After the seventh plague in the Exodus story, Pharaoh responds (9:27):

חָטָאתִי הַפָּ֑עַם יְהוָה הַצַּדִּ֔יק וַאֲנִי וְעַמִּ֖י הָרְשָׁעִים
This time I have sinned; the LORD is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong.

This response fascinates me on multiple levels:

  • This time?1 Somehow this is different from all the other times?
  • Sin?2 Did this concept have traction outside of the Israelite religion?
  • Righteous?3 In addition to the above issue, I would expect Pharaoh perhaps to recognize power in YHWH at some point along the way, but his ability to smite the Egyptians has proven his righteousness?

1. happāʿam. I think that's clearly "as opposed to all the other times" in the Hebrew (cf. Gen 2:23), but if not that would answer that part.
2. ḥāṭāʾtı̂. I do realize that this is a text written by Israelites, but saying that it's a projection (+/- anachronism) doesn't go far to explaining the narrative function.
3. yhwh haṣṣaddı̂q.

3 Answers 3


Thereupon Pharaoh sent for Moses and Aaron and said to hem, "I stand guilty this time. The LORD is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong. (Exodus 9:27 JPS 1985)

The seventh plague is hail. It was the first plague that took human life.

All loss of life could have been avoided:

Those among Pharaoh's courtiers who feared the LORD's word brought their slaves and livestock indoors to safety; but those who paid no regard to the word of the LORD left their slaves and livestock in the open. (Exodus 9:20-21 JPS 1985)

Throughout the land of Egypt the hail struck down all that were in the open, both man and beast; the hail also struck down all the grasses of the field and shattered all the trees of the field. Only in the region of Goshen, where the Israelites were, there was no hail. (Exodus 9:25-26 JPS 1985)

The people who feared the word of the LORD ensured the safety of themselves, their slaves, and their livestock. They experienced no loss of life. Those who did not left their slaves and livestock in the open where they were struck down.

The guilt/sin/error of Pharaoh and the people was that they ensured their own safety by being indoors but exposed their slaves and livestock to what the LORD said was coming:

I could have stretched forth My hand and stricken you and your people with pestilence and you would have been effaced from the earth. Nevertheless I have spared you for this purpose in order to show My power and in order that My fame may resound throughout the world. Yet you continue to thwart My people, and do not let them go! This time tomorrow I will rain down a very heavy hail, such as not been in Egypt since the day it was founded until now. Therefore order your livstock and everything you have in the open brought under shelter; every man and beast that is found outside, not having been brought indoors, shall perish when the hail comes down upon them! (Exodus 9:15-19 JPS 1985)

The righteousness of the LORD is demonstrated in His actions. He states plainly that He could have simply wiped Pharaoh and his people from the face of the earth, but did not. Then He warns Pharaoh and instructs him take action and save lives, even going so far as to give the exact time at which the hail will come.

Pharaoh's guilt/sin/error is demonstrated in his actions. He saves himself but fails to take a simple action that would have saved people he ruled.


The definite article in Hebrew has a stronger focus than that of the English one.

For example,

  • [היום] this particular day = today
  • [הפעם] this particular moment = now
  • [השטן] this particular satan = this impeding agent among many.

If you check your koine Greek, "sin" is a rather accurate translation of the Hebrew, as "amartia" - missing the mark. Read up on the history what amartia actually was during the era of Paul.

[חטא] and amartia is deviation, or shortcoming, from a threshold or target.

That is why there is [קורבן] QURVaN, which is a derivative of [קרב]. If you check thro the Hebrew of the Bible at the various passages where the word [קרב] and its declensions are used, they mean close encounter either in intimacy, privacy and frequently used to denote encounter in battle.

[קרבן] (misrepresented by translation with the Latin/pagan derivative of "sacred"), is to close the gap due to the deviation.

Even the Pauline epistle of your religion says to the Romans,

For all have missed the target and come short of the glory of god.

The understanding of the actual meaning of [חטא] and amartia is very essential in understanding Romans 3:23.

[צדק] = righteousness? Not so much as being holy-moly blameless. Rather, it is much closer to the meaning of the Sanskrit word karma - the rightful, the spontaneously proper progression/flow of events.

One must understand [צדק] righteousness and [חטא] and amartia more in the Buddhist way than the Taoist/Confucianist way, or the Greeko mythological way.

One must understand those terms from a Mathematical perspective, rather than a culturally tainted perspective - that the pharoah is saying

I am not aligned to the path of effectiveness. HaShem is aligned with the effective way that events should occur.

I choose to read Genesis 3 as

Now, the human being as one among us, being part of us, to know good and evil and what-if furthermore stretches his hand and takes from the tree of life and eats and lives forever.

Genesis 3 does not say, that G'd knows good and evil. The passage takes caution that humankind being contaminated with the perspective of good-vs-evil would contaminate the unity of G'd Himself with the concept of good-vs-evil.

We should not perceive the passage as good-vs-evil, like modern day jihadis, because one religion's good is another religion's evil. Perceiving your world and your relationship with G'd and humankind thro the lens of good vs evil is the evidence/consequence of [חטא]/amartia misalignment and missing the point.

Further addition on March 6, 2016:
Let me a "non-believer" explain this Christian principle ...
1 Cor 10:23 (I believe the koine Greek says)

  • all is allowed for me, but not all is unifying
  • all is allowed for me, but not all is constructive.

Even your scriptures support the view that good-vs-evil perspective is ineffective and out of alignment with divine plan.

  • Therefore, the salvation (self-help) of humankind lies in the "secret" of treating our misalignment by purging ourselves of the ineffective perspective of good-vs-evil, to be able to realign ourselves back to the unity, intimacy and closeness with our Creator.
    – Cynthia
    Mar 4, 2016 at 15:18
  • Your financial advisor would not tell you - this is an evil way of investing your retirement funds. Rather, she would say - this is an ineffective way of investment and misaligned with the goals of your retirement. The CEO does not say - this is an evil way of implementing your task. Rather, this is an ineffective way, misaligned to the goals of the company. Do not perceive the world with good-vs-evil.
    – Cynthia
    Mar 4, 2016 at 15:32
  • The use of time here calls the previous events into the message. So for Pharaoh (and the people) what is different this time from the other times/events? An ineffective investment can be a bad investment (regardless of goals) or ineffective in contrast to one that is effective, In the case of what is written if the contrast is not good/evil/sin what is the differentiating factor Pharaoh recognizes? Mar 4, 2016 at 16:29
  • You need to step away from the English language when reading the Bible in the original Hebrew (as opposed to modern Hebrew). [הפעם] does not mean "this occurrence" but "this moment". In English, "this time" means "this occurrence". You are projecting your idiomatic usage in English onto Hebrew, which is dangerous to your spiritual life.
    – Cynthia
    Mar 6, 2016 at 11:26
  • [הפעם] = this moment = now. For example, Gen 46:30 - did Jacob/Israel say - this occurrence (out of many occurrences of losing you for 13 years) of seeing you, then shall I die after seeing you. ???
    – Cynthia
    Mar 6, 2016 at 11:31

Exodus 9:27 Hebrew OT: (Consonants Only)

וישלח פרעה ויקרא למשה ולאהרן ויאמר אלהם חטאתי הפעם יהוה הצדיק ואני ועמי הרשעים

  • וישלח - "and he will send" : send (שלח) . he will (י) . and (ו)
  • פרעה - "Pharaoh"
  • ויקרא - "and he will cry" : cry (קרא) . he will (י) . and (ו)
  • למשה - "to Moses" : Moses (משה) . to (ל)
  • ולאהרן - "and to Aaron" : Aaron (אהרן) . to (ל) . and (ו)
  • ויאמר - "and he will say" : say (אמר) . he will (י) . and (ו)
  • אלהם - "their motion" : motion (אלה) . their (ם)
  • חטאתי - "I did hate" : hate (חטא) . I did (תי)
  • הפעם - "the time" : time (פעם) . the (ה)
  • יהוה - "he will be" : Be (הוה) . he will (י)
  • הצדיק - "the righteous" : righteous (צדיק) . the (ה)
  • ואני - "and I" : I (אני) . and (ו)
  • הרשעים - "the wrongs" : plural (ים) . wrong (רשע) . the (ה)


and he will send Pharaoh and he will cry to Moses and to Aaron and he will say, "Their motion I did hate the time he will be the righteous and I the wrongs."

The time

The considered root word for time ends with a Mem which as a suffix has the meaning of "their" however without the Mem the lexicon has no entry for "פע" however after more development of the root word dictionary in comparison to every Hebrew word in existence we may find the real root meaning if this is so not the root.

As it states now conjecture would state that the time refers to the last time that Moses and Aaron where correct and that the Pharaoh was wrong. However in English when this phrase gets used it usually acts as a cumulative to "all the times" however since the word is so not plural we could conjecture that it refers to the prophecy of the seventh plague.


During the time of the confounding of the languages each group spread across the world, considering the similar nature to many words of the many languages. The original word from the original language became it's own version of slang.

Semitic Languages followed down through Noah's son Shem. Where as English followed down through Japheth. However with the times of Josheph going to Egypt found in the book of Genesis. Shem's language got mixed with Ham's language. We can know that the language of the Egyptians came through Ham's son Mizraim. The Bible refers to Egypt as "the land of Ham" in Psalms 78:51; 105:23,27; 106:22; 1Ch 4:40.

So seeing a strong connection between all of the languages. Let us look to the letter development of the the alphabets to see some comparisons.

The Hebrew word (חטא)

Now each letter as it has been slangified has changed in pronunciation for many of the languages. Now when attempting to transliterate between languages many translators take the current (at that time) pronunciation and rebuild the word with the letters that "match the sound". So when we try to pronounce the Hebrew Word (חטא) the translators say that it spells "chata" : http://biblehub.com/hebrew/2398.htm

However if using letter by letter and using English pronunciation (חטא) sounds like (hta)

God is so Love

He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. (1 John 4:8 NKJV)

And what's the opposite of Love? Hate.

So to answer "Did this concept have traction outside of the Israelite religion?" Yes


The question goes: In addition to the above issue, I would expect Pharaoh perhaps to recognize power in YHWH at some point along the way, but his ability to smite the Egyptians has proven his righteousness?

Now Moses was very focused on showing the Pharaoh the power of the future tense of the name of existence. Which still has much power and many miracles can be performed through the use of his name, that others use all the time unknowingly bring both good and bad into existence by their not knowing.

Which Jesus used many times:

He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, "Ephphatha!" (which means "Be opened!") - (Mark 7:34 NLT)

Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." - (John 20:21 NIV)

This, then, is how you should pray: "'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, - (Matthew 6:9 NIV)

From the context
Though the Pharaoh used God's name chances are he was pointing out "Moses righteousness" through the use of the name. Yet God got the glory. Really smart of God eh? ^^,

  • Orthography and etymology are certainly interesting things to trace, but this usage in the interpretative process is just רעדיכולוס.
    – Caleb
    Mar 5, 2016 at 15:18
  • Rodiculus or Ridiculous (רידיכולעוס) either way thank you.
    – Decrypted
    Mar 6, 2016 at 18:17
  • Since the rabbis say that Hebrew words are made from the combined metaphor of the letters.. it may not be so ridiculous ;) The idea that languages evolved independently is fairly modern. As a child I saw charts which showed Hebrew as the original language and others derived from it. there is a project which maps languages based on the proposition that at Babel, languages were literally scrambled, like made dyslexic, and phonemes swapped. They are attempting to show the original language by reverse engineering them all. It is way too easy to dismiss things as if we knew everything already.
    – Bob Jones
    Dec 26, 2017 at 20:06

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