Exodus Chapter 6 God Promises to Deliver Israel from Pharaoh, Lineage of Aaron

Jul 15th, 2009 | By | Category: Exodus, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)

Exodus Chapter 6  God Promises to Deliver Israel from Pharaoh, Lineage of Aaron

Exod. 6:1 Then the LORD said unto Moses, Now shalt thou see what I will do to Pharaoh: for with a strong hand shall he let them go, and with a strong hand shall he drive them out of his land.

God said to Moses, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh. With my strong hand he will let the Israelites go and will drive them out of Egypt.” This verse is comforting because Moses had just gone to the Lord in prayer when the Israelites complained about their increased burdens following Moses’ return. Now came the assurance: God would use a strong hand to make sure Pharaoh would let them go. The implication is that it would take God’s great judgments and mighty power to deliver Israel from Pharaoh’s bondage.

God probably communicated this message to Moses by having him hear a voice in the inner ear. Moses was discouraged because his own people blamed their problems on him, and the audible comfort was the answer to his prayer.

Exod. 6:2 And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the LORD:

Exod. 6:3 And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them.

God said, “I am Jehovah. I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob by the name of God Almighty, but by my name Jehovah I was not known to them.” “Jehovah” basically means “I am” (compare Exod. 3:14). Actually, the name Jehovah appears in the Book of Genesis a number of times—long before this Exodus chapter. However, in Genesis “Jehovah” is combined with a descriptive adjective or noun as a title; for example “shaddai-Jehovah.”

Therefore, what God meant here was that although “Jehovah” was used earlier, the full significance of the name was not grasped. It was understood only in a limited sense according to the attached word (Jehovah of the covenant, of the promise, of salvation, etc.), but now God would bare His arm with His MIGHTY POWER and demonstrate that He is Israel’s God. Not only would there be plagues, but God’s great power would be shown in the Red Sea deliverance, resulting in the destruction of Pharaoh and host. All of these miracles were necessary to demonstrate the significance and reverence that should attach to the title “Jehovah.”

Verses 2 and 3 remind us of Paul’s discourse to the Athenians about the “UNKNOWN GOD” being the real God (Acts 17:23). The Egyptian heathen religion, with all of its gods, influenced the Israelites, affecting their perception of their own God. They had heard of the “I AM,” but they did not perceive him with understanding. For example, along another line, a Pharaoh rose up who “knew not Joseph,” that is, who did not appreciate or recognize Joseph, for of course he knew about Joseph. Conversely, when God “remembers” His covenant, the expression does not mean that He had forgotten about it. The title “I AM” means past, present, and future; no beginning or ending; “he who was, is, and is to come”; Jehovah; the existing One. “God Almighty” is more of a title, and “Jehovah” is more of a personal name, meaning the existing One.

An illustration of “know” meaning to “know well” (as opposed to “superficially knowing about”) is Hosea 6:3,  “Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD [with a depth of understanding].” Progressive understanding is another aspect. Jesus prayed in Gethsemane that the apostles might “know thee [God,],” which takes an eternity. In the future new facets of God’s character will be revealed that we could not possibly appreciate now. God’s love is shown in allowing His Son to die for mankind, but His justice is also shown in that He does not wink at sin.

The concept is the same for the word “believe” in the New Testament. Even the devils “believe,” so Christian belief is deeper. It is a belief into Jesus, suggesting that we are to abide in him and progress—it is not just the initial entrance.

The lesson for the Israelites in verses 2 and 3 was that not only is God superior, but He alone is God, the  Emperor of the universe. The gods worshipped by other nations did not exist but were figments of man’s imagination. The plagues and the Exodus through the Red Sea revealed Jehovah.

Exod. 6:4 And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers.

Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were sojourners in the land of Canaan. Therefore, the fact that God covenanted to give them the land implies an earthly resurrection of the patriarchs so that they can occupy the land as a possession. Jesus said to the religious leaders of Israel, “Ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out” (Luke 13:28). In other words, the religious leaders will be displaced and replaced by Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the other Ancient Worthies.

Exod. 6:5 And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant.

God reiterated what was said in Exodus 2:24. He was saying to Israel, “I recognize that you have been groaning under the taskmasters, but I have not forgotten my covenant with you. Now I will do something about it.”

We are in a much better position today—4,000 years later—to understand the experiences in the Wilderness than the Israelites back there, for we have the benefit of God’s deeds over the years, as recorded in Scripture. Israel’s experiences were relatively limited, so we can commiserate, to a certain extent, even with their complaining initially. The nation of Israel, which had started with the children of Jacob, went back only 200-plus years at this time. However, as the miracles occurred, the people should have stored up a memory bank to increase their faith. We, as Christians, can avoid discouragement by thinking back on how God originally called us and then led us step by step into clearer and clearer understanding. Tracing providences increases faith. We look back at past providences and look forward to future promises.

Moses grew and learned. His long oration in the Book of Deuteronomy just before his death shows his maturity. We, too, have to grow from a babe into the full stature of a man in Christ Jesus. And we are assisted when we assemble together, for we learn from one another’s mistakes and strengths.

Romans 8:21,22 reads, “The creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.” The antitype of Israel is the saved world of mankind, who are currently under bondage to sin and death. The saved will include Jews and Gentiles on an earthly, spirit, or divine plane of being, for there will be different categories of the saved.

Exod. 6:6 Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments:

Verses 6–8 are the message from God that Moses was to give to the children of Israel. God said He would bring the Israelites out from under the burdens of the Egyptians and rid them of bondage, using a “stretched out arm, and … great judgments.” In assuring Moses that the deliverance would come, God was saying: “Be patient. This exercise of my power must be accomplished with various plagues. I will do all that I promised.” God had even foretold the death of the firstborn of Egypt (Exod. 4:23).

In Deuteronomy, when Moses gave the long discourse at the end of his life, he repeatedly mentioned God’s “stretched out arm” (Deut. 4:34; 5:15; 7:19; 9:29; 11:2). Thus we know that seeing God’s MIGHTY POWER effect the salvation of Israel really impressed Moses. The Israelites in Egypt represent those under bondage to Satan, the god of this world. As the Israelites longed for deliverance, so does the world of mankind. Only the truth sets us free in the interim.

Exod. 6:7 And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.

Although the deliverance would be effected through Moses, God is the Author of the deliverance. Notice the emphasis on the pronoun “I.”

In the beginning Moses needed God’s assurance and cultivation, for he felt unworthy. His attitude was, “Choose someone else who can speak eloquently.” But God’s encouragement and providences transformed and matured Moses. When he broke the tablets of the Ten Commandments, he did it with power and force and indignation. He was a very effective leader, yet humble before the Lord.

God would especially be a God to Israel. The burdens had increased and increased, and the people had cried to Him. When He did not immediately answer, they began to wonder and were losing faith, being at a low ebb. Now they needed a God who would be powerfully manifested to them. And so God was saying to them, “Now I will be a real God to you, One who exercises judgment and leadership!”

Exod. 6:8 And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I am the LORD.

God “did swear” in regard to making the oath; the term means “lifting up the hand” in Hebrew.

Exod. 6:9 And Moses spake so unto the children of Israel: but they hearkened not unto Moses for anguish of spirit, and for cruel bondage.

Exod. 6:10 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

Exod. 6:11 Go in, speak unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, that he let the children of Israel go out of his land.

Exod. 6:12 And Moses spake before the LORD, saying, Behold, the children of Israel have not hearkened unto me; how then shall Pharaoh hear me, who am of uncircumcised lips?

Exod. 6:13 And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, and gave them a charge unto the children of Israel, and unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt.

Moses still spoke of his “uncircumcised lips”; hence he still needed pushing and encouragement. God then gave Moses and Aaron “a charge,” speaking sternly to them. He was saying, “I have spoken. Now do as I have said!”

Even though Moses told the Israelites what God had said, they turned a deaf ear (verse 9).

Their reaction led Moses to again question his ability. Truly he was the meekest man in all the earth. In this regard Moses was a counterpart of Jesus, who said, “[Come] learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart” (Matt. 11:29). Jesus always had humility before his Father. Incidentally, Moses’ “slowness of speech” meant that he did not speak as quickly as Aaron. He weighed his words—and that was a good quality.

Exod. 6:14 These be the heads of their fathers’ houses: The sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel; Hanoch, and Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi: these be the families of Reuben.

Exod. 6:15 And the sons of Simeon; Jemuel, and Jamin, and Ohad, and Jachin, and Zohar, and Shaul the son of a Canaanitish woman: these are the families of Simeon.

Exod. 6:16 And these are the names of the sons of Levi according to their generations; Gershon, and Kohath, and Merari: and the years of the life of Levi were an hundred thirty and seven years.

Exod. 6:17 The sons of Gershon; Libni, and Shimi, according to their families.

Exod. 6:18 And the sons of Kohath; Amram, and Izhar, and Hebron, and Uzziel: and the years of the life of Kohath were an hundred thirty and three years.

Exod. 6:19 And the sons of Merari; Mahali and Mushi: these are the families of Levi according to their generations.

Exod. 6:20 And Amram took him Jochebed his father’s sister to wife; and she bare him Aaron and Moses: and the years of the life of Amram were an hundred and thirty and seven years.

Exod. 6:21 And the sons of Izhar; Korah, and Nepheg, and Zichri.

Exod. 6:22 And the sons of Uzziel; Mishael, and Elzaphan, and Zithri.

Exod. 6:23 And Aaron took him Elisheba, daughter of Amminadab, sister of Naashon, to wife; and she bare him Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.

Exod. 6:24 And the sons of Korah; Assir, and Elkanah, and Abiasaph: these are the families of the Korhites.

Exod. 6:25 And Eleazar Aaron’s son took him one of the daughters of Putiel to wife; and she bare him Phinehas: these are the heads of the fathers of the Levites according to their families.

Verses 14–25 give a genealogy listing that starts with Jacob’s firstborn, Reuben, and then covers Simeon and Levi (all Leah’s children). The genealogy then concentrates on Levi’s offspring and ignores the other sons of Jacob. Obviously, the intent was to show the priestly lineage going down through Aaron and his sons, which was important when the Tabernacle was erected. The genealogy especially focuses on Moses and Aaron and their lineage and background and the priesthood. Moses and Aaron had the same parents: Amram and Jochebed. The priesthood stemmed from Aaron (and Levi).

Verse 23 shows that the tribe of Judah was blended with the priesthood through Amminadab (see Matthew 1:4 and Luke 3:33). Amminadab’s daughter became Aaron’s wife. Ostensibly, Jesus was of the tribe of Judah, and thus seemed to be disqualified from the Levitical priesthood, but there was a strain of the tribe of Judah and Levi together.

However, for Paul to bring out this point in the Book of Hebrews might have confused the situation. Jesus was definitely of the tribe of Judah—and possibly there was also a strain of Levi. Anyway, the blood relationship is interesting.

Verse 20 shows that Amram married his aunt. Age-wise, she could have been younger, and blood marriages were not prohibited until later.

We know from later incidents that some of the priestly lineage proved to be very faithful and some very unfaithful. For example, Korah was a grandson of Kohath, yet he rebelled.

Of Aaron’s four sons, two (Eleazar and Ithamar) were faithful, and two were unfaithful (Nadab and Abihu). Just as with Noah’s progeny, it depends on the individual whether one is faithful or not. Faithfulness does not depend on the forebears.

Another example is Korah, who was cut off with others for his rebellion, as were Nadab and Abihu. Phinehas faithfully put to death the Israelite man and the Moabite woman in the midst of the congregation, who were being chastised for intermarriages with foreigners following Balaam’s wrong counsel (Num. 25:6–8).

Moses’ humility is shown in his listing the names of unfaithful individuals. In contrast, the Egyptians said only good things about themselves.

Let us consider the time elements: Levi lived 137 years; Kohath, 133 years; and Amram, 137 years. And we know that Moses was 120 when he died in good health (Deut. 34:7). Thus is shown the accuracy of God’s promise to Abraham that in the fourth generation the Israelites would come out of their sojourning and oppression (Gen. 15:13–16).

Levi was dead at the time of the Exodus, but his son Kohath was alive and so was Amram. Their ages prove this statement, for the Israelites were in Egypt 215 years out of the 430 years. In order to have 2 million Jews in the Exodus, there would have been a lot of intermarriage within families as well as within tribes.

Exod. 6:26 These are that Aaron and Moses, to whom the LORD said, Bring out the children of Israel from the land of Egypt according to their armies.

Exod. 6:27 These are they which spake to Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring out the children of Israel from Egypt: these are that Moses and Aaron.

The clause “These are that Aaron and Moses” identifies which Aaron and Moses—the Aaron and Moses of the lineage that follows, which covers four generations. Just as Moses’ lineage is important here, so Jesus’ lineage is important in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Without the lineages there would be wild theories.


*Sister of Kohath, daughter of Levi

Note: Miriam was the oldest; Aaron was in the middle (3 years older than Moses); Moses was the youngest.

Exod. 6:28 And it came to pass on the day when the LORD spake unto Moses in the land of Egypt,

Exod. 6:29 That the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, I am the LORD: speak thou unto Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I say unto thee.

Exod. 6:30 And Moses said before the LORD, Behold, I am of uncircumcised lips, and how shall Pharaoh hearken unto me?

Verse 30 may be a repeat of the incident in verses 10–12, for both texts mention Moses’ comment about uncircumcised lips. The lineage was inserted later, not at this point, because some of those listed had not been born yet. Ezra inserted this lineage from a historical standpoint. Here the lineage goes down to Phinehas, who succeeded Eleazar as high priest.

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