1The LORD answered Moses: Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh. For by a strong hand, he will let them go; by a strong hand,* he will drive them from his land.
Confirmation of the Promise to the Ancestors. 2* Then God spoke to Moses, and said to him: I am the LORD. 3As God the Almighty* I appeareda to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but by my name, LORD, 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 were residing as aliens.b 5Now that I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians have reduced to slavery, I am mindful of my covenant.c 6Therefore, say to the Israelites: I am the LORD. I will free you from the burdens of the Egyptians and will deliver you from their slavery. I will redeem you by my outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. 7I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God;d and you will know that I, the LORD, am your God who has freed you from the burdens of the Egyptians 8and I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I will give it to you as your own possession—I, the LORD! 9But when Moses told this to the Israelites, they would not listen to him because of their dejection and hard slavery.
10Then the LORD spoke to Moses: 11Go, tell Pharaoh, king of Egypt, to let the Israelites leave his land. 12However, Moses protested to the LORD, “If the Israelites did not listen to me, how is it possible that Pharaoh will listen to me, poor speaker* e that I am!” 13But the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron regarding the Israelites and Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and charged them to bring the Israelites out of the land of Egypt.
Genealogy of Moses and Aaron. 14These are the heads of their ancestral houses.* The sons of Reuben,f the firstborn of Israel: Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron and Carmi; these are the clans of Reuben. 15The sons of Simeon:g Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jachin, Zohar and Shaul, the son of a Canaanite woman; these are the clans of Simeon. 16These are the names of the sons of Levi,h in their genealogical order: Gershon, Kohath and Merari. Levi lived one hundred and thirty-seven years.
17The sons of Gershon,i by their clans: Libni and Shimei. 18The sons of Kohath:j Amram, Izhar, Hebron and Uzziel. Kohath lived one hundred and thirty-three years. 19The sons of Merari:k Mahli and Mushi. These are the clans of Levi in their genealogical order.
20Amram married his aunt* Jochebed,l who bore him Aaron, Moses, and Miriam. Amram lived one hundred and thirty-seven years. 21The sons of Izhar: Korah, Nepheg and Zichri. 22The sons of Uzziel: Mishael, Elzaphan and Sithri. 23Aaron married Elisheba, Amminadab’sm daughter, the sister of Nahshon; she bore him Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. 24The sons of Korah: Assir, Elkanah and Abiasaph. These are the clans of the Korahites. 25Eleazar, Aaron’s son, married one of Putiel’s daughters, who bore him Phinehas.* These are the heads of the ancestral houses of the Levites by their clans. 26These are the Aaron and the Moses to whom the LORD said, “Bring the Israelites out from the land of Egypt, company by company.” 27They are the ones who spoke to Pharaoh, king of Egypt, to bring the Israelites out of Egypt—the same Moses and Aaron.
28When the LORD spoke to Moses in the land of Egypt 29the LORD said to Moses: I am the LORD. Say to Pharaoh, king of Egypt, all that I tell you. 30But Moses protested to the LORD, “Since I am a poor speaker, how is it possible that Pharaoh will listen to me?”
* [6:1] By a strong hand: by God’s hand or Pharaoh’s hand? The Hebrew is ambiguous; although it may be an allusion to God’s hand of 3:19–20, both interpretations are possible.
* [6:2–7:7] According to the standard source criticism of the Pentateuch, 6:2–7:7 represents a Priestly version of the JE call narrative in 3:1–4:17. But in context the present account does more than simply repeat the earlier passage. See note below.
* [6:3] God the Almighty: in Hebrew, El Shaddai. This traditional translation does not have a firm philological basis. But by my name…I did not make myself known to them: although the text implies that the name LORD was unknown previously, in context the emphasis in the passage falls on the understanding of God that comes with knowledge of the name. In this way God responds to the worsening plight of the Israelites and Moses’ complaint in 5:23 that God has done nothing at all to rescue them.
* [6:12] Poor speaker: lit., “uncircumcised of lips”: a metaphor expressing the hindrance of good communication expressed as “slow of speech and tongue” (4:10). Also used as a metaphor for impeded “heart” (Lv 26:41; Dt 10:16).
* [6:14] The purpose of the genealogy here is to give the line from which Moses and Aaron sprang, with special emphasis placed on the line of Aaron. Reuben and Simeon are mentioned first because, as older brothers of Levi, their names occur before his in the genealogy.
* [6:20] His aunt: more exactly, “his father’s sister.” Later on such a marriage was forbidden. Cf. Lv 18:12. Hence, the Greek and Latin versions render here, “his cousin.”
* [6:25] Phinehas: according to Nm 25:13, Phinehas was given by God “the covenant of an everlasting priesthood” because of his zeal for God when the Israelites committed apostasy by worshiping the Baal of Peor in the plains of Moab (see Nm 25:1–18).
f. [6:14] Nm 26:5–6; 1 Chr 5:3.
g. [6:15] Nm 26:12; 1 Chr 4:24.
h. [6:16] Nm 3:17; 1 Chr 6:1; 23:6.
i. [6:17] Nm 3:21; 1 Chr 6:2; 23:7.
j. [6:18] Nm 3:27; 1 Chr 6:3, 18.
k. [6:19] Nm 3:20; 1 Chr 6:4, 14; 23:21.
m. [6:23] Ru 4:19–20; 1 Chr 2:10.