וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה עַתָּה תִרְאֶה אֲשֶׁר אֶעֱשֶׂה לְפַרְעֹה כִּי בְיָד חֲזָקָה יְשַׁלְּחֵם וּבְיָד חֲזָקָה יְגָרְשֵׁם 6:1
Exod. 6:1 And the Lord said to Moses, “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharoah, for because of a strong hand he shall let them go and because of a strong hand he shall drive them out of his land.”
Pharoah will not just let his precious slaves go, the Lord says, he will drive them out. Fantastic!
וַיְדַבֵּר אֱלֹהִים אֶל־מֹשֶׁה וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו אֲנִי יְהוָה 6:2
Exod. 6:2 And God spoke to Moses and said to him, “I am the Lord.”
וָאֵרָא אֶל־אַבְרָהָם אֶל־יִצְחָק וְאֶל־יַעֲקֹב בְּאֵל שַׁדָּי וּשְׁמִי יְהוָה לֹא נֹודַעְתִּי לָהֶם 6:3
Exod. 6:3 “And I would appear to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as God Almighty, but My name, Adonai, I did not reveal to them.”
The first word in this verse is normally translated as “And I appeared ....” However, I believe it is prefixed by a non-inverting vav, and being an imperfect first-person verb, should be translated in the imperfect tense. It seems to me to portray a bit more meaning this way.
וְגַם הֲקִמֹתִי אֶת־בְּרִיתִי אִתָּם לָתֵת לָהֶם אֶת־אֶרֶץ כְּנָעַן אֵת אֶרֶץ מְגֻרֵיהֶם אֲשֶׁר־גָּרוּ בָהּ 6:4
Exod. 6:4 “And I also established My covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their dwelling places in which they sojourned.”
וְגַם אֲנִי שָׁמַעְתִּי אֶת־נַאֲקַת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲשֶׁר מִצְרַיִם מַעֲבִדִים אֹתָם וָאֶזְכֹּר אֶת־בְּרִיתִי 6:5
Exod. 6:5 “And I also heard the groaning of the children of Israel whom the Egyptians are keeping in bondage, and I could remember My covenant.”
לָכֵן אֱמֹר לִבְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲנִי יְהוָה וְהֹוצֵאתִי אֶתְכֶם מִתַּחַת סִבְלֹת מִצְרַיִם וְהִצַּלְתִּי אֶתְכֶם מֵעֲבֹדָתָם 6:6
וְגָאַלְתִּי אֶתְכֶם בִּזְרֹועַ נְטוּיָה וּבִשְׁפָטִים גְּדֹלִים
Exod. 6:6 “Therefore say to the children of Israel, ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians and deliver you from their bondage, and I shall redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.’
וְלָקַחְתִּי אֶתְכֶם לִי לְעָם וְהָיִיתִי לָכֶם לֵאלֹהִים וִידַעְתֶּם כִּי אֲנִי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם הַמֹּוצִיא אֶתְכֶם 6:7
מִתַּחַת סִבְלֹות מִצְרָיִם
Exod. 6:7 ‘And I will take you to Me for a people and I will be as God to you, and you shall know that I am the Lord, your God, Who brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.’
וְהֵבֵאתִי אֶתְכֶם אֶל־הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר נָשָׂאתִי אֶת־יָדִי לָתֵת אֹתָהּ לְאַבְרָהָם לְיִצְחָק וּלְיַעֲקֹב וְנָתַתִּי אֹתָהּ 6:8
לָכֶם מֹורָשָׁה אֲנִי יְהוָה
Exod. 6:8 ‘And I will bring you to the land to which I raised My hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob and I will give it, a heritage, to you.”
“I am the Lord.’”
וַיְדַבֵּר מֹשֶׁה כֵּן אֶל־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְלֹא שָׁמְעוּ אֶל־מֹשֶׁה מִקֹּצֶר רוּחַ וּמֵעֲבֹדָה קָשָׁה 6:9
Exod. 6:9 So Moses spoke so to the children of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses out of impatience of spirit and out of cruel bondage.
וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר 6:10
Exod. 6:10 Then the Lord spoke to Moses saying,
בֹּא דַבֵּר אֶל־פַּרְעֹה מֶלֶךְ מִצְרָיִם וִישַׁלַּח אֶת־בְּנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל מֵאַרְצֹו 6:11
Exod. 6:11 “Go speak to Pharoah, king of Egypt, that he must let the children of Israel go out of his land.”
The seventh word in this verse contains a non-inverting vav prefix. It is xL;v;yw, which is translated as that he must .. let go. It is a third-person imperfect consequence of the action Go speak.
וַיְדַבֵּר מֹשֶׁה לִפְנֵי יְהוָה לֵאמֹר הֵן בְּנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל לֹא־שָׁמְעוּ אֵלַי וְאֵיךְ יִשְׁמָעֵנִי פַרְעֹה וַאֲנִי עֲרַל שְׂפָתָיִם 6:12
Exod. 6:12 And Moses spoke before the Lord saying, “If the children of Israel have not listened to me, then how shall Pharoah listen to me when I am of uncircumcised lips?”
What do you suppose “uncircumcised lips” means? If Moses thought, as many Jews did -- and some still do -- that not being circumcised was a handicap, impediment, or a symbol of uncleanness, then he might have used that phrase to repeat that he was not equipped to perform the function with which God had charged him. He might also have meant that he did not speak as the Egyptians did, that he had a foreign accent. Another possibility is that he was not learned in the ways of the Hebrews (although then he might have said that he had an uncircumcised mind). I suspect that the meaning of the expression is as I mentioned in relation to Exod. 4:14. Notice at this point that Moses continues to exhibit his lack of faith, still believing that he has only himself to trust in.
וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה וְאֶל־אַהֲרֹן וַיְצַוֵּם אֶל־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאֶל־פַּרְעֹה מֶלֶךְ מִצְרָיִם לְהֹוצִיא 6:13
אֶת־בְּנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם
Exod. 6:13 But the Lord spoke to Moses and to Aaron and commanded them to the children of Israel and to Pharoah, king of Egypt, to bring out the children of Israel from the land of Egypt.
אֵלֶּה רָאשֵׁי בֵית־אֲבֹתָם בְּנֵי רְאוּבֵן בְּכֹר יִשְׂרָאֵל חֲנֹוךְ וּפַלּוּא חֶצְרֹון וְכַרְמִי אֵלֶּה מִשְׁפְּחֹת רְאוּבֵן 6:14
Exod. 6:14 These are the heads of their father’s house: The sons of Reuben, the first born of Israel, were Hanoch and Pallu, Hezron and Carmi. These were the families of Reuben.
The narrative is interrupted at this point to trace the genealogy of Moses and Aaron. Why it starts with Reuben and Simeon rather than with Levi is thought to be out of the scribe’s respect for the two older brothers. I suspect that may not be the case, as why weren’t all the brothers included for the same reason? I suspect a more appropriate reason was to trace the genealogy from Jacob, which would naturally include his sons born before Levi.
In keeping with my suspicion, I have translated two words, the third and fourth, untraditionally. The words I translate as their father’s house in the verse have been typically assumed to be plural, although their spelling makes that assumption uncertain. Accordingly, they are normally translated as their fathers’ houses. The problem with that translation is that, first, the words are more likely to be singular than plural, and secondly, if they are singular, they definitely point to the origin of the genealogy -- Jacob.
וּבְנֵי שִׁמְעֹון יְמוּאֵל וְיָמִין וְאֹהַד וְיָכִין וְצֹחַר וְשָׁאוּל בֶּן־הַכְּנַעֲנִית אֵלֶּה מִשְׁפְּחֹת שִׁמְעֹון 6:15
Exod. 6:15 And the sons of Simeon were Jemuel and Jamin and Ohad and Jachin and Zohar, and Saul, son of a Canaanite woman. These were the families of Simeon.
וְאֵלֶּה שְׁמֹות בְּנֵי־לֵוִי לְתֹלְדֹתָם גֵּרְשֹׁון וּקְהָת וּמְרָרִי וּשְׁנֵי חַיֵּי לֵוִי שֶׁבַע וּשְׁלֹשִׁים וּמְאַת שָׁנָה 6:16
Exod. 6:16 And these were the names of the sons of Levi by their generations, Gershon and Kohath and Merari. And the lifetime of Levi was one hundred and thirty-seven years.
בְּנֵי גֵרְשֹׁון לִבְנִי וְשִׁמְעִי לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָם 6:17
Exod. 6:17 The sons of Gershon were Libni and Shimei, by their families.
וּבְנֵי קְהָת עַמְרָם וְיִצְהָר וְחֶבְרֹון וְעֻזִּיאֵל וּשְׁנֵי חַיֵּי קְהָת שָׁלֹשׁ וּשְׁלֹשִׁים וּמְאַת שָׁנָה 6:18
Exod. 6:18 And the sons of Kohath were Amram and Izhar and Hebron and Uzziel. And the lifetime of Kohath was one hundred and thirty-three years.
וּבְנֵי מְרָרִי מַחְלִי וּמוּשִׁי אֵלֶּה מִשְׁפְּחֹת הַלֵּוִי לְתֹלְדֹתָם 6:19
Exod. 6:19 And the sons of Merari were Mahli and Mushi. These were the families of the Levite by their generations.
וַיִּקַּח עַמְרָם אֶת־יֹוכֶבֶד דֹּדָתֹו לֹו לְאִשָּׁה וַתֵּלֶד לֹו אֶת־אַהֲרֹן וְאֶת־מֹשֶׁה וּשְׁנֵי חַיֵּי עַמְרָם שֶׁבַע 6:20
וּשְׁלֹשִׁים וּמְאַת שָׁנָה
Exod. 6:20 And Amram took Jochebed, his aunt, to him for a wife and she bore Aaron and Moses for him. And the length of the life of Amram was one hundred and thirty-seven years.
[Return to Numb. 26:59]
וּבְנֵי יִצְהָר קֹרַח וָנֶפֶג וְזִכְרִי 6:21
Exod. 6:21 And the sons of Izhar were Korah and Nepheg and Zichri.
וּבְנֵי עֻזִּיאֵל מִישָׁאֵל וְאֶלְצָפָן וְסִתְרִי 6:22
Exod. 6:22 And the sons of Uzziel were Mishael and Elzaphan and Sithri.
וַיִּקַּח אַהֲרֹן אֶת־אֱלִישֶׁבַע בַּת־עַמִּינָדָב אֲחֹות נַחְשֹׁון לֹו לְאִשָּׁה וַתֵּלֶד לֹו אֶת־נָדָב וְאֶת־אֲבִיהוּא 6:23
Exod. 6:23 And Aaron took Elisheba daughter of Amminadab, sister of Nahshon, to himself for a wife, and she bore for him Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar.
וּבְנֵי קֹרַח אַסִּיר וְאֶלְקָנָה וַאֲבִיאָסָף אֵלֶּה מִשְׁפְּחֹת הַקָּרְחִי 6:24
Exod. 6:24 And the sons of Korah were Assir and Elkanah and Abiasaph. These were the families of the Korahites.
We have a remarkable revelation here in this chapter. The verses from v. 16 to this verse trace the genealogy from Levi, that is, they identify the Levites. Now to this moment the children of Israel have lived 430 years in the land of Egypt, 400 of them in slavery. Yet they were able to identify all the Levites. Don’t you think that’s amazing? Later in Numbers we will learn that even the members of the other tribes were identifiable. None of the tribes were lost, even after over 400 years. Yet when the Jews were exiled to Babylon for eighty years, they lost the identities of the ten tribes. The work of the Lord?
וְאֶלְעָזָר בֶּן־אַהֲרֹן לָקַח־לֹו מִבְּנֹות פּוּטִיאֵל לֹו לְאִשָּׁה וַתֵּלֶד לֹו אֶת־פִּינְחָס אֵלֶּה רָאשֵׁי אֲבֹות 6:25
Exod. 6:25 And Eleazar son of Aaron took to him one of the daughters of Putiel for a wife for himself, and she bore Phinehas for him. These were the heads of the fathers of the Levites by their families.
הוּא אַהֲרֹן וּמֹשֶׁה אֲשֶׁר אָמַר יְהוָה לָהֶם הֹוצִיאוּ אֶת־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם עַל־צִבְאֹתָם 6:26
Exod. 6:26 That was the Aaron and Moses to whom the Lord said, “Bring out the children of Israel from the land of Egypt in their appointed time.”
הֵם הַמְדַבְּרִים אֶל־פַּרְעֹה מֶלֶךְ־מִצְרַיִם לְהֹוצִיא אֶת־בְּנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל מִמִּצְרָיִם הוּא מֹשֶׁה וְאַהֲרֹן 6:27
Exod. 6:27 They are those speaking to Pharoah, king of Egypt, to let the children of Israel go from Egypt, that Moses and Aaron.
וַיְהִי בְּיֹום דִּבֶּר יְהוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם 6:28
Exod. 6:28 And it happened on the day the Lord had spoken to Moses in the land of Egypt,
וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר אֲנִי יְהוָה דַּבֵּר אֶל־פַּרְעֹה מֶלֶךְ מִצְרַיִם אֵת כָּל־אֲשֶׁר אֲנִי דֹּבֵר אֵלֶיךָ 6:29
Exod. 6:29 that the Lord had spoken to Moses saying, “I am the Lord. Speak to Pharoah, king of Egypt, all that I am speaking to you.”
וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה לִפְנֵי יְהוָה הֵן אֲנִי עֲרַל שְׂפָתַיִם וְאֵיךְ יִשְׁמַע אֵלַי פַּרְעֹה 6:30
Exod. 6:30 And Moses had said before the Lord, “If I am of uncircumcised lips, then how will Pharoah listen to me?”
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