The genealogy of Moses and Aaron (Ex 6:14–6:27)

“The following are the heads of their ancestral houses.  The sons of Reuben, the first-born of Israel were Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi.  These are the families of Reuben.  The sons of Simeon were Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jachin, Zohar, and Shaul, the son of a Canaanite woman.  These are the families of Simeon.”

In this genealogy the names of Reuben and Simeon and their children are the same as Genesis chapter 46, but the other ten sons of Jacob are omitted except for Levi, who has a more explicit genealogy.  Levi was the third son of Jacob, while Reuben and Simeon were the two oldest sons..

The following are the names of the sons of Levi according to their genealogies Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.  The length of Levi’s life was one hundred thirty-seven years.  The sons of Gershon were Libni and Shimei, by their families.  The sons of Kohath were Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel.  The length of Kohath’s life was one hundred thirty-three years.  The sons of Merari were Mahli and Mushi.”

The three sons of Levi were (1) Gershon, (2) Kohath, and (3) Merari, the same as mentioned in Genesis, chapter 46.  Gershon had two sons named (1) Libni and (2) Shimei.  This is the only mention of Libni but there are a lot of biblical characters named Shimei.  Kohath had four sons named (1) Amram, (2) Izhar, (3) Hebron, and (4) Uzziel.  Amram will be the father of Moses.  Izhar was then the uncle of Moses and a clan developed named the Izeharites.  Hebron’s family became known as the Hebronites.  Uzziel’s descendants are called Uzzielites.  There are other biblical characters with the same name.  Merari had two sons named (1) Mahli and (2) Mushi. Mahli’s family becomes known as the Mahlites.  Mushi’s sons were called Mushites.  Levi lived to be 137 years old.  Kohath lived to be 133 years old, but there is no indication of how long the other two sons lived.

“These are the families of the Levites according to their genealogies.  Amram married Jochebed his father’s sister and she bore him Aaron and Moses.  The length of Amram’s life was one hundred thirty-seven years.”  

Amram, the son of Kohath and grandson of Levi, married Jochebed, his father’s sister and thus his aunt.  He lived 137 years.  He had two important sons Aaron and Moses as well as a daughter named Miriam.  The most interesting character is Jochebed, the daughter of Levi, who married Amram, her nephew.  Jochebed is an odd character since she is the mother of Moses and Aaron, as well as the daughter of Levi, which means very little time passed between Joseph and Moses.  However, the earlier passages seem to indicate a long lag time because no one remembered Joseph.  Surely Jochebed would have remembered her uncle Joseph.  In the earlier passage about the birth of Moses in chapter 2, her name never comes up, just the descriptive ‘mother of the child.’   The same is true of Moses’ sister Miriam, who is also nameless in this earlier passage.  Many rabbis have tried to interpret Jochebed as a cousin of Kohath, rather than his sister, but the translation texts, both English and French, speak of her as a sister of Kohath and therefore the aunt of Amram.  Not too many people marry their aunts so that Moses and Aaron’s mom was also their great aunt.

“The sons of Izhar were Korah, Nepheg, and Zichri.  The sons of Uzziel were Mishael, Elzaphan, and Sithri.”  

Now we have a more detailed list of the generations, especially Kohath’s family.  Iszhar had 3 sons named Korah, Nepheg, and Zichri, but the only further mention is that of Korah.  Although a common biblical name, this Korah will have a fight with his cousin Moses in the desert.  His family is called the Korahites. There is no mention of Hebron’s family, only Amram, Izhar and Uzziel. Uzziel had 3 sons Mishael, Elzaphan and Sithri.  Nepheg, Zichri, Mishael, Elzaphan, and Sithri do not seem to play any important biblical roles.

“Aaron married Elisheba, daughter of Amminadab and the sister of Nahshon.  She bore him Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.  The sons of Korah were Assir, Elkanah, and Abiasaph.  These are the families of the Korahites.  Aaron’s son Eleazar married one of the daughters of Putiel.  She bore him Phinehas. These are the heads of the ancestral houses of the Levites by their families.”

Aaron married Elisheba, daughter of Amminadab and sister of Nahshon and had four sons (1) Nadab, (2) Abihu, (3) Eleazar, and (4) Ithamar.  This is the only mention of Elisheba.  Her brother Nahshon will have a more important role to play in the Exodus since he is the bother-in-law of Aaron.  Nadab and Abihu will meet a very violent death in the desert journey.  Only Eleazar is mentioned as marring the daughter of Putiel and they had a son called Phinehas.  He will become more important as his two older brothers died childless.  For some reason the high priest will pass through Ithamar.  Korah also had three sons named Assir, Elkanah, and Abiasaph, who do not have any major biblical roles.  There is no mention of Moses, his wife or children.

“It was the same Aaron and Moses to whom Yahweh said: ‘Bring the Israelites out of the land of Egypt, company by company.  It was they who spoke to Pharaoh King of Egypt to bring the Israelites out of Egypt, the same Moses and this Aaron.”

This genealogy does not have a long time span.  We get from Levi, brother of Joseph, who was the violent one, to Moses and Aaron in three generations, so that Levi was the grandfather of Moses and Aaron on his mother’s side.  Moses’ father would have married his aunt, Jochebed, who would be older since she was the daughter of Levi.  These marriages always seem to be with close relatives, but this one is really odd.  There is no mention of Moses’ sister either.