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Can God Change His Mind / Be influenced by Humans?

Carol Brooks

Classic theism asserts that God cannot be affected by outside influences, does not change His mind, and does not feel sadness for some decisions He makes. However, none of the proffered 'proof texts' say that God never changes His mind, but that God wasn't going to change His mind in that specific situation.

Proof Texts That Don't Actually Prove Anything
Numbers 23:19, I Samuel 15:29, Psalm 89:34, Ezekiel 24:14, Malachi 3:6

Examples of Times When God Changed His Mind
Hezekiah, Ezekiel and The Gentile Woman

Standing In The Gap

Other Cases of Successful Intercession in Numbers

Too Far Gone For Appeal?

God's Unchanging Character


'Proof Texts' That Don't Prove Anything
Classic theism asserts that God cannot be affected by outside influences, does not change His mind, and does not regret decisions He makes. Verses below are commonly used to support this belief include,

    God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent (Heb. nācham) Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? (Numbers 23:19 NASB

    the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind Heb. nācham); for He is not a man that He should change His mind."  (1 Samuel 15:29 NASB)

    My covenant I will not violate, Nor will I alter the utterance of My lips. (Psalms 89:34 NASB)

    I, the Lord, have spoken; it is coming and I will act. I will not relent (Heb. nācham), and I will not pity and I will not be sorry; according to your ways and according to your deeds I will judge you," declares the Lord God.'" (Ezekiel 24:14 NASB)

    For I, the Lord, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.  (Malachi 3:6 NASB)

Considering the many Biblical texts that tell us that God "repented" or that an appeal from a human caused Him to change His mind we need to take a closer look at some of the so called 'proof texts'.

    (Note: 'Repent' usually translated from the Hebrew nācham does not necessarily mean to feel contrition or self-reproach. but can also mean 'relent' or sadness for one's actions DETAILS)

Numbers 23:19

    "God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?  (Numbers 23:19 NASB)

The historical context of this verse is as follows...

As the children of Israel made their way to the promised land, they passed through the land of the Amorites whom they defeated in battle. When they reached and encamped in the plains of Moab the king (Balak), having heard what had happened to other nations that crossed swords with the Israelis, was exceedingly worried. He sought help from a prophet-for-hire named Balaam requesting him to place a curse on this vast multitude of people.

When Balaam arrived in Moab, he was greeted by King Balak and together they offered a sacrifice of seven bullocks and seven rams on seven altars.

However, when Balaam attempted to curse Israel the Lord intervened and Balaam pronounced a blessing on them instead. The king was obviously upset and, perhaps thinking the sight of such an immense camp had intimidated Balaam, took him to another place from where he could see only part of the encampment where he again offered sacrifice. It is then that the Lord instructed Balaam to tell king Balak....

    "God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent (Heb. nacham); Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?

This very specific statement made under very specific circumstances was made to correct Balak's supposition (or hope) that the Lord would change His mind and allow Balaam to curse the children of Israel. It does not say that God never changes His mind. It merely says that God was not going to change His mind in that particular situation and revoke the blessing He had pronounced on Israel.

I Samuel 15:29
King Saul's rather checkered career culminated in his disobedience to the Lord's instruction to utterly destroy the Amalekites including all their animals (15:3). He not only spared the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, and the lambs, but also Agag - king of the Amalekites which is when Samuel delivered the fateful message that the Lord God had rejected Saul as king of Israel.

    "For rebellion is as the sin of divination, And insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He has also rejected you from being king." (1 Samuel 15:23 NASB)

Hearing this Saul confessed that he had sinned and asked for pardon (Vs. 24-25) to which Samuel replied,

    "The LORD has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to your neighbor, who is better than you. "Also the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind." (1 Samuel 15:26-29 NASB)

When Samuel said God was not a man who would change His mind, he was referring to this particular decision God had made. In other words, Saul had been given many opportunities to do the right thing but had disobeyed one too many times> Now it was too late - God had finally and irrevocably decidedthat the crown would be given to another and He would not change His mind.

Psalm 89:33-34

    "But I will not break off My loving kindness from him, Nor deal falsely in My faithfulness. "My covenant I will not violate, Nor will I alter the utterance of My lips. (Psalms 89:33-34 NASB)

Although PsalmLike every other Biblical passage one has to consider the context which is how we arrive at an accurate interpretation of the verse concerned. See Context is CRUCIAL And this one is no different. In the opening verses of the chapter the Lord made the following statement,

    "I have made a covenant with My chosen; I have sworn to David My servant, I will establish your seed forever and build up your throne to all generations." (Psalms 89:3-4 NASB)

This was followed by several verses (5-18) of praise after which the psalmist relates the promise God made to David in respect to the perpetuity of his throne i.e. the Lord's arm would strengthen David (V. 21), and crush his adversaries (V.23). In God's name David's horn would be exalted (V. 24), he would be the highest of the kings of the earth (V.27), and God's loving kindness would stay with him forever and his seed for all eternity (V.28).

It is only after this that the Psalmist has God saying (All Emphasis Added)

    If his children (David's children) forsake His law, do not walk in His judgments, break His statutes, and do not keep His commandments ; Then He would "punish their transgression with the rod and their iniquity with stripes".  But He would not break off His loving kindness from David, violate His covenant nor alter what He had said.(Vs. 31-34)

In other words, If David's descendants did not keep God's laws they would be punished, but God's promise to David would stand. It was a specific promise made to a specific person.

Ezekiel 24:14

    "I, the Lord, have spoken; it is coming and I will act. I will not relent (Heb. nācham) , and I will not pity and I will not be sorry; according to your ways and according to your deeds I will judge you," declares the Lord God.'" (Ezekiel 24:14 NASB)

The context of this verse is that the Lord instructed Ezekiel (who was already in captivity in Babylon) to write down this specific day (the tenth day of the tenth month in the ninth year) because this was the day that Nebuchadnezzar would lay siege to Jerusalem. In retribution for the sins of a rebellious nation the long foretold destruction of Jerusalem had begun.

    And the word of the Lord came to me in the ninth year, in the tenth month, on the tenth of the month, saying, "Son of man, write the name of the day, this very day. The king of Babylon has laid siege to Jerusalem this very day. (Vs. 1-2)

 God would not spare them, He would not repent, and He would not change His mind. There would be no reprieve.

Malachi 3:6

    "For I, the Lord, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed. (Malachi 3:6 NASB)

This verse has both specific and general application.

Malachi was a prophet at the time of the return from Babylon and the rebuilding of the Temple. However, a general immorality had set in. The priests had "corrupted the covenant of Levi" and the people 'turning aside'  from His statutes were calling evil good, divorcing their wives, and marrying into the surrounding nations. (2:7-17).

Verse 3:6 stresses God's faithfulness to His word and that he remains true to His covenant commitment to the fathers of the nation just as He told David in Psalm 89:34 (above). This commitment was good in Malachi's time and is good now.

Examples of Times When God Changed His Mind
The three examples below did not impact history but were important to the people concerned.

King Hezekiah was so ill that the prophet Isaiah told him to set his house in order because he was going to die. Hezekiah then wept before the Lord telling Him, that he had walked before Him with a perfect heart and had done that which was good in God's sight. Apparently, all this happened quite quickly as the next verse tells us that Isaiah hadn't even left the court when the Lord told him to turn back and tell the king that God had heard his prayer. Not only would He (God) add fifteen years to Hezekiah's life, but would also deliver both him and the city out of the hand of the king of Assyria. (2 Kings 20:1-7)

Ezekiel: When God told Ezekiel to cook his bread over human excrement as part of a prophecy of the Hebrew exile Ezekiel rebelled against this protesting that he had never in his life polluted himself by eating food forbidden in the law. Upon which God heeded his protestations and allowed him to use cow dung instead. (Ezekiel 4:12-15)

A Gentile woman A third instance is when a Gentile mother asked Jesus to cure her daughter. Jesus responded by telling her that He "was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel". However, the woman persisted, and seeing her great faith Jesus healed her daughter. (Matthew 15:22-28 and Mark 7:25-30)

Anyone who never considers the opinions, desires and requests of others would rightly be considered insensitive, unsympathetic, callous etc. and our God is certainly none of these. We are not robots and have needs, wants, and desires which God considers (and often grants). However, this does not mean that God did not already know that Hezekiah would pray to be healed, Ezekiel would rebel at a certain instruction, or that the Gentile woman would be so persistent and that He would ultimately cure her daughter. But they had to ask for what they wanted before He granted it. See God's Foreknowledge

And then we have the classic case of Moses' intercession that caused God to changes His mind about destroying the nation and starting all over again.

When Moses was up on the mountain receiving the Ten Commandments he was gone for so long that the people grew impatient and, not knowing what had become of him, prevailed upon Aaron to make them 'gods' to go before them - undoubtedly to lead them to the Promised Land. As an aside, what is truly mind-boggling about this entire episode is that not only had the Lord brought them out of Egypt with great supernatural feats, but only days earlier had commanded Israel not to have other gods before Him and not make any idols.

    "You shall have no other gods before Me. "You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. (Exodus 20:3-4 NASB)

Yet the Israelites pooled their gold ornaments and had Aaron make a golden calf that they then proceeded to worship. (Where did the idea of a golden calf come from? See Footnote I) Worse, they even credited this man-made idol as being the 'god' that brought them out of Egypt and were willing to trust it to finish what the Lord had begun. It is no wonder that seeing this from atop Mt Sinai God was so angry that He told Moses

    Go down at once, for your people, whom you brought up from the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves. "They have quickly turned aside from the way which I commanded them. They have made for themselves a molten calf, and have worshiped it and have sacrificed to it and said, 'This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!'" The Lord said to Moses, "I have seen this people, and behold, they are an obstinate people. "Now then let Me alone, that My anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them; and I will make of you a great nation." (Exodus 32:7-10 NASB)

In the above verse note that God, pretty much washing His hands of Israel, told Moses "your people, whom you brought up from the land of Egypt". He also told Moses to leave Him alone but showing great courage Moses declined to do so. He did not hesitate in telling the Lord that they were not his (Moses') people and that he had not delivered them - God had.

    "O Lord, why does Your anger burn against Your people whom You have brought out from the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? (V. 11).

Athough the Israelites had proven to be faithless and unreliable people Moses then gave God two reasons why He should not destroy them (Emphasis Added). It is very evident that God's glory was Moses' ultimate concern.

    "Why should the Egyptians speak, saying, 'With evil intent He brought them out to kill them in the mountains and to destroy them from the face of the earth'? Turn from Your burning anger and change Your mind about doing harm to Your people. 

    "Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants to whom You swore by Yourself, and said to them, 'I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heavens, and all this land of which I have spoken I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.'"  (Exodus 32:12-13 NASB)

After which we are told that

    ... the Lord changed His mind (nācham) about the harm which He said He would do to His people.  (Exodus 32:14 NASB)

Note: The KJV translated the Hebrew word nācham into the English repented - a problem because repent is commonly associated with feeling remorse or contrition about one's wrongdoing. However, nācham can mean simply to change one's mind or relent which is how some Bible versions render this Hebrew word. More About This Word.

The Dilemma:
However, to say God changed His mind lends brings up an interesting conundrum as it lends itself to the charge that God's foreknowledge is limited inasmuch as He did not know what Moses' reaction was going to be when He threatened to wipe out the nation. On the other hand, if God's foreknowledge is all-encompassing, He couldn't literally change His mind because He already knew what course of action He was eventually going to take.

In other words, it is only human perspective that makes it seem that He changed His mind.

This phrase also introduces the whisper of suspicion that Moses caused God to realize something that He hadn't previously thought of which was that the Egyptians would say that God had evil intentions when He bought the Israelis out of bondage.  Also God could not haven't forgotten His promise to Abraham to multiply his descendants as the stars of the heavens. Both would be impossible for an omniscient God.

And certainly it was not the people's repentance that saved the nation because the exchange between God and Moses took place before Moses came down from the mountain.

I can see two feasible reasons for why God would offer to start again with Moses' descendants.

Reason I - God was Testing Moses
If Moses was being tested, he passed with flying colours. 

When God said, "your people, whom you brought up from the land of Egypt" (32:7) Moses could very well have thought something to the effect of "Yes, I did do a good job in bringing my people out of bondage, didn't I?” But Moses knew that these people weren't his - he hadn't delivered them so refused to take any of the credit. Instead he countered God's statement saying that  that these were God's people whom He alone brought up from Egypt by His great power and mighty hand.

If Moses had been tempted by glory for himself he would have accepted God's offer. He was after all a direct descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob so the promises made to the patriarchs would not have been negated. But Moses sought God's glory, not his own. In verse 12 he showed his concern for God's name and reputation saying that if God abandoned Israel now, the Egyptians would have a good laugh and God would be dishonored. So he boldly asked God to relent.

So why would God test someone when He already knew exactly what they would do?

Simply because, regardless of what God knows ahead of time, a person has to actually pass a test before getting any credit for it. It was exactly the same when God instructed Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. Abraham has been held up as an icon of faith for centuries because he showed his faith almost to the point of actually sacrificing his son before he was stopped. We know who he was because of what he did.

Also, I am very certain that coming out successfully on the other end of a test, actually strengthens a person's faith.

Reason II - God Was Giving The People The Opportunity To Repent.
This is very similar to what happened with Abraham.

In Genesis 18:21, the Lord seemed to say that He had to physically visit earth in order to verify what He had heard about Sodom.

On that day Abraham was visited by God Himself and two other 'men' - presumably angels (Genesis 18:1-2). After delivering His message about Sara bearing a child and eating a meal with Abraham, they headed towards Sodom - Abraham walking with them to send them off. It was then that the Lord asked what was either a rhetorical question or one directed at the angels - "Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? (Genesis 18:17 NASB). Deciding that He would tell Abraham, the Lord said,

    "The outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great, and their sin is exceedingly grave. "I will go down now, and see if they have done entirely according to its outcry, which has come to Me; and if not, I will know (Gr. yāda). " (Genesis 18:20-21 NASB)

Although it is not explicitly stated this is probably how Abraham found out about God's intent to destroy the city. The Lord was not 'going down' to learn what was going on but deliberately brought the matter to Abraham's attention which is what prompted Abraham to boldly intercede with God for Sodom.

Certainly we have to remember that Moses was not just anyone. He was the man God had hand picked to lead the nation from slavery... the Jewish prophet that the Messiah would resemble (Deuteronomy 18:15). No where is this more apparent than Moses offering himself to die for the sins of the people.

(See Moses Great Messianic Prophecy)

Moses must have realized that leaving God alone was not very good for the health of the people which is why he interceded with Him. Although the Father allowed Moses to influence His actions, He did not let Israel off the hook. The leaders and  three thousand others (possibly those most flagrant in their idolatry) were put to death after Moses descended from Sinai. However,  this was not an indiscriminate massacre. Moses gave the people the opportunity to make a stand for the Lord which only the sons of Levi heeded gathering together on Moses' side (Exodus 32:26)

Standing In The Gap
Psalm 106 is clear that Moses stood in the breach to turn away God's wrath, which tells us that the fervent prayer of a righteous man does avail much (Emphasis Added)

    Therefore He said that He would destroy them, Had not Moses His chosen one stood in the breach before Him, to turn away His wrath from destroying them.  (Psalms 106:23 NASB)

Amos: In chapter 7 God showed the prophet (in three separate visions) the judgments he was about to bring on Israel. The first was a plague of locusts that threatened the vegetation. The next a fire that would consume much of the farm land. The third was a total desolation of the nation that had been found less than straight when measured with a plumb line.

In the first two cases, we are told that the Lord relented when the prophet prayed saying "this shall not be". We have to believe that if the prophet had not prayed, the Lord would not have stayed His hand.

Ezekiel 22:30 provides further evidence that, in some circumstances, it is possible to stand between God and man.

    "I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one.  (Ezekiel 22:30 NASB)

These verses imply that had there been a man to stand in the gap and make intercession for the city, God may have at least modified His judgment as He did in Numbers 14 (below). The tragedy is that because not one single righteous human being was found in all Israel the Lord consumed the people and the land with the fire of His wrath. (Vs. 31).

And then there are the...

Other Cases of Successful Intercession in Numbers
There are three other times in the book of Numbers alone where one or more of the leaders successfully interceded for the people.

Numbers 14
In Numbers 14, after the spies had scoped out Canaan they reported that the inhabitants were giants and that they themselves were like grasshoppers in comparison. At this, the people started moaning about how they would all fall by the sword and how it would be better if they appointed a leader to take them back to Egypt.

Moses, Aaron and Joshua tore their clothes and begged the people to consider that if the Lord was pleased with them there was nothing to fear from the Canaanites. Not only did everything they said fall on deaf ears but the people wanted to stone them. At this the glory of the Lord "appeared in the tent of meeting" (Vs. 10) and He once again told Moses that He would destroy these unbelievers. In His words...

    "How long will this people spurn Me? And how long will they not believe in Me, despite all the signs which I have performed in their midst? "I will smite them with pestilence and dispossess them, and I will make you into a nation greater and mightier than they." (Numbers 14:11-12 NASB)

A long and impassioned plea from Moses included the fact that the Egyptians would hear that the Lord destroyed His people and would think He did so because He was incapable of bringing them into the land which He had promised them. Moses begged pardon for the people based on the Lord's loving kindness and that He had previously forgiven them. Finally the Lord said

    "I have pardoned them according to your word;" (Numbers 14:20 NASB)

But once again, the Lord did not let them off scot-free. The nation was sentenced to wander in the wilderness until the unbelieving generation died off. In other words, the grumbler's children would see the promised land - their parents would not. The only exception was to be Caleb who had "a different spirit" and would enter the land he had spied on. Although not specifically mentioned, Joshua was also excepted.

Numbers 16
The 16th chapter of the book of Numbers tells us about two separate incidents which so displeased God that He told Moses and Aaron to separate themselves from the congregation that He may consume the lot. In the first case, after both the men pleaded with God not to destroy the entire congregation for the sins of one man, God took a softer line, warning the people through Moses to depart from the tents of the transgressors before the earth opened and they went down alive into Sheol. (Vs. 21-32)

In the second case, although people were already dying from the plague, (V.46) Aaron, following Moses' instructions "put on the incense, and made atonement for the people" (V.47) and the plague was stayed (V.50).

Sheol and Hades - The Same Place
The Hebrew Sheol and the Greek Hades are usually translated into the single English word 'hell'. However, what is particularly disturbing is that the original words are proper names and should have been left untranslated. In other words, we have taken several different proper names from two different languages, decided that they have to mean hell, which we associate with the place of the damned and then translated them as such. Also ignored is the fact that the New Testament authors used the Greek Hades when they quoted an Old Testament passage that mentioned Sheol. In other words they are the same place. And there are some clues in the OT that tell us what Sheol is like.

Too Far Gone For Appeal?
The question is whether Moses or any of the other giants of the Old Testament been able to successfully intercede for the people under all circumstances? According to Jeremiah 15:1 the answer is an unqualified no …

    Then the Lord said to me, "Even though Moses and Samuel were to stand before Me, My heart would not be with this people; send them away from My presence and let them go!  (Jeremiah 15:1 NASB)

Also note that on one occasion God told Jeremiah NOT to pray for the people as it would do no good - He would not change His mind. The people had apparently gone too far.

    "As for you, do not pray for this people, and do not lift up cry or prayer for them, and do not intercede with Me; for I do not hear you. "Do you not see what they are doing in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? "The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead dough to make cakes for the queen of heaven; and they pour out drink offerings to other gods in order to spite Me. "Do they spite Me?" declares the Lord. "Is it not themselves they spite, to their own shame?" Therefore thus says the Lord God, "Behold, My anger and My wrath will be poured out on this place, on man and on beast and on the trees of the field and on the fruit of the ground; and it will burn and not be quenched." (Jeremiah 7:16-20 NASB)

And again, simply as a matter of interest is the fact that at one point Jeremiah did exactly the opposite of interceding for the people.. (See Footnote II)

God's Unchanging Character
 If the Father was impulsive or capricious changing His mind about something whenever He feels the notion to do so, and we would have nothing reliable on which to lean and nothing solid on which to stand.

Thankfully Scripture repeatedly assures us that God's essential personality and characteristics stay steadfastly the same. Unlike man who, depending on which side of the bed he got out of that morning or what kind of day he is having, God is always the same. His response to evil never varies, just as His response to good never varies. He stays His wrath when people repent, but when they turn from good and do evil He punishes (this was especially evident in the Old Testament when divine justice was often swift and apparent to all).

    "At one moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to uproot, to pull down, or to destroy it; if that nation against which I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent concerning the calamity I planned to bring on it. "Or at another moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to build up or to plant it; if it does evil in My sight by not obeying My voice, then I will think better of the good with which I had promised to bless it. (Jeremiah 18:7-10 NASB)

    "When I say to the righteous he will surely live, and he so trusts in his righteousness that he commits iniquity, none of his righteous deeds will be remembered; but in that same iniquity of his which he has committed he will die. "But when I say to the wicked, 'You will surely die,' and he turns from his sin and practices justice and righteousness, if a wicked man restores a pledge, pays back what he has taken by robbery, walks by the statutes which ensure life without committing iniquity, he shall surely live; he shall not die. "None of his sins that he has committed will be remembered against him. He has practiced justice and righteousness; he shall surely live. (Ezekiel 33:13-16 NASB)

    If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 NASB)

However, while He has been known to 'change His mind' or 'relent' every single instance of this was related to mercy and forgiveness.  An outstanding example is the Assyrian capital of Nineveh.

Jonah knew that God' response was always favorable when people repent which is why by taking off in the opposite direction he tried to avoid God's command to prophesy to the city of Nineveh. It is perfectly understandable why Jonah did not want to see them forgiven. The Ninevites were infamous for their cruelty which  many of his countrymen had already experienced.

    He prayed to the Lord and said, "Please Lord, was not this what I said while I was still in my own country? Therefore in order to forestall this I fled to Tarshish, for I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in loving kindness, and one who relents concerning calamity." (Jonah 4:2 NASB)

His words are actually a testament to the goodness and mercy of God. God's character was no different before or after Jonah's preaching. But God's dealings with the Ninevites had to change when they repented. The people changed - God's inherent characteristics did not.

    (As an aside, history tells us the Ninevites repentance was fairly short-lived and a second prophet (Nahum) was sent to warn them them. Unfortunately for them, they ignored Nahum's message, failed to repent, and were destroyed in 612 BC.).

I am not sure how can any human can really wrap their minds around God - His power, His ability. And that He is Infinite (Without Origin) Self-Existing, Self-Sufficient, Omnipotent, Omniscient (All-Knowing), Omnipresent (Everywhere).

He sits on the circle of the earth, commands the morning, and causes the dawn to know its place. To say nothing of weighing the mountains in scales and calling each out star by name.

It is truly mind-boggling.

But what is even more astonishing is the fact that this God of ours is not so 'sovereign' that humans have no sway or influence with Him at all. Although no one can alter His long-term plans, God does respond to us.

We have legitimate needs, wants, and desires which God will grant depending on whether it is the right thing to do in the long run. 

Footnote I
As said by Bible commentator Albert Barnes

     The Israelites must have been familiar with the ox-worship of the Egyptians; perhaps many of them had witnessed the rites of Mnevis at Heliopolis, almost; on the borders of the land of Goshen, and they could not have been unacquainted with the more famous rites of Apis at Memphis. It is expressly said that they yielded to the idolatry of Egypt while they were in bondage

    Now, therefore, fear the LORD and serve Him in sincerity and truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD.  (Joshua 24:14 NASB)

    "But they rebelled against Me and were not willing to listen to Me; they did not cast away the detestable things of their eyes, nor did they forsake the idols of Egypt. Then I resolved to pour out My wrath on them, to accomplish My anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt. (Ezekiel 20:8 NASB)

Apis, a primary deity in the pantheon of ancient Egypt was a sacred bull worshiped in the Memphis region, According to The Encyclopaedia Britannica "The cult of Apis originated at least as early as the 1st dynasty (c. 2925–c. 2775 BCE)".
 https://www.britannica.com/topic/Apis-Egyptian-deity  {PLACE IN TEXT}

Footnote II
There is NO record of the Lord hauling Jeremiah over the coals for asking Him not to forgive the  iniquity of the people and not to blot out the sins, but to deal with them in His time of anger.

    Do give heed to me, O Lord, And listen to what my opponents are saying! Should good be repaid with evil? For they have dug a pit for me. Remember how I stood before You To speak good on their behalf, So as to turn away Your wrath from them. Therefore, give their children over to famine And deliver them up to the power of the sword; And let their wives become childless and widowed.

    Let their men also be smitten to death, Their young men struck down by the sword in battle. May an outcry be heard from their houses, When You suddenly bring raiders upon them; For they have dug a pit to capture me And hidden snares for my feet. Yet You, O Lord, know All their deadly designs against me; Do not forgive their iniquity Or blot out their sin from Your sight. But may they be overthrown before You; Deal with them in the time of Your anger! (Jeremiah 18:19-23 NASB Emphasis added) {PLACE IN TEXT}


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