Monday, October 31, 2011

Exodus 6:13-27 Family History of Moses and Aaron

At this point there is a parenthetical section [kind of a side note], to give us some information as to just who these men Moses and Aaron were:

"Now the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron
about the Israelites and Pharaoh king of Egypt,
and he commanded them to bring the Israelites out of Egypt.

These were the heads of their families:

The sons of Reuben the firstborn son of Israel were
Hanoch and Pallu, Hezron and Carmi.
These were the clans of Reuben.

The sons of Simeon were Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jakin, Zohar
and Shaul the son of a Canaanite woman.
These were the clans of Simeon.

These were the names of the sons of Levi according to their records:
Gershon, Kohath and Merari.
Levi lived 137 years.

The sons of Gershon, by clans, were Libni and Shimei.
The sons of Kohath were Amram, Izhar, Hebron and Uzziel.
Kohath lived 133 years.

The sons of Merari were Mahli and Mushi.

These were the clans of Levi according to their records.

Amram married his father's sister Jochebed,
who bore him Aaron and Moses.  Amram lived 137 years.

The sons of Izhar were Korah, Nepheg and Zicri.

The sons of  Uzziel were Mishael, Elzaphan and Sithri.

Aaron married Elisheba, daughter of Amminadab and sister of Nahshon,
and she bore him Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar.

The sons of Korah were Assir, Elkanah and Abiasaph.
These were the Korahite clans.

Eleazar son of Aaron married one of the daughters of Putiel,
and she bore him Phineas.

These were the heads of the Levite families, clan by clan.

It was this same Aaron and Moses to whom the LORD said,
'Bring the Israelites out of Egypt by their divisions.'
They were the ones who spoke to Pharaoh king of Egypt
about bringing the Israelites out of Egypt.
It was the same Moses and Aaron."

Exodus 6:1-27 (NIV)

This is a lot of material to cover in one post, but it is meant to be one complete section, so I don't want to break it up.  I'll try to make it clear.

First of all, it is firmly established that Moses and Aaron are indeed Israelites themselves.  Abraham had Isaac, Isaac had Jacob, and Jacob had twelve sons and a daughter.  The full genealogy of these twelve sons of Jacob is not given here -- this genealogy simply goes far enough for us to be sure that Moses and Aaron are from that same family line.  Therefore, we are only given information regarding Jacob's sons Reuben, Simeon and Levi.  Moses and Aaron were from the line of Levi.  I think that we are given information about Jacob's first two sons, Reuben and Simeon, only to show that Levi occupied the position of the third son of Jacob [or 'Israel' as the LORD had renamed him].

If we were to show it more visually [which is what I like to do], the family tree would look something like this:
 [Each line of text is a generation.]

Reuben, Simeon, Levi,....and the other nine sons and daughter Dinah

Next, the clans of three of Jacob's sons [Reuben, Simeon and Levi] are shown. 
Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, Carmi 

Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jakin, Zohar and Shaul

Gershon, Kohath, Merari

Then, another level of Levi's sons is given.

Gershon                                              Kohath                                               Merari
Libni, Shimei                           Amram, Izhar, Hebron, Uzziel                Mahli, Mushi

Then, the genealogy zeros in on Moses' and Aaron's immediate ancestors.

Amram                   Izhar                                 Hebron               Uzziel
Aaron, Moses        Korah, Nepheg, Zicri                           Mishael, Elzaphan, Sithri

[I wondered why Kohath's other sons Izhar, Hebron and Uzziel were detailed.  I think it is because some of these men named will turn up later in the Biblical narrative and this will give us a fuller picture of who they were as well.  For example, if the Korah listed under Izhar is the same one who led a rebellion against Moses later, it is interesting that he is Moses' cousin, who probably thought that he was just a capable as Moses to lead the Israelites.]

Some further information is given on Aaron as well.

Aaron marries Elisheba (daughter of Amminadab and sister of Nashon)
Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar

Next, further details on Izhar's son Korah:

Assir, Elkanah, Abiasaph

Then, back to Aaron's son Eleazar:

Eleazar marries Putiel's daughter.
She bears him Phineas.

[I should mention that although this seems to be a rather confusing way of giving information, many of the names of  the sons listed here will be involved in that same rebellion against Moses, and other conflicts.  Later it will become clearer why we are given details regarding some of the sons and not others.  The Bible, although always found to be accurate in what it does tell us, does not tell us every detail which we might like to know regarding these genealogies.  However, it does tell us everything which we need to know in order to understand the things which God did in history and chooses to reveal to us.  We don't get every detail, but we get enough detail to understand God's revelation of Himself to us.]

In verses 26 and 27 of Exodus 6, we have a summary of the section, which is an echo of the verse which introduced this section (v.13).  It is emphasized that the Aaron and Moses whose genealogy we have been examining are the same ones who God spoke to and told to bring the Israelites out of Egypt.  The fact that they spoke to Pharaoh about bringing the Israelites out of Egypt is also repeated.  As if to emphasize this point even further, the last words in this section restate that this was the same Moses and Aaron.

If we want to get scholarly, we can say that this section which is bracketed by verse 13 and verses 26-27 is a pericope [which is just a fancy way of saying that it is one section which has a certain point and can stand alone].  I don't think I need to tell you what the point of this one was, but if you are still unsure, just check out verses 26 and 27 again.

Now that we've gotten that settled, the narrative will resume.  By this time, you are either completely lost in the details [I hope not] or excited about what God will reveal next in the Exodus account and perhaps wondering how these various people listed have a place in the story.   

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