Then the LORD said unto Moses, Now shalt thou see what I will do to Pharaoh: for with a strong hand shall he let them go, and with a strong hand shall he drive them out of his land.
And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the LORD:
There appears to have been an interval of some months between the preceding events and this renewal of the promise to Moses. The oppression in the meantime was not merely driving the people to desperation, but preparing them by severe labor, varied by hasty wanderings in search of stubble, for the exertions and privations of the wilderness. Hence, the formal and solemn character of the announcements in the whole chapter.
I am the Lord ... - The meaning seems to be this: "I am Jehovah (Yahweh), and I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as El Shaddai, but as to my name Jehovah, I was not made known to them." In other words, the full import of that name was not disclosed to them. See Exodus 3:14.
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 - Rather, "El Shaddai," (שׁדי אל 'êl shadday), it is better to keep this as a proper name.
And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers.
And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant.
Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments:
With a stretched out arm - The figure is common and quite intelligible; it may have struck Moses and the people the more forcibly since they were familiar with the hieroglyphic which represents might by two outstretched arms.
And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.
And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I am the LORD.
And Moses spake so unto the children of Israel: but they hearkened not unto Moses for anguish of spirit, and for cruel bondage.
They hearkened not - The contrast between the reception of this communication and that recorded in Exodus 4:31 is accounted for by the change of circumstances. On the former occasion the people were comparatively at ease, accustomed to their lot, sufficiently afflicted to long for deliverance, and sufficiently free in spirit to hope for it.
For anguish - See the margin; out of breath, as it were, after their cruel disappointment, they were quite absorbed by their misery, unable and unwilling to attend to any fresh communication.
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Go in, speak unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, that he let the children of Israel go out of his land.
Go out of his land - Moses is now bidden to demand not a permission for a three days' journey (Exodus 3:18 note), which might be within the boundaries of Egypt, but for departure from the land.
And Moses spake before the LORD, saying, Behold, the children of Israel have not hearkened unto me; how then shall Pharaoh hear me, who am of uncircumcised lips?
Uncircumcised lips - An uncircumcised ear is one that does not hear clearly; an uncircumcised heart one slow to receive and understand warnings; uncircumcised lips, such as cannot speak fluently. The recurrence of the hesitation of Moses is natural; great as was the former trial this was far more severe; yet his words always imply fear of failure, not of personal danger (see Exodus 3:11).
And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, and gave them a charge unto the children of Israel, and unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt.
Unto Moses and unto Aaron - The final and formal charge to the two brothers is given, as might be expected, before the plagues are denounced. With this verse begins a new section of the history.
These be the heads of their fathers' houses: The sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel; Hanoch, and Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi: these be the families of Reuben.
These be the heads - We have in the following verses, not a complete genealogy, but a summary account of the family of the two brothers. Moses records for the satisfaction of Hebrew readers, to whom genealogical questions were always interesting, the descent and position of the designated leaders of the nation. See Exodus 6:26-27.
And the sons of Simeon; Jemuel, and Jamin, and Ohad, and Jachin, and Zohar, and Shaul the son of a Canaanitish woman: these are the families of Simeon.
And these are the names of the sons of Levi according to their generations; Gershon, and Kohath, and Merari: and the years of the life of Levi were an hundred thirty and seven years.
The sons of Gershon; Libni, and Shimi, according to their families.
And the sons of Kohath; Amram, and Izhar, and Hebron, and Uzziel: and the years of the life of Kohath were an hundred thirty and three years.
And the sons of Merari; Mahali and Mushi: these are the families of Levi according to their generations.
And Amram took him Jochebed his father's sister to wife; and she bare him Aaron and Moses: and the years of the life of Amram were an hundred and thirty and seven years.
Amram - This can scarcely be the same person who is mentioned in Exodus 6:18; but his descendant and representative in the generation immediately preceding that of Moses. The intervening links are omitted, as is the rule where they are not needed for some special purpose, and do not bear upon the history.
Jochebed - The name means "the glory of Jehovah (Yahweh)," one clear instance of the use of the sacred name before the Exodus.
Father's sister - This was within the prohibited degrees after the law was given Leviticus 18:12 but not previously.
And the sons of Izhar; Korah, and Nepheg, and Zichri.
And the sons of Uzziel; Mishael, and Elzaphan, and Zithri.
And Aaron took him Elisheba, daughter of Amminadab, sister of Naashon, to wife; and she bare him Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.
And the sons of Korah; Assir, and Elkanah, and Abiasaph: these are the families of the Korhites.
And Eleazar Aaron's son took him one of the daughters of Putiel to wife; and she bare him Phinehas: these are the heads of the fathers of the Levites according to their families.
These are that Aaron and Moses, to whom the LORD said, Bring out the children of Israel from the land of Egypt according to their armies.
This emphatic repetition shows the reason for inserting the genealogy. The names of Moses and Aaron are given twice and in a different order; used in Exodus 6:26 probably to mark Aaron as the older in the genealogy, and used in Exodus 6:27 to denote the leadership of Moses.
These are they which spake to Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring out the children of Israel from Egypt: these are that Moses and Aaron.
And it came to pass on the day when the LORD spake unto Moses in the land of Egypt,
This and the following verses belong to the next chapter. They mark distinctly the beginning of a subdivision of the narrative.
That the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, I am the LORD: speak thou unto Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I say unto thee.
And Moses said before the LORD, Behold, I am of uncircumcised lips, and how shall Pharaoh hearken unto me?
See Exodus 6:12.