It seems Pharoah believed his own myth. Anyone, when he sees that others need him, need his cooperation, can become too full of his own importance. So much so, that it can completely warp his perspective and judgement as he feels even more need to emphasize his own importance.
There was an interesting and subtle dynamic at work here in the background.Why did Moshe have to keep returning to Pharoah to demand ‘let my people go’? Why didn’t God simply remove us straight away from Egyptian servitude and oppression? Why do we need to see Pharoah’s acquiescence?
In the original decree that God stated to our father Abraham, we are told that we will be strangers in a strange land (yes, from there the name of the Heinlein novel) and will return to the promised land after 400 years. Now, here it is only 210 years and God has had mercy on the suffering Jews in exile, and it is time to take us out.So how does He avoid violating the earlier decree? Let the ruler of Egypt free and send out the Jews.
Pharoah was aware of his own role in this process. Mistakenly, this led him to believe he is important and powerful – even in the face of God’s demands! And so he was able to be obstinate and full of himself until such a time that God removed his opportunity to retreat from his own deluded, disastrous course.
Man is potentially the most dignified, most noble of all creation. Yet it is our downfall that we can delude ourselves into believing too much in our own importance and power, in the lie of our own myth, even to the point of forgetting Who is the real Master and King of the universe.
May God grant us clarity and humility so that even when we must act decisively and courageously, we will always know from Whom comes all our strength and ability to stay the course. May we use such strengths only to do what is right in His eyes.