How are we to understand God's hardening Pharaoh's heart?
I believe when you go back to Exodus you will see that in some passages it says God hardened his heart, in others Pharaoh hardened his own heart, and in others both aspects are described. My opinion is that these hardenings are one and the same, or concurrent.
By the way, in the Hebrew, only a few passages use the word "harden." In most places, a different metaphor is used in the original language.
To illustrate, it has been said that the sun melts ice and hardens clay. Two things are involved here: the action or energy affecting the substance, and the substance itself. Clay hardens because of the effects of heat and because of its own nature. It doesn't harden one time because it is hot, another because, after all, it is only clay, then again because it is so hot, and so forth. A pond freezes not just because it is cold, but also because it is a property of fresh water to freeze at 0 degrees centigrade. In other words, God is fair, and his laws apply fairly and equally to all.
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