The BOOK OF EXODUS or, simply, EXODUS (from
Ancient Greek :
ἔξοδος, _éxodos_, meaning "going out";
שְׁמוֹת, _Shəmōṯ_, "Names", the second word of the
beginning of the text : "These are the names of the sons of Israel"
Hebrew : ואלה שמות בני ישראל), is the second book
Torah and the
Hebrew Bible (the
Old Testament ).
The book tells how the
Israelites leave slavery in Egypt through the
Yahweh , the God who has chosen Israel as his people. Led
by their prophet
Moses they journey through the wilderness to Mount
Sinai , where
Yahweh promises them the land of
Canaan (the "Promised
Land ") in return for their faithfulness. Israel enters into a
Yahweh who gives them their laws and instructions to
Tabernacle , the means by which he will come here from
heaven and dwell with them and lead them in a holy war to possess the
land, and then give them peace.
Traditionally ascribed to
Moses himself, modern scholarship sees the
book as initially a product of the Babylonian exile (6th century BCE),
based on earlier written and oral traditions, with final revisions in
the Persian post-exilic period (5th century BCE).
Carol Meyers in
her commentary on
Exodus suggests that it is arguably the most
important book in the Bible, as it presents the defining features of
Israel's identity: memories of a past marked by hardship and escape, a
binding covenant with God, who chooses Israel, and the establishment
of the life of the community and the guidelines for sustaining it.
* 1 Structure
* 2 Summary
* 3 Composition
* 3.1 Authorship
* 3.2 Genre and sources
* 4 Themes
* 4.1 Salvation
* 4.3 Covenant
* 4.4 Election of Israel
* 5 Contents according to Judaism\'s weekly
* 6 See also
* 7 References
* 7.1 Citations
* 7.2 Bibliography
* 8 External links
There is no unanimous agreement among scholars on the structure of
Exodus. One strong possibility is that it is a diptych (i.e., divided
into two parts), with the division between parts 1 and 2 at the
crossing of the Red Sea or at the beginning of the theophany
(appearance of God) in chapter 19. On this plan, the first part tells
of God's rescue of his people from Egypt and their journey under his
care to Sinai (chapters 1–19) and the second tells of the covenant
between them (chapters 20–40).
Jacob 's sons and their families join their brother,
Joseph , in
Egypt. Once there, the
Israelites begin to grow in number. Several
generations later, Egypt's Pharaoh , fearful that the
be a fifth column , orders that all newborn boys be thrown into the
Nile . A
Levite woman (identified elsewhere as
Jochebed ) saves her
baby by setting him adrift on the river
Nile in an ark of bulrushes .
The Pharaoh\'s daughter finds the child, names him
Moses , and brings
him up as her own. But
Moses is aware of his origins, and one day,
when grown, he kills an Egyptian overseer who is beating a Hebrew
slave and has to flee into
Midian . There he marries
Zipporah , the
daughter of Midianite priest Jethro , and encounters God in a burning
Moses asks God for his name: God replies: "I AM that I AM ."
Moses to return to Egypt and lead the Hebrews into
the land promised to
Moses returns to Egypt and fails to convince the Pharaoh to release
the Israelites. God smites the Egyptians with 10 terrible plagues
Plagues of Egypt ) including a river of blood, many frogs, and the
death of first-born sons.
Moses leads the
Israelites out of bondage
after a final chase when the Pharaoh reneges on his coerced consent
(Crossing the Red Sea and
Yam Suph ). The desert proves arduous, and
Israelites complain and long for Egypt, but God provides manna and
miraculous water for them. The
Israelites arrive at the mountain of
God, where Moses' father-in-law Jethro visits Moses; at his suggestion
Moses appoints judges over Israel. God asks whether they will agree to
be his people. They accept. The people gather at the foot of the
mountain, and with thunder and lightning, fire and clouds of smoke,
and the sound of trumpets, and the trembling of the mountain, God
appears on the peak, and the people see the cloud and hear the voice
Moses is told to ascend the mountain. God pronounces the Ten
Ethical Decalogue ) in the hearing of all Israel.
Moses goes up the mountain into the presence of God, who pronounces
Covenant Code (a detailed code of ritual and civil law), and
Canaan to them if they obey.
Moses comes down the mountain
and writes down God's words and the people agree to keep them. God
Moses up the mountain where he remains for 40 days and 40
nights. At the conclusion of the 40 days and 40 nights,
holding the set of stone tablets .
Moses instructions for the construction of the tabernacle
so that God could dwell permanently among his chosen people, as well
as instructions for the priestly vestments , the altar and its
appurtenances, the procedure to be used to ordain the priests, and the
daily sacrifices to be offered. Aaron is appointed as the first
hereditary high priest . God gives
Moses the two tablets of stone
containing the words of the ten commandments, written with the "finger
of God" .
Moses is with God, Aaron makes a golden calf , which the people
worship. God informs
Moses of their apostasy and threatens to kill
them all, but relents when
Moses pleads for them.
Moses comes down
from the mountain, smashes the stone tablets in anger, and commands
Levites to massacre the unfaithful Israelites. God commands Moses
to make two new tablets on which He will personally write the words
that were on the first tablets.
Moses ascends the mountain, God
Ten Commandments (the
Ritual Decalogue ), and Moses
writes them on the tablets.
Moses descends from the mountain, and his face is transformed, so
that from that time onwards he has to hide his face with a veil. Moses
assembles the Hebrews and repeats to them the commandments he has
received from God, which are to keep the
Sabbath and to construct the
Tabernacle. "And all the construction of the
Tabernacle of the Tent of
Meeting was finished, and the children of Israel did according to
everything that God had commanded Moses", and from that time God dwelt
Tabernacle and ordered the travels of the Hebrews.
Moses with the Ten Commandments, by
Jewish and Christian tradition viewed
Moses as the author of Exodus
and the entire Pentateuch, but by the end of the 19th century the
increasing awareness of discrepancies, inconsistencies, repetitions
and other features of the
Pentateuch had led scholars to abandon this
idea. In approximate round dates, the process which produced Exodus
Pentateuch probably began around 600 BCE when existing oral
and written traditions were brought together to form books
recognisable as those we know, reaching their final form as
unchangeable sacred texts around 400 BCE. It is clear that the main
outlines of the narrative were certainly known long before the seventh
century BCE, in the allusions to the
Exodus and the wandering in the
wilderness contained in the oracles of the prophets Amos and
full century before.
GENRE AND SOURCES
The story of the exodus is the founding myth of Israel, telling how
Israelites were delivered from slavery by
Yahweh and therefore
belong to him through the
Mosaic covenant . The
Exodus is not
a historical narrative in any modern sense: modern history writing
requires the critical evaluation of sources, and does not accept God
as a cause of events, but in Exodus, everything is presented as the
work of God, who appears frequently in person, and the historical
setting is only very hazily sketched. The purpose of the book is not
to record what really happened, but to reflect the historical
experience of the exile community in
Babylon and later Jerusalem,
facing foreign captivity and the need to come to terms with their
understanding of God.
Although mythical elements are not so prominent in
Exodus as in
Genesis , ancient legends have an influence on the book's content: for
example, the story of the infant Moses's salvation from the
based on an earlier legend of king
Sargon of Akkad , while the story
of the parting of the Red Sea trades on Mesopotamian creation
mythology . Similarly, the
Covenant Code (the law code in Exodus
20:22–23:33) has some similarities in both content and structure
Laws of Hammurabi . These influences serve to reinforce the
conclusion that the
Exodus originated in the exiled Jewish
community of 6th-century BCE
Babylon , but not all the sources are
Mesopotamian: the story of Moses's flight to
Midian following the
murder of the Egyptian overseer may draw on the Egyptian _Story of
"Departure of the Israelites", by David Roberts , 1829
Biblical scholars describe the Bible's theologically-motivated
history writing as "salvation history ", meaning a history of God's
saving actions that give identity to Israel – the promise of
offspring and land to the ancestors, the exodus from Egypt (in which
God saves Israel from slavery), the wilderness wandering, the
revelation at Sinai, and the hope for the future life in the promised
A theophany is a manifestation (appearance) of a god – in the
Bible, an appearance of the God of Israel, accompanied by storms –
the earth trembles, the mountains quake, the heavens pour rain,
thunder peals and lightning flashes. The theophany in
"the third day" from their arrival at Sinai in chapter 19:
the people meet at the mountain, God appears in the storm and
converses with Moses, giving him the
Ten Commandments while the people
listen. The theophany is therefore a public experience of divine law.
The second half of
Exodus marks the point at which, and describes the
process through which, God's theophany becomes a permanent presence
for Israel via the
Tabernacle . That so much of the book (chapters
25–31, 35–40) is spent describing the plans of the Tabernacle
demonstrates the importance it played in the perception of Second
Temple Judaism at the time of the text's redaction by the Priestly
Tabernacle is the place where God is physically present,
where, through the priesthood, Israel could be in direct, literal
communion with him.
The heart of
Exodus is the Sinaitic covenant . A covenant is a legal
document binding two parties to take on certain obligations towards
each other. There are several covenants in the Bible, and in each
case they exhibit at least some of the elements found in real-life
treaties of the ancient Middle East: a preamble, historical prologue,
stipulations, deposition and reading, list of witnesses, blessings and
curses, and ratification by animal sacrifice. Biblical covenants, in
contrast to Eastern covenants in general, are between a god, Yahweh,
and a people, Israel, instead of between a strong ruler and a weaker
ELECTION OF ISRAEL
Israel is elected for salvation because the "sons of Israel" are "the
firstborn son" of the God of Israel, descended through Shem and
Abraham to the chosen line of
Jacob whose name is changed to Israel.
The goal of the divine plan as revealed in
Exodus is a return to
humanity's state in Eden , so that God can dwell with the Israelites
as he had with
Adam and Eve through the Ark and Tabernacle, which
together form a model of the universe; in later Abrahamic religions
this came to be interpreted as Israel being the guardian of God's plan
for humanity, to bring "God's creation blessing to mankind" begun in
CONTENTS ACCORDING TO JUDAISM\'S WEEKLY TORAH PORTIONS
"Crossing of the Red Sea",
Nicholas Poussin Main article:
* Shemot , on
Exodus 1–5: Affliction in Egypt,
Moses is found and
* Va\'eira , on
Exodus 6–9: Plagues 1 to 7 of Egypt
* Bo , on
Exodus 10–13: Last plagues of Egypt, first Passover
* Beshalach , on
Exodus 13–17: Parting the Sea, water, manna,
* Yitro , on
Exodus 18–20: Jethro’s advice, The Ten Commandments
* Mishpatim , on
Exodus 21–24: The Covenant Code
* Terumah , on
Exodus 25–27: God's instructions on the Tabernacle
* Tetzaveh , on
Exodus 27–30: God's instructions on the first
Ki Tissa , on
Exodus 30–34: Census, anointing oil, golden calf,
* Vayakhel , on
Israelites collect gifts, make the
Tabernacle and furnishings
* Pekudei , on
Exodus 38–40: The
Tabernacle is set up and filled
Song of the sea
* Film adaptations of the
* History of the Jews in Ancient Egypt
* ^ Dozeman, p. 1.
* ^ Johnstone, p. 72.
* ^ _A_ _B_ Finkelstein, I., Silberman, NA., The
Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its
Sacred Texts, p.68
* ^ Meyers, p. xv.
* ^ Meyers, p. 17.
* ^ Stuart, p. 19.
Exodus 31:18;Deuteronomy 9:10
* ^ Meyers, p. 16.
* ^ McEntire 2008 , p. 8.
* ^ Sparks 2010 , p. 73.
* ^ Fretheim, p. 7.
* ^ _A_ _B_ Dozeman, p. 9.
* ^ Houston, p. 68.
* ^ Fretheim, p. 8.
* ^ Kugler,Hartin, p. 74.
* ^ Dozeman, p. 4.
* ^ Dozeman, p. 427.
* ^ Dempster, p. 107.
* ^ Wenham, p. 29.
* ^ Meyers, p. 148.
* ^ Meyers, pp. 149–150.
* ^ Meyers, p. 150.
* ^ Dempster, p. 100.
* Childs, Brevard S (1979). _The book of Exodus_. Eerdmans. ISBN
* Dempster, Stephen G (2006). _Dominion and dynasty_. InterVarsity
Press. ISBN 9780830826155 .
* Dozeman, Thomas B (2009). _Commentary on Exodus_. Eerdmans. ISBN
* Fretheim, Terence E (1991). _Exodus_. Westminster John Knox Press.
ISBN 9780664237349 .
* Houston, Walter J (1998). "Exodus". In John Barton. _Oxford Bible
Commentary_. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780198755005 .
* Johnstone, William D (2003). "Exodus". In James D. G. Dunn, John
William Rogerson. _Eerdmans
Bible Commentary_. Eerdmans. ISBN
* Kugler, Robert; Hartin, Patrick (2009). _An Introduction to the
Bible_. Eerdmans. ISBN 9780802846365 .
* McEntire, Mark (2008). _Struggling with God: An Introduction to
the Pentateuch_. Mercer University Press. ISBN 9780881461015 .
* Meyers, Carol (2005). _Exodus_. Cambridge University Press. ISBN
* Newman, Murray L (2000) _Exodus_ Forward Movement Publications
* Plaut, Gunther . The Torah: A Modern Commentary (1981), ISBN