Torah Portion: Vaera – Exodus 6:2-9:35




And I Appeared – Exodus 6:2-9:35

Exodus 6:2-30

Israel’s elders have rejected Moses. Pharaoh doesn’t listen to him. In His confusion and rejection, Moses complains to Yahweh. And, Yahweh responds. He affirms His promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and then once again declares He will redeem Israel from Egypt. However, this time He does so with a four-fold promise:

  • I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.
  • I will deliver you from slavery.
  • I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment.
  • I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God.

Yahweh’s word of promise ends with reiteration He will bring them into the Promised Land, directly connecting Israel’s deliverance to the patriarchal promise.

Once again, God instructs Moses to stand before Pharaoh to intercede for Israel. Moses is still reluctant. God admonishes him to obey. Then, the genealogy from Jacob’s sons to Aaron and Moses is listed. The text emphasizes the point that those who appeared before Pharaoh were direct descendants of Jacob’s family, anointed representatives of God’s promise.


Exodus 7:1-13

Moses goes before Pharaoh again and asks for Israel’s freedom. Pharaoh asks for a sign. Moses’ staff turns into a serpent. Egypt’s magicians perform the same feat. But, Moses’ serpent swallows up all the other serpents. Pharaoh is not impressed and doesn’t change his mind. So, the plagues begin.

Exodus 7:14-9:35

First, the Nile River turns into blood. Everything in it dies and there’s a water shortage. The magicians repeat this miracle. Next, God multiplies frogs all over Egypt. And, once again, the magicians do the same. Third, Moses strikes the dust of the ground and it becomes lice on humans and animals. The magicians can’t replicate the miracle and attribute it to God. Fourth, God sends flies all over Egypt. However this plague only affects the Egyptians. Israel is protected from it and from all the plagues following. Fifth, a pestilence overwhelms all the domesticated animals of the Egyptians but it doesn’t affect Israel’s animals. Sixth, the Egyptians and their animals are plagued with boils. Seventh, hail and fire rain from heaven and strike the land. But, before this plague, God warns Pharaoh. He says He could destroy all Egypt but He stayed His hand. His purpose? So Pharaoh would know God sovereignly gave him his position and power. Pharaoh does not let Israel go.


This devotional is not a comprehensive discussion of the Torah portion. Its purpose is to identify themes that point to and reveal Jesus the Messiah.

Here, Moses enters human history. He is THE prophet in Israel, the lawgiver, and deliverer. In his life and ministry, we see the Messiah in a variety of ways.

In this portion, Pharaoh is introduced to Yahweh in the plague phenomena. Initially, he’s unaffected, even hardened to God and His power. Egypt’s magicians turned water to blood, just like Moses. They conjured frogs from the Nile, just like Moses. Yet, the wonder of the plagues grew. Lice rose from the dirt. Egypt’s magicians attributed them to God’s power and showed signs of fear. Then flies, pestilence, boils, hail, and fiery rain arrived. Moses’ stature grew in everyone’s eyes. He spoke sovereign words of rebuke, correction, and judgment against the most powerful ruler on earth. Pharaoh did not relent.

Before God’s might shattered Egypt’s pride, the deliverer arrived. He carried God’s wonders and revealed the Messiah. As Yahweh poured out His divine judgment on Egypt, the narrative paused to give us Moses’ family history. It seems strange, at first glance. Yet, it’s through this we see God’s Messiah.

Moses’ family history comes in the usual form of a genealogy. This one, though, has some distinctive marks. It started with Jacob’s sons: Reuben, then Simeon, and then Levi. No more of Jacob’s sons were listed. It stopped with the third. Why? From there, we read of Reuben’s sons, then his line stops. Then, we see Simeon’s sons and his line stops. Last, we see Levi’s sons, then multiple generations until it stops at Moses.

Think about the context. Israel didn’t believe Moses. Neither did Pharaoh. Moses got discouraged and didn’t want to continue. Then, the four-fold promise came (Exodus 6:6,7) and God renewed His promise to give Israel Canaan (Exodus 6:8). Here’s the point. The promises God made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob pass to their descendants, Israel. The genealogy was then given to show that Moses is, in fact, the carrier of God’s promises. He fulfilled the very promises God gave to Abraham (Genesis 15). Not only do God’s promises to Abraham flow through Israel, they found their fulfillment in Moses, Israel’s deliverer.

Who, ultimately and eternally, carries God’s promises (Acts 13:30-39)? Though whom has God’s Kingdom found its redemptive expression (Matthew 11:12)? Who is the appointed, anointed representative of Abraham’s promises (Galatians 3:16)? Jesus.