Friday, September 22, 2006

Exodus 5:22–6:27

Exodus 5:22–6:27: God reassures His people; genealogy


The last passage was a bit of a disappointment, for the Israelites. God told Moses to tell the Pharaoh to let His people go, but not only did the Pharaoh say no, he decided to work the Hebrews even harder, because he assumed they’d grown lazy.

In this passage, we find out that it’s not just the Israelite leaders who are disappointed. Moses is too:
Moses returned to the LORD and said, “O Lord, why have you brought trouble upon this people? Is this why you sent me? Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble upon this people, and you have not rescued your people at all.” (5:22–23)
The “at all” is the part that gets me; “you haven’t even saved your people—not even a little bit!”

But obviously the LORD was expecting all of this:

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh: Because of my mighty hand he will let them go; because of my mighty hand he will drive them out of his country.”

God also said to Moses, “I am the LORD. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name the LORD I did not make myself known to them. I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, where they lived as aliens. Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving, and I have remembered my covenant.

“Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the LORD.’”

(verses 6:1–8)

So Moses brings this message back to the Israelites, but they don’t listen to him, “because of their discouragement and cruel bondage” (verse 6:9).

However, aside from the Israelites’ disillusionment, it’s still business as usual:
Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go, tell Pharaoh king of Egypt to let the Israelites go out of his country.” (verses 6:10–11)
Unfortunately, it’s not just the Israelite leaders who are disillusioned; Moses is going back to his old excuses, too:
But Moses said to the LORD, “If the Israelites will not listen to me, why would Pharaoh listen to me, since I speak with faltering lips?” (verse 12)
The LORD already answered that complaint, back in Chapter 4, but it seems that Moses is falling back on what he knows; “please don’t send me.”

The rest of the chapter lists the heads of Israel. This list is here because the LORD is instructing who should be brought out of Egypt, and how, when the time comes. It seems that everyone is down except for the LORD


This feels, to me, like a pretty depressing passage. Everyone is disappointed by Egypt’s response, and, from their perspective, for good reason: They asked Pharaoh for permission to leave, and instead their misery increased.

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