God, Pharoah and Moses / P.b.m: Explaining the Lord's Actions in the Exodus Plagues Narrative

Overview

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 many readers, especially concerning the actions of God. Why does God send a series of devastating 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 study addresses these questions, taking into account the ...

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Softcover New 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. Read more Show Less

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Overview

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 many readers, especially concerning the actions of God. Why does God send a series of devastating 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 study addresses these questions, taking into account the complex interaction of the presuppositions of faith and responsible textual interpretation. The approach is narrative—theological and canonical—paying attention to such factors as speaker, addressee, purpose, and reception, a picture is built up of the different and developing relationships between God, Pharaoh, and Moses. This complex interaction provides a way to read and understand the wider plagues story, including the plagues and hardening of the heart within it.

The picture that emerges is challenging rather than comfortable—a God who is responsive, speaking and acting to confront others to make the appropriate response to him.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781842274200
  • Publisher: Authentic UK
  • Publication date: 6/1/2007
  • Series: Paternoster Biblical Monographs
  • Edition description: Revised
  • Pages: 267
  • Product dimensions: 6.81 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.61 (d)

Meet the Author

William A. Ford is currently working as a visiting lecturer at All Nations Christian College. Before this he completed a PhD in Old Testament at Durham University.
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Table of Contents


Foreword   R.W.L. Moberly     xiii
Preface     xv
Abbreviations     xvii
The Issue and the Approach
The Issue under Discussion     1
Length and Nature of the Plagues     2
Interaction of YHWH and Pharaoh     4
Different Approaches to the Issue     5
Previous Approaches to the 'Hardening'     5
An Alternative Approach to the 'Hardening'?     10
The Approach of this Study     13
General Approach - Narrative Theology     13
Specific Approach - Chapter by Chapter     15
A Couple of General Issues     22
Matters 'Behind the Text'     22
Approaching a Problematic Scriptural Text     27
Exodus 9:13-19 - A Key Explanation
Introduction     30
Individual Words and Phrases     30
9:13     30
9:14     41
9:15     53
9:16     60
9:17     67
9:18     70
9:19     71
The Meaning of 9:13-19?     71
The Warning of a Change (vv13-14)     72
The Explanation of this Change (vv15-18)     72
The Response to this Change (v19)     73
9:13-19: A Responsive God Seeking Response?     75
The Response to YHWH's Words     77
9:20-21     77
9:22-26, 31-32     78
9:27-28     79
9:29     79
9:30     80
9:33-35     82
Concluding Remarks     82
Exodus 10:1-2 - A Contrasting Explanation
Introduction     83
10:1 and 'the hardening of Pharaoh's heart'     84
First Context of Hardening References: YHWH's Statements to Moses     85
Second Context for Hardening References: Concluding Narratorial Refrains     99
Summary of the 'hardening'     102
Return to 10:1     102
10:2 and [Characters not reproducible]     103
9:13-19 vs. 10:1-2 - Summarising the Differences     108
The Passage in (Immediate) Context (10:3-20)     109
Whose Explanation? Which Context? What Response?     113
Pharaoh     113
Moses     114
Israel     118
Concluding Remarks     123
Reading the Plagues Narrative and Beyond
Introduction     125
The Plagues Narrative (7:8-11:10)     126
Serpent Staff (7:8-13)     126
I: River of Blood (7:14-25)      130
II: Invasion of the Frogs (7:26-8:11 [8:1-15])     137
III: Gnats out of Dust (8:12-15 [16-19])     140
IV: The Sending of the Swarm (8:16-28 [20-32])     141
V: Death of the Livestock (9:1-7)     149
VI: Erupting Boils and Sores (9:8-12)     151
VII: Unparalleled Fury from the Skies (9:13-35)     152
VIII: Locusts like None before (10:1-20)     157
IX: Darkness that can be Felt (10:21-29)     161
X: Prelude to the Final Plague (11:1-10)     163
Post Plagues Narrative - Passover, Red Sea and Beyond (12:1-19:1)     168
12:1-13:22     168
14:1-15:21     175
15:22-18:12 and 19:1ff     179
Giving Glory to YHWH - Exodus, the Wider OT and 1 Samuel 4-7
Introduction     181
Some Previous Studies and their Views on YHWH     183
Our Approach to the 'Ark Narrative'     187
First Speech: 4:3 (4:1-22) 'Why has YHWH struck us...?'     189
Second Speech: 5:7-8 (5:1-10) 'YHWH's hand is heavy upon us and our god'     193
Third Speech: 6:2-9 (5:11-6:18) 'If you are returning the ark...'     197
Fourth Speech: 7:3 (6:19-7:14) 'If you are returning to YHWH...'     207
1 Samuel 4-7 in the Old Testament - Jeremiah's Temple Sermon      211
Concluding Remarks     214
Important Hebrew Words and Phrases     218
[Characters not reproducible] and [Characters not reproducible] in the Exodus Story     219
Comparison of Narratorial Refrains     221
Bibliography     223
Index of Names     231
Index of Scriptural References     234
Index of Subjects     247
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