Part of the drama and the frustration of the ten plagues is that, at least in theory, so many should not have been necessary. Just drinking blood instead of water, or being overtaken by a swarm of frogs, locusts, wild animals, or lice alone should have been enough. Yet Pharaoh does not relent. Occasionally, he appears to let the people go only to later retract his word and refuse to send them. Even once he releases the people and they have left his land, Pharaoh decides to chase after the just freed slaves because God again “strengthened” his heart. But what does this mean? What makes Pharaoh so stubborn and unwilling to free the Israelites? And how can we keep ourselves from becoming like him?