Torah – Exodus 6:2-9:35 Haftarah – Ezekiel 28:25-29:21 Brit Chadashah – Romans 9:14-33
Parasha (portion) Va’dera (and I appeared) is an epic portion of Torah. There is so much to examine here, including the first 7 of the ten plagues on Egypt, but we will look very briefly at just two points found in four verses.
Exodus 7:1-4, “So the L-RD said to Moses: “See, I have made you [as] God to Pharaoh, and Aaron your brother shall be your prophet. 2 “You shall speak all that I command you. And Aaron your brother shall tell Pharaoh to send the children of Israel out of his land. 3 “And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt. 4 “But Pharaoh will not heed you, so that I may lay My hand on Egypt and bring My armies [and] My people, the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments..” (NKJV)
It is often pointed out by many that Moshe (Moses) was an archetype, or “type” of Messiah Yeshua (Jesus). Typically, when most of us think about this fact we think of the Exodus itself. We tend to equate the redemption of G-d’s people out of bondage with Yeshua’s redemption of all His people from the bondage to death and sin. Rightly so, this is a good and logical connection to make. In the reading of this week’s parasha, something else jumps out that also connects the two.
Moshe was made “as g-d to Pharaoh and Ahron (Aaron) as his prophet. Much like Yeshua would come and do, Moshe did. When Moshe commanded, his words did not fall to the ground. All nature obeyed his voice and command. At Moshe’s command, the water of the Nile and all their water in the land turned to blood. At Moshe’s command, the fire and ice hail fell from the heavens and destroyed crops and herds, frogs, lice and on and on the picture was painted not only for Pharaoh but all the world. Not only was G-d revealed through Moshe to Pharaoh, but HaShem (YHVH) revealed Himself to his people, Yisra’El (Israel.)
Next, we have the issue we have dealt with in years past. I’m talking about the issue of G-d “hardening” Pharaoh’s heart. Many who don’t have understanding look at these accounts as somehow an indictment of G-d. They ask how G-d could punish Pharaoh for doing what G-d made him do in the first place. It seems a logical conclusion.
The reality we discussed in years past was that the Hebrew language and context suggest that Pharaoh was “strengthened,” not “hardened.” In other words, in the midst of such pagan idolatrous world Pharaoh was strengthened through what was demonstrated to him that G-d was indeed the One True G-d! Instead Pharaoh defaulted to defiance.
As you know, there are many layers to the opinion, so to speak. Let’s, therefore, look at another interpretation, which is just as valid as the one I just gave you here again.
Pharaoh had already demonstrated defiance towards G-d. His heart had already been demonstrated to be defiant, rebellious and, indeed hard towards truth of HaShem’s existence and power. Each plague that was brought upon Pharaoh and his people and land were not punishment as much as they were demonstrations to them of the reality and truth of His existence and Almighty power! At any time Pharaoh could have sincerely repented and chosen to follow after G-d, but instead, Pharaoh followed the pre-existing condition of heart.