The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Exodus 6

Exo 6:1

HE WILL DRIVE THEM OUT: Sw Exo 11:1; 12:39.

Exo 6:3

BUT BY MY NAME THE LORD I DID NOT MAKE MYSELF KNOWN TO THEM: The name "Yahweh" / "Jehovah" HAD been known before: it had in fact occurred 162 times in Genesis, many times used by the writer in the narrative itself, but 34 times actually spoken there. Significantly, (1) men "began to call on [or call themselves by: AV margin] the name of the LORD [Yahweh]" as early as Gen 4:26; (2) the place, where he almost sacrificed Isaac, Abraham named "The LORD [Yahweh] will provide" (Gen 22:14).

So this verse here MAY mean that the purpose embedded in the Name had previously been uncertain (Gen 15:7). Now, especially as Yahweh, God was going to redeem the people of Israel (v 6), adopt them as his people (v 7), and bring them into the promised Land (v 8) -- thus making quite plain what His Name meant.

Or perhaps this verse should be read -- like the NIV margin puts it -- as a question: 'But did I not make myself known to them by my name Yahweh?' -- a rhetorical question anticipating a positive answer: that is, 'Of course I was called Yahweh, but they did not truly and completely understand what that Name would mean! And how I would work out My purpose in generations to come!'

We know the name of God, and we know (more or less) what it means. "Yahweh" is the Great Self-Existent and Eternal God (the One who was, and is, and will be). He is the "Becoming One": the God who reveals Himself to mankind, the God of Israel, and the One who WILL BE finally manifested in a multitude of holy ones, who will become His family.

But -- like Moses -- we may spend a lifetime learning what that Name REALLY means, in feeling the hand of Yahweh in the practical outworking of our lives.

Exo 6:4

TO GIVE THEM THE LAND OF CANAAN, WHERE THEY LIVED AS ALIENS: "The land in which the fathers struggled as strangers and learned about faith in God, suffering both hardships and blessings from Him, is the land they will inherit. It is exactly the same for us: a promise has been left us that we may inherit the very earth in which we have struggled, not some other-worldly land of which we have no experience" (MV, Tes 72:16).

Exo 6:6

I AM THE LORD: Note 7 "I will's" in vv 6-8.

Exo 6:7

THEN YOU WILL KNOW THAT I AM THE LORD YOUR GOD, WHO BROUGHT YOU OUT FROM UNDER THE YOKE OF THE EGYPTIANS: "This phrase, so dominant in the prophecy of Ezekiel, is one which characterises God's purpose throughout the Scriptures. His purpose is to be known and to be acknowledged throughout the earth, first to Israel, and then to the nations at large. God associates Israel's knowing Him with His bringing them out of the land of Egypt -- a most instructive point. We know God most particularly through the act of redemption that He has accomplished, redemption both literal and spiritual. This work defines Him, and separates Him from any other conception of God that we might otherwise have had" (MV, Tes 72:16).

Exo 6:9

BUT THEY DID NOT LISTEN TO HIM BECAUSE OF THEIR DISCOURAGEMENT AND CRUEL BONDAGE: "The people had worked themselves (quite literally) into such a state of panic and preoccupation that they could scarcely hear Moses' words of reassurance, let alone hearken to them. Who are we to blame them for this in their circumstances? Most disciples have lost concentration on the promises of God at far slighter burden than these. Who has not been overtaken by a particular incident in life to such an extent that he cannot hear God speaking and cannot see another perspective on the issue in hand? But God does not test us beyond our ability to withstand; very shortly all God will require of them is that they sit on the sidelines and look and learn as the plagues unfold and Egypt is brought to nothing" (MV, Tes 72:37).

Exo 6:12

FALTERING LIPS: Heb "uncircumcised lips". Refs to Moses (v 30). Cp Isa 6:5: "unclean lips". Humility, meekness.

The two similar statements (vv 12,30) are split by the insertion of a genealogy (vv 14-27), and probably are both part of the same conversation. Indeed, the two narratives (Exo 6:10-13, and Exo 6:28--Exo 7:7) probably refer to the same basic conversation.

"This rather strange idiom is used only here and Exo 6:30, although uncircumcised hearts are referred to in Lev 26:41; Jer 9:26; and Eze 44:7,9, and uncircumcised ears in Jer 6:10" (MV, Tes 72:39).

Moses' objections: "Who am I?" (Exo 3:11); "What shall I say?" (Exo 3:13); 'They will not believe me" (Exo 4:1); "I am not eloquent" (Exo 4:10); "Send Aaron" (Exo 4:13); "They have not listened" (Exo 6:12); "I am of unclean (faltering, uncircumcised) lips" (Exo 6:30).

Exo 6:14

Vv 14-27: Not a genealogy of all the families of Israel -- in fact, it breaks off after Reuben (1 verse), Simeon (1 verse), and Levi (10 vv). The main point is to chart the ancestry and heritage of Moses and Aaron... as well as mentioning others who will be prominent in the narrative later: ie, Korah (v 21), Nadab and Abihu (v 23), and Phinehas (v 25).

Exo 6:20

AMRAM MARRIED HIS FATHER'S SISTER...: Amram married his aunt. Such a union would be prohibited by later law (Lev 18:12). Is Amram's action implicitly criticized here, or is it to be justified on the basis that the LM was not yet given?

Exo 6:23

ELISHEBA: Who is of the tribe of Judah: cp Mat 1:4; Rth 4:19,20.

Exo 6:26

DIVISIONS: Heb "sabaoth" = "armies".

Exo 6:30

Moses' objections: "Who am I?" (Exo 3:11); "What shall I say?" (Exo 3:13); 'They will not believe me" (Exo 4:1); "I am not eloquent" (Exo 4:10); "Send Aaron" (Exo 4:13); "They have not listened" (Exo 6:12); "I am of unclean (faltering, uncircumcised) lips" (Exo 6:30).

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