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In Parshas Bo (10:1) we read that God hardened the hearts of Pharaoh's servants - כִּי אֲנִי הִכְבַּדְתִּי אֶת לִבּוֹ וְאֶת לֵב עֲבָדָיו. The Ohr HaChaim explains that this is so that the servants will not advise Pharaoh to release the Jews. However, just 6 short pesukim later (10:7) we read of them doing exactly that - וַיֹּאמְרוּ עַבְדֵי פַרְעֹה אֵלָיו עַד מָתַי יִהְיֶה זֶה לָנוּ לְמוֹקֵשׁ שַׁלַּח אֶת הָאֲנָשִׁים וְיַעַבְדוּ אֶת ה' אֱלֹקֵיהֶם הֲטֶרֶם תֵּדַע כִּי אָבְדָה מִצְרָיִם

How do we explain this sudden reversal of the servants?

  1. How were they able to make this statement if God had hardened their hearts?
  2. If they are somehow able to soften their own hearts, what was the point of God hardening their hearts in the first place?
  3. Why would the king of Egypt listen to the advice of his slaves of all people?
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Concerning your third question, these were his hired slaves, sort of like advisors, not just any enslaved Jew who works in the field. – b a Jan 14 '13 at 1:17
@ba If they were advisers shouldn't they be titled as such? – not-allowed to change my name Jan 14 '13 at 1:32
How? We never find the title "יועץ" or anything similar (in my memory). We do find "חרטומים" etc. but they weren't necessarily חרטומים. I think it's self-understood that they weren't his actual slaves the way the Jews were. – b a Jan 14 '13 at 1:35
Re: #1( and to an extent #2): Why not accept Or ha-Chayim's explanation for it in 10:7( s.v. "Ad Matai Yihiyeh etc.")? Re: #3: I'd say "servants" would be a better translation than "slaves", and +1 for b a's comments. – Tamir Evan Jan 16 '13 at 15:26
@TamirEvan if you can explain what the Ohr HaChayim means I have no problem accepting it. Regarding b a's comment to say the avadim were advisers with textual or meforash supporting that assertion, I cannot entertain. – not-allowed to change my name Jan 16 '13 at 17:34

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