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

Benson's Commentary of the Old and New TestamentsBenson's Commentary


A.M. 2513. B.C. 1491.

In this chapter,

(1,) God satisfies Moses as to his complaints, Exodus 6:1 .

(2,) He gives him fuller instructions what to say to the children of Israel, Exodus 6:2-8 , but to little purpose, Exodus 6:9 .

(3,) He sends him again to Pharaoh, Exodus 6:10 , Exodus 6:11 . But Moses objects against that,

12, upon which a strict charge is given to him and his brother, to execute their commission with vigour, Exodus 6:13 .

(4,) An abstract of the genealogy of the tribes of Reuben and Simeon, to introduce that of Levi, that the pedigree of Moses and Aaron might be cleared, Exodus 6:14-27 .

(5,) A repetition of the preceding story, Exodus 6:28-30 .

Verse 1

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.

Verse 2

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.

Verses 5-6

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.

Verses 7-9

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.

Verse 11

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.

Verses 12-13

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.

Verse 14

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 46:0. 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.

Verse 16

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, Psalms 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.

Verses 20-23

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.

Verse 26

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.

Verse 29

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.

Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Exodus 6". Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rbc/exodus-6.html. 1857.
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