The Torah portion this week is from the first chapters of Exodus, but in the Hebrew Tanakah the book of Exodus is called “Shemot” which means “the names”. Names are a very important part of Hebrew culture and history. Names have a deep meaning and in the scriptures, when a name is given, you can be sure that it has a special significance. See our other blog about names titled, These are the Names: the Story of our Redemption. We in our modern society tend not to think of names as having special meanings. We give our children a particular name largely because it is a name we like, or it is a name with a family connection or some such reason. But again, in the Bible and the Hebrew culture, names are very important.
When we think of the book of Exodus or Shemot, we think of Moses leading the Children of Israel out of the land of Egypt, where they were enslaved, to the land of promise, a land that God set aside for them to dwell. So let’s take a look at the names of Moses and his family and we will see a pattern of a deeper meaning in the scripture as we read the story of the Exodus. Moses’ parents and brother are mentioned by name in Exodus chapter 6.
Ex 6:20 KJV And Amram took him Jochebed his father's sister to wife; and she bare him Aaron and Moses: and the years of the life of Amram [were] an hundred and thirty and seven years.
Let’s look at each of these names in the order that they are given in this passage.
Amram is the father of Aaron and Moses. The name Amram is #6019 in the Strong’s Dictionary:
06019. עמרם `Amram, am-rawm' probably from 5971 and 7311; high people (or exalted people); Amram, the name of two Israelites:--Amram.
Amram’s father was Kohath and his grandfather was Levi. Since Amram married his father’s sister she was also a daughter of Levi.
The name of the mother of Moses and Amram’s wife was Yochebed:
03115. יוכבד Yowkebed, yo-keh'-bed from 3068 contracted and 3513; Jehovah-gloried (or the glory of God); Jokebed, the mother of Moses:--Jochebed.
(See Side Note below).
Now Aaron was the eldest son of Amram and Yochebed:
According to the Brown-Driver-Briggs dictionary, Aaron is defined as follows:
H175 אהרון 'ahărôn Aaron = “light bringer” the older brother of Moses, a Levite and the first high priest.
The younger son was Moses. His name is defined in the Strong’s as follows:
04872. משה Mosheh, mo-sheh' from 4871; drawing out (of the water), i.e. rescued; Mosheh, the Israelite lawgiver:--Moses.
Moses is a type of Messiah. He was the redeemer of Israel, bringing his people out of bondage and into the Promised Land.
Now when we put these names together in their order, looking at the meanings, we get a shadow of what is to come not only in this generation, but a shadow of the coming messiah many generations hence!
When the high and exalted people are joined to the glory of God, the result is that light brings forth from the waters of the earth the redemption of Israel!
Shalom and be blessed
Dan and Brenda Cathcart
Side note: With regard to wives, the sages say that in only three places in the Torah are the wives of leaders mentioned in a special context. In all three cases the reason is to show that the children of these leaders had not only distinguished fathers but also distinguished mothers. Amram married Yochebed, a daughter of Levi. Aaron married Elisheva, from the royal tribe of Judah, a sister of Nahshon. Aaron and Elisheva became the forebears of the Jewish priesthood. Their grandson Phinehas became the only one who was granted priesthood as result of his own merit. See Numbers 25:10-13. (Ramban)