Friday, July 09, 2004

Exodus 6

One major function of this chapter is to provide Moses' genealogy, Jacob-Levi-Kohath-Amram/Jochebed-Moses. Interestingly, the genealogy lists Reuben, Simeon, and Levi, the eldest children of Leah, which it designates as Levite families. Leah's three other children, as well as the children of Rachel, Bilhah and Zilpah are not mentioned at all. However, Aaron's genealogy is also mentioned.

The chapter begins, however, with God's reaffirmation of His intent. He also explains that previously He appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as Power but not as Jehovah, the more personal and priestly manifestation. Jehovah adopts the Israelites as His people and promises to be their God. The Covenant which God made with Abraham has therefore been renewed and narrowed. Where God only promised to bless Abraham and make his descendants numerous, He has now selected one branch of the family to redeem, plant, and tend.

The chapter is assembled in an interesting fashion. God's introduction of Himself to Moses and His affirmation of His plans for Israel comes first. At this point, Moses again questions his qualifications to confront Pharaoh. Then Moses' genealogy follows. Chapter 7 then opens with a repetition of Moses' doubts. The insertion of the genealogy almost seems to say, "Can you believe that Moses, with this exalted ancestry, actually questioned God-- again?"

One final note: the chapter says that the Israelites left Egypt "by their divisions," where "divisions" is rendered also as "hosts" or "armies." This conveys two points. The Israelites left with military discipline, in good order. It also foreshadows their role as conquerors.


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