Ex 6:6                                                Israel in Egypt                                             7/19/2009            ßà   

  • Only Three Days (Ex 5:1-3)

 

 

 

#1.       Cruel Taskmasters (Ex 5:4-14,21-23)

 

 

 

  • I Am Jehovah (Ex 6:1-3)

 

 

 

#2.       The God of the Covenant (Ex 6:4-5, Gen 15:18, 17:8)

 

 

 

  • With a Stretched Out Arm (Ex 6:6-8 Deut 5:15)

 

 

 

#3.       The Life Span of the Family of Levi (Ex 6:14-27)

 

 

 

  • Exactly 430 Years (Ex 12:40-41, Gen 41:46, 47:8-9, 30:22-27, 26:34)

 

 

 

  • The Perfect Tally (Ex 7:7, 6:16-20, Gen 15:16, Ruth 4:18-22, Gen 49:5)

 

 

 

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Prophecy of Exodus, Ex 5:1 (2X). Today we will cover two chapters of Exodus. Although these two chapters are mostly historical in character, it is good to remember that Egypt stands for the house of bondage, the prison of Satan, and the children of Israel who still dwell in the house of bondage are a picture of God’s elect who are still in bondage to sin and Satan. Therefore the title of this sermon is, Israel in Egypt (2X). In the previous chapter Moses and Aaron have met with the elders of the children of Israel, and told them what the purpose was of the return of Moses. Now Moses and Aaron meet with Pharaoh to tell him of Jehovah’s request. And they knew that the character of their message was not pleasant to the ears of the king. But they went in to the king anyway, for God has given them the desire to be obedient to His commands. God has overcome the power of the flesh. They obeyed God, because God has given them courage against a trembling heart, and God has given them grace to demonstrate that our strength is made perfect in weakness.

  • Only Three Days (Ex 5:1-3)

Ex 5:1-3 And afterward Moses and Aaron went in, and told Pharaoh, Thus saith the Jehovah God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness. And Pharaoh said, Who is Jehovah, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not Jehovah, neither will I let Israel go. And they said, The God of the Hebrews hath met with us: let us go, we pray thee, three days’ journey into the desert, and sacrifice unto Jehovah our God; lest he fall upon us with pestilence, or with the sword.

Why did Moses ask that Pharaoh should let the people go for only three days? Where must the people go to worship Jehovah? On Mount Horeb, in Midian. Now, that is much more than three days journey from Egypt. Why three days? God is entering a controversy with Pharaoh and with the rulership of Egypt. Through Moses and Aaron God is asking for a reasonable request: A vacation of only three days is all He is asking for. And what they do not know is that three days and three nights is a symbol of the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a symbol of liberty from bondage to sin and Satan for all for whom the blood of Jesus was shed unto a complete remission of all their sins. But God is about to judge them. And in order that they may be judged, it must first be revealed to themselves and to all the world how cruel and unreasonable they were. This was a very reasonable request. Pharaoh said: The people are mine; I will not let them go. But God said: The people are mine; you must let them go, for they have been created and chosen by Me for the purpose that they may serve Me. A battle was brewing, and initially the winner seems to be Pharaoh and all his taskmasters, and the children of Israel the losers.

Actually, what we see developing in this chapter seems very much like the world around us today. The people who seem to be in power have acquired this power in an unethical way, but they seem to get richer and richer, and gain more and more control over everything. The people who must do the work must work harder and harder and for less and less money, or else they lose their job entirely. And all those who are still unsaved seem to be less and less interested to listen to what God says. Instead they are ruled over by cruel taskmasters, which represent the demons who are ruling over them. How do the demons rule over them? For example, through sickness and disease. Through medicines that are no good for them. Through bad decisions that they are lured into. Through lies and jealousy and gossip leading to marriage difficulties and to divorce. Through listening to bad advice and listening to false gospels. Through the high cost of housing and living decently. And so on, and so on. These are the three things that plague our world today: The rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer, and the demons are getting more cruel in their abuse of mankind, so that people are turning away from God. This is what we see developing in this chapter of the Bible.

#1.       Cruel Taskmasters (Ex 5:4-14,21-23)

Ex 5:4-14  And the king of Egypt said unto them, Wherefore do ye, Moses and Aaron, let the people from their works? get you unto your burdens. And Pharaoh said, Behold, the people of the land now are many, and ye make them rest from their burdens. And Pharaoh commanded the same day the taskmasters of the people, and their officers, saying, Ye shall no more give the people straw to make brick, as heretofore: let them go and gather straw for themselves. And the tale of the bricks, which they did make heretofore, ye shall lay upon them; ye shall not diminish ought thereof: for they be idle; therefore they cry, saying, Let us go and sacrifice to our God. Let there more work be laid upon the men, that they may labour therein; and let them not regard vain words. And the taskmasters of the people went out, and their officers, and they spake to the people, saying, Thus saith Pharaoh, I will not give you straw. Go ye, get you straw where ye can find it: yet not ought of your work shall be diminished. So the people were scattered abroad throughout all the land of Egypt to gather stubble instead of straw. And the taskmasters hasted them, saying, Fulfil your works, your daily tasks, as when there was straw. And the officers of the children of Israel, which Pharaoh’s taskmasters had set over them, were beaten, and demanded, Wherefore have ye not fulfilled your task in making brick both yesterday and to day, as heretofore?

This is what we see developing today. For example, it used to be that women stayed home, for only one breadwinner was needed to maintain one household. But ever since the 2nd world war women were lured into the workplace, and today it is impossible for many households to make the house payments. As a result the number of homeless families keeps on growing. Have we really made progress? No! People have been continually turning away from the Lord, with the result that throughout the 20th century this country has become poorer and poorer. This is what we see developing in this chapter.

The children of Israel are spiritually still unsaved. And for an unsaved person adversity creates rebellion against God. We can see that by their response to Moses and Aaron. On the other hand, for a saved person adversity bring the person closer to God. But not so for the children of Israel. They met Moses and Aaron when they came forth from meeting with Pharaoh. We read in Ex 5:21-23,

Ex 5:21-23  And they said unto them, The LORD look upon you, and judge; because ye have made our

savour to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to slay us. And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Lord, wherefore hast thou so evil entreated this people? why is it that thou hast sent me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in thy name, he hath done evil to this people; neither hast thou delivered thy people at all.

As dismal as chapter 5 sounds, so entirely encouraging does chapter 6 sound. Even Moses was getting discouraged in chapter 5. But now, in chapter 6 the Lord says,

  • I Am Jehovah (Ex 6:1-3)

Ex 6:1-3 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 Jehovah: 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.

What did God mean when He said, “but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them”? When we read through Genesis many times we come across the word LORD, with all four letters in capitals, which means Jehovah. Why then does God say that the patriarchs did not know Him as Jehovah? First of all, it means that the context must declare what is so new about that name here in Gen 6:3. In verse 4 God speaks of the fact that He is the God of the Covenant. And even though God appeared to Abraham as the God of the Covenant, and He gave him circumcision as a sign of the Covenant in Gen 17, still His appearance in Ex 6:3-4 is again different, because secondly He now appears as the Deliverer, or the Redeemer of His people, for He is about to deliver the children of Israel from their hard bondage.

#2.       The God of the Covenant (Ex 6:4-5, Gen 15:18, 17:8)

Ex 6:4-5  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.

Look at these two verses carefully. Does it seem that God is giving the same promise twice? But notice the words “also” which we find in both verses. In fact, verse 4 speaks of material blessings, particularly the land of Canaan, the land in which they were strangers. But verse 5 speaks of spiritual blessings by silencing the groanings of the children of Israel, and by delivering them out of the hands of their tormentors, the Egyptians. In verse 4 the covenant God speaks about is the literal covenant God made with Abraham to give him the land of Canaan. God says in Gen 15:18,

Ge 15:18  In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:

This was a literal promise of a literal piece of real estate. But in Gen 17:8 God came to Abraham with another covenant, the covenant of grace, with spiritual blessings. We read in Gen 17:8,

Ge 17:8  And I will give unto thee, and to thy Seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.

Here God speaks of an everlasting possession, which cannot be on this earth, for this earth will come to an end, and thus this land of Canaan in Gen 17:8 is symbolic of the NH&NE in the next life. And how is God going to give these spiritual blessings?

  • With a Stretched Out Arm (Ex 6:6-8 Deut 5:15)

We read of “God’s stretched out arm” in Ex 6:6,

Ex 6:6-8  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: 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.

What does God mean when He says, “I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments”? He is referring to the stretched out arms of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross, for it is only through the cross of Christ that anyone can be redeemed from the house of bondage. It is only through the cross of Christ that anyone can be brought out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. This is what God had in mind when He spoke in Deut 5 of remembering the Sabbath Day. We read in Deut 5:15,

De 5:15  And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the Sabbath day.

We keep the Sabbath Day by remembering what Christ has done on the cross to deliver us from the house of bondage, and thus by studying and meditating on what God has written in the Scriptures about what Christ has done. This we will do, and we will be grateful for all that He has done for us.

Please drop down to Ex 6:14 (2X).

#3.       The Life Span of the Descendants of Levi (Ex 6:14-27)

In the second half of Ex 6 we find an apparently strange insert. It is an overview of the genealogy of the descendants of Levi. I say it is an overview, for it is by no means complete. Moreover, God gives us here the lifespans of Levi and two of his descendants. Nowhere else in the Bible does God give us such detailed information about the life span of any others of the sons of Jacob. We read in Ex 6:14-27,

Ex 6:14-27  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. 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. 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. 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.

What do we see here? Some people see only a boring list of names, indicating ho the descendants of Levi were. But what do we see in verses 16, and 18, and 20? We see the lifespan of Levi, of Kohath and of Amram. Why did God give us the life spans of the descendants of the line of Levi? We should add Aaron to this list, for he was a descendant of Amram, according to verse 20. And what do we see then? Levi and Aaron lived part of their life in the land of Egypt, but Kohath and Amram lived completely within the time period that the children of Israel were in Egypt. What is that time period?

  • Exactly 430 Years (Ex 12:40-41, Gen 41:46, 47:8-9, 30:22-27, 26:34)

Please turn a few pages to your right to Exodus chapter 12, Ex 12:40 (2X). We will soon discover why God gave us such detailed information about the descendants of Levi. We read in Ex 12:40-41,

Ex 12:40-41 Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years. And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt.

Even the selfsame day at the end of the 430 years the entire family of Jacob, about 2 million people, walked out of the land of Egypt. We need to find out how old Levi was when he entered into the land of Egypt. This is a lengthy derivation, and I recommend that you write down some notes how the Bible gives us an estimate of Levi’s age when he entered the land of Egypt. Please turn in your Bibles a few pages to your left to the Prophecy of Genesis, Gen 41:46 (2X). Joseph, the 11th son of Jacob, was sold by his 10 brothers to a company of Midianite / Ishmaelite merchantmen who were on their way to Egypt. Joseph was about 17 years of age when he was sold into slavery. After many years, and after some time in prison, Pharaoh had two dreams which no one knew how to interpret. But then when Joseph was brought before Pharaoh, the Spirit of God gave him the interpretation of these dreams. And this was the interpretation God gave him: Beginning immediately there were seven years of plenty in Egypt and all the region round about Egypt. And these seven years of plenty will be followed by seven years of famine. Therefore, the advice of Joseph to Pharaoh was that he would appoint officers who shall collect one fifth part of the food in the seven years of plenty and store it so that it can be used in the seven years of famine. Pharaoh agreed, and then he appointed Joseph to be the chief ruler in Egypt during these 14 years. We read in Gen 41:46,

Ge 41:46 ¶  And Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the land of Egypt.

Joseph was 30 years old when he became chief ruler under Pharaoh in Egypt. It was 9 years later, two years into the famine, that Joseph revealed to his brothers that he was the one whom they sold into slavery. Please drop down to Gen 47:8 (2X). Since there were 5 more years of famine coming, Joseph invited his entire family to come and stay in Egypt. A few weeks or a couple months later, when the entire family had taken up residence in the land of Goshen, Joseph introduced his father to Pharaoh. It is then that we read in Gen 47:8-9,

Ge 47:8-9  And Pharaoh said unto Jacob, How old art thou? And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage.

Thus Joseph was 39 years old and Jacob was 130 years old at that moment in time. Thus Joseph was born when Jacob was 91 years old. Please turn a few pages to your left to Genesis chapter 30, Gen 30:22 (2X). There we read why it was that Joseph was born to Jacob at such an old age. Rachel, one of the four wives of Jacob, was barren for a long time. But when God finally gave her conception she bore a son to Jacob when he was 91 years old, and working for his uncle Laban. We read in Gen 30:22-27,

Ge 30:22-27 And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb. And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, God hath taken away my reproach: And she called his name Joseph; and said, The LORD shall add to me another son. And it came to pass, when Rachel had born Joseph, that Jacob said unto Laban, Send me away, that I may go unto mine own place, and to my country. Give me my wives and my children, for whom I have served thee, and let me go: for thou knowest my service which I have done thee. And Laban said unto him, I pray thee, if I have found favour in thine eyes, tarry: for I have learned by experience that the LORD hath blessed me for thy sake.

It was then that Jacob started to work for sheep as his wage. Jacob did not suggest to Laban to travel all the way to the land of Canaan with a newborn child. Jacob waited three years until the child was weaned. And thus, we see that Jacob was 94 years old when Joseph was weaned, and Jacob started to work for sheep. Six years later, when Jacob was 100 years old, Jacob returned to the land of Canaan after having spent 40 years in Haran of Mesopotamia. And thus we conclude that Jacob arrived in Haran at the age of 60 years. Some people think that Jacob’s stay in Haran was only 20 years. But so many things came to pass during Jacob’s stay in Haran, that it is impossible to fit all these events within 20 years. Moreover, if Jacob was 40 years in Haran, then he married at an age of 67. But if Jacob was only 20 years in Haran, then he married at an age of 87, which is not very likely. According to Gen 26:34, when Jacob was 40 years old his twin brother Esau married two Hittite women. And thus, it is very well possible that Jacob married at an age of 67, seven years after he entered into the service of his uncle Laban. Therefore, if Jacob married at an age of 67, then most likely Levi was born when Jacob was 70 years old. And thus, when Jacob entered into the land of Egypt at the age of 130, Levi entered into the land of Egypt at the age of about 60 years. Now we have arrived at:

  • The Perfect Tally (Ex 7:7, 6:16-20, Gen 15:16, Ruth 4:18-22, Gen 49:5)

Please turn again in your Bibles to the Prophecy of Exodus, Ex 7:7 (2X). We have read in Ex 6:16 that the years of the life of Levi were 137 years, and we just concluded that of these 137 years 60 years were spent in the land of Canaan, and 77 years in the land of Egypt. Where can we find how the years of Aaron were spent inside Egypt and outside of Egypt? We read in Ex 7:7,

Ex 7:7  And Moses was fourscore years old, and Aaron fourscore and three years old, when they spake unto Pharaoh.

Since the children of Israel left Egypt shortly thereafter, we conclude that Aaron spent 83 years in Egypt. Please turn again to chapter 6, Ex 6:16-20 (2X). From there we conclude: Levi lived 77 years in Egypt. Kohath lived 133 years in Egypt. Amram lived 137 years in Egypt. Aaron lived 83 years in Egypt. 77 + 133 + 137 + 83 = 430. But the total time the children of Israel were in Egypt was also 430 years. What can we conclude from this? When Levi died Kohath came into existence, but not as a direct son of Levi but as a son of one of the descendants of Levi. When Kohath died Amram came into existence, but not as a direct son of Kohath but as a son of one of the descendants of Kohath. When Amram died Aaron came into existence, but not as a direct son of Amram, but as a son of one of Amram but as a son of one of the descendants of Amram. In spite of what we apparently understand from Ex 6:16-20 these verses are not speaking of direct father – son relationships. When we read in Ex 6:16, “The sons of Levi” it does not mean necessarily that Kohath was a direct son of Levi. And when we read in Ex 6:18, “the sons of Kohath” it does not refer to the direct sons of Kohath. And when we read in Ex 6:20, “And she bare him Aaron and Moses” it does not mean necessarily that Aaron and Moses were direct sons of Amram and Jochebed. Now we can also understand why in Ex 2:1-10 Moses is described as the son of an unnamed woman. If Amram and Jochebed were really the parents of Moses, why were they not named in this passage? God is testing us to see if we are good students of the Word of God. Moreover, when we read in Gen 15:16 that God said to Abraham:

“But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full”

Here the fourth generation does not refer to the fourth generation as we understand it, but it means: after the generation of Levi has completely died, and after the generation of Kohath has completely died, and after the generation of Amram has completely died, then the generation of Aaron is the fourth generation. Please turn in your Bibles to the Prophecy of Ruth, Ruth 4:18 (2X). The question at hand is this: Does God more often test us by using a play on words by saying, A begat B, and B begat C, and C begat D, and so on? And the answer is Yes! The method God used in Ex 6 to describe father – son relations, where a new generation begins when the patriarch of the previous generation has died is much more common throughout the Bible than we realize. We read in Ruth 4:18-22,

Ru 4:18-22  Now these are the generations of Pharez: Pharez begat Hezron, And Hezron begat Ram, and Ram begat Amminadab, And Amminadab begat Nahshon, and Nahshon begat Salmon, And Salmon begat Boaz, and Boaz begat Obed, And Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David.

These nine generations quoted in this citation encompass about 841 years of time. Perez was an immediate son of Judah would have been born about 1878 BC, whereas David was born in the year 1037 BC. If all these begats represent direct father – son relationships, then on the average the father was about 94 years older than the son. This is impossible, since during most of this time the life expectancy of mankind was 70 years, or at most 80 years. And thus we conclude that we must interpret this passage in Ruth like we have done so with Ex 6:16-20. Let me now take one bold step in a direction that most of you do not want to go. When we look at the genealogies in Gen 5 and in Gen 11, we see repeatedly the formula, “When A had lived X years he begat B” the term “begat” does not really mean that he begat an immediate son who was born that same year, but that the progenitor of the next Patriarch was born to him, who was indeed of his bloodline, but the next Patriarch was born in the year when the old Patriarch died. This is how we should unravel the mysteries of Gen 5 and Gen 11.

Is this important? God indicated that this is important by giving us the lifespans of the descendants of Levi. None of the other sons of Jacob have received such an honor. And God showed this for a man of whom He said in Gen 49:5,

Ge 49:5 ¶  Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations.

Let us be fair. Simeon and Levi are representing us. Before we were saved we were like Levi. We were cruel like Levi was before he was saved, for we too were by nature children of wrath, even as others. But God had mercy on us like He had on Levi, and God gave Levi the most honorable task there was, the task of caring and providing for the tabernacle and for the temple. Pray to God that He will honor us with a task like that, a task like caring and providing for those who are going to be the NT temple of God, and for gathering them like the Lord Jesus wants us to, for the fields are already white unto harvest.             AMEN.           Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.