What are your credentials? What do you have that tells others that you are qualified for the job? It is kind of funny what some people will accept as credentials. Can the son or daughter of Denzel Washington act? Maybe, but I can almost guarantee that they will have more of a chance to get into the industry than my children. Whether they survive in that industry may depend on their actual ability. I don’t know. And what if Hillary Clinton’s daughter wanted to pursue a political career? Would people seek further evidence of ability from Chelsea than her lineage? Probably not initially. The commencement speaker at my daughter’s college graduation was Mary Eisenhower. She is often asked to speak because she is the granddaughter of President Dwight D. Eisenhower and she seemed comfortable with that, often speaking of her grandfather. But does the fact that her grandfather is a well-known ex-president guarantee that she can impart words of wisdom to a graduating class?
Exodus 6:14-27 is a fun filled genealogy. Even though Reuben and Simeon are mentioned and we are given the first generation of their descendants, the genealogy is about Levi and his descendants. Levi is the credentials. Reuben and Simeon, along with their first generation sons, seem to be mentioned because they were older than Levi. Birth order was important to the Israelites. You don’t merely pass over the first born. The list is the same as that found in Genesis 46, but slightly different than that found in Numbers 26, which is missing the name Ohad as a descendant of Simeon. I don’t know why. Genealogies are funny animals. They are composed for a specific reason. Names, and sometimes whole generations, can be left out, depending on the purpose of composing the list. In these lists, it is always pointed out that Shaul was the son of a Canaanite woman. This is most likely mentioned simply because it was not the norm.
And then we get to Levi, the priestly family. Levi had three sons: Gershon, Kohath and Merari. There are some interesting things in this genealogy. Some have pointed out that to get to Moses and Aaron it would have demanded more than two generations. We are talking four hundred years here. The suggestion is that a generation or two has been dropped out of the list. The point of this would be to connect Aaron as closely to Levi as possible. At this point, it is important to note that Moses is barely mentioned in this passage. This seems to be more about Aaron. It has been suggested that Aaron had dropped out of favor with the Israelites. You know, the Israelites who would be reading this account. Maybe they were aware of the whole golden calf debacle. Why was Aaron given this very important and holy work? Did Yahweh not know he would muff things up? You could say the same thing about Moses and the striking the rock incident. But Yahweh is always calling people to do holy things fully aware that they will be less than holy in the process. Yep. Our God is like that!
Another interesting detail in this genealogy is that we are told that Amram, Moses and Aaron’s father, married his Aunt Jochebed. We know that God didn’t like that sort of thing because he forbids it in Leviticus 18:12. This is before the law was given, but the writing of this account may not be. It would have been so easy to just give the names. It was important to establish that both parents were descended from Levi and with this short genealogy there is no real avoiding this. Although a cousin would seem less creepy. Maybe we are once again shown the heart of a God who is willing to work his glory in our messes. Even our credential giving genealogies demonstrate man’s messiness. It is interesting that two women are named in this genealogy: Jochebed and Elisheba, Aaron’s wife. We are also told that Aaron’s son Eleazar married one of the daughters of Putiel, though her name is not given. Usually, in Israelite genealogies, women are assumed but not mentioned. Verses 26 and 27 give us the reason for this list. It is about credentials. These are the men God chose to carry out his holy work. They are the forerunners of the priests. They have the proper credentials for the job; messy as they are.
What are your credentials? Do you turn to your lineage? Do you rely on your experience? But here’s the thing; in Christ we have but one credential and that is Jesus. When it is all said and done God will not be tracing our ancestral background; he will not be reviewing our accomplishments. Nah! Yahweh will have one thing he will be looking for: Do you belong to Jesus? Have you died to yourself, picked up your cross, and followed the Savior? He is still working his glory in our mess. Praise God! Walter