Exodus 6
Benson Commentary
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.
Exodus 6:1. Now shalt thou see what I will do — Here we have a striking proof of God’s long-suffering. Instead of severely reproving Moses for his impatience, as manifested at the close of the preceding chapter, and his injurious complaints, he condescends to give him fresh assurances of his power and his determination to deliver the Israelites. With a strong hand — That is, being forced to it with a strong hand, or by those terrible judgments which I shall inflict upon him by my power, he shall let them go.

And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the LORD:
Exodus 6:2. I am the Lord — That is, Jehovah, on which word the emphasis is laid, and it is to be wished that it had been always preserved in this translation, and especially in such passages as this, the sense of which entirely depends on the word. It signifies the same with, I AM THAT I AM, the fountain of being and blessedness, and of infinite perfection. By my name Jehovah was I not known unto them — As it is certain that God declared himself to these patriarchs by the name Jehovah, as may be seen Genesis 15:6-7; Genesis 22:14; Genesis 22:16, some of the best and most accurate writers conclude that the latter part of this verse ought to be read interrogatively, thus, And by my name Jehovah was I not known unto them? The original words will well bear this translation, and it would entirely remove that apparent contradiction which is implied in our version. At the same time it would greatly improve the sense and force of the passage. But if we do not read it in this manner, we must not understand it of the name itself, but of the power and virtue which the name expresses. And then the meaning of the passage will be, that though God had revealed himself to the patriarchs as the El-shaddai, the Almighty, or All-sufficient, yet they did not live to see the accomplishment of his promises; and therefore, though they believed, yet they did not experimentally know that he was a God of unchangeable truth; nor had they experienced that all the powers of nature were in his hand, and that he could change them as he pleased, and even communicate the power of doing so to man. But it was to Moses that God first showed his power of making alterations in nature, or working miracles and prodigies. What makes this sense of the passage probable is, that the knowing of Jehovah is spoken of in this way, Exodus 7:5, And the Egyptians shall know that I am Jehovah, when I stretch forth my hand on Egypt. Thus, Henry observes, “The patriarchs knew this name, but they did know him in this matter by that which this name signifies.” God would now be known by his name Jehovah, that Isaiah , 1 st, A God performing what he had promised, and so giving being to his promises. 2d, A God perfecting what he had begun, and finishing his own work. In the history of the creation God is never called Jehovah till the heavens and the earth were finished, Genesis 2:4. When the salvation of the saints is completed in eternal life, then he will be known by his name Jehovah, Revelation 22:13; in the mean time they shall find him for their strength and support, El-shaddai, a God all-sufficient, a God that is enough.

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.
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.
And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant.
Exodus 6:5-6. I have heard the groaning of the children of Israel — He means their groaning on occasion of the late hardships put upon them. God takes notice of the increase of his people’s calamities, and observes how their enemies grow upon them. I will bring you out: I will rid you: I will redeem you: I will bring you into the land of Canaan; and I will give it you — Let man take the shame of his unbelief, which needs such repetitions, and let God have the glory of his condescending grace, which gives us such repeated assurances. With a stretched-out arm — With almighty power: a metaphor taken from a man that stretches out his arm, to put forth all his strength.

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:
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.
Exodus 6:7-9. I will take you to me for a people — A peculiar people; and I will be to you a God — And more than this we need not ask, we cannot have, to make us happy. I am the Lord — And therefore have power to dispose of lands and kingdoms as I please. But they hearkened not to Moses, for anguish of spirit — That is, they were so taken up with their troubles that they did not heed him.

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.
And Moses spake so unto the children of Israel: but they hearkened not unto Moses for anguish of spirit, and for cruel bondage.
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Go in, speak unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, that he let the children of Israel go out of his land.
Exodus 6:11. That he let the children of Israel go — God repeats his precepts before he begins his punishments. Those that have oft been called in vain to leave their sins, yet must be called again and again.

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?
Exodus 6:12-13. Behold, the children of Israel have not hearkened to me — They gave no heed to what I have said; how then shall Pharaoh hear me? — If the anguish of their spirit makes them deaf to that which would compose and comfort them, much more will his pride and insolence make him deaf to that which will but exasperate him. Who am of uncircumcised lips — He was conscious to himself that he had not the gift of utterance. The Lord gave them a charge to the children of Israel and to Pharaoh — God’s authority is sufficient to answer all objections, and binds us to obedience without murmuring or disputing.

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.
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.
Exodus 6:14. This genealogy ends in those two great patriots, Moses and Aaron, and comes in here to show that they were Israelites, bone of the bone, and flesh of the flesh of those whom they were sent to deliver; raised up unto them of their brethern, as Christ also should be, who was to be the Prophet and Priest, the Redeemer and Lawgiver of the house of Israel, and whose genealogy also, like this, was to be carefully preserved. The heads of the houses of three of the tribes are here named, agreeing with the accounts we had, Genesis 46. Reuben and Simeon seem to be mentioned only for the sake of Levi, from whom Moses and Aaron descended, and all the priests of the Jewish Church.

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.
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.
Exodus 6:16. The age of Levi, Kohath, and Amram, the father, grandfather, and great-grandfather of Moses, is here recorded; and they all lived to a great age; Levi to one hundred thirty-seven, Kohath to one hundred thirty- three, and Amram to one hundred thirty-seven: Moses himself came much short of them, and fixed seventy or eighty for the ordinary stretch of human life, Psalm 90:10. For now Israel was multiplied, and become a great nation, and divine revelation was by the hand of Moses committed to writing, and no longer trusted to tradition; therefore the two great reasons for the long lives of the patriarchs were ceased, and from henceforward fewer years must serve men.

The sons of Gershon; Libni, and Shimi, according to their families.
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.
And the sons of Merari; Mahali and Mushi: these are the families of Levi according to their generations.
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.
Exodus 6:20-23. His father’s sister — That is, kinswoman, as the Hebrew word frequently means. Amminadab — A prince of the tribe of Judah. The Levites might marry into any tribe, there being no danger of confusion or loss of inheritance thereby.

And the sons of Izhar; Korah, and Nepheg, and Zichri.
And the sons of Uzziel; Mishael, and Elzaphan, and Zithri.
And Aaron took him Elisheba, daughter of Amminadab, sister of Naashon, to wife; and she bare him Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.
And the sons of Korah; Assir, and Elkanah, and Abiasaph: these are the families of the Korhites.
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.
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.
Exodus 6:26. According to their armies — Like numerous armies, in military order, and with great power. In the close of the chapter he returns to his narrative, from which he had broken off some-what abruptly, (Exodus 6:13,) and repeats the charge God had given him to deliver his message to Pharaoh, Exodus 6:29.

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.
And it came to pass on the day when the LORD spake unto Moses in the land of Egypt,
That the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, I am the LORD: speak thou unto Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I say unto thee.
Exodus 6:29. Speak all that I say unto thee — As a faithful ambassador.

Those that go on God’s errand must not shun to declare the whole counsel of God.

And Moses said before the LORD, Behold, I am of uncircumcised lips, and how shall Pharaoh hearken unto me?
Benson Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

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