Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Exodus 6:3

and I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name, Lord , I did not make Myself known to them.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - God;   Moses;   Revelation;   Thompson Chain Reference - Names;   Titles and Names;   The Topic Concordance - Name;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - God;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Jehovah;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Canaan;   Moses;   Yahweh;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Appear, Appearance;   God;   God, Name of;   God, Names of;   Kinsman-Redeemer;   Melchizedek;   Moses;   Praise;   Proverbs, Theology of;   Zephaniah, Theology of;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - God;   CARM Theological Dictionary - Theophany;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Jehovah;   Lord;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Adam (1);   Genesis, the Book of;   Jehovah;   Job;   Resurrection;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Almighty;   Exodus;   Exodus, Book of;   Fear of Isaac;   God;   God of the Fathers;   Infinite;   Names of God;   Promise;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Almighty;   God;   Moses;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Almighty;   Genesis, Book of;   God;   Names;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Almighty;   God;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Jehovah;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Desert;   God;   Shad'da-I;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Almighty;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Moses;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Abraham;   Exodus, the Book of;   God;   God, Names of;   Israel, Religion of;   Law in the Old Testament;   Moses;   Omnipotence;   Palestine (Recent Exploration, I.e. as of 1915);   Pentateuch;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Astrology;   Exodus, Book of;   Jehovah;   Media;   Names of God;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

By the name of God Almighty - שדי אל EL -Shaddal, God All-sufficient; God the dispenser or pourer-out of gifts. See Clarke on Genesis 17:1; (note).

But by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them - This passage has been a sort of crux criticorum, and has been variously explained. It is certain that the name Jehovah was in use long before the days of Abraham, see Genesis 2:4, where the words אלהים יהוה Jehovah Elohim occur, as they do frequently afterwards; and see Genesis 15:2, where Abraham expressly addresses him by the name Adonai Jehovah; and see Genesis 15:7, where God reveals himself to Abraham by this very name: And he said unto him, I am Jehovah, that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees. How then can it be said that by his name Jehovah he was not known unto them? Several answers have been given to this question; the following are the chief: - 1. The words should be read interrogatively, for the negative particle לא lo, not, has this power often in Hebrew. "I appeared unto Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob by the name of God Almighty, and by my name Jehovah was I not also made known unto them?" 2. The name Jehovah was not revealed before the time mentioned here, for though it occurs so frequently in the book of Genesis, as that book was written long after the name had come into common use, as a principal characteristic of God, Moses employs it in his history because of this circumstance; so that whenever it appears previously to this, it is by the figure called prolepsis or anticipation. 3. As the name יהוה Jehovah signifies existence, it may be understood in the text in question thus: "I appeared unto Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob by my name God Almighty, or God All-sufficient, i.e., having all power to do all good; in this character I made a covenant with them, supported by great and glorious promises; but as those promises had respect unto their posterity, they could not be fulfilled to those fathers: but now, as Jehovah, I am about to give existence to all those promises relative to your support, deliverance from bondage, and your consequent settlement in the promised land." 4. The words may be considered as used comparatively: though God did appear to those patriarchs as Jehovah, and they acknowledged him by this name, yet it was but comparatively known unto them; they knew nothing of the power and goodness of God, in comparison of what the Israelites were now about to experience.

I believe the simple meaning is this, that though from the beginning the name Jehovah was known as one of the names of the Supreme Being, yet what it really implied they did not know. שלי אל El -Shaddai, God All-sufficient, they knew well by the continual provision he made for them, and the constant protection he afforded them: but the name יהוה Jehovah is particularly to be referred to the accomplishment of promises already made; to the giving them a being, and thus bringing them into existence, which could not have been done in the order of his providence sooner than here specified: this name therefore in its power and significancy was not known unto them; nor fully known unto their descendants till the deliverance from Egypt and the settlement in the promised land. It is surely possible for a man to bear the name of a certain office or dignity before he fulfills any of its functions. King, mayor, alderman, magistrate, constable, may be borne by the several persons to whom they legally belong, before any of the acts peculiar to those offices are performed. The King, acknowledged as such on his coronation, is known to be such by his legislative acts; the civil magistrate, by his distribution of justice, and issuing warrants for the apprehending of culprits; and the constable, by executing those warrants. All these were known to have their respective names, but the exercise of their powers alone shows what is implied in being king, magistrate, and constable. The following is a case in point, which fell within my own knowledge.

A case of dispute between certain litigious neighbors being heard in court before a weekly sitting of the magistrates, a woman who came as an evidence in behalf of her bad neighbor, finding the magistrates inclining to give judgment against her mischievous companion, took her by the arm and said, "Come away! I told you you would get neither law nor justice in this place." A magistrate, who was as much an honor to his function as he was to human nature, immediately said, "Here, constable! take that woman and lodge her in Bridewell, that she may know there is some law and justice in this place." Thus the worthy magistrate proved he had the power implied in the name by executing the duties of his office. And God who was known as Jehovah, the being who makes and gives effect to promises, was known to the descendants of the twelve tribes to be That Jehovah, by giving effect and being to the promises which he had made to their fathers.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Exodus 6:3". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/exodus-6.html. 1832.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty,.... Able to fulfil all his purposes, promises, and covenant, with whom nothing is impossible; or Elshaddai, God all-sufficient, who has a sufficiency of happiness in himself, and everything to supply the wants of his creatures in things temporal and spiritual, see Genesis 17:1,

but by my name Jehovah was I not known to them; which he had in the preceding verse called himself by. This is not to be understood absolutely; for it is certain that he had made himself known by this name, and this name was known unto Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Genesis 15:6, and but comparatively, as some think; that is, he was not so much made known to them by the one name as the other; though it may be questioned whether the one was more used in speaking to them than the other; wherefore others think, as Saadiah Gaon, that the word only is to be supplied, as in Genesis 32:28 and the sense to be, that by his name Jehovah he was not only made known to them, but by his name Elshaddai, and others also; and others reconcile the difficulty thus, that though the name Jehovah itself was known to the patriarchs, by which they were assured that God is eternal, immutable, and faithful to his promises; yet he was not known as to the efficacy of this name, or with respect to the actual performance of his promise, as he now would be by delivering the children of Israel out of Egypt, and bringing them into the land of Canaan; though perhaps, by reading the words with an interrogation, the clause will appear more plain, "and by my name Jehovah was I not known to them?"F20Vid. Noldium, No. 788. verily I was. JosephusF21Antiqu. l. 2. c. 12. sect. 4. says, this name was not before made known to men, and that it was not lawful for a man to speak it; and this is the common notion of the Jews, that it is ineffable, and not lawful to be pronounced, and therefore they put Adonai and Elohim in the room of it, and the vowel points of these words to it, which is a false and superstitious notion: this name was known among the Heathens; it is the same with ιαω in the oracle of ApolloF23Cornelius Labeo de oraculo Apoll. Clarii apud Macrob. Saturnal. l. 1. c. 18. ; and Diodorus SiculusF24Bibliothoc. l. 1. p. 84. says, that with the Jews Moses is said to give laws from a God called "IAO", and is the same which in Philo BybliusF25Apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 1. c. 9. p. 31. is called Jevo; and both are no other than a corruption of Jah or Jehovah; and perhaps the τετρακτυς of the PythagoreansF26Carmin. Aurea Pythagor. l. 47. & Hierocles in ib. p. 225, 277. Porphyr. de Vita Pythagor. p. 189. , by which they swore, is the same with the tetragrammaton, or this word of four letters, with the Jews.

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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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Gill, John. "Commentary on Exodus 6:3". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/exodus-6.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by [the name of] God Almighty, but by my name a JEHOVAH was I not known to them.

(a) By which he signifies that he will perform indeed that which he promised to their fathers: for this name declares that he is constant and will perform his promise.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Exodus 6:3". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/exodus-6.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

I … 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, etc. — rather, interrogatively, by My name Jehovah was I not known to them? Amos not I, the Almighty God, who pledged My honor for the fulfilment 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; and it has been thought by many to intimate that as the name Jehovah was not known to the patriarchs, at least in the full bearing or practical experience of it, the honor of the disclosure was reserved to Moses, who was the first sent with a message in the name of Jehovah, and enabled to attest it by a series of public miracles.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Exodus 6:3". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/exodus-6.html. 1871-8.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

But Reader! do you know the Lord as he stands related in covenant engagements to his people? Here the view is doubly sweet and refreshing; for it carries with it this idea, that what God had promised he would perform. Oh! it is delightful to have a personal knowledge of God in a covenant way under this glorious character! Exodus 14:18; Isaiah 44:6.

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Exodus 6:3". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/exodus-6.html. 1828.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

THE GREAT NAME

‘My name Jehovah.’

Exodus 6:3

The keystone of the arch of this lesson is the import of the name Jehovah. God is here revealed as the Unchangeable One Who never falters or fails. He is the Eternal, whose plans are not to be measured with man’s foot-rule. Man can see only a very little part at a time of God’s great work, and, if that little part is not what he would wish it to be, he thinks that everything is going wrong. What is needed to keep him from despondency is a firm faith in the immutable power, wisdom, and love of the eternal God.

In introducing this subject the preacher should describe the great expectations of the unhappy people when Moses and Aaron came to them as the accredited messengers of God (chap. Exodus 4:31). He should then emphasise their intense disappointment when the word of God to Pharaoh was treated with contempt, their loss of faith in Moses and Aaron, and Moses’ dejection, and discouragement. Then it was that God bid Moses instruct the people as to His nature. They had known Him in the past as El Shaddai, ‘God Almighty,’ they had not given thought to His other name, ‘Jehovah.’ Now they were to understand that God is not only Mighty, but Constant, ‘the Ancient of Days,’ whose purposes change not by one hair’s breadth from the eternal plan which He has wrought out for the salvation of the world. The secret of peace is Trust. Dwell on the following details:—

I. God Almighty.—Moses and Aaron went to their unhappy brethren full of faith in God. They believed they had been sent to set the captives free, and called the elders together, a vast gathering of principal men, and gave them God’s message. Then Moses showed the signs, and the people believed and thanked God that He had sent them a deliverer.

II. Jehovah.—This holy name of God is, except in four places, or where it forms part of another name, as Jehovah-Jireh, always rendered in the English Bible as LORD, every letter being a capital. The Hebrews considered this name so sacred that they never uttered it; did not even write it fully, so that we do not know exactly how it was pronounced. It means ‘The Being’—the One Who always was, and always shall be, and always is. God’s name is I AM. Of all other persons and things we say they were, or they shall be; of God alone we can say He always is.

The same unchangeableness is attributed to Jesus Christ, ‘the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.’ Not one day angry, another day loving, but always love. Jesus Christ is God, and with God ‘is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.’

III. A terror to God’s enemies.—This name of God is the assurance to His enemies of their defeat. All the power of Egypt cannot change the plans of the unchanging Jehovah. It is said of the devils that they ‘tremble.’ They know that they shall not in the end prevail. So it is said of Satan their leader that he has ‘great rage knowing that he hath but a short time.’ The ignorant and hardened may say with Pharaoh, ‘Who is Jehovah? I know not Jehovah,’ but they shall know, and in that day shall understand that God has said, ‘I have sworn by Myself that unto Me every knee shall bow.’

IV. A comfort to the friends of God.—An old coloured woman in the West Indies sat still during an earthquake, while all others ran away. When all was over, she said, ‘I am glad to think that our God can shake the world.’ That God is always strong, always wise, always loving, is our assurance of safety. The Israelites could not believe it at first, ‘for anguish of spirit.’ The literal translation is ‘shortness of breath.’ They were like frightened creatures which pant with terror, and cannot listen to reason. Do not be like that. If pain, or sorrow, or any distress come, remember that God is working all things together for our good; and that He never ceases to work. God’s work is like a painting. When you watch an artist you wonder at the strange masses and blots of colour laid on. You cannot judge the result till the picture is finished. The little ephemeral insect which lives but a day, if it could criticise, would, no doubt, call that picture a failure. We are like the ephemera. We can only see a little part of God’s eternal work. When we see all we shall confess that it is very good.

Illustration

(1) ‘“By My name Jehovah was I not known to them,” or “Was I not made manifest to them”; Revised Version, “I was not known to them.” That the name is very ancient appears from its derivation from the obsolete word, hayah; and, also, from its occurrence in some of the oldest documents in Genesis, as in chapters Exodus 2:4; Exodus 2:3-4, and Exodus 11:1-9. Abraham, also, uses it as an element in a name (Jehovah-Jireh). But, though known to the fathers, the full significance of the name was not appreciated by them, till God revealed it to the consciousness of His servant, Moses.’

(2) ‘To us these lists of names are comparatively uninteresting. But they are the inventories of God’s jewels. They show how much value God sets on each of His own. Not a fragment of redeemed star-dust escapes His notice! Not a bird falls to the ground without His notice! Not a child that has been born into His family is unrecorded in the family register, which is known as the Lamb’s Book of Life.’

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Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Exodus 6:3". Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/exodus-6.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Exodus 6:3 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.

Ver. 3. By the name of God Almighty.] {See Trapp on "Genesis 17:1"} The sense is this, saith Cameron, (a) Quantum illis sufficiebat tantum indulsit, non indulsit quod erat summum. He gave them enough, but not the main.

But by my name JEHOVAH.] That is, by the import of this his name, the full performance of his promises. God was known to the patriarchs by this name Jehovah, quoad esse De, but not quoad esse rei.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Exodus 6:3". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/exodus-6.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Exodus 6:3. I appeared, &c.— The emphasis being upon Jehovah, in Exodus 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, Exodus 6:6 have great emphasis: I am Jehovah, &c. See the end of Exodus 6:8.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Exodus 6:3". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/exodus-6.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Quest. How is this true, when God was known to them, and called by the name Jehovah? Genesis 15:7 26:24, &c.

Answ. 1. He speaks not of the letters or syllables, but of the thing signified by that name. For that denotes all his perfections, and, amongst others, the eternity, constancy, and immutability of his nature and will, and the infallible certainty of his word and promises. And this, saith he, though it was believed by Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, yet it was not experimentally known to them; for they only saw the promises afar off, Hebrews 11:13.

Answ. 2. This negative expression may be understood comparatively, as many others are, as Genesis 32:29 Matthew 9:13 1 Corinthians 1:17: q.d. They knew this but darkly and imperfectly, which will now be made known more clearly and fully.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Exodus 6:3". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/exodus-6.html. 1685.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

My name Adonai. The name which is in the Hebrew text, is that most proper name of God, which signifieth his eternal self-existent being, (Exodus iii. 14,) which the Jews, out of reverence, never pronounce; but instead of it, whenever it occurs in the Bible, they read Adonai, which signifies the Lord; and therefore they put the points or vowels, which belong to the name Adonai, to the four letters of that other ineffable name, Jod, He, Vau, He. Hence some moderns have framed the name Jehovah: unknown to all the ancients, whether Jews or Christians: for the true pronunciation of the name, which is in the Hebrew text, by long disuse, is now quite lost. (Challoner) --- This name was first clearly revealed to Moses, that he might have confidence in his special protection and love. (Menochius) --- To know one by his name is to treat him with familiarity and distinction, Exodus xxxiii. 17. The pronunciation of the name of God might be known to Abraham, &c., but it was not so fully explained, nor the power and excellence of it declared in such a stupendous manner, as it was to Moses. (Du Hamel) --- Or perhaps Moses made use of this name in the history of the patriarchs, because he wrote his account of them after this revelation. (Calmet) --- The Septuagint always put Kurios, "the Lord," instead of the ineffable name; and our Saviour and his apostles, citing text where it occurs, follow their example. (Matthew iv. 7, 10; Romans xv. 11.) (Worthington) --- Philo informs us, that it was death to pronounce it out of the temple, and since that was destroyed, it has never been heard. (Calmet) --- Galatinus, who wrote in 1518, is supposed to have invented the word Jehovah, (see Amama Antib. p. 319,) the year after the pretended reformation began. (Haydock) --- St. Jerome (ep. 136 ad Marc.) explains the ten names of God, but never reads Jehovah. (Tirinus)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Exodus 6:3". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/exodus-6.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

known. Hebrew = perceived or understood. The name Jehovah was known as the covenant name; but was not known so as to be understood. The Ellipsis may be better supplied "in [the character of] El Shaddai. "Compare Exodus 7:5.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Exodus 6:3". "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 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).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Exodus 6:3". "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

(3) I appeared . . . by the name of God Almighty.—This name, “El Shaddai,” is first found in the revelation made of Himself by God to Abraham (Genesis 17:1). It is used by Isaac (Genesis 28:3), and repeated in the revelation made to Jacob (Genesis 35:11 ). Its primary idea is, no doubt, that of “overpowering strength.” (See the comment on Genesis 17:1.) The primary idea of “Jehovah” is, on the contrary, that of absolute, eternal, unconditional, independent existence. Both names were probably of a great antiquity, and widely spread among Semitic races; but, at different times and in different places, special stress was laid on the one or on the other. To the early patriarchs God revealed Himself as “El Shaddai,” because He desired to impress upon them His ability to fulfil the promises which He had made to them; to Moses and Israel generally, at the date of the Exodus, He insisted on His name Jehovah, because they were in the closest contact with polytheism, and had themselves, in many cases, fallen into polytheism (Joshua 24:14), against which this Name was a standing protest, since “the Existent” must mean “the Self Existent,” and so “the Only Existent.” (See Deuteronomy 4:39 : “Jehovah, he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else”)

By my name Jehovah was I not known to them.—Rather, was I not made manifest to them. The antiquity of the name itself appears—(1) from its derivation, which is from the obsolete havah, a form already in the time of Moses superseded by hayah; (2) from its occurrence in some of the most ancient documents inserted by Moses into the Book of Genesis, e.g., Exodus 2:4; Exodus 2:3-4; Exodus 11:1-9, &c.; (3) from its employment by Abraham as an element in a name (Genesis 22:14). But though the name was ancient, and known to the patriarchs, its full meaning was not known to them, and so God was not manifested to them by it.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Exodus 6:3". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/exodus-6.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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.
God Almighty
El shadday, God Almighty; for shadday is evidently of affinity with the Arabic shadid, strong, mighty, and shiddat, strength, might; so the LXX. in Job render it [panto krator] Vulgate, in Pentateuch, Omnipotens, and Syriac, in Job, chasino.
Genesis 17:1; 28:3; 35:11; 48:3
but by my name
If Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, did not know the name Jehovah, then Moses must have used it in Genesis by prolepsis, or anticipation. Mr. Locke and others read it interrogatively, for the negative particle, lo, not, has frequently this power in Hebrew: "I appeared unto Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, and by my name Jehovah was I not also made known unto them?"
JEHOVAH
3:14; Genesis 12:7,8; 13:18; 22:14; Psalms 68:4
JAH
Psalms 83:18; Isaiah 42:8; 44:6; 52:5,6; John 8:58; Revelation 1:4
Reciprocal: Exodus 15:3 - name;  Numbers 6:27 - put my;  Deuteronomy 9:27 - Remember;  Deuteronomy 28:58 - fear this glorious;  Deuteronomy 32:3 - Because;  Proverbs 18:10 - name;  Proverbs 30:4 - what is his name;  Jeremiah 33:2 - the Lord;  Revelation 1:8 - the Almighty

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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Exodus 6:3". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/exodus-6.html.

The People's Bible by Joseph Parker

"Handfuls of Purpose"

For All Gleaners

"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."Exodus 6:3.

The different appearances of Jehovah.—The marvellous fact that he has been made known by different names.—This circumstance should put an end to all sectarian controversy.—Religion is not a matter of mere name, but of spiritual reality.—The word is unquestionably important, but only important as indicating something which is behind it, and infinitely greater than itself.—Men know the Lord under different forms and representations.—The thing to be remembered is that it is the same Lord.—The particular point of this text is that the men themselves referred to knew God by different names. At first they knew him as God Almighty, but they had no knowledge of the name Jehovah.—Does it follow, then, that the Lord was not Jehovah because the patriarchs did not know him by that designation?—We grow in spiritual consciousness as we grow in grace and in knowledge.—The mind seems to awaken to the power of describing God by new appellations, and worshipping him under enlarging and ennobling forms.—God has many a name, and he reveals himself to men by what name he pleases to adopt.—Jesus Christ has revealed himself to some thinkers as a man; to other thinkers he has revealed himself as God the Son.—These views may be used in one of two ways—either as beginning a controversy which can never end, or as suggesting the infinite fulness of the Being who can represent himself under names of limitation and names of infinity.—Do not let us quarrel about the mere name.—Many a man may be under the Godship of Christ, who is unable metaphysically to affirm the Godhead of the Son.—Names and words in this connection must be thoroughly well defined and understood before they are turned into weapons of controversy and assault.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Parker, Joseph. "Commentary on Exodus 6:3". The People's Bible by Joseph Parker. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jpb/exodus-6.html. 1885-95.