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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Exodus 6

Verse 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.

Lord said unto Moses. The Lord, who is long-suffering and indulgent to the errors and, infirmities of His people, made allowance for the mortification of Moses as the result of this first interview, and cheered him with the assurance of a speedy and successful termination to his embassy.

Verse 2

And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the LORD:

And God spoke unto Moses. For his further encouragement, there was made to him an emphatic repetition of the promise (Exodus 3:20).

Verse 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.

I am God Almighty. All enemies must fall, all difficulties must vanish before my Omnipotent power, and the patriarchs had abundant proofs of this.

But by my name ... - rather, interrogatively, by my name Yahweh was I not known to them? Am not I, the Almighty God who pledged my honour for the fulfillment of the covenant, also the self-existent God who lives to accomplish it? Rest assured, therefore, that I shall bring it to pass. This passage has occasioned much discussion.

It is alleged by many that the occurrence of the name Yahweh, in the earlier portions of the history, is proleptical; and it has been thought to intimate that, as the name Yahweh was not known to the patriarchs, at least in the full bearing or practical experience of it, the honour of the disclosure was reserved to Moses, who was the first sent with a message in the name of Yahweh, and enabled to attest it by a series of public miracles. But this view is opposed to Exodus 3:14; Exodus 3:16; Exodus 5:1, from which it appears that the name Yahweh was already in common use. And like El, God, was frequently introduced into the formation of proper names in the patriarchal ages, as Moriah, Abiah (1 Chronicles 7:8), and Jochebed.

The use of the name Yahweh now by God himself in so special a manner, must be considered with reference to the national covenant into which he was about to enter with Israel (Exodus 6:7). In the circumstances of oppression and grinding servitude in which that people were placed, the name El Shaddai, God Almighty, might be supposed the most appropriate, as calculated from His omnipotent arm interposing in their behalf, to inspire the brightest hopes of deliverance. But by the expression, "My name Yahweh," it was intimated that there was now to be a revelation of the whole purpose of God-a manifestation of the divine nature more fully than by any displays of power, however glorious or irresistible. God in His character of Yahweh would thus fulfill those promises on which faith rested from the beginning; and as such He would be more fully recognized in future (cf. Exodus 3:15; Psalms 135:13; Hosea 12:5) (Macdonald's 'Pent., 1:, p. 180).

Verses 4-8

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.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verses 9-13

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

Moses spake. The increased severities inflicted on the Israelites seem to have so entirely crushed their spirits, as well as irritated them, that they refused to listen to any more communications from the two divinely-commissioned ambassadors (Exodus 14:12). Even the faith of Moses himself was faltering; and he would have abandoned the enterprise in despair, had he not received a positive command from God to revisit the people without delay, and at the same time renew their demand on the king in a more decisive and peremptory tone.

Verse 12. How then shall Pharaoh hear me, who am of uncircumcised lips? A metaphorical expression among the Hebrews, who, taught to look on the circumcision of any part as denoting perfection, signified its deficiency or unsuitableness by uncircumcision. The words here express how painfully Moses felt his want of utterance or persuasive oratory. He seems to have fallen into the same deep despondency as his brethren, and to be shrinking with nervous timidity from a difficult, if not desperate cause. If he had succeeded so ill with the people, whose dearest interests were all involved, what better hope could he entertain of his making more impression on the heart of a king elated with pride and strong in the possession of absolute power? How strikingly was the indulgent forbearance of God displayed toward His people amid all their backwardness to hail his announcement of approaching deliverance! No perverse complaints or careless indifference on their part retarded the development of His gracious purposes. On the contrary, here, as generally, the course of His providence is slow in the infliction of judgments, while it moves more quickly, as it were, when misery is to be relieved or benefits conferred.

Verse 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.

These be the heads - chiefs or governors of their houses. The insertion of this genealogical table in this part of the narrative was intended to authenticate the descent of Moses and Aaron. Both of them were commissioned to act so important a part in the events transacted in the court of Egypt, and afterward elevated to so high offices in the government and Church of God that it was of the utmost importance that their lineage should be accurately traced. Reuben and Simeon being the oldest of Jacob's sons, a passing notice is taken of them, and then the historian advances to the enumeration of the principal persons in the house of Levi.

Verses 15-19

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.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 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.

Jochebed ... father's sister. The Septuagint and Syriac versions render it, his cousin.

Verses 21-22

And the sons of Izhar; Korah, and Nepheg, and Zichri.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 23

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

Elisheba, [Septuagint, Elisabet] - i:e., Elizabeth. The minute particulars recorded of the family of Aaron, while he has passed over his own, indicts the real modesty of Moses. An ambitious man or an impostor would have acted in a different manner.

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Exodus 6". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/exodus-6.html. 1871-8.