In our weekly worship gathering, we plumbed the depths of discouragement in Exodus 5, and were brought back into joyous remembrance of God’s promises in Exodus 6. If you have been reading along with us, you’ll notice that we did not discuss the genealogy located in Exodus 6:14-26.The passage is bracketed with, “These are the heads of their fathers’ houses…” (Exodus 6:14a) and concludes with, “These are the Aaron and Moses to whom the Lord said…” (Exodus 6:16a). This bracketing serves to point the reader to the purpose of this particular genealogy, which is in connecting the story to the past, present, and future.1
On the heels of God’s conversation with Moses, one which highlights the covenant that God has made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Exodus 6:3), the genealogy of Aaron and Moses springs forth. The genealogy seems to, at first, depict a broad view of the ancestral origins of the Israelites, but quickly focuses on the lineage of Aaron in particular.2 A family line that is connected to the Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob). One will notice the covenantal link to Jacob (also known as Israel) in the highlighting of his sons Reuben, Simeon, and Levi. The genealogy stops at Levi, and begins making connections down through the generations towards Aaron and Moses. The bracketing of the passage began with “These are the heads of their fathers’ houses…” which is a distinct connection to the past. We know where Aaron has come from, and we are certain that he is connected to God’s covenant family.
We then will notice that the lineage zeroes in on Aaron’s immediate family, his wife and children. The present emphasis of the genealogy is apparent. Not only is God connecting Aaron to his past, but also is bringing to light his present family, and their current ministry. From here we witness a link into the future, to Aaron’s son Phinehas. This prominent figure will play an important role in the future of Israel (Numbers 25:11). Past, present, and future are brought to light within this pause in the narrative, right on the cusp of God’s intervention on behalf of His people.
Within the genealogies of Scripture we find that individuals matter to God. Moreover, covenant connection is of great importance in God’s redemptive plan. The good news is that you do not have to sign-up for ancestry.com to see if you qualify for God’s covenant promises, because they are afforded to you through faith in Jesus. The Gospel of Matthew begins with the genealogy of Jesus, a genealogy that connects Jesus to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Moreover, the Bible tells us that He is the mediator of a new and better covenant. One that promises spiritual connection to a lineage far greater than our own physical ancestors. Being a part of this new covenant family promises us that we have the Spirit of God within us, His law is written on our hearts, He knows our name, and we are forgiven all our sins.
1 Peter Enns, The NIV Application Commentary: Exodus (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000), 176-177