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Bible Commentaries

Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible

Exodus 6

Introduction

CHAP. VI.

God promises that He will deliver the Israelites from slavery: but the people believe not the words of Moses. The heads of the families of Reuben, Simeon, and Levi are enumerated.

Before Christ 1491.

Verse 1

Exodus 6:1. Then the Lord said unto Moses The improper division of this, and of many other subsequent chapters, is evident to readers of the least attention. Some have supposed, that the language of Moses, at the close of the former chapter, was querulous and unbecoming: but the answer which God here condescends to make him, sufficiently shews, that it was not indecent or blameable; but only an humble and fervent expostulation with him, for the ill success of his first message.

Verse 3

Exodus 6:3. I appeared, &c.— The emphasis being upon Jehovah, in Exo 6:2 it is to be wished, that this word had been used in our translation, instead of, the Lord: I am Jehovah. Some render this verse, I appeared unto Abraham—by the name of God Almighty; and was not I also known to them by my name Jehovah? A version, which is well consistent with the original, and entirely removes that seeming contradiction, which our translation implies: for it is very evident, that God was known to Abraham, &c. by the name of Jehovah. And the passage, it is to be observed, has great emphasis, if Jehovah be understood in the sense we have given it in the note on ch. Exodus 3:14. Bishop Warburton, for the solution of this difficulty, has recourse to his doctrine of names; and observes, that the assertion here is, not that the word JEHOVAH was not used in the patriarch's language; but that the name JEHOVAH, as a title of honour, whereby a new idea was affixed to an old word, was unknown to them. And the sense of the passage, according to him, is, "As the God of Abraham, I before condescended to have a name of distinction; but now, in compliance with another prejudice, I condescend to have a name of honour." Mr. Locke has a very judicious note upon the passage: By my name JEHOVAH, read, By my name Jehovah was not I also known to them? See Genesis 1:7; Genesis 28:13. I appeared unto Abraham, &c. by the name of El Schaddai, i.e. God Almighty, i.e. I shewed myself Almighty to them, and that I had enough wherewith to make them rich: but I have not yet effectually made good what I promised them; i.e. when I promised them the land of Canaan, they heard, and believed; but they saw not the promise indeed completed, as thou shalt see: therefore I will be known to thee by the name of Jehovah; i.e. thou shalt see me do that which my name signifies, viz. a Deliverer, i.e. making good what I promised. I will bring you out of the land of Egypt, and introduce you into the land of Canaan. Wherefore, as I was heretofore called God Almighty, El Schaddai, and God the most High, who created heaven and earth; so, now I will be called JEHOVAH; the God who brought you out of the land of Egypt: the Redeemer; in which sense, the words, Exo 6:6 have great emphasis: I am Jehovah, &c. See the end of Exodus 6:8.

Verse 7

Exodus 6:7. I will take you "I will now take you under my peculiar protection; separate you to me for a people; and become, in an especial and distinguishing manner, your God."

Verse 9

Exodus 6:9. Anguish of spirit The original רוח קצר, chotzer ruach, denotes that shortness of breath, which is occasioned by extreme grief, anger, or fatigue: see the margin of our Bibles. The LXX render it, out of despondency, ολιγοψυχιας ; and Grotius interprets it, anxiety of mind. The spirits of the Israelites were so depressed by their anxiety and severe labours, that they were neither accessible to hope, nor susceptible of consolation. See Numbers 21:4.Judges 10:16; Judges 10:16.

REFLECTIONS.—Observe here, 1. God silences Moses's complaint with assurances of success. He will work, and who shall let it? If his mighty hand of grace or judgment be stretched forth, when he begins he will make an end: yea, he now will accomplish the hope of Israel, as Jehovah, the promise-fulfilling God. He heard his people's cries before Moses spoke, and their deliverance is both certain and near. Let then the Israel of God, in their deepest distresses, trust, and not be afraid. 2. Moses carries the glad message to the people; but they are so dejected, that they pay no attention to it. Thus often impatient sorrow refuses comfort, and despair turns a deaf ear to the promises of mercy.

Verse 12

Exodus 6:12. Moses spake before the Lord The phrase before the Lord, evidently denotes some visible appearance of the Deity, that divine Shechinah, in which God discovered himself to Moses. Uncircumcised lips, according to the meaning of the phrase in other parts of Scripture, expresses vile, unworthy, unfit; and therefore Moses here, with great modesty and humility, declares his own unworthiness and inability to persuade Pharaoh. The expression seems similar in import to that which he uses, ch. Exo 4:10 though, perhaps, it is more emphatically lowly. It is very certain, that the word uncircumcised, was used as a term of contempt among the Jews; who used to call the Gentiles uncircumcised. Hence they speak of uncircumcised ears; uncircumcised hearts; Jeremiah 6:10; Jer 9:26 which imply hearts and ears unholy and unsanctified; deaf to true wisdom; insensible of true goodness; vile and unworthy. To suppose, as some have done from this passage, that Moses was tongue-tied, seems ridiculous enough. The phrase, naturally and clearly expresses his lowly opinion of himself, his unfitness for such an office, and his inability to persuade or prevail.

Verse 13

Exodus 6:13. And the Lord spake unto Moses, &c.— From this verse to the twenty-eighth, we have a short digression, wherein Moses gives us an account of the genealogy of himself and his brother Aaron; as well to shew their descent from the stock of Abraham, as to mark the time of Israel's deliverance; and, therefore, it would be as well to render this verse (which translation the original will bear,) now the Lord had spoken unto Moses—and had given them, &c.

REFLECTIONS.—Though sinners be obstinate, we must not cease to warn them. It may be, God will yet turn their hearts. Moses is sent again to Pharaoh with the same message. Hereupon,

1. Moses objects the improbability of success: if his own people will not hear him, much less will Pharaoh. Besides, he urges his own defective utterance to plead their cause. Note; (1.) It is very discouraging, when we find those from whom we expected success, untractable. (2.) Though we have God's commission for our work, we are too ready to be disheartened by our conscious insufficiency for it; but if it be God's work, the power too shall be of God.

2. God charges him to go without farther excuse, and joins Aaron with him. It is not for us to dispute, but to obey.

Verse 16

Exodus 6:16. The years of the life of Levi, &c.— Bishop Patrick observes, that Levi is thought to have lived the longest of all Jacob's sons; none of whose ages are recorded in Scripture, but his and Joseph's; whom Levi survived twenty-seven years, though he was much the elder brother. Kohath, the second sort of Levi, according to Archbishop Usher, was thirty years old when Jacob came into Egypt; and lived there a hundred and thirty-three years: and his son Amram, Moses's father, lived to the same age with Levi. We may observe here, how the Divine promise, Gen 15:16 of delivering the Israelites out of Egypt in the fourth generation, was verified: for Moses was the son of Amram, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, the son of Jacob. See Exo 6:23 comp. Numbers 1:7; Numbers 2:3.

Verse 25

Exodus 6:25. Eleazar—took him one of the daughters of Putiel Eleazar succeeded his father in the priesthood, and assisted Joshua in the division of the land of Canaan. It is thought that this Putiel, whose daughter he married, was an Egyptian; as the name Putiel, seems derived from Phut, the brother of Mizraim, Gen 10:6 with the addition of El, the name of God.

Verse 26

Exodus 6:26. According to their armies Le Clerc interprets this, by their tribes. The word implies a regularly disposed multitude. See ch. Exodus 12:41; Exo 12:51 Exodus 13:18. Junius and others begin the seventh chapter, with great propriety, at the 28th verse.

Verse 28

Exodus 6:28. And it came to pass, &c.— This is a repetition to connect the history. God will have his work done, and he has ways of constraining the most unwilling heart.

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Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Exodus 6". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tcc/exodus-6.html. 1801-1803.