In which God tells Neo Skybaggins that he really is going to sort Pharaoh out this time and we discover exactly how he's related to Aaron Neville.
Some old familiar themes come back for chapter six in a way that suggests that if there really were a single author, he must be suffering some sort of damage to the hippocampus resulting in an inability to make memories...
1 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh: Because of my mighty hand he will let them go; because of my mighty hand he will drive them out of his country.” 2 God also said to Moses, “I am the Lord. 3 I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name the Lord I did not make myself known to them. 4 I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, where they lived as aliens. 5 Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving, and I have remembered my covenant.
Right, Skybaggins, no more Mr Nice Guy; it’s time to get busy with the fizzy; I’m going to make Pharaoh let the Israelites go. Oh, and have a quick pre-credits summary of relevant plot points from the previous couple of seasons.
6 “Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. 7 I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. 8 And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the Lord.’”
“Here are the mighty words of power that thou shalt speak unto the Israelites to make them believe.”
9 Moses reported this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their discouragement and cruel bondage.
“Sorry, Lord; they didn’t buy it.”
10 Then the Lord said to Moses, 11 “Go, tell Pharaoh king of Egypt to let the Israelites go out of his country.” 12 But Moses said to the Lord, “If the Israelites will not listen to me, why would Pharaoh listen to me, since I speak with faltering lips?”
Apparently the Hebrew expression given here as “faltering lips” is better rendered as “I am uncircumcised of lips”, which sounds painful. Given the root of the word circumcision is related not to penises but to circles, I have to hope that they are not attempting to draw some analogy between having some part of your anatomy hacked away, but referring to his speech impediment.
Now, get a nice hot cup of cocoa and sit back as we take a rather tedious detour into genealogy.
13 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.
OK, not that, but it’s coming up now. That’s just lumped together with all the following stuff:
14 These were the heads of their familiese:
The sons of Reuben the firstborn son of Israel were Hanoch and Pallu, Hezron and Carmi. These were the clans of Reuben.
15 The sons of Simeon were Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jakin, Zohar and Shaul the son of a Canaanite woman. These were the clans of Simeon.
16 These were the names of the sons of Levi according to their records: Gershon, Kohath and Merari. Levi lived 137 years.
17 The sons of Gershon, by clans, were Libni and Shimei.
18 The sons of Kohath were Amram, Izhar, Hebron and Uzziel. Kohath lived 133 years.
19 The sons of Merari were Mahli and Mushi.
These were the clans of Levi according to their records.
20 Amram married his father’s sister Jochebed, who bore him Aaron and Moses. Amram lived 137 years.
21 The sons of Izhar were Korah, Nepheg and Zicri.
22 The sons of Uzziel were Mishael, Elzaphan and Sithri.
23 Aaron married Elisheba, daughter of Amminadab and sister of Nahshon, and she bore him Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar.
24 The sons of Korah were Assir, Elkanah and Abiasaph. These were the Korahite clans.
2 5Eleazar son of Aaron married one of the daughters of Putiel, and she bore him Phinehas.
These were the heads of the Levite families, clan by clan.
Got that? Boring, wasn’t it? One has to wonder what the justification for this is? Commentators suggest it’s to show that Aaron and Moses were of the lineage from Levi, whom we know to be the priestly caste. It’s probably just shoring up their power base. In any case, it’s proof by assertion at best.
26 It was this same Aaron and Moses to whom the Lord said, “Bring the Israelites out of Egypt by their divisions.” 27They were the ones who spoke to Pharaoh king of Egypt about bringing the Israelites out of Egypt. It was the same Moses and Aaron.
Yes, we know. Our hippocampi are fine.
28 Now when the Lord spoke to Moses in Egypt, 29 he said to him, “I am the Lord. Tell Pharaoh king of Egypt everything I tell you.”
30 But Moses said to the Lord, “Since I speak with faltering lips, why would Pharaoh listen to me?”
Isn’t this where we came in*?
* Prize to anyone sad enough to recognise the quote...