Pharaoh’s Failed Escapism

Rabbi Reuven Mann
Written by a Student


After Pharaoh’s magicians use sleight of hand to imitate the blood miracle performed by Moses, we read (Exod. 7:23) “And Pharaoh turned and he came to his house and he didn’t give heart also to this.” Why do we need to know that Pharaoh returned to his house?

Later, we read (Exod. 7:28) that the frogs entered everywhere, including one’s house. It would appear that this is not unrelated to Pharaoh’s entering his house subsequent to the magician’s performance of blood.

Pharaoh was disturbed by Moses’ feat of blood, and sought to dilute the significance of Moses by having his own magicians do the same. Nonetheless, Pharaoh left, and “returned to his house”. Why? He sought a place where he could deny the truth of Moses’ miracles. He sought a geographical escape, to assist in his philosophical denial. As long as Pharaoh did not have to confront Moses’ miracles, he felt a certain haven of security in his false beliefs. What was God’s response? A plague wherein there was no escape, to help Pharaoh confront the truth of Moses’ genuine miracles. The frogs entered Pharaoh’s house, leaving him no further room for denial.