Exodus 6
Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
Chapters Exodus 6:2 to Exodus 7:13The second account (P) of the call and commission of Moses

God, who had been known to the patriarchs as El Shaddai, reveals Himself to Moses as Jehovah (Yahweh), and bids him tell the Israelites that He has resolved to deliver them from their bondage, to make them His people, and to bring them into the land promised to their forefathers (Exodus 6:2-8). The people, hopeless and disheartened, refuse to listen to him (Exodus 6:9). He and Aaron are then commanded to demand the release of the people from the Pharaoh: upon his pleading his inability to speak, Aaron is appointed to be his spokesman with the king (Exodus 6:10-13; Exodus 6:28-30, Exodus 7:1-2). But God will harden the Pharaoh’s heart, that he will not listen to their request, and that he may be made to see and feel His might (Exodus 7:3-7). Moses and Aaron are empowered to work a portent, as a credential of their mission; but it is imitated by the Egyptian magicians, and the Pharaoh remains obdurate (Exodus 7:8-13). The narrative is interrupted by a genealogy of Moses and Aaron, Exodus 6:14-27.

The phraseology of this narrative shews that it is derived from P; its contents shew that it does not describe the sequel of Exodus 3:1 to Exodus 6:1, but is parallel to it, and that it gives a partly divergent account of the commission of Moses, and of the preliminary steps taken by him to secure the release of the people This will be apparent if the narrative be followed attentively, Exodus 3:1 to Exodus 6:1 describes the call and commission of Moses, the nomination of Aaron as his spokesman with the people, and three signs given to him for the satisfaction of the people, if they should demand his credentials. Moses and Aaron have satisfied the people (Exodus 4:30-31), but their application to the Pharaoh has proved unsuccessful (ch. 5), and something further is threatened (Exodus 6:1). The continuation of Exodus 6:1 is, however, Exodus 7:14 : Exodus 6:1 to Exodus 7:13 is a parallel narrative of Moses’ call and commission, in which, unlike Exodus 4:31, the people refuse to listen to him (Exodus 6:9), and in which, upon Moses’ protesting his inability to plead, not, as in Exodus 4:10-16, with the people, but with the Pharaoh, Aaron is appointed to be his spokesman with him (Exodus 6:11-12; Exodus 6:29-30, Exodus 7:1-2). If the Pharaoh had already refused to hear him (as he would have done, had ch. 5–6 formed a continuous narrative), it is scarcely possible that Moses should allege (Exo Exodus 6:12) a different, à priori ground,—a ground, moreover, inconsistent with Exodus 4:31,—for his hesitation. The parallelism of details which prevails between the two narratives is remarkable: comp. Exodus 6:2-8 and Exodus 3:6-8; Exodus 3:14-15; Exodus 6:12 b (= 30) and Exo Exodus 4:10; Exodus 7:1 and Exodus 4:16; Exodus 7:4 f. and Exodus 3:19 f., Exodus 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.
Exodus 6:1. Jehovah’s reply. He calms Moses with the assurance that he will now shortly see what will happen to the Pharaoh: he will soon not merely be willing to let the Israelites go, but will be eager to drive or thrust them (Exodus 11:1, Exodus 12:39) from his land.

by a strong hand] compelled by the strong hand of Jehovah; cf. Exodus 3:19.

And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the LORD:
2. I am Yahweh] The speaker declares His name to be ‘Yahweh,’ though to the patriarchs He had been known, not by this name, but as El Shaddai. It is the theory of P that the name ‘Yahweh’ was not known until now; and accordingly in the sections of Genesis belonging to P, Elohim, ‘God,’ is the Divine name regularly employed (except twice, Genesis 17:1; Genesis 21:1 b, where ‘Yahweh’ has been introduced by a scribe or redactor), ‘El Shaddai’ (see the next note) being the distinctive name said to have been revealed to, and used by, the patriarchs. The Being denoted by ‘Yahweh,’ the special, personal name of the God of Israel, is thus identified with the ‘Elohim’ and ‘El Shaddai’ of (according to P) the pre-Mosaic period. On the name Yahweh, see on Exodus 3:14, and p. 40.

as God Almighty] as El Shaddai. See Genesis 17:1 (‘I am El Shaddai,’ addressed to Abraham), Genesis 35:11 (‘I am El Shaddai,’ ad dressed to Jacob); Genesis 28:3 and Genesis 48:3 (‘El Shaddai’ used by Isaac (and Jacob). All these passages belong to P.

‘El Shaddai’ occurs besides in Genesis 43:14 (E), Genesis 49:25 [read with LXX. אל for את], Ezekiel 10:5; ‘Shaddai’ alone, as a poet, name of God, in Numbers 24:4; Numbers 24:16, Ruth 1:20-21, Ezekiel 1:24, Isaiah 13:6 = Joel 1:15, Psalm 68:14; Psalm 91:1, and 31 times in Job. Shaddai is rendered convention ally ‘Almighty’ (LXX. 14 times in Job παντοκράτωρ; elsewhere θεός, κύριος, &c., in Gen. Ex. strangely my (thy, their) God; Vulg. mostly omnipotens); and it is true that the idea of might does suit the context in many passages in which the name occurs; but whether ‘Almighty is its real meaning is more than we can say, neither tradition nor philology throwing any certain light upon it, and all suggested explanations of it,—the ‘Waster,’ the ‘Over-powerer,’ ‘My mountain, (from the Assyrian; cf. ‘My rock,’ Psalm 18:2 al.),—being open to objection of one kind or another (see the writer’s Genesis, p. 404 ff.).

I was not, &c.] Or (cf. Ezekiel 20:5), made I not myself known. For but, &c., a Yemen MS. of 11 cent. (Kittel), LXX., Syr., Vulg., Onk. have ‘but my name J. I made not known to them’ (ה for נ), easing the construction (Ewald, § 281c), but not materially affecting the sense.

2–8. God, who had appeared to the patriarchs as El Shaddai, reveals Himself to Moses by His name Yahweh; and bids him tell the Israelites that, having heard their groanings in bondage, He has resolved to fulfil the covenant made with the patriarchs, to deliver them from their sufferings, to make them His people, and to bring them into the land promised to their forefathers.

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.
4. I also established] without ‘have,’ the reference being to Genesis 17:7. Established means ‘set up,’ ‘concluded,’ not ‘gave effect to’: to ‘establish a covenant’ is a standing expression in P, Genesis 6:18; Genesis 9:9; Genesis 9:11; Genesis 9:17; Genesis 17:7; Genesis 17:19; Genesis 17:21 (elsewhere, in the same sense, only Ezekiel 16:60; Ezekiel 16:62). P never uses the ordinary Heb. expression, ‘cut a covenant’ (Exodus 23:32, Exodus 24:8, Exodus 34:19, &c.).

my covenant] The covenant concluded with Abraham in Genesis 17:1-2; Genesis 17:7-8 (P) that, if Abraham walked blamelessly before God, He would multiply him, be a God to him and his seed after him, and give to his descendants the land of their sojournings, Canaan (cf. Genesis 28:4; Genesis 35:12,—both also P).

the land of their sojournings] Genesis 17:8; Genesis 23:4; also Genesis 36:7; Genesis 37:1 (all P), Gen 20:38†.

And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant.
5. and I also. The pronoun is emphatic,—I, the same who gave the promise of v. 4.

the groaning] see Exodus 2:24 (P).

keep in bondage] Heb. make to serve, as Exodus 1:13 (P).

remembered my covenant] as Exodus 2:24 (P): see also Genesis 9:15-16 (P); Leviticus 26:42; Leviticus 26:45 (H); Ezekiel 16:60.

5–8. And now He has heard the groanings of the patriarchs’ descendants in their bondage (v. 5); and bids Moses tell them that He is Yahweh, and as such will deliver them from Egypt (v. 6), will make them His people (v. 7), and bring them into the land promised to their fathers (v. 8).

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:
6. the burdens] Exodus 1:11, Exodus 2:11, Exodus 5:4-5.

rid] an archaism for deliver (A.S. hreddan, to snatch away; Germ. retten, to deliver). So in AV. Genesis 37:22, Psalm 82:4 (RV. in both deliver); Psalm 144:7; Psalm 144:11 (RV. rescue); and in PBV. of the Psalms, Psalm 18:49; Psalm 71:1.

bondage] Exodus 2:23; rendered ‘service’ in Exodus 1:14 (twice).

redeem] The proper sense of the Heb. gâ’al is to resume a claim or right which has lapsed, to reclaim, re-vindicate: it is thus used Leviticus 25:25 ff. of the ‘redemption’ of a house or field, after it has been sold (cf. Jeremiah 32:7-8), and in the expression, the ‘avenger (gô’çl) of blood,’ properly the one who vindicates the rights of a murdered man: it is also often used metaphorically of deliverance from oppression, trouble, death, &c., as here, Exodus 15:13, Genesis 48:16, Hosea 13:14, Psalm 103:4, and especially in II Isaiah, of Yahweh’s reclaiming His people from exile in Babylon, Isaiah 41:14; Isaiah 43:1, &c. On the syn. pâdâh, see on Exodus 13:13.

a stretched out arm] not again till Deuteronomy 4:34. Six times in Dt. (usually with ‘a mighty hand’), and sometimes also besides. Cf. the verb in Exodus 7:5; also Isaiah 5:25; Isaiah 9:12; Isaiah 9:17; Isaiah 9:21; Isaiah 10:4; Isaiah 14:26-27.

judgements] Not the usual word. Exodus 6:6; Exodus 7:4; Exodus 12:12, Numbers 33:4 in P; 10 times in Ez. (e.g. Exodus 5:10; Exodus 5:15); and twice besides.

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.
7. and I will take you to me for a people] to be owned by Me, and enjoy My protection. The thought, as Exodus 19:5 (J), Deu Exo 26:18; cf. also Deuteronomy 29:13. The common expression is ‘and ye (or they) shall be to me a people,’ Jeremiah 7:23, Ezekiel 11:20 (and often in Jer. Ez.); Zech. 2:15, 8:8; Leviticus 26:12 (H).

and I will be to you a God] to be revered by you, and also to be your all-powerful leader, protector, and benefactor. The correlative of the last expression: cf. Genesis 17:7-8, Exodus 29:45, Leviticus 11:45; Leviticus 22:33; Leviticus 25:38; Leviticus 26:45, Numbers 15:41 (all P or H); and together with that expression, Leviticus 26:12 (H), Deuteronomy 26:17; Deuteronomy 29:13, Jeremiah 7:23, Ezekiel 11:20 (and often in Jer. Ez.), Zechariah 8:8.

and ye shall know, &c.] learn by what you witness and experience that I am Jehovah, your Deliverer; so Exodus 7:5; Exodus 14:4; Exodus 14:18; Exodus 16:12; Exodus 29:46 (all P); cf. Exodus 31:13 b (H), and Exodus 10:2. Sentences of the type, ‘and ye (they, thou) shall know (viz. by some signal and impressive manifestation of power) that I am Yahweh,’ are extremely common in Ezek., a prophet who in other respects also displays many literary affinities with P, as Exodus 6:7; Exodus 6:10; Exodus 6:13-14, Exodus 7:4; Exodus 7:9, &c. (more than 50 times altogether): comp. LOT. p. 266 f. (ed. 6–8, p. 295).

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.
8. lifted up my hand] i.e. sware; the expression being derived from the custom of raising the hand to heaven when taking an oath. So Numbers 14:30 (P), Deuteronomy 32:40 (the Song); and esp. in Ezekiel 20:5-6; Ezekiel 20:15; Ezekiel 20:23; Ezekiel 20:28; Ezekiel 20:42; Ezekiel 36:7; Ezekiel 47:14; Psalm 106:26 (misrendered in PBV. ‘against’). Also, with a different verb for ‘lift up,’ Genesis 14:22. The reference is no doubt to Genesis 24:7 J (cf. Exodus 15:18 J).

heritage] not the usual word (naḥălâh), but môrâshâh: elsewhere only Deuteronomy 33:4 (the Blessing), and in Ezekiel 11:15; Ezekiel 25:4; Ezekiel 25:10; Ezekiel 33:24; Ezekiel 36:2-3; Ezekiel 36:5.

I am Yahweh] a solemn asseverative formula, closing a Divine utterance. It occurs with remarkable frequency in the ‘Law of Holiness’ (Leviticus 17-26), as Leviticus 18:5; Leviticus 18:21; Leviticus 19:12; Leviticus 19:14; Leviticus 19:16; Leviticus 19:18, &c.; sometimes also elsewhere in P, Exodus 12:12; Exodus 29:46 (with the addition of ‘their God’), Numbers 3:13; Numbers 3:41; Numbers 3:45. It is never found in J or E.

And Moses spake so unto the children of Israel: but they hearkened not unto Moses for anguish of spirit, and for cruel bondage.
9. Moses communicates the Divine message to the Israelites; but they are too much disheartened and demoralized by their sufferings to pay heed to it, or credit it.

hearkened not] according to Exodus 4:31 (J), the people listened to Moses gladly.

for impatience] the marg. is right; promises of deliverance had no meaning for them; they repelled them with impatience. See, with the corresponding verb or adj., Job 21:4 RV., Proverbs 14:29 b Heb., Micah 2:7 RVm.; and with ‘soul’ for ‘spirit,’ Numbers 21:4 RVm., Jdg 10:16 Heb. Jdg 16:16 Heb. The opposite is ‘long of spirit,’ i.e. patient, Job 6:11 RV. (lit. ‘make long my spirit’), Ecclesiastes 7:8.

cruel (lit. hard) bondage] The same expression which in Exodus 1:14 (see the note) is rendered hard service (where slaves are referred to, ‘service’ and ‘bondage’ are naturally identical).

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
10–13. Moses is bidden to demand of the Pharaoh the release of the Israelites. He objects that, if his own people have not listened to him (v. 9), much less will the Pharaoh do so.

Go in, speak unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, that he let the children of Israel go out of his land.
11. In P (cf. Exodus 7:2) an unconditional release of the people is asked for, not merely (as in J: see on Exodus 3:18 and Exodus 4:23) a temporary one, to hold a three days’ feast in the wilderness.

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?
12. In Exodus 4:10 (J) Moses urges his inability to persuade the people; here he urges that the Pharaoh is not likely to listen to him.

of uncircumcised lips] i.e. lips closed in, which open and speak with difficulty. Cf. the same expression of the heart, when it is (in a figurative sense) closed in, and so impervious to good impressions (Leviticus 26:41, Jeremiah 9:26, Ezekiel 44:7; Ezekiel 44:9), and of the ear, when it is, metaphorically, in a similar condition, and hears imperfectly (Jeremiah 6:10). In substance, the meaning is the same as that of J’s ‘slow’ (lit. ‘heavy’) of mouth and tongue (Exodus 4:10 b).

The answer to v. 12 does not follow till Exodus 7:1, where the way is prepared for it by the repetition in substance of vv. 10–12 in vv. 28–30.

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.
13. A summary statement, unconnected with v. 12, of the commission given to Moses and Aaron in vv. 2–6. The verse comes in abruptly; for Aaron has not in this connexion been mentioned before. No doubt, it is an addition of the compiler who inserted the genealogy, vv. 14–27 (the main object of which is to explain who Moses and Aaron were), and who intended this verse to introduce it.

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.
14. These are the heads of their fathers’ houses] The form of superscription, as often in P; e.g. Genesis 10:1; Genesis 11:10; Genesis 25:13; Genesis 46:8, Exodus 1:1, Numbers 1:5; Numbers 13:4, &c. ‘Fathers’ house’ is an expression which occurs frequently in P and Chronicles, especially in connexion with genealogies. It means the ‘house,’ or family, descended,—or reputed to be descended,—from a single ancestor; it may thus denote even an entire tribe, as Numbers 17:2; but usually it denotes either the main subdivision of a tribe, which we might call a ‘clan,’ as Numbers 3:24, or the subdivision of a clan, i.e. a family, Exodus 12:3. Here it denotes a clan: Ḥănôch, Pallu, Ḥeẓron, and Carmi, were the reputed ancestors of the four main subdivisions of the tribe of Reuben, which were called by the corresponding patronymics Ḥanochites, Palluites, &c. (Numbers 26:5 f., where ‘family’ is used in the largest sense of the word, equivalent to ‘clan’). Cf. here, ‘these are the families of Reuben.’

these are the families of Reuben] The closing subscription to such enumerations, even where it might seem superfluous, is also in the manner of P: cf. vv. 15b, 19b, 24b, 25b, Genesis 10:20; Genesis 10:31-32; Genesis 25:16, Numbers 1:13; Numbers 13:16, &c.

14–27. Genealogies are frequent in P (Genesis 5, 11, Genesis 25:12-16, Genesis 46:8-27, &c.); and here, at his first mention of Moses and Aaron, he is careful to define their position among the descendants of Jacob: they belonged to the tribe of Levi, which claimed descent from Jacob’s third son, Levi, and the particulars about the descendants of the two elder sons, Reuben and Simeon (vv. 14b–15), are introduced merely for the purpose of leading up to Levi, about which tribe more circumstantial particulars are given (vv. 16–25). The particulars in vv. 14, 15, 16a are identical with those given in the list of Jacob’s descendants who came down into Egypt, Genesis 46:9-11.

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.
15. See Genesis 46:10, Numbers 26:12 f. The clan Shaul must have had in it an admixture of Canaanite blood.

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.
16a. See Genesis 46:11, Numbers 26:57. Gershon, Kohath, and Merari were the reputed ancestors of the corresponding clans, who, according to Numbers 3:21-33, 1 Chronicles 23:6 ff., and other late passages, exercised menial duties in connexion with the sanctuary.

according to their generations (lit. begettings)] referring specially to their ages. So v. 19 (cf. Exodus 28:10), Genesis 10:32; Genesis 25:13 (all P), 1 Chronicles 5:7; 1 Chronicles 7:2; 1 Chronicles 7:4; 1 Chronicles 7:9; 1 Chronicles 8:28; 1 Chronicles 9:9; 1 Chronicles 9:34; 1 Chronicles 26:31. The word, in whatever connexion, is found only in P, Ruth 4:18, and Chronicles.

16b. The age of Levi is not mentioned elsewhere.

The sons of Gershon; Libni, and Shimi, according to their families.
17. Libni and Shimei] Cf. Numbers 3:18; Numbers 3:21, 1 Chronicles 6:17.

17–19. The sons of Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.

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.
18. Amram, Izhar, &c.] Cf. Numbers 3:19, 1 Chronicles 6:2; 1 Chronicles 6:18; and for families regarded as descended from them, Numbers 3:27, 1 Chronicles 15:9-10; 1 Chronicles 23:18-20; 1 Chronicles 24:22-24; 1 Chronicles 26:23.

And the sons of Merari; Mahali and Mushi: these are the families of Levi according to their generations.
19. Maḥli and Mushi] Cf. Numbers 3:20; Numbers 3:33, 1 Chronicles 6:19.

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.
20. The family of Kohath’s first son, Amram (v. 18), viz. Aaron and Moses.

Jochebed] Mentioned besides only Numbers 26:59 (P). The name means probably ‘Yahweh is glory’ [viz. to us or to our people] (cf. the Phoen. Kabd-melḳart, ‘Melḳart is glory’),—‘Yahweh’ being contracted (through Yahw, Yĕhaw, Yaw), as in many other proper names (e.g. Jo‘çzer, ‘Yahweh is help’), to (Jo).

his father’s sister] and so the ‘daughter of Levi,’ Exodus 2:1, cf. Numbers 26:59. Marriage with a father’s sister was afterwards forbidden, Leviticus 18:12; cf. another deviation from the later law in Genesis 20:12. P must here preserve a genuine ancient tradition.

Aaron and Moses] Sam. LXX. Pesh. add, and Miriam; cf. Numbers 26:59. Aaron, according to P (Exodus 7:7) was three years older than Moses (cf. Numbers 33:39 with Deuteronomy 34:7). Miriam’s age is nowhere stated: it may be inferred from Exodus 2:8 (presuming her to be there referred to) that she was some years older than either of her brothers.

20–25. The descendants of Kohath’s sons.

And the sons of Izhar; Korah, and Nepheg, and Zichri.
21. The family of Kohath’s second son, Izhar.

Koraḥ] Moses’ and Aaron’s cousin: Numbers 16:1 ff. Nepheg and Zichri are not mentioned again.

And the sons of Uzziel; Mishael, and Elzaphan, and Zithri.
22. The family of Kohath’s fourth son, Uzziel. The family of his third son, Hebron, is passed by; presumably, though Hebronites are mentioned elsewhere (see on v. 18), there were no separate families which traced their descent to him.

Mishael and Elzaphan] cousins of Moses and Aaron. See Leviticus 10:4; for Elzaphan, also, Numbers 3:30 (‘Elizaphan’), 1 Chronicles 15:8, 2 Chronicles 29:13.

And Aaron took him Elisheba, daughter of Amminadab, sister of Naashon, to wife; and she bare him Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.
23. Aaron’s family. Aaron marries a wife of the tribe of Judah, viz. the daughter of Amminadab, and sister of Naḥshon, a descendant in the fifth generation from Judah (1 Chronicles 2:4-5; 1 Chronicles 2:9-10; Matthew 1:3-4), who according to P was leader of the tribe of Judah in the wilderness (Numbers 1:7; Numbers 2:3; Numbers 7:11). Elisheba (LXX. Ἐλισαβεθ) is not mentioned elsewhere.

Nadab and Abihu] See Exodus 24:1; Exodus 24:9, in J: mentioned in P as priests (with their two brethren), Exodus 28:1; and as being killed for offering ‘strange’ fire, Leviticus 10:1 f. (cf. Numbers 3:4; Numbers 26:61), and leaving no issue (Numbers 3:4).

Eleazar and Ithamar] Exodus 28:1, Leviticus 10:6; Leviticus 10:12; Leviticus 10:16; Eleazar afterwards succeeded Aaron as chief priest (Deuteronomy 10:6; and in P, Numbers 20:26), and is often mentioned by P in the latter part of Numbers (e.g. Exodus 26:1, Exodus 31:6) and in Joshua (as Joshua 14:1, Joshua 19:51). For Ithamar, see Exodus 38:21, Numbers 4:28; Numbers 4:33; 1 Chronicles 6:3; 1 Chronicles 24:1-6, Ezra 8:2.

23–25. Of two of Kohath’s grandchildren, Aaron and Koraḥ, some further descendants are enumerated,—no doubt, on account of their later prominence in the history.

And the sons of Korah; Assir, and Elkanah, and Abiasaph: these are the families of the Korhites.
24. Koraḥ’s family. It is stated in Numbers 26:11 that the sons of Koraḥ did not perish with their father (Numbers 16:32); and Koraḥites are mentioned in Numbers 26:58. In much later days the Koraḥites acted as gate-keepers in the Temple (1 Chronicles 9:19; 1 Chronicles 26:1-19), and also, probably (cf. 2 Chronicles 20:19; and the titles of Psalms 42, 44-49, 84, 85, 87, 88), assisted in some way in the worship of the Temple. For the names, see 1 Chronicles 6:22-23 (where, however, Elkanah is the son of Assir, and Ebiasaph [Abiasaph] the son of Elkanah), Exodus 9:19 (Ebiasaph).

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.
25. The family of Aaron’s son, Eleazar (v. 23).

Puṭiel] not mentioned elsewhere. Seemingly ‘an Egyptian name, of a type very common from b.c. 1000 onward, but with the Heb. El, “God,” instead of the name of an Egyptian deity, meaning “He whom God gave” ’ (F. Ll. Griffith); cf. Poṭiphar = ‘He whom Ra gave’ (see DB. iv. 22).

Phineḥas] See Numbers 25:7-13 (P) [cf. Psalm 106:30], Exodus 31:6; Joshua 22:13; Joshua 22:30-32; Joshua 24:33; Eleazar’s successor in the priesthood, Jdg 20:28. The name, like that of his grandfather, may be of Egyptian origin, and signify ‘the ’ (i.e. the Ethiopian, Jeremiah 13:23). The name (Pi-neḥas) is very common in Egyptian (EB. iii. 3304).

heads of the fathers] for ‘heads of the fathers’ houses’ (v. 14); so Numbers 31:26; Numbers 32:28; Numbers 36:1, Joshua 14:1; Joshua 19:51; Joshua 21:1 (all P); and frequently in Chr. Ezr. Neh.

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.
26. These] The men whose genealogy has just been stated.

Bring out, &c.] as vv. 6, 13.

according to their hosts] The expression hosts (i.e. armies: 2 Samuel 2:8, &c.), of the Israelites at the Exodus, is peculiar to P (Exodus 7:4, Exodus 12:7, SD 41, 51, Numbers 1:3; Numbers 2:3-4; Numbers 2:6, &c., Exodus 9:10; Exodus 9:16, &c., Exodus 10:14-16, &c., Exodus 33:1): as Dillm. remarks, it is part of the picture that he had formed of Israel at the Exodus, as marching out and journeying through the wilderness in battle array (cf. Numbers 1, 2, 10).

26, 27. At the close of the genealogy the writer refers emphatically to Moses and Aaron, the two men on whose account the entire genealogy has been introduced.

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.
27. These were the men commissioned also to speak to the Pharaoh on behalf of Israel: cf. vv. 11, 13. The diffuseness, and repetitions (vv. 26, 27), are in P’s style: cf Genesis 9:16-17 (repetition of vv. 13–15), Genesis 17:26-27 (repetition of v. 23), Genesis 23:20 (see vv. 17, 18).

It is to be observed that P consistently represents Moses, or his contemporaries, as being in the fourth generation (cf. Genesis 15:16) from on or other of Jacob’s sons: thus Levi, Kohath, Amram, Moses (here, vv. 16, 18, 20); Levi, Kohath, Iẓhar, Koraḥ, (vv. 16, 18, 21, Numbers 14:1); Levi, Kohath, Uzziel, Mishael (Leviticus 10:4); Reuben, Pallu, Eliab, Dathan (Numbers 26:7-9). On the chronological question involved, see the Introd. p. xlv, and on Exodus 12:40.

And it came to pass on the day when the LORD spake unto Moses in the land of Egypt,
28–30. The stream of the narrative here, after its interruption by v. 13, and the genealogy, vv. 14–27, is resumed, v. 29 recapitulating the beginning and end of God’s words to Moses, vv. 2 and 11, and v. 30 repeating Moses’ objection in v. 12. Ch. Exodus 7:1-5 is thus really the sequel, and answer, to Exodus 6:12.

That the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, I am the LORD: speak thou unto Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I say unto thee.
And Moses said before the LORD, Behold, I am of uncircumcised lips, and how shall Pharaoh hearken unto me?
The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

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