Typically, negotiation fails when people practice deceit.
Negotiation and Deceit in Story Arcs
Exodus is a powerful story. As I shared back in the earlier chapters, it functions a little like the history of the 1776 Revolution and Creation of the United States of America. People tell these stories with a sense of patriotism. (Understanding this makes the Pharisees of the Gospels and New Testament make much more sense!)
However, there is a strong story arc as well that leaves the conflict between the Egyptian and Hebrew cultures and moves toward a personal conflict between Pharaoh and God, with Moses as the negotiator or mediator between them. That may not be quite what we suspect. Yet we see similar storylines in historical dramas like Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. Both stories show a conflict that begins between two groups of people and is played out more and more between a hero and villain figure. They also have scenes of negotiation and aspects of deceit. Each ends with a triumphant hero and the villain who suffers a tragedy of their own making.
Where the deceit begins, negotiation falls apart. Without the trust between people, that they will do as they say, you cannot find adequate compromise.
Deceit reveals true motives in negotiation
Pharaoh began to flip between promising to let the people go, and then going back on his promises. That made it impossible to tell when Moses could stop bringing the plagues from God. In reality, God knew (and predicted) Pharaoh would change his mind and had the plagues planned anyway. Moses, however, could not tell if he was gaining or losing ground with Pharaoh. He only had God to rely on.
Growing up in the palace, Pharaoh would have had many of his wishes carried out just as he pleased. While God has a role for rulers of all types, Pharaoh showed by his actions that he was living for himself, not others, not even his own Egyptian people.
Where have you been tempted to use deceit to get ahead in negotiations?
What do you see here?
I’d love to hear what you see in this passage. You can comment below or send a text to 859-636-6965 for a faster response. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this text.