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Exodus 6:6-7 meaning

The Israelites need to be prepared for their deliverance that is about to happen, and He wanted them to believe that He will do what He says He is going to do. God can be trusted.

Thus, the LORD commanded Moses to say, therefore. By including therefore God is emphasizing what He has already done as described in verses 3 - 5. Say therefore to the sons of Israel, 'I am the Lord.' The name "Yahweh" in Hebrew means "I am," so in the original, this just says "Yahweh." The translators added "I am the LORD" because simply saying "Yahweh" wouldn't mean much to English readers.

The name Yahweh is used here both to describe and to name. God claims He is Lord over all creation and all that is, then tells them what He plans to do for them.  He is the One who will redeem them, and it is by this name and all the power the name implies that Israel is going to be delivered. The LORD then described the things He was about to do. They are expressed in the form of seven "I will" statements.

The first three of seven "I will" statements deal with Israel's deliverance. The first, I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, speaks to the Israelites' immediate need - to get relief from the terrible oppression of labor imposed by the Egyptians. The Hebrew word translated "bring you out" implies that they will be physically moved from one place to another. They will leave Egypt and go to the Promised Land.

The second, I will deliver you from their bondage, is a restatement of the first "I will." Here, the word for "deliver" can also be rendered "rescue" or "snatch away." It implies physical separation from the place of danger or oppression. The LORD promised here that the Israelites will be separated from Egyptian slavery.

The third, I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments, describes how the LORD will accomplish this bringing out/deliverance/redemption. The word "redeem" is the same used in the book of Ruth to describe a "kinsman-redeemer," someone who acts as guardian of the family and looks out for the family's interests. Sometimes, the word is translated "close relative." Boaz acted as a "kinsman-redeemer" who helped Ruth (Ruth 3:7 - 13). Here, the LORD is the One who is acting as the redeemer of Israel. These three words - "bring out", "deliver", and "redeem" - vividly describe the LORD's act of salvation of His chosen people. They are being set free from the bondage of slavery.

The LORD said that He will rescue Israel with an outstretched arm. The means of this salvation will be accomplished through an overwhelming demonstration of power. It is tied to the earlier phrase "by My strong hand" (verse 1). Other passages use these two phrases together to refer to the LORD's power to do His will (Deuteronomy 4:34, 5:15, 26:8, 2 Kings 17:36, Psalms 136:12, Jeremiah 32:21, Ezekiel 20:33).

The LORD said that He would deliver Israel and with great judgments. This is a reference to the plagues that begin in chapter 7. In fact, this phrase is used in 7:4 to describe them.

"I will" statements four and five are found in verse 7. The theme of these statements is adoption. In the fourth "I will", the LORD said I will take you for My people. The Hebrew is literally "I will take you to me as a people." Because the LORD delivered them, they now belong to Him. This is similar to Paul's statement in 1 Corinthians 7:23 where He tells the Corinthian believers "You were bought with a price," asserting that Christians belong to him because of what He did on the cross.

The fifth "I will" continues the covenant restatement where the LORD stated I will be your God. The result of the LORD's dealings with Israel will be that you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. Again, He declared that He is Yahweh (LORD) of Israel, and it is by the name of Yahweh that He was to be known as Israel's deliverer from slavery in Egypt. The literal Hebrew is Yahweh (I am) Elohim (God or Lord), translated as "I am the LORD your God." The I AM of all existence is creating a personal relationship with this people, and they will know Him by experience.

To summarize this section, verses 6 - 8 described what the LORD is about to do for Israel. He articulates this in the form of seven "I will" statements:

  • I will bring you out (verse 6)
  • I will deliver you (verse 6)
  • I will redeem you (verse 6)
  • I will take you (verse 7)
  • I will be your God (verse 7)
  • I will bring you to the land (verse 8)
  • I will give it to you (verse 8)


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