Exodus 5:2 – But Pharaoh said, “Who Is the LORD?”

This post is part of a series from the book of Exodus. These posts share some of the riches which I discovered this year in my annual read through this Old Testament book about the LORD’s deliverance of His people from their slavery in Egypt.

In the fifth chapter of the book of Exodus, the LORD sends Moses and Aaron to Pharaoh to tell him that the LORD, the God of Israel, demands that His people be let go to worship Him in the wilderness. Pharaoh responds with these fateful words:

But Pharaoh said, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey His voice and let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, and besides, I will not let Israel go.” Exodus 5:2

The plagues of Egypt will come upon Pharaoh as a thundering answer to his reckless, arrogant question in Exodus 5:2. Defiantly, Pharaoh despises the LORD when he asks Moses, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey His voice and let Israel go? I do not know the LORD . . .” These sharp words create the plot for the plagues of Egypt and Pharaoh will live to regret these words. The LORD will make Himself known to Pharaoh through ten devastating plagues, and finally Pharaoh will die regretting these words, as the LORD destroys him and his whole army in the Red Sea. O, yes; Pharaoh will know the LORD.

For the LORD does not take defiance lightly. “Oh, you do not know Me, Pharaoh? Very well. Let me introduce Myself to you. I am the LORD. I rule heaven and earth, and if you will not bow down to Me, I will destroy you and your nation.” And the LORD hardens Pharaoh’s heart so that he will not repent of his defiance, in order that Pharaoh’s arrogance may be utterly extinguished by the punishing plagues from the LORD. The LORD makes sure that Pharaoh will never again be so foolish as to say, “Who is the LORD?” By the time this ordeal is finished, Pharaoh will certainly know who the LORD is.

Notice in these verses that, as the LORD brings His plagues on Egypt, many of them are brought so that Pharaoh and Egypt may know the LORD. Consider these verses:

  • 7:5 – “The Egyptians will know that I am the LORD, when I stretch out My hand against Egypt.”
  • 7:17 – “By this you will know that I am the LORD: Behold, I (Moses) will strike the water, and it shall turn to blood.”
  • 8:10 – (With the plague of frogs) This will be done, “so that you may know that there is no one like the LORD our God.”
  • 8:22 – There will be no swarms of flies in Goshen, “that you may know that I am the LORD in the midst of the earth.”
  • 9:14 – “I will send all My plagues on you, so that you may know that there is none like Me in all the earth.”
  • 9:29 – “The thunder will cease, and there will be no more hail, so that you may know that the earth is the LORD’s.”
  • 10:2 – “I have dealt harshly with eh Egyptians, that you may know that I am the LORD.”
  • 14:4 – “I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his hosts, and the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD.”
  • 14:18 – “And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gotten glory over Pharaoh.”

The LORD does not forget or overlook the boastful, arrogant jeers of the any earthly monarch. Pharaoh was the most powerful man on earth at that time, but the LORD demands that He be worshiped, or He will destroy in judgment. “Our God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29).”

SDG     rmb     2/8/2020

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