Category Archives: Confusing

God hardens Pharaoh’s heart then threatens to kill his son

Exodus 4:21-23 The LORD said to Moses, “When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders I have given you the power to do. But I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go. Then say to Pharaoh, ‘This is what the LORD says: Israel is my firstborn son, and I told you, “Let my son go, so he may worship me.” But you refused to let him go; so I will kill your firstborn son.’ “


Should Pharaoh be held accountable for something God is forcing him to do?

Redeem the firstborn donkey with a lamb or break its neck

Exodus 34:19-20 “The first offspring of every womb belongs to me, including all the firstborn males of your livestock, whether from herd or flock. Redeem the firstborn donkey with a lamb, but if you do not redeem it, break its neck. Redeem all your firstborn sons. “No one is to appear before me empty-handed.


1. Why does a firstborn donkey need redeeming with a lamb?

God’s judgment against the firsborn and gods of Egypt

Exodus 12: 12 “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn—both men and animals—and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD.”


I’ve always wondered who these “other gods” were that were consistently referenced in the Old Testament. The references seem to affirm the existence of the these gods (as real) but God is greater.

Were the gods of Egypt real so that God will have to bring judgment against them?

I know the argument can be made here that Pharaoh was the one referred to as god but this doesn’t explain all the other references throughout the O.T. referencing these gods.

God wants to destroy his people but Moses talks him out of it

Numbers 14:11-19 The LORD said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the miraculous signs I have performed among them? I will strike them down with a plague and destroy them, but I will make you into a nation greater and stronger than they.”

Moses said to the LORD, “Then the Egyptians will hear about it! By your power you brought these people up from among them. And they will tell the inhabitants of this land about it. They have already heard that you, O LORD, are with these people and that you, O LORD, have been seen face to face, that your cloud stays over them, and that you go before them in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. If you put these people to death all at one time, the nations who have heard this report about you will say, ‘The LORD was not able to bring these people into the land he promised them on oath; so he slaughtered them in the desert.’

“Now may the Lord’s strength be displayed, just as you have declared: ‘The LORD is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.’ In accordance with your great love, forgive the sin of these people, just as you have pardoned them from the time they left Egypt until now.”


Where do I start on this?

1) God is upset with his people so he is ready to strike them down with a plague and destroy them.

2) He’s then wanting to make Moses a great nation instead of fulfilling his previous promises.

3) Moses talks about seeing God “face to face” when Exodus 33:20 says “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”

4) Moses reminds God that he punishes “the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.” which is in line with Exodus 20:5 which states “for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation” (also see Deuteronomy 5:9 & Exodus 34:7). Of course, this is in direct contradiction to Deuteronomy 24:16 which states “Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor shall children be put to death for their fathers; a person shall be put to death for his own sin” (see also Ezekiel 18:20).

However, my real question concerns this issue:

5) Moses, a mere human, had to reason with God and talk him out of this action by reminding him that he is “slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion.” Moses also plays on God’s ego by asking him what will the Egyptians think. How can this be?

Your thoughts?

Jesus intentionally confuses?

Matthew 13:10-15 And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says:

‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand,
And seeing you will see and not perceive;
For the hearts of this people have grown dull.
Their ears are hard of hearing,
And their eyes they have closed,
Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears,
Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
So that I should heal them.’


In public speaking, one may share a story to bring home a point. In most cases, it is in order to make the point easier to understand. Preceding the above passage, Jesus told the parable of the sower. When asked why he spoke in parables, his response leads you to conclude that he does not want certain hearers to understand what he’s saying. In other words those with dull hearts, whose ears are hard of hearing, and whose eyes have been closed, are intentionally confused. Otherwise, they may see, hear, understand, have a change of heart and be healed.

This does not make sense since preaching should yield the result of a changed heart. Jesus also said “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Why would he now state that those who are healthy should understand but the sick should not lest they be healed? Why would he now more or less say that those who are healthy will become healthier but those who are sick will become sicker? There’s obviously something I’m missing from this passage.

[Read Today’s Reading in The Brick Testament – An Illustrated Bible]