God promises Pharaoh will give in
God will force Pharaoh to free Israel1The LORD told Moses, “You’re about to see what I’m going to do to Pharaoh. He’ll let the people go, but not willingly. He’ll do it because he won’t have a choice. He’ll be forced to send them away. In fact, he’ll order them to leave.”
2Then God told Moses, “I am the LORD. 3I met with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But I did so as God Almighty, not as the LORD. I didn’t tell them my name. 4I also made a sacred agreement with them. I promised them the land of Canaan—where they used to live as foreigners. 5I’ve heard the people of Israel groaning in pain over their slavery in Egypt. And I remember my agreement.
6Tell the people of Israel I said this: “I am the LORD. I’m going to lift that heavy load the Egyptians are putting on you. I’m going to free you. And I’m going to do it in a big way, with extraordinary displays of punishment. 7I choose you as my people. I’ll be your God. When this is over, you’ll know that I’m the LORD your God. You’ll know that I’m the one who freed you from this Egyptian slavery. 8I’m going to take you to the land I promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I’m the LORD, and I’m giving this land to you.”
9Moses told the people what the LORD said, but they didn’t care. They were too depressed. Egyptian cruelty had crushed their spirits. 10The LORD told Moses, 11“Go tell Pharaoh, king of Egypt, to let the Israelites go.” 12Moses said, “Look, the Israelites aren’t even listening to me now. How on earth can I expect Pharaoh to listen to me, especially since I’m not a good speaker.” 13The LORD insisted. He told Moses and Aaron to deliver his message to the Israelites and to Pharaoh: the Israelites are to leave Egypt.
Family of Moses and Aaron14These people are leaders of their clans or extended families.
Descendants of Reuben, Jacob’s oldest child:
Enoch, Pallu, Hazron, and Carmi.
15Descendants of Simeon:
Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jachin, Zohar, and Saul the son of a Canaanite woman.
16Descendants of Levi:
Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.
Levi lived 137 years.
17Descendants of Gershon:
Libni and Shimei.
18Descendants of Kohath:
Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel.
Kohath lived 133 years.
19Descendants of Merari:
Mahli and Mushi.
All the clans above are from the tribe of Levi.
20Amram married his aunt Jochebed, who was his father’s sister. She gave birth to sons, Aaron and Moses. Amram lived 137 years.
21Descendants of Izhar:
Korah, Nepheg, and Zichri.
22Descendants of Uzziel:
Mishael, Elzaphan, and Sithri.
23Aaron married Elisheba, daughter of Amminadab, sister of Nahshon. She gave birth to Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar.
24Descendants of Korah:
Assir, Elkanah, and Abiasaph.
These are Korah’s family, the Korahites.
25Aaron’s son Eleazar married one of Putiel’s daughters. She gave birth to Phinehas. These are the leaders of the families in the tribe of Levi. 26This is the same Aaron and Moses that the LORD command: “Take the people of Israel out of Egypt, one family after another until you get them all out.” 27So they told Pharaoh, king of Egypt, to free the Israelites. It’s the same Moses and Aaron. 28The LORD told Moses in Egypt, 29“I am the LORD. Now go ahead and meet with Pharaoh, king of Egypt. Tell him everything I tell you to say.” 30But Moses said, “Look, LORD, I’m not good at talking. So why would Pharaoh pay any attention to me?”
The Hebrew name is El Shaddai (L shad EYE). El means God or mighty one. Shaddai means almighty, strongest, or most powerful.
Moses asked God what his name was, and God said Moses should tell the Israelite ancestors of the Jews that his name is “I AM” (Exodus 3:14). In the original Hebrew language, the name is spelled with only consonants—no vowels. It’s an ancient shorthand, to save hides used to make scrolls. The name is YHWH. Without knowing which vowels, most scholars have settled on YAHWEH, pronounced YAH-way. Most English Bibles translate that name as LORD in all capital letters. “Lord” in lower case letters means “master.” God’s name is so sacred to many Jews that they refuse to speak it. Instead, they’ll use names that describe the character of God, such as El Shaddai or Adonai, which means “my Lord.” Many won’t even write the name. In English, they’ll spell the name G-d.
Literally “Israel.” That’s a name God gave Jacob when Jacob returned to Canaan (Israel and Palestinian Territories today) from his years in Haran, a city in what is now Turkey (Genesis 35:10).
Amram was the father of Moses and Aaron.
BY ROBERT V. HUBER
Chapter 6 of Exodus opens with yet another repetition of what has already been said multiple times. First, God reminds Moses and Aaron that he will get Pharaoh to change his mind and gladly let the Hebrew slaves go free. Then he reminds us of who he is: the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to whom he had promised a land of their own. Why all this repetition? Is it meant merely as emphasis or does it represent some sort of poetic structure or a formal religious ritual that recalls a seminal event? Or is it something else entirely? What do you think?
Whatever the reason for it, the repetition in chapter 6 is longer and more detailed than the earlier repetitions of these same events. In fact, if you include the genealogy that is inserted to add to the detail, it takes up the entire chapter. Furthermore, these particular repetitions seem to emphasize who God is and what his relationship is to the Israelites. What do you consider the most important points in this chapter and how do you think they look forward to later stories or themes in the Old Testament involving faith and the recognition of who God is and the greatness of his power? For example, why would God repeat his promise to force Pharaoh to free the Hebrews?
In the middle of all the repetition, Moses breaks off to remind his people what God has promised but discovers that they don’t care. They are too depressed about their plight as slaves to even listen to what Moses has to say. What do you think is being said about the people here? What message might the author of Exodus be sending to us?
As though reflecting his people’s depression over their plight, Moses stubbornly refuses God’s repeated command to once again tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go. A master of weak excuses, Moses reasons that if his own people won’t listen to him, why would Pharaoh? He reminds God, who needs no reminding, that he is a poor speaker. What message does Moses’ stubbornness in refusing to do what God asked send to us?
The chapter ends (almost) with yet another genealogy. Like the earlier ones, this genealogy links what has come before to what is happening at the time. But do you see anything in here that you didn’t already know?