icture a primary power broker in New York City. The sanitation workers are unhappy and want to go on strike (hell, they want to move to New Jersey). So this broker tells them, “Go to the mayor’s office. Make your demands. I’ll make sure he listens. But note that behind the scenes, I’m going to push him to say no. Regardless of what you say, he’ll say no.”
“Why would you harden his heart in such a way?” asks the Union Rep.
“Because I’m looking for good PR. I want everyone to know me, and know that to get anything done in this city, they have to come to me.”
Have a problem with this corruption of power? Well, that’s the problem I had with Exodus. My understanding (yeah, from movies) was that Moses asked and the Pharaoh said no. But here we have God using Moses and the Pharaoh as game pieces, maneuvering them about, making Moses more charismatic, making Pharaoh more obstinate (heck, Exodus starts with the Egyptians trying to figure out what to do with this surplus of Jews they have). But no, there is this bigger picture going on.
Maybe I’m just getting too old for this. Maybe my own heart is hardened by the rabid fundamentalism I see rising to all sides, the idea of religion as a force, not of compassion and betterment, but as an excuse to blowing up airliners and screaming at gays. Maybe it just hit me at the wrong time. But even through I’ve followed some of the explanations (or rather “excuses”) for how I should have understood this, I simply didn’t get it. If anything, Exodus actually had a negative impact on my spiritual tug-of-way.
There were other issues in here too, of the golden calf and the slaughter that followed (wasn’t there a commandment about killing, freshly chiseled?). And if you even wanted to build your own holy temple, Exodus contains all the measurements of this, down to the last cubit.
I can’t say this worked for me. Sorry. Just being truthful.