Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Exodus 6:20

Amram married his father's sister Jochebed, and she bore him Aaron and Moses; and the length of Amram's life was one hundred and thirty-seven years.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Aaron;   Amram;   Genealogy;   Incest;   Jochebed;   Longevity;   Moses;   Thompson Chain Reference - Aaron;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Aaron;   Ahram;   Jochebed;   Korah;   Levi;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Aaron;   Levite;   Moses;   Priest;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Priest, Priesthood;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Aaron;   Amram;   Jochebed;   Moses;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Aaron;   Amram;   Circumcision;   Genealogy;   Jochebed;   Levites;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Aaron;   Amram;   Father's House;   Jochebed;   Kohath;   Kohathites;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Aaron;   Amram;   God;   Jochebed;   Kohath, Kohathites;   Marriage;   Moses;   Priests and Levites;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Amram ;   Israel in Egypt;   Jochebed ;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Aaron;   Jochebed;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Aaron;   Jochebed;   Koliath;   Korah;   Moses;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Am'ram;   Joch'ebed;   Ko'hath;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Aaron;   Amram;   Aunt;   Exodus, the Book of;   Genealogy;   Genesis;   God, Names of;   Jochebed;   Kohath;   Life;   Moses;   Relationships, Family;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Aaron;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Amram, Father of Moses;   Essenes;   Jochebed;   Levi;   Marriage;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

His father's sister - דדתו dodatho . The true meaning of this word is uncertain. Parkhurst observes that דוד dod signifies an uncle in 1 Samuel 10:14; Leviticus 10:4, and frequently elsewhere. It signifies also an uncle's son, a cousin-german: compare Jeremiah 32:8; with Exodus 6:12, where the Vulgate renders דדי dodi by patruelis mei, my paternal cousin; and in Amos 6:10, for דודו dodo, the Targum has קריביה karibiah, his near relation. So the Vulgate, propinquus ejus, his relative, and the Septuagint, οἱ οικειοι αυτων, those of their household. The best critics suppose that Jochebed was the cousin-german of Amram, and not his aunt. See Clarke's note on Exodus 2:1.

Bare him Aaron and Moses - The Samaritan, Septuagint, Syriac, and one Hebrew MS. add, And Miriam their sister. Some of the best critics suppose these words to have been originally in the Hebrew text.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Exodus 6:20". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/exodus-6.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Amram - This can scarcely be the same person who is mentioned in Exodus 6:18; but his descendant and representative in the generation immediately preceding that of Moses. The intervening links are omitted, as is the rule where they are not needed for some special purpose, and do not bear upon the history.

Jochebed - The name means “the glory of Jehovah (Yahweh),” one clear instance of the use of the sacred name before the Exodus.

Father‘s sister - This was within the prohibited degrees after the law was given Leviticus 18:12 but not previously.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Exodus 6:20". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/exodus-6.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And Amram took him Jochebed his father's sister to wife,.... This Amram was the first son of Kohath, and the father of Moses, as after related, and so must be the same with the man of the house of Levi, and his wife the daughter of Levi, as in Exodus 2:1 and though such a marriage was afterwards prohibited, Moses does not conceal it, though it may seem to reflect some dishonour on him and his family; he writing not for his own glory, but for the sake of truth, and the good of mankind, and especially the church and people of God. Indeed the Vulgate Latin version, and the Septuagint, Samaritan, and Syriac versions, make her to be his first cousin, the daughter of his father's brother, his uncle's daughter: and so does Polyhistor from DemetriusF8Apud Euseb. ut supra. (Praepar. Evangel. l. 9. c. 21. p. 425.) ; but in Numbers 26:59, she is expressly said to be a daughter of Levi, born to him in Egypt, and therefore must be his father's sister:

and she bare him Aaron and Moses: and Miriam also, though not mentioned, it being for the sake of these two that the genealogy is made:

and the years of the life of Amram were one hundred and thirty seven years: just the age of his grandfather Levi, Exodus 6:16. A Jewish chronologerF9Shalshalet Hakabala, ut supra. (fol. 5. 1.) says he died in the thirtieth year of Moses: but the Arabic writersF11Patricides, p. 26. Elmacinus, p. 46. apud Hottinger. Smegma Oriental. l. 1. c. 8. p. 392. say in the fifty sixth or fifty seventh, and at the end of A. M. 3810. PolyhistorF12Apud Euseb. ut supra. from Demetrius makes his age to be one hundred and thirty six, and him to be the father of Moses and Aaron, and Aaron to be three years older than Moses, exactly according to the Scripture account.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Exodus 6:20". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/exodus-6.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And Amram took him Jochebed his g 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.

(g) This type of marriage was later forbidden in the law; (Leviticus 18:12).
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Exodus 6:20". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/exodus-6.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Amram took him Jochebed his father‘s sister to wife — The Septuagint and Syriac versions render it “his cousin.”

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Exodus 6:20". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/exodus-6.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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.

His father's sister — That is, kins-woman. So the Hebrew word is frequently used.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Exodus 6:20". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/exodus-6.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Exodus 6:20 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.

Ver. 20. Jochebed his father’s sister.] See Exodus 2:1.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Exodus 6:20". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/exodus-6.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

His father’s sister or rather, kinswoman, or cousin, or niece; for so this Hebrew word is sometimes used, as appears from Jeremiah 32:8,9,12.

Object. She is called the daughter of Levi, Exodus 2:1.

Answ. Even nieces are oft called daughters, as we have showed. See Luke 1:5, and See Poole "Exodus 2:1".

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Exodus 6:20". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/exodus-6.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

20.And Amram took him Jochebed his father’s sister to wife דודה, here rendered father’s sister, we render daughter of father’s brother, or cousin, in this following the Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate, and Targum Pal., thus understanding the text to declare that Amram married Jochebed his cousin. This is a much disputed text, furnishing a most important chronological item. Our Authorized Version and most modern commentators make Jochebed to have been Amram’s aunt and Levi’s daughter, so that Moses was thus Levi’s grandson. This view certainly is favoured by Numbers 26:59, “And the name of Amram’s wife was Jochebed, the daughter of Levi, whom her mother bare to Levi in Egypt;” as if Levi had a daughter born to him after the descent into Egypt, in addition to the three sons who went down with him from Canaan. But,

(1,) It is not probable that Moses’ own father and mother violated a law of nature which was in the next generation so expressly incorporated into the Mosaic ordinances, though it is, of course, possible. (2,) If Jochebed were Amram’s aunt, then Levi must have begotten, and Jochebed have borne, children at such an extreme age that the birth of Jochebed, Miriam, and Aaron, as well as of Moses, must all be set down as miraculous, while the record here gives no hint of a miracle. This may be seen thus: Take the shortest period of the sojourn, two hundred and fifteen years, which will make the difficulties least, and as Moses was eighty at the Exode, we have 215-80, or 135 years, as the time from Jacob’s descent into Egypt to the birth of Moses. Levi was about forty-five when the sojourn began, and as Jochebed was (on this supposition) his daughter, there were then one hundred and thirty-five years from Levi’s forty-fifth year to the birth of his grandson, Moses. Now wherever we divide this period of one hundred and thirty-five years we shall make Levi to have become a father, and Jochebed a mother, in extreme age. Thus, if Jochebed were born when Levi was one hundred, then it would have been fifty-five years after the arrival in Egypt, since 100-45=55. In that case Jochebed must have borne Moses at eighty, since 135-55=80; Aaron, therefore, at seventy-seven, and Miriam when past sixty. If we suppose Jochebed to have been herself born ten or twenty years later, we then make Levi one hundred and ten or one hundred and twenty at her birth, and make her so many years younger at the birth of her children, but we do not relieve the difficulties. If we take the long period of sojourn, four hundred and thirty years, it will be seen at once that all the difficulties are vastly increased. But all are completely obviated by considering Jochebed Amram’s cousin, for this inserts another generation into the one hundred and thirty-five years.

(3.) The Hebrew word דודה, here rendered father’s sister, is, as noted above, rendered daughter of the father’s brother by the Septuagint, followed by the Syriac, Vulgate, and Palestine Targum. The corresponding masculine, דוד, uncle, also means son of the uncle in Jeremiah 32:12. It seems certain that if dodh may mean uncle’s son, dodha may mean uncle’s daughter. Accordingly it is here rendered cousin by Lyra, Estius, La Haye, and Adam Clarke.

(4.) The difficulty of the common translation may be relieved thus:

Numbers 26:59 states that her mother, not mentioning who, bore Jochebed to Levi in Egypt. Is it not a likely supposition that Levi in his old age adopted this granddaughter as his daughter? If so, she might have been considered as the sister of his three famous sons, and this fact was deemed worthy of special mention, since she was the mother of the line of the high priests. Thus she might have been considered Amram’s aunt, although really his cousin.

It is the opinion of Kurtz, Keil, Canon Cook, and others, that two Amrams are here referred to, and that several genealogical links are dropped between Amram the son of Kohath and Amram the father of Moses. But, (1,) The impression is certainly very strongly made, in reading Exodus 6:18-20, that the same Amram is referred to throughout. (2,) It is a fact not noted by these scholars that in Leviticus 10:4, Uzziel, Amram’s brother, is called Aaron’s uncle; and though, as seen above, the word rendered uncle has much latitude, yet it would be necessary to suppose a second Uzziel also contemporary with the second Amram. As to the dropping of genealogical links, there is an undoubted example in Matthew i, where the names of three well known kings are omitted in the genealogy of our Lord; and a probable instance, yet more remarkable, in Ezra 7:1, where, if the parallel list in 1 Chronicles vi is correct, six names have been dropped out between Meraioth and Azariah. It is likewise certain that son often means simply descendant, as Christ is called “son of David.” If the sojourn in Egypt were four hundred and thirty years several generations must have been omitted here, but all the events can be brought within two hundred and fifteen years. See note on Exodus 12:40.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Exodus 6:20". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/exodus-6.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Aunt: Hebrew Doda is applied to various degrees of kindred. The Chaldean says, Jochabed was daughter of Amram's sister, the Septuagint assert of his brother, and consequently his own cousin. But she might be his aunt, chap. ii. 1. (Calmet)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Exodus 6:20". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/exodus-6.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Jochebed. See note on Numbers 26:59.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Exodus 6:20". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/exodus-6.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Exodus 6:20". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/exodus-6.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(20) Amram took him Jocheoed his father’s sister to wife.—Marriages with aunts and nieces were not unlawful before the giving of the Law. They were common throughout the East, and at Sparta (Herod. vi. 71, ).

The years of the life of Amram.—The long lives of Levi, Kohath, and Amram, the father of Moses, are not recorded for any chronological purpose, but to show that the blessing of God rested in an especial way on the house of Levi, even before it became the priestly tribe. Life in Egypt at the time not unfrequently reached 120 years; but the 137 of Levi, the 133 of Kohath, and the 137 of Amram, the father of Moses, would, even in Egypt, have been abnormal.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Exodus 6:20". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/exodus-6.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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.
Amram
2:1,2; Numbers 26:59
and the years
The Samaritan, LXX., Syriac, and one Hebrew MS. add, "And Miriam their sister;" which some of the best critics suppose to have been originally in the text.
16,18
Reciprocal: Exodus 2:8 - mother;  Exodus 6:26 - That Aaron;  Leviticus 18:12 - GeneralLeviticus 20:19 - mother's;  Numbers 3:1 - generations;  Numbers 3:19 - GeneralNumbers 17:3 - GeneralJoshua 21:10 - General1 Chronicles 6:3 - Aaron;  1 Chronicles 23:13 - The sons;  Hebrews 7:3 - descent

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Exodus 6:20". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/exodus-6.html.