And God said to Moses: “But I know that the king of Egypt will not permit you to go, except under compulsion. So I will stretch out My hand and strike Egypt with all My miracles which I shall do in the midst of it; and after that he will let you go.” (Exodus 3:19-20)
How does God know that after compulsion, Pharaoh would finally relent, and let Israel go? Is the answer simply because that is what is in God's alleged, Script of Life, and Pharaoh must ultimately play his role in God's Deterministic script, or is the answer because God has perfect Middle Knowledge, that is, knowing all possible contingencies, and knowing all of the what-ifs, which in this case, means knowing what Pharaoh would do in every single circumstance put to him?
God knows man, better than man knows himself. God controls the situations and God controls the range of a man's choices. 1st Corinthians 10:13 states: "No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it." How does God know what any man is able to endure, if He does not have perfect Middle Knowledge? This verse shows that the parameters of a man's choices are set by the Providence of God.
Why does the Bible say that Pharaoh hardened his heart (Exodus 7:13, 22, 8:15, 19, 32; 9:7), and after which, God hardened his heart? (Exodus 9:12, 34-35, 10:1, 20, 27, 11:10; 14:8) We have two answers from the Scriptures:
1) 2nd Samuel 22:27 states: "With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself unsavoury." [KJV]
2) Jeremiah 18:5-11 states: "Then the word of the LORD came to me saying, 'Can I not, O house of Israel, deal with you as this potter does?' declares the LORD. 'Behold, like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel.' At one moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to uproot, to pull down, or to destroy it; if that nation against which I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent concerning the calamity I planned to bring on it. Or at another moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to build up or to plant it; if it does evil in My sight by not obeying My voice, then I will think better of the good with which I had promised to bless it. So now then, speak to the men of Judah and against the inhabitants of Jerusalem saying, 'Thus says the LORD, "Behold, I am fashioning calamity against you and devising a plan against you. Oh turn back, each of you from his evil way, and reform your ways and your deeds."'"
So what have we learned? I learned that God's molding is explicitly conditional. Pharaoh was a froward man and God dealt with him as such. But is it possible for a man to harden his own heart? Answer: If not, then what did God mean when He warned: "Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness." (Psalm 95:8) God knew exactly what made Pharaoh tick, and he being froward in the sight of God, God raised him to power and prominence in order for him to serve a useful purpose to God the Potter. It's not God's will that Pharaoh be froward, but God will deal with him as he is. If Pharaoh had repented, like Ninevah, then Scripture records that God would have relented.
What did John Calvin teach about Proverbs 21:1? Here is a link to my write-up on this passage: