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Wednesday, June 19th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Exodus 6

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-30

Exodus 6:1. With a strong hand. In a general view we do not find that heaven has recourse to miracles, except when religion is low and greatly depressed, somewhat as a fire which is burnt down has need of the blast to raise the heat. In this view, God graciously favoured the holy prophets, before Jerusalem was destroyed, and when idolatry raised her daring front to heaven. So also when the new covenant superseded the shadows of the old, our Saviour commanded divine obedience by the divinity of his works.

Exodus 6:3. By my name Jehovah was I not made known to them. From the scope and connection of these words, it would seem, that God encouraged Moses in his bold and daring confliction, by the consideration that when Moses had asked his name, he had declared to him his great and glorious name JEHOVAH, which he had not done to Abraham. If so, Moses must then have used the name in Genesis 22:14, by way of anticipation. Some however read the words interrogatively; Was I not made known to them by my name JEHOVAH; for Abraham had known it, Genesis 22:14; and Isaac, Exodus 26:25; and Jacob, Exodus 27:20. We find however, that when Jacob asked the stranger’s name, Exodus 32:29, he did not favour him with that secret name, as he now favoured Moses. There is another sense in which these words are taken. I was not made known to them in the fulfilment of my promises. This form is often used by the prophets. And they shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened their graves, and brought them into their own land. Many of the Jews have thought the name JEHOVAH too sacred to be pronounced, and therefore they substitute Adonai in its place. It signifies that he subsists of himself, independent, immutable, eternal. Hence our Lord Jesus Christ assumes this name. Revelation 1:8. I am Alpha and Omega; the beginning and the ending; which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. The name is appropriate to the Godhead, and cannot be given to any creature. Isaiah 42:8. For God and his name are the same. When he made the promise to Abraham, it was by the name of El Shaddai, God omnipotent or alsufficient. Genesis 17:1. Jehovah is the supreme appellation of God the Father, Psalms 110:1. Of God the Son, Jeremiah 23:6. Of God the Holy Ghost, Isaiah 6:8; Isaiah 6:10. For as Dr. Lightfoot observes, according to Acts 28:25-26, the Holy Ghost spake these things of the Jews who rejected the gospel.

Exodus 6:12 . Uncircumcised lips; that is, deficient in the powers of elocution.

Exodus 6:20. Father’s sister; his cousin german, or uncle’s daughter, as in Exodus 2:1.

Exodus 6:23. Aaron took Elisheba to wife. The LXX write, Elizabeth; the Greeks altered old names for ease and elegance of pronunciation.


In the last chapter, Moses went full of discouragement and trouble to God, and here the Lord supports and comforts him by a repetition of the promises, and imboldens him by the company of the elders of Israel. Thus he is ever ready to comfort and encourage his sincere but dejected servants.

We may farther remark, that from this time the course of tremendous miracles were performed, or visitations of Almighty God on the Egyptians, for murdering the infants, oppressing the strangers, and persisting in the design of retaining them in slavery. And this is evident of itself, that so great and useful a people could never have resumed their liberty without either miracles or war. By war it could not be, for Israel was untutored in the art, and unarmed; the hand of God therefore must have interposed for their emancipation. Had it been by war, the Israelites would surely have retained Egypt, the most rich and fertile country in the world, for a permanent possession.

Against miracles the learned world have many scruples, and more prejudices, because the heathen poets and historians abound with omens, dreams, oracles, and prodigies; and the authors generally notice those things with a cautious sneer at superstition. But as falsehood implies the existence of truth, so lying wonders should not obstruct our faith in the extraordinary exertions of providence for the safety of God’s church and people. And however much the omens and prodigies, mentioned by the heathens, might originate in superstition, they were often real visitations of God for their wickedness. This is allowed by their most sober writers; this is asserted by St. Paul; for God “left not himself without witness” of his power and justice; and Paul has the highest claims to our regard, both as a man and an inspired apostle. We should therefore read the scriptures with a firm persuasion, that on extraordinary occasions, when the ordinary means are inadequate to the purposes of providence, it becomes the supreme Lord of heaven and earth to employ the extraordinary to save his people, to punish the wicked, and instruct the world in the existence of his eternal power and Godhead. And whether we consider the situation and dispositions of the Israelites, or the wickedness and contumacy of the Egyptians, there surely never was a period in early history, in which miracles were more essential.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Exodus 6". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/exodus-6.html. 1835.
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