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I keep hearing that God can be asked for forgiveness. However, Pharaoh realised he needed mercy and forgiveness but it was not given. Why was he not forgiven?


Thank you for asking a very important question about forgiveness. Firstly I would like to say that we now know a lot more about how God works and he has revealed his plan of salvation to us through Jesus Christ.

Jesus came to save us from our sin by forgiving us through his death on the cross. Anyone who truly calls on the name of Jesus is forgiven and made right with God. The people before Jesus were also made right by faith in the one who was to come.

I believe that the passage you are referring to with Pharaoh is:

Then Pharaoh hastily called Moses and Aaron and said, “I have sinned against the Lord your God, and against you. Now therefore, forgive my sin, please, only this once, and plead with the Lord your God only to remove this death from me.” So he went out from Pharaoh and pleaded with the Lord (Exodus 10:16-18).

It then goes on to say But the Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he did not let the people of Israel go (Exodus 10:20) and we see that the Pharaoh goes on keep on enslaving God's people and does not let them go.

This is a unique time in the people of God's history. They had been in slavery under Pharaoh in Egypt, they were treated harshly but God raised up Moses to free the people so they could worship Him freely.

We see here that God is completely in control of salvation. He knows who will come to be forgiven and those who will not. There is a passage in Romans that discusses this:

What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is moulded say to its moulder, “Why have you made me like this?” (Romans 9:14-20).

We must realise the God is in control.

However we also must realise that God wants all people to turn to him for forgiveness. I believe the Good News that Jesus died to forgive everyone that calls on his name.

It goes on to say in Romans: because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame". (Romans 10:9-11).

In conclusion we see that God is in control of salvation on the one hand, but also everyone that calls on Jesus will be forgiven. Do not worry too much about Pharaoh, but what about you? Are you forgiven? Turn to God today through Jesus!

I do hope this general answer to your question goes some way to helping you find peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord. If you want to know more about what Jesus has done for you please watch the video on the main part of our site:

In closing, I want to encourage you to get more involved with your local church. It would be good to speak to a Christian leader or another trusted church individual regarding your question. I know they would be delighted to further answer you as well as offer prayer and support as you continue your spiritual journey:

Please use our Interactive Answer Matrix and feel free to ask another question. Our helpful staff are praying for you and waiting to try and answer to you from the Bible, and will be delighted to tell you more about Jesus Christ the Lord, the Saviour of the world.


*All Scripture references are taken From The English Standard Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise


*If anything in this answers affects you directly, then please feel free to call our confidential prayer line in the UK on 0845 4567729, where trained Christian volunteers will take your call and pray both for you and with you. If you are outside of the UK then you may submit your request for prayer on line at

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