My question is about Exodus 6:14-25 - What is all of that family lineage? Why are some tribes not listed?
UK Apologetics Reply:
Okay, this was just prior to the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. There was a need for some documentation of the families of the leaders who left Egypt at that time, but it is not intended to be an exhaustive listing of all the families who left Egypt; it focuses on the family lineage of the leaders.
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. 14. These were the heads of their families: The sons of Reuben the firstborn son of Israel were Hanok and Pallu, Hezron and Karmi. 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 Zikri. 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. 25. Eleazar 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. (Exodus 6:13-25).
This genealogy was mainly intended to remind the people of Israel that Moses and Aaron were in a direct line from Abraham, therefore they had full authority; the story of the exodus is therefore fully authenticated. The whole account from Exodus 6:14-26 is actually a sort of parenthesis, and does not belong to the earlier narration; also, what follows from Exodus 6:28 is a recapitulation of what was spoken in the preceding chapters.
Of this section, noted Bible commentor Albert Barnes stated,
[This is] not a complete genealogy, but a summary account of the family of the two brothers (Moses and Aaron).
So in this particular genealogy details are given with regard to the background and families of Moses and Aaron. Only the first three of Jacob's twelve sons (Reuben, Simeon and Levi) are mentioned because Moses and Aaron were from the third tribe (Levi). So this genealogy has one important purpose:
- To show that the account is fully authenticated. Moses and Aaron were the leaders and the focus is on them. The whole point really is, hey, this isn't just some old story; these were real people and real families and this is fully authenticated. Authentication is what the Bible genealogies are always all about.
Robin A. Brace. February 13th, 2017.