2 And Pharaoh said, Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go.
Pharaoh’s initial response is actually quite civil. At this point he did not punish Moses and Aaron for their boldness and he did not use angry or threatening words. However in another two verses this calm demeanor falls away and a more vicious layer will manifest.
The language of Pharaoh’s response is meaningful. “Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice? I know not the Lord.” This will be a major theme throughout the Bible. Who is God? Why should we follow Him? There will be Elisha, who must contend with the priests of Baal to prove which God is the true one. There will be Rabashakeh, general of the Assyrian army, who will ask how the Lord can deliver Israel from their siege when none of the gods of the other lands could do so. There will be King Darius, who will come to learn that his servant Daniel served the one, true God.
All throughout the Bible there will be those that ask these core questions. Who is God, and why should I follow Him? It will be a challenge posed by many outsiders, but also by the Israelites when they forget the faith of their fathers and fall to idolatry. It is a question that is still posed today, even among self-proclaimed Christians who question how much they should defer to the word of God before it becomes embarrassing.
Pharaoh is an example to all of us. He did not know the Lord, he did not know why he should follow the Lord, and so he refused what God has commanded. We will observe what follows that decision.