I was reading Psalm 105 today. I read these verses. I noticed that verse 25 says God turned the heart of the adversaries mentioned in verse 24 to hate His people. Contextually as far as I see it. It is God taking the action of turning their heart. I know that God tells us to love our neighbour. So, did God make the adversaries of Israel hate Israel? What is the meaning of this verse?

23Israel also came into Egypt; Thus Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham. 24 And He caused His people to be very fruitful, And made them stronger than their adversaries.

25 He turned their heart to hate His people, To deal craftily with His servants.


3 Answers 3


This is an "old chestnut". We observe the following:

Lam 3:38 - Do not both adversity and good come from the mouth of the Most High?

The idea of the Divine Passive is one that is not explicit in the Bible but was created to explain the available, apparently contradictory, facts. Here are some examples:

  • 2 Sam 24:1 vs 1 Chron 21:1 – Who tempted King David to have a census? God or Satan? Both are correct because to the Hebrew mind, God is omniscient and omnipotent and thus events only occur if He allows. James 1:13 explicitly states that God tempts no one.
  • Job 2:3 - God says that Satan "incited" God to ruin Job, even though it was Satan that was the direct cause of Job's ruin
  • 1 Sam 16:14, 16, 18:10, 19:9 – God sent an evil (literally, unclean) spirit on Saul? God does not have an evil spirit to send! Again, the omnipotent God is deemed responsible for that which He does not prevent.
  • Judges 9:23 has an identical idea of an evil spirit from God.
  • 1 Kings 2:22, 23, 2 Chron 18:21, 22 all have a “lying spirit” from the LORD.
  • Ex 9:12, 10:1, 20, 27, 11:10, 14:8 – God causes Pharaoh to harden his heart??? Clearly not! Compare Ex 8:15, 32, 9:34 where Pharaoh hardens his own heart.
  • Compare Rev 17:1 where God judges the great prostitute, with, Rev 17:16, 17 where the great prostitute becomes a victim of her own wicked ways.
  • In Eze 14:9 says, “I the LORD have enticed/deceived that prophet”; whereas James 1:13 says that God does not tempt anyone.
  • Eze 20 – Judah makes some bad choices and rejects God’s laws and so God gives them other statutes and laws including child sacrifice (V25, 26). In fact, this is what Judah has chosen.

That is, as the omnipotent God, the Hebrews attributed "cause" of everything to God - that is, God is thought to cause that which He does not prevent.

This principle can be readily extrapolated to other many (not all) other passages where the passive voice is used; eg, the beatitudes of Matt 5, Rom 3:28, 1 Cor 7:23, Gal 5:13, Eph 2:5, Matt 9:2, 1 Peter 1:18.

This same idea is expressed another way in some places where God allows sin and evil to reap its own consequences and cause its own downfall.

  • Job 5:13 - He catches the wise in their own craftiness, and the schemes of the wily are brought to a quick end.
  • Ps 5:10 - Declare them guilty, O God; let them fall by their own devices. Drive them out for their many transgressions, for they have rebelled against You.
  • Ps 7:15 - He has dug a hole and hollowed it out; he has fallen into a pit of his own making.
  • Ps 9:16 - The LORD is known by the justice He brings; the wicked are ensnared by the work of their hands.
  • Ps 37:14, 15 - The wicked have drawn the sword and bent the bow to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose ways are upright. But their swords will pierce their own hearts, and their bows will be broken.
  • Ps 69:22 - Let their own table before them become a snare; and when they are at peace, let it become a trap.
  • Ps 141:10 - Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I pass by in safety.
  • Prov 5:22 - The iniquities of a wicked man entrap him; the cords of his sin entangle him.
  • Prov 11:6 - The righteousness of the upright delivers them, but the faithless are trapped by their own desires.
  • Prov 12:13 - An evil man is trapped by his rebellious speech, but a righteous man escapes from trouble.
  • Prov 28:10 - He who leads the upright along the path of evil will fall into his own pit, but the blameless will inherit what is good.
  • Isa 3:11 - Woe to the wicked; disaster is upon them! For they will be repaid with what their hands have done.
  • Hos 11:6 – A sword will flash through their cities; it will destroy the bars of their gates and consume them in their own plans.

Thye passage quoted by the OP is a perfect example of this - Pharaoh hardened his own heart and turned to hate the Israelites; but in the Hebrew mind, God was the cause of that which He did not prevent and so in Ps 105, God is said to cause this.


Even Plato by use of natural reason guesses and says that God cannot be a cause of both good and evil, the simplicity of divine nature does not allow for both, but only for good. So, how possible that God, who is the provider of goof things to all, purposefully turn somebody’s heart to hatred of good people? Impossible, for then God would be a cause of evil, a blasphemy in addition of all.

Now, if one is a Calvinist heretic, such one can blaspheme God and interpret the saying of the Bible literally, but a sound theology says that it is just a way and style the inspired Bible authors write: by saying “God turned their heart to hate somebody" they give a notion that God does not interfere into our freedom of choice, and when we do not listen to His will, which is always for good, He leaves us to our ways, lets us to behave as we wish. Thus, of course He wished the Egyptians to be hospitable and friendly to the Israelites, but since they did not wish to do so, then He did not interfere into their freedom and let them to hate; exactly this is called in the Bible "turned them to hatred".

But Calvin understands those expressions literally due to his lunacy of double predestination based on a capricious God's caprices. Begone with such unhealthy, sacrilegious ideas, let them not be even mentioned!

  • @Down-voter Hey, my lionhearted anonymous estimator, how are you my old pal? Do you have any reasons for which you have hurled your verdict as to my post? I hope it is not the case that the only reason is that you yourself adhere to the Calvinist quasi-theological lunacy and down-voted my post in a blind anger. I really hope this is not the case. Commented Jul 17, 2023 at 3:50
  • Even though I am not the downvoter you are searching for, if you termed others with titles as 'heretics', 'blasphemers', 'lunatics', and so on, you cannot be amazed if someone of your 'estimators' react in this way. Commented Jul 17, 2023 at 6:40
  • @SaroFedele if I said anything wrong, than indicate it to me, but there is nothing pernicious if I call black - black and white - white, and heresy - heresy, and if I call lunacy - lunacy and blasphemy (in this case that of Calvin) - blasphemy. Calvin himself did not spare rough words against normal theologians opposing his ruthless idiosyncrasies. Commented Jul 17, 2023 at 6:45
  • 1
    This is a question of good sense. Even if you are sincerely convinced that - for example - who do not believe in the Trinity doctrine are 'heretics' in the same way also them are convinced that all trinitarians are heretics (included you), it isn't? But, according the Paul's fine counsel to his 'son' Timothy (2 Tim 2:23-24), we have to reject (παραιτέομαι) some situations in which there's the high probability they may result in some quarrels (μάχας). The Lord's servants have not need to fight, in this way. Commented Jul 17, 2023 at 7:21
  • 1
    The charge of these Lord's servants is to be trained to be able to teach evangelical truths to the others (this may include to 'overturn reasonings' against the knowledge of God, see 2 Cor 10:4-5). After doing this, they leave Truth speaks for itself. What really matters is the strength of the topics presented, not some epithets. I think your are enough grown-up (spiritually) to understand this is the right way to behave with others. Commented Jul 17, 2023 at 7:21

He caused them to hate his people, and to mistreat his servants. Psalms 105:25 NET

But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not listen to them, just as the Lord had predicted to Moses. Exodus 9:12 NET

short answer is Yes.

I am the one who forms light and creates darkness; the one who brings about peace and creates calamity. I am the Lord, who accomplishes all these things. Isaiah 45:7 NET

(satan aka sons of God, is the one usually tasked by God of Israel to carry out trials) Often for the goodness of the righteous and his people.

  • When such “god” asked on the Judgment Day the Pharaoh “Why did you chase my people with a murderous intent, you know that for this sin I will send you to hell?”, the Pharaoh laughed and responded: “I will go there only together with you, for was not it you who put in my heart the mentioned murderous intent, ha?” And “god” laughed back saying, “I have to go nowhere, for such “God” as I am thought to be by Jan Calvin is the very personification of hell!”. Commented Jul 17, 2023 at 5:54

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