But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and listened not to them; as the LORD had said.
The constrained and pretended penitence of Pharaoh, with the compassion and prayer of Moses, teach us valuable lessons. The penitence of Pharaoh shows us that we ought not to put off our repentance until the hour of sickness, trial, and death; for the seeming conversions which take place at such times may be hypocritical and short-lived, like that of Pharaoh. Is this sincere? The sick man thinks that it is; but if he recover will he not be the same as before? Will he not forget, as Pharaoh did, his promises, humiliation, confessions of sin, and seeming conversion? From the example of Moses we may also obtain important instruction. He had, truly, very many reasons for not putting much faith in the word of the king. Pharaoh had already shown much pride, obstinacy, and deceit; nevertheless, Moses did not repulse him; he knew that God can convert a soul even at the last hour. Pharaoh made promises, and "charity hopeth all things." It is God alone who can judge the heart. We ought, therefore, always to be ready to console, and help with our prayers, even persons who have been most hostile, opposed, and contemptuous to us. There was a worthy pastor of the Canton de Vaud in Switzerland, who, during a time of persecution, had to suffer much because he preached the gospel faithfully. He was even obliged to leave his parish, and to go and settle in another. Some time afterwards, one of the men who had behaved most wickedly to him was converted to the Lord. He immediately determined to go to his former pastor to tell him this good news. "How surprised he will be," thought he as he walked along. He arrived at the village; he rung the bell at the minister's house; the pastor himself opened the door. "I am come to tell you that I am converted; I, who have done you so much harm." "I am not astonished at it," answered the pastor, "for I have prayed for you all these seven years."
Parallel VersesKJV: But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.