Childs on Exodus 6

Brevard Childs has a great “theological reflection” on Exodus 6 – the ‘sermon’ Yahweh gave to doubting and mutinous Moses.

Perhaps the greatest theological significance of Ex. 6 in the context of the canon is the tremendous theocentric emphasis of the Biblical author’s understanding of the exodus.  Although the shape of a call narrative is still present in ch. 6, interest in the manner of God’s appearing or the human reactions to a theophany have receded to a vanishing point.  Rather, the whole focus falls on God revealing himself in a majestic act of self-identification: I am Yahweh.  Although there is a history of revelation which includes a past and future, the theocentric focus on God’s initiative in making himself known tends to encompass all the various times into the one great act of disclosure.  To know God’s name is to know his purpose for all mankind from the beginning to the end.  Ezekiel pursues the same line of thought even more consistently when he sees all of God’s intervention into human history arising from this concern for his name (20.9).  In his testimony that nothing in human history shares the glory which belongs alone to God, the writer reduces Pharaoh to a pawn on God’s great chess-board, and Israel, far from being viewed as a partner in the plan of God, is judged for consistent disobedience and allegiance to the idols of Egypt (Ezek. 20.8).

Childs ends the section rightly in the NT, explaining how John’s understanding of Israel’s history “centered in the great act of self-revelation in Jesus Christ.”  Read the above quote again (and again!), with Christ in mind.

Brevard Childs, The Book of Exodus (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004), 119-120.

%d bloggers like this: