I was reading the Exodus story and noticed something. Moses and Aaron repeatedly go to Pharaoh (at YHWH’s request) to try to demonstrate the power of the Lord’s system of order (over Egypt’s and the world) and ask to let our people go.
But every time, “the Lord stiffened the heart of the Pharaoh so that he would not let the Israelites go from his land”. He seems to MAKE Pharaoh say “no.” This happens repeatedly, and is even planned/predicted when YHWH first explains to Moses how he will ask for freedom and what will follow.
Why does YHWH do this?
Are there important symbolic interpretations (“stiffen/harden” and “heart”) to be aware of? Is He merely doing what He appears (making Moses ask and Pharaoh say “no”) or something more?
What is the significance of this for our understanding of the meaning and lessons of the Exodus story and our religion and relation to YHWH more generally?