The Lord spoke to Moses, “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh.” Pharaoh had responded to Moses with a show of his authority and oppressive power but know God was going to show Pharaoh what real power was.
Moses had said that God had done nothing and God replied with a renewal of the divine call He had given to Moses. In essence God reminded Moses who God was, “I am the LORD,” is simply “I am Yahweh.” There was no further explanation of the name God had given as none was needed. Moses had questioned where God was and what He was doing. God’s response was a reaffirmation of the fact of His existence. “I am the One who is.”
God also reaffirmed His relationship to the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But there is now a difference in the revelation of who God is. Earlier God revealed Himself to the patriarchs as El Shaddia, God Almighty. In the earlier time the emphasis was on the power of God but now with the usage of Yahweh the emphasis in on the presence of God, His existence.
“By My name, LORD (Yahweh), I did not make Myself known to them.” This statement does not mean before Moses no one knew the name Yahweh. It may be that they did not understand the nature of God that the name revealed. There are several times prior to Moses that the name Yahweh was used in the Old Testament. (Genesis 15:2,8 Genesis 16:2 Genesis 24:31 Genesis 38:13) With the usage of the word Yahweh here it is clear that the understanding of the nature of God took a major step forward. There is another significant thought to God’s renewed call to Moses. God again made reference to the covenant He had made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God’s promise to give the land of Canaan to Israel is a central focus of Genesis through Joshua. The covenant concept involves several features. (1) God related Himself to His people through His promises and grace. (2) God could be depended upon to remember and keep His promises. (3) The people of God were called upon to remember God’s promises and to trust Him to fulfill them. (4) The covenant gives them hope for the future. These four features are wrapped up in the single word covenant.
Also in the renewal of God’s call to Moses God restated His awareness of Israel’s sufferings as well as His promise of deliverance. God’s statement added a new dimension: “I will deliver you from their bondage. I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.” This is the first mention in the Old Testament that God speaks of redeeming anyone. In the New Testament the richness of this concept is made full by the description of Jesus as our Redeemer. The word usage of Redeemer comes from the Hebrew word which means “kinsmen-redeemer.” This would mean that our redeemer is the closest of kin or the next of kin. The responsibilities inherent in this relationship involved taking a kinsman’s widow when he had died childless and producing offspring which would carry on the family name. (Ruth 2:20 Ruth 3:13) Therefore the redeemer was to produce fruit.
A redeemer is also responsible to rescue his kinsmen from bondage. (Leviticus 25:48-49) The redeemer is also responsible to redeem the land, (Leviticus 25:25 Jeremiah 32:1-15) keeping the gift of God within the family. Further, it was the responsibility of the kinsmen-redeemer to avenge the death of a kinsman. (Numbers 35:19 Deuteronomy 19:6) In God’s covenant relationship God had established Himself as the next of kin to Israel. Through the New Covenant, Jesus had done the same for us. All the later beauty and meaning of the term “Redeemer” is an outgrowth of this first mention.
God in His redemptive activity towards Israel promises, “Then I will take you for My people, and I will be your God” As a result of God’s gracious acts Israel will “know” Yahweh. Israel will have experienced God in His redemptive activity. The Israelites knowledge of God will not be intellectual but experiential. All of God’s actions are now summed up in His vow to fulfill the ancient promise to lead them to the land of Canaan.
Moses was obviously encouraged by God’s reaffirmation of His call to Moses and His divine promises. With Moses’ faith renewed and his doubts eased he returned to his people with the message of God. However with the message delivered the people did not respond in belief. “But they did not listen to Moses on account of their despondency and cruel bondage.” The Israelite people’s hope had been raised and then dashed. It will be more difficult for Moses to have the people believe again. In the beginning they had expected it to be too easy and now they expected it to be too hard.
With the message of God being refused by the Israelite people Moses’ confidence again was shaken. At least Moses did not go right away to Pharaoh to renew his plea. God then gave Moses a new commission.
It is not hard to understand the lack of confidence of Moses with his people not listening to him. Again Moses began to argue with God. “Behold, the sons of Israel have not listened to me; how then will Pharaoh listen to me, for I am unskilled in speech?” God did not rebuke Moses for his argument. God understands the weaknesses and frailties of humanity. Instead, God gave Moses encouragement with a new charge to speak to the people and Pharaoh. “To the sons of Israel and to Pharaoh King of Egypt, to bring the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt.” It may be that Moses had become so entangled with what he was to say that he forgot that he also was supposed to do something. Moses needed to discover that involvement in action so absorbs our minds that we forget our fears.
It may seem a distraction to us with the insertion of genealogy at this point. To us the family lineage may not be important but to the ancient Hebrews it is. For the Hebrews the credentials of the God-called leaders must always be established. What we find here is not a full genealogy. It begins with the three eldest sons of Jacob and continues until it gets to the family of Levi. It then follows the family of Levi until it gets to Aaron and Moses. The order of list is by birth as Aaron is Moses’ older brother.
It is also interesting that the as author follows the line onward, it is the family of Aaron that is listed. It may have been done this way as Aaron is the older. Family leadership usually passed through the line of the older first born son. It may also be because of the priestly interest of the author at this point. Moses was the great prophet, lawgiver, and spokesman for God. But it was through Aaron that the priestly family of Israel was born. The author may have not only been establishing the credentials of Aaron and Moses, but also the credentials of the entire priestly line.
In verses 26 the interest was to establish the position of Aaron and Moses. “Bring out the sons of Israel from the land of Egypt according to their hosts.” The importance of this is that Israel needed to know that God had been preparing the family line all along.
It is also important to see the continuity of the family line. The elder brothers led the people into Egypt and it was to be Moses and Aaron who would lead them out. Also with the importance of the covenant God had made with Abraham it was also important to show it was the descendants of Abraham who had received the promise of God. God does not lose track of His people.
Genesis 15:2,8, Genesis 16:2, Genesis 24:31, Genesis 38:13, Ruth 2:20, Ruth 3:13, Leviticus 25:48-49, Leviticus 25:25, Jeremiah 32:1-15, Numbers 35:19, Deuteronomy 19:6