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For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. (KJV)

Why does it say "Scripture" and not "God"? How could the Scripture say anything to Pharaoh when the Scripture was not even written yet?

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  • The relevant scripture, is Thus saith the Lord God of the Hebrews ... for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth. Exodis 9:13...16.
    – Nigel J
    Nov 18, 2019 at 19:48

5 Answers 5

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Paul's exact words are :

λεγει γαρ η γραφη τω φαραω [TR][Stephens, Beza, Elzevir and Scrivener identical]

Literally (very literally, see EGNT or Biblehub) :

Speaks for the script (nominative, feminine, singular noun) to Pharoah (dative, masculine singular). Biblehub.

Paul begins his sentence by stating that something was spoken. It was originally spoken by God.

And the Lord said unto Moses - Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh, and say unto him . . . . . [Ex 9:13]

What was spoken to Moses (not written down, but spoken) included a statement (also not written down) to Pharaoh.

Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me . . . . .. . . And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth. [Ex 9:13 and 16, KJV.]

God spoke those words to Moses. Then Moses spoke those words. And Pharaoh heard them.

Later, they were recorded.

That writing still speaks. It is still God's speech.

What God has uttered never becomes silent.

His words never fall to the ground.

They echo round the world to this day.

This is true of all scripture that is given by inspiration of God. It is his word. He utters it and it never becomes silent. It echoes to every generation to those who have ears to hear it.


That which was written, spoke to Pharaoh.

That is to say :

That which was (later) written spoke to Pharaoh (before it was written).

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    Excellent answer Nigel! Just one problem: you changed the tense: you picked it up when you said: That writing still speaks, but when you applied it to Pharoah, you changed it to past tense: "spoke to Pharoah"... Paul says it speaks/says unto Pharoah... I think emphasising that fact drives your point even further. Sep 7, 2020 at 17:53
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Pharoah is representative of our unregenerated natural man/ hardened heart of ourselves. So the scripture is still saying to our 'Pharoah' today, as we read it, that God allows the consequences from that so that He can show his mighty power. Hardened heart brings about plagues. Until Repentance brings about letting his people go ( Isreal or our spirit child or our born again new creature)

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    Excellent answer... I just have one question, why do you say: "Hardened heart brings about plagues. Until? Repentance...". Considering the context the hardening seems quite conclusive and decisive: it is the absence of repentance and regeneration in the individual. You picked up the importance of the tense, which I did not see others do... Sep 7, 2020 at 18:03
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What God said the Scripture says.

Notice the tense is present tense.

Paul seems to be emphasising the continuing testimony of the Scriptures as the present Word of God still speaking to Pharoah,... and to us...

In application of what Paul is saying, one could infer: For the scripture saith unto the hardened Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. (Rom 9:17-18)

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  • Nice answer. The Scripture saith unto (about, regarding) Pharoah(s)... Sep 22, 2020 at 22:01
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Rom 9:17: “For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh”?

Why does it say "Scripture" and not "God"? How could the Scripture say anything to Pharaoh when the Scripture was not even written yet?

Paul quotes from Exodus 9:16 and is part of the message God commanded Moses to say to Pharaoh of Egypt. Exodus 9:13-19

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus%209%3A13-19&version=NASB;NET;KJV

Paul personifies “the scripture,” writing as if the scripture itself spoke these words directly to Pharaoh. Paul uses a similar personification at Romans 3:19, where he says: “All the things the Law says, it addresses to those under the Law.” The use of this figure of speech in these contexts is appropriate because the Hebrew Scriptures, including the Law, were recognized as God’s word, ​in effect, God was speaking.

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After doing some homework, this is what Keil and Delitzsch state: "The Scripture of truth" is the book in which God has designated beforehand, according to truth, the history of the world as it shall certainly unfold; (Psalms 139:16, Revelation 5:1).

I also like what Albert Barnes says: "They are described as written down in a book that is in the hands of God, in which are recorded all future events - the names of those that shall be saved - and all the deeds of men. Compare Deuteronomy 32:34; Malachi 3:16; Psalm 139:16; Revelation 5:1. The representation is figurative, of course; and the meaning is, that, in the view of the Divine mind, all future events are as certain as if they were actually recorded as history, or as if they were now all written down. The angel came that he might unfold a portion of that volume, and disclose the contents of its secret pages; that is, describe an important series of events of great interest to the Jewish people and to the world at large."

And btw, to answer the question as to why it says, "Scripture" and not God is because the Apostle Paul understands that it was God dealing with Pharaoh. Look at Paul's conclusion at vs18, "So then He/God has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires."

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  • Interesting stuff. Why is "HOMEWORK" in all caps? Please edit the all caps as it appears rude. Thanks.
    – Ruminator
    Nov 17, 2019 at 20:36
  • I purposefully put it in caps to admonish the questionnaire (and others) to do Bible Study first to find the answer to their questions which helps them learn. I'm not "yelling" or trying to be rude.
    – Mr. Bond
    Nov 17, 2019 at 20:49
  • "And btw, to answer the question as to why it says, "Scripture" and not God is because the Apostle Paul understands that it was God dealing with Pharaoh" -- I don't find this statement as logical. Paul understands that it was God and yet he says "Scripture". Why not say "God"?
    – brilliant
    Nov 17, 2019 at 22:49
  • First of all you or I do not know the operation of one's mind. We also know that the "Tanakh/Hebrew Scriptures were available. So to me the Apostle Paul is writing his letter to the Romans and under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit he writes, "for the Scriptures says to Pharaoh etc" It's no different than me saying, "The Bible/Scriptures say God is going to demonstrate His power to Pharaoh." It still means what God is going to do. Why are you majoring on the minors?
    – Mr. Bond
    Nov 17, 2019 at 23:15
  • "Why are you majoring on the minors?" - What may sound as minor to you may not be quite as minor to others. And this site is about nitty-gritty things of the original languages of the Bible. You may see no difference here, but to me such phrases like "what Jack says to John" and "what Jack says Ted said to John" are two different statements. I want to know if in Hebrew the phrase "Scripture says" was an idiom for "God says in the Scripture". Like, say, when in English when we say "Kremlin is at daggers with the White House" we mean two countries, not just two buildings.
    – brilliant
    Nov 19, 2019 at 1:56

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