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Israel’s Deliverance Assured


Then the L ord said to Moses, “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh: Indeed, by a mighty hand he will let them go; by a mighty hand he will drive them out of his land.”

2 God also spoke to Moses and said to him: “I am the L ord. 3I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name ‘The L ord’ I did not make myself known to them. 4I also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land in which they resided as aliens. 5I have also heard the groaning of the Israelites whom the Egyptians are holding as slaves, and I have remembered my covenant. 6Say therefore to the Israelites, ‘I am the L ord, and I will free you from the burdens of the Egyptians and deliver you from slavery to them. I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. 7I will take you as my people, and I will be your God. You shall know that I am the L ord your God, who has freed you from the burdens of the Egyptians. 8I will bring you into the land that I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; I will give it to you for a possession. I am the L ord.’ ” 9Moses told this to the Israelites; but they would not listen to Moses, because of their broken spirit and their cruel slavery.

10 Then the L ord spoke to Moses, 11“Go and tell Pharaoh king of Egypt to let the Israelites go out of his land.” 12But Moses spoke to the L ord, “The Israelites have not listened to me; how then shall Pharaoh listen to me, poor speaker that I am?” 13Thus the L ord spoke to Moses and Aaron, and gave them orders regarding the Israelites and Pharaoh king of Egypt, charging them to free the Israelites from the land of Egypt.

The Genealogy of Moses and Aaron

14 The following are the heads of their ancestral houses: the sons of Reuben, the firstborn of Israel: Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi; these are the families of Reuben. 15The sons of Simeon: Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jachin, Zohar, and Shaul, the son of a Canaanite woman; these are the families of Simeon. 16The following are the names of the sons of Levi according to their genealogies: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari, and the length of Levi’s life was one hundred thirty-seven years. 17The sons of Gershon: Libni and Shimei, by their families. 18The sons of Kohath: Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel, and the length of Kohath’s life was one hundred thirty-three years. 19The sons of Merari: Mahli and Mushi. These are the families of the Levites according to their genealogies. 20Amram married Jochebed his father’s sister and she bore him Aaron and Moses, and the length of Amram’s life was one hundred thirty-seven years. 21The sons of Izhar: Korah, Nepheg, and Zichri. 22The sons of Uzziel: Mishael, Elzaphan, and Sithri. 23Aaron married Elisheba, daughter of Amminadab and sister of Nahshon, and she bore him Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. 24The sons of Korah: Assir, Elkanah, and Abiasaph; these are the families of the Korahites. 25Aaron’s son Eleazar married one of the daughters of Putiel, and she bore him Phinehas. These are the heads of the ancestral houses of the Levites by their families.

26 It was this same Aaron and Moses to whom the L ord said, “Bring the Israelites out of the land of Egypt, company by company.” 27It was they who spoke to Pharaoh king of Egypt to bring the Israelites out of Egypt, the same Moses and Aaron.

Moses and Aaron Obey God’s Commands

28 On the day when the L ord spoke to Moses in the land of Egypt, 29he said to him, “I am the L ord; tell Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I am speaking to you.” 30But Moses said in the L ord’s presence, “Since I am a poor speaker, why would Pharaoh listen to me?”

2. And God spake. God pursues His address, that Moses may again uplift the fainting courage of the people. Moreover, He rebukes their distrust, by recalling the memory of His covenant; for if this had been duly impressed upon their minds, they would have been much more firm in their expectation of deliverance. He therefore shews that He has now advanced nothing new; since they had heard long ago from the Patriarchs that they were chosen by God as His peculiar people, and had almost imbibed from their mother’s breasts the doctrine of his adoption of them. Wherefore their stupidity is the more unpardonable, and more manifest, when they thus factiously complain of Moses, as if he had himself invented what he had promised them in the name of God. He also stings them by an implied comparison; Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had eagerly embraced the promise given them, and had quietly, and perseveringly trusted in it; whilst they, who boasted of their descent from that holy stock, disdainfully rejected it, because its fulfillment did not immediately appear. And, in order to amplify their sin, he reasons from the less to the greater: since a fuller and clearer manifestation of it is presented to them than there had been to the fathers, it follows that they ought to have been more ready to believe it. Whence it is plain that their stupidity is inexcusable, since they will not receive God, when he is so familiarly presenting himself to them. Translators do not agree as to the epithet “Sadai.” Some derive it from the word שדד, shadad, and imagine that the final letter י, yod, is the double ד, daleth If we agree to this, it will mean the same as “the Destroyer;” or at any rate will signify the awful majesty of God. Others are rather of opinion that the root is שד, shad, which means “a teat.” To others it appears to be a compound word from the relative אשר, esher, or ש, and די, di, which in Hebrew means “sufficiency.” Thus he will be called “Sadai,” who abounds with all good things. It is indeed sure that they use this word in a good as well as a bad sense; for where Isaiah threatens that God will be the avenger of sins, he calls him “Sadai.” (Isaiah 13:9.) So also in Job 23:16, “Sadai troubleth me.” In these and similar passages, the terrible power of God is unquestionably expressed; but when He promises to Abraham that He will be the God “Sadai,” He is engaging himself to be merciful and bounteous. Here again, where He says that He appeared to the Fathers as the God “Sadai,” He has not respect so much to His might in exercising judgment, as to His abundant and perfect loving-kindness; as though He had said, that He had manifested to Abraham and the other Patriarchs how great was His efficiency in preserving and defending His own people, and that they had known from experience how powerfully and effectually He cherishes, sustains, and aids them that are His. But although He declares what benefits He conferred upon them, He says that He was not known to them by His name “Jehovah;” signifying thus that He now more brightly manifested the glory of His divinity to their descendants. It would be tedious to recount the various opinions as to the name “Jehovah.” It is certainly a foul superstition of the Jews that they dare not speak, or write it, but substitute the name “Adonai;” nor do I any more approve of their teaching, who say that it is ineffable, because it is not written according to grammatical rule. Without controversy, it is derived from the word היה, hayah, or הוה, havah, and therefore it is rightly said by learned commentators to be the essential name of God, whereas others are, as it were, epithets. Since, then, nothing is more peculiar to God than eternity, He is called Jehovah, because He has existence from Himself, and sustains all things by His secret inspiration. Nor do I agree with the grammarians, who will not have it pronounced, because its inflection is irregular; because its etymology, of which all confess that God is the author, is more to me than an hundred rules. 7272     “A. Pfeiffer in his Dubia vexata, rightly observes upon this passage. The name Jehovah was not, strictly and literally, unknown to the fathers, but it was so, in respect of the perfect fulfillment of the promises implied in it; more especially, that glorious one of the deliverance out of Egypt.” — Rosenmuller in Brightwell. “Prior to that time, the name Jehovah had been often used to describe the existence, the necessity, or the unchangeableness of God; but now, to indicate His faithfulness, His truth and constancy, in keeping and fulfilling His promises.” — Dathe in loco. Holden, however, and others, would elude the difficulty by reading the clause interrogatively. He says, “It is impossible to read the history of Abraham, etc., without being convinced that both the name of Jehovah, and the attributes implied by that name, were known to them. Our A.V., therefore, must be erroneous. Now every difficulty will be removed by reading it interrogatively, ‘And by my name Jehovah was I not known to them?’ which is both agreeable to the Hebrew idiom, and to the scope of the context.” Nor does God by “His name” in this passage mean syllables or letters, but the knowledge of His glory and majesty, which shone out more fully and more brightly in the redemption of His Church, than in the commencement of the covenant. For Abraham and the other Patriarchs were content with a smaller measure of light; whence it follows that the fault of their descendants would be less excusable, if their faith was not answerable to the increase of their grace. Meanwhile, Moses is awakened to activity whilst God is setting before him a magnificent and singular means of shewing forth His glory.

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