God’s commitment to free Israel grows out of the promises made to AbrahamGod promised that Abraham would become the father of a great nation, receive a land, and bring blessing to all nations. More, IsaacSon born to Abraham and Sarah in fulfillment of God's promise More, and JacobThe son of Isaac and Rebekah, renamed Israel, became the father of the twelve tribal families More.
Here again the text loops us back to Genesis to address the current situation of enslavement in Egypt. That enslavement stands as a challenge to the promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The land of Canaan had been promised to the ancestors, but the Joseph story ended with only a promise of returning to that land. In the midst of enslavement, that promise seemed to have evaporated.
In this speech of God, the promise to the ancestors is taken to a new level. Now God is speaking not just to a family but to a people. God will no longer be known only as the one who was faithful to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God will be known as the one who “freed you from the burdens of the Egyptians” (6:7). The core pronouns of the covenantA covenant is a promise or agreement. In the Bible the promises made between God and God's people are known as covenants; they state or imply a relationship of commitment and obedience. More are employed: my people/your God. The new promise does not jettison the older promise. The land will still become their possession.
These verses have played a major role in the discussion of the history of the composition of the PentateuchThe Pentateuch is a Christian term the first five books of the Old Testament. These books contain stories of Israel's early history, God's covenants, and many laws such as the Ten Commandments). More. The introduction of the name “the LORD” (Yahweh) in this chapter has been interpreted as a doublet. The name has already been introduced in chapter 3, and it has been frequently employed in the text of Genesis (note Genesis 4:26). Diverse divine names were understood to be signs of diverse prior compositions. Different literary styles and clusters of themes were correlated with different divine names. There is now less confidence in such reconstructions of the history of composition. But one can still note a subtheme from Genesis through Exodus 6 regarding divine names and associated covenants. The covenant with NoahBuilt the ark in which his family and the animals were saved from a flood More, with the rainbow as a sign, employs the name Elohim. The covenant with Abraham, with circumcisionCircumcision is an act of cutting off part of a male (or female) sex organ for religious or health reasons. In the Bible circumcision was performed on males to indicate inclusion into the Jewish religious community. Some church calendars commemorate January 1 as the Circumcision... More as its sign, employs the name El Shaddai. Now in Exodus 6, there is an explicit shift from El Shaddai to Yahweh. In classic formulations of the Documentary Hypothesis, this schematic has been attributed to the Priestly source.