence?  It is odd that the spokesperson for the slaves who are being oppressed can request and obtain an audience with a supreme ruler who considers himself god.

First, Pharaoh has been taught that he is a god, thus he needed proof that Moses’ God was something special.  This is a sparring match and Pharaoh thinks he holds all the cards.  As the plagues get worse and worse, Pharaoh goes from flat refusal, to negotiations so that the Israelites would have to return, to finally paying them to leave.

Second, Pharaoh is a ruler of one of the largest nations on earth at the time.  In earthly power, he had great resources.  So, other than the desire to prove his claim to being god was more powerful than the God of the Israelites, why even listen to Moses?  Ah, but God even had a hand in that as well.

Yet, it seemed Pharaoh liked being entertained by Moses, at least in the beginning.  After the first few plagues happened, and the nuisance they caused, livestock started dying and people started getting sick.  I think we can infer that it was no longer entertaining.

Once the magicians failed, we never hear from them again.  Killed by Pharaoh for their failure?  Or by this point, we know they cannot duplicate the plague.

In What Ways Can We Fill in the Gaps about their Relationship?

We could draw some fictional story of how this Pharaoh and Moses grew up together, but that is not necessary.  If so, they may have had a sibling rivalry that added to the tension, but even then, one was the future ruler, and the other was just a highly educated sidekick at best.

What Can We Learn from this Relationship?

I could have just stuck with one type of relationship, like a romantic one.  But God the Father is our ultimate parent.  Jesus is our brother.  Those that serve on missions or in the church have the best Boss that you could ever have.  And as the sovereign God of the universe, God reigns supreme.  Thus, studying every aspect of various relationships helps us learn more about how we deal with the subject in our human interactions and our interactions with God.

In this case, Pharaoh was only brainwashed into thinking that he was god.  This false sense of power had to be dramatically demonstrated to be false.  But, as the Deuteronomy Scripture above expresses, and many other reminders, the people of Israel had to know that their God was truly mighty.  Thus, what Rev. Tozer stated in the quote above is so important.  God is more powerful than anything on earth.  God loves us.  Why would we doubt that God is there for us?

What Have We Learned thus far?

In shifting this section a bit, we have learned to:

  • Own our own mistakes and not blame others.
  • Be faithful to God, and worship properly, in the proper spirit.
  • Do not show favoritism among family members, but always go to God.
  • Forgiveness is extremely important for none of us are perfect except for God.
  • Beyond physical love, there are other expressions of love, and respect is very important.
  • A relationship requires maintenance, nurturing, and an acceptance of the roles.
  • And to love, love, and love.
  • And don’t worry.  God has this situation, and He has us in the palm of His hand.

A Closing Prayer

Lord,
Thank you for being sovereign over all else.  Thank You for the promises that You make and the demonstration of Your faithfulness in keeping those promises.  Give us strength and wisdom when we face our bosses or political leaders or even our church leaders during times of disagreement.
In Thy Name we pray,
Amen.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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