In the middle of Exodus 6 we have what feels like the most ill-timed genealogy in the Bible. Moses has just returned to Egypt, he and Aaron have spoken to Pharaoh to let God’s people go, he has denied their request and made the work of the Hebrews more difficult, the leaders of the Israelites are now disgruntled because of Moses’ shenanigans and the resulting difficulty.
Right when it looks like this deliverance mission is a failure, God comforts Moses in this way:
“And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, and gave them a charge unto the children of Israel, and unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt (Exo 6:13).”
This is immediately followed by “These be the heads of their fathers’ houses (Exo. 6:14a)”, and then a miniature genealogy highlighting particularly Moses’ and Aaron’s lineage and some of their descendants. As I’ve mused upon this seeming interruption in a gripping narrative a few thoughts have struck me.
God tells stories better than we do, and He tells them better than we would advise Him to. Imagine Tolkein introducing a hobbit genealogy right as Sam & Frodo are marching up Mt. Doom. We’d tell him this was a mistake. But, God, through Moses, insists that right as the story seems bleakest, we are to be reminded that God is raising up for his people a deliverer from their own flesh and bone. The help should not be looked for from any other frontier than the one which God had previously promised. Matthew Henry has a wonderful observation:
It ends in those two great patriots Moses and Aaron, and comes in here to show that they were Israelites, bone of their bone and flesh of their flesh whom they were sent to deliver, raised up unto them of their brethren, as Christ also should be, who was to be the prophet and priest, the Redeemer and lawgiver, of the people of Israel, and whose genealogy also, like this, was to be carefully preserved.1https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/mhc/Exd/Exd_006.cfm?a=56014
Also notice that this genealogy is to be a comfort to Moses and Aaron in particular. God comforts them by reminding them where they came from, and what story they are a part of, the story of the Promised Seed who would redeem all mankind from Satan’s power. We too are a part of that story, and this should be a comfort to us as well.