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Harden the Heart, Hardening

Hardening one’s heart brings punishment (Prov 29:1) as is evident in Israel’s resistance at Meribah (Ps 95:8). Refusal to listen, to obey, or to be thankful characterize the harddened heart, and Israel is portrayed as a prime example of this condition (2 Kings 17:14; Neh 9:16, 17; Heb 3:8).

The disciples’ hearts were said to be hardened or dull when they failed to understand the miracle of the loaves (Mark 6:52; 8:17). Gentile unbelievers are alienated from God because of their ignorance and hardness of heart (Eph 4:18). With reference to Israel, Paul states that “the elect obtained it (grace) but the rest were hardened” (Rom 11:7). The individuals themselves are said to be hardened, rather than the heart or mind (2 Cor 3:14). Romans 11:25 mentions the present hardness or insensibility of Israel.


G. L. Archer, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction (1964), 116.