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Bible Commentaries

Bridgeway Bible Commentary

Exodus 6

Verses 1-27

5:1-15:21 DELIVERANCE FROM EGYPT

Moses’ first meeting with Pharaoh (5:1-6:27)

In the eyes of the Israelites, Moses’ first meeting with Pharaoh was a disaster. Pharaoh had no fear of Yahweh and no concern for Yahweh’s people. In fact, when Moses asked to take his people into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to Yahweh, Pharaoh responded by accusing the Israelites of laziness and making their work harder (5:1-14). This not only increased the suffering of the Israelites but also caused them to turn against Moses. Their great deliverer had done nothing but add to their troubles (15-21)!
Moses was bitterly disappointed at what was happening. It seemed to him that God had failed to keep his promise. In desperation he turned to God and was reassured (22-6:1).

God told Moses that the full significance of his character as Yahweh, the Saviour and Redeemer of his covenant people, would now be revealed to these oppressed slaves in a way that the great men of former times had never seen. Those men, Israel’s ancestors, knew that God was the Almighty, the one who created and controls all things and who is fully able to fulfil all his promises; but they had never experienced his character as the covenant Redeemer, the one who would save them from slavery according to the promise given to Abraham (Genesis 15:13-14).

In the days of the ancestors, the nation Israel did not exist; it was but a promise of something future. As a result the significance of Yahweh as Saviour-Redeemer had gradually been forgotten. But now the full significance of that name would be dramatically revealed. The Israelites would learn not just the name of their God, but the character indicated by that name. Yahweh was a God of redemption (2-8).
When Moses tried to explain all this to the disheartened Israelites, they were not interested enough to listen. This in turn caused Moses to become disheartened, but God strengthened and encouraged him (9-13).
A selective genealogy shows how God had been working through Israel’s history to produce Moses and Aaron at this time. They were prepared and appointed by him to carry out his work of delivering Israel from Egypt. The two men belonged to the tribe of Levi (14-27).

Verses 28-30

Forecast of coming judgment (6:28-7:13)

Before Moses approached Pharaoh to give him a final opportunity to release Israel, God reminded Moses that not just Pharaoh but the whole Egyptian nation was under the threat of judgment. People and king alike were stubbornly opposed to Yahweh and were devoted followers of Yahweh’s enemies, the Egyptian gods (6:28-7:7; cf. 9:27; 12:12).
These were gods of nature and were therefore connected with the river Nile, on which Egypt depended entirely for its water and for the fertile soil washed down at flood time each year. According to the Egyptians’ belief, their gods brought them fruitfulness and prosperity. The plagues that God sent were therefore a judgment on these gods, bringing devastation to the Nile valley and creating widespread ruin and disease. Because these plagues had a religious significance, the Bible calls them ‘signs’ (see 10:2).
God gave Pharaoh one last chance to release the Israelites before the plagues began. But when his magicians used their skills to imitate the miracle performed by Moses and Aaron, Pharaoh arrogantly dismissed the Israelite leaders (8-13).

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Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Exodus 6". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bbc/exodus-6.html. 2005.