Pharaoh's Intimidation
Moshe Ben-Chaim
Reader: So I have looked through Rashi, and the Midrash, but there is no comment I can find on an interesting question: When Moses first appeared before Pharaoh why did not Pharaoh simply have him and Aaron killed, or after the first plague, or even the fifth? After that, I understand that Pharaoh had removed the element of freewill from himself. Moses was, after all, according to Egyptian law, guilty of murder of an Egyptian, and Pharaoh knew this. Opinion please
Mesora: Pharaoh never lost his free will. G-d does not remove man's ability to make his own decisions. In another article I hope to expound on what it means that G-d hardened Pharaoh's heart. Refer to Maimonides' Laws of Repentance, chapters 5 and 6 for much detail on free will, and Pharaoh.
Regarding your question, I heard a Rabbi answer that the term "Elohim" applied to Moshe meant that God made Moshe greatly revered in Pharaoh's eyes. As such, Pharaoh was greatly intimidated by Moshe, to the point that he would not threaten him. Outwardly, Pharaoh had to maintain respect of his people, so he spoke harshly to Moshe and Aaron. Inwardly, he feared Moshe.