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The BOOK OF EXODUS or, simply, EXODUS (from Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
: ἔξοδος, _éxodos_, meaning "going out"; Hebrew
Hebrew
: שְׁמוֹת‎, _Shəmōṯ_, "Names", the second word of the beginning of the text : "These are the names of the sons of Israel" Hebrew
Hebrew
: ואלה שמות בני ישראל‎), is the second book of the Torah
Torah
and the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament
Old Testament
).

The book tells how the Israelites
Israelites
leave slavery in Egypt through the strength of Yahweh
Yahweh
, the God who has chosen Israel as his people. Led by their prophet Moses
Moses
they journey through the wilderness to Mount Sinai , where Yahweh
Yahweh
promises them the land of Canaan
Canaan
(the "Promised Land ") in return for their faithfulness. Israel enters into a covenant with Yahweh
Yahweh
who gives them their laws and instructions to build the Tabernacle
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
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
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.

CONTENTS

* 1 Structure * 2 Summary

* 3 Composition

* 3.1 Authorship * 3.2 Genre and sources

* 4 Themes

* 4.1 Salvation * 4.2 Theophany * 4.3 Covenant * 4.4 Election of Israel

* 5 Contents according to Judaism\'s weekly Torah
Torah
portions * 6 See also

* 7 References

* 7.1 Citations * 7.2 Bibliography

* 8 External links

STRUCTURE

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).

SUMMARY

Jacob
Jacob
's sons and their families join their brother, Joseph
Joseph
, in Egypt. Once there, the Israelites
Israelites
begin to grow in number. Several generations later, Egypt's Pharaoh , fearful that the Israelites
Israelites
could be a fifth column , orders that all newborn boys be thrown into the Nile
Nile
. A Levite woman (identified elsewhere as Jochebed ) saves her baby by setting him adrift on the river Nile
Nile
in an ark of bulrushes . The Pharaoh\'s daughter finds the child, names him Moses
Moses
, and brings him up as her own. But Moses
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
Midian
. There he marries Zipporah , the daughter of Midianite priest Jethro , and encounters God in a burning bush . Moses
Moses
asks God for his name: God replies: "I AM that I AM ." God tells Moses
Moses
to return to Egypt and lead the Hebrews into Canaan
Canaan
, the land promised to Abraham
Abraham
.

Moses
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
Moses
leads the Israelites
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 the Israelites
Israelites
complain and long for Egypt, but God provides manna and miraculous water for them. The Israelites
Israelites
arrive at the mountain of God, where Moses' father-in-law Jethro visits Moses; at his suggestion Moses
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 of God. Moses
Moses
is told to ascend the mountain. God pronounces the Ten Commandments (the Ethical Decalogue ) in the hearing of all Israel. Moses
Moses
goes up the mountain into the presence of God, who pronounces the Covenant Code (a detailed code of ritual and civil law), and promises Canaan
Canaan
to them if they obey. Moses
Moses
comes down the mountain and writes down God's words and the people agree to keep them. God calls Moses
Moses
up the mountain where he remains for 40 days and 40 nights. At the conclusion of the 40 days and 40 nights, Moses
Moses
returns holding the set of stone tablets .

God gives Moses
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
Moses
the two tablets of stone containing the words of the ten commandments, written with the "finger of God" .

While Moses
Moses
is with God, Aaron makes a golden calf , which the people worship. God informs Moses
Moses
of their apostasy and threatens to kill them all, but relents when Moses
Moses
pleads for them. Moses
Moses
comes down from the mountain, smashes the stone tablets in anger, and commands the 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
Moses
ascends the mountain, God dictates the Ten Commandments
Ten Commandments
(the Ritual Decalogue ), and Moses writes them on the tablets.

Moses
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
Sabbath
and to construct the Tabernacle. "And all the construction of the Tabernacle
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 in the Tabernacle
Tabernacle
and ordered the travels of the Hebrews.

COMPOSITION

Moses
Moses
with the Ten Commandments, by Rembrandt
Rembrandt
(1659)

AUTHORSHIP

Jewish and Christian tradition viewed Moses
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
Pentateuch
had led scholars to abandon this idea. In approximate round dates, the process which produced Exodus and the Pentateuch
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
Exodus
and the wandering in the wilderness contained in the oracles of the prophets Amos and Hosea a full century before.

GENRE AND SOURCES

The story of the exodus is the founding myth of Israel, telling how the Israelites
Israelites
were delivered from slavery by Yahweh
Yahweh
and therefore belong to him through the Mosaic covenant . The Book
Book
of Exodus
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
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
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 Nile
Nile
is 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 with the Laws of Hammurabi . These influences serve to reinforce the conclusion that the Book
Book
of Exodus
Exodus
originated in the exiled Jewish community of 6th-century BCE Babylon
Babylon
, but not all the sources are Mesopotamian: the story of Moses's flight to Midian
Midian
following the murder of the Egyptian overseer may draw on the Egyptian _Story of Sinuhe _.

THEMES

"Departure of the Israelites", by David Roberts , 1829

SALVATION

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 land .

THEOPHANY

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 Exodus
Exodus
begins "the third day" from their arrival at Sinai in chapter 19: Yahweh
Yahweh
and the people meet at the mountain, God appears in the storm and converses with Moses, giving him the Ten Commandments
Ten Commandments
while the people listen. The theophany is therefore a public experience of divine law.

The second half of Exodus
Exodus
marks the point at which, and describes the process through which, God's theophany becomes a permanent presence for Israel via the Tabernacle
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 writers: the Tabernacle
Tabernacle
is the place where God is physically present, where, through the priesthood, Israel could be in direct, literal communion with him.

COVENANT

The heart of Exodus
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 vassal.

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
Abraham
to the chosen line of Jacob
Jacob
whose name is changed to Israel. The goal of the divine plan as revealed in Exodus
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 Adam.

CONTENTS ACCORDING TO JUDAISM\'S WEEKLY TORAH PORTIONS

"Crossing of the Red Sea", Nicholas Poussin Main article: Weekly Torah
Torah
portion

* Shemot , on Exodus
Exodus
1–5: Affliction in Egypt, Moses
Moses
is found and called, Pharaoh * Va\'eira , on Exodus
Exodus
6–9: Plagues 1 to 7 of Egypt * Bo , on Exodus
Exodus
10–13: Last plagues of Egypt, first Passover * Beshalach , on Exodus
Exodus
13–17: Parting the Sea, water, manna, Amalek * Yitro , on Exodus
Exodus
18–20: Jethro’s advice, The Ten Commandments * Mishpatim , on Exodus
Exodus
21–24: The Covenant Code * Terumah , on Exodus
Exodus
25–27: God's instructions on the Tabernacle and furnishings * Tetzaveh , on Exodus
Exodus
27–30: God's instructions on the first priests * Ki Tissa , on Exodus
Exodus
30–34: Census, anointing oil, golden calf, stone tablets, Moses
Moses
radiant * Vayakhel , on Exodus
Exodus
35–38: Israelites
Israelites
collect gifts, make the Tabernacle
Tabernacle
and furnishings * Pekudei , on Exodus
Exodus
38–40: The Tabernacle
Tabernacle
is set up and filled

SEE ALSO

* Bible
Bible
portal

* The Exodus * Ketef Hinnom * Moses
Moses
* Song of the sea * Tabernacle
Tabernacle
* Film adaptations of the Book
Book
of Exodus
Exodus
* History of the Jews in Ancient Egypt

REFERENCES

CITATIONS

* ^ Dozeman, p. 1. * ^ Johnstone, p. 72. * ^ _A_ _B_ Finkelstein, I., Silberman, NA., The Bible
Bible
Unearthed: 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
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.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

* Childs, Brevard S (1979). _The book of Exodus_. Eerdmans. ISBN 9780664229689 . * Dempster, Stephen G (2006). _Dominion and dynasty_. InterVarsity Press. ISBN 9780830826155 . * Dozeman, Thomas B (2009). _Commentary on Exodus_. Eerdmans. ISBN 9780802826176 . * 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
Bible
Commentary_. Eerdmans. ISBN 9780802837110 . * 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 9780521002912 . * Newman, Murray L (2000) _Exodus_ Forward Movement Publications * Plaut, Gunther . The Torah: A Modern Commentary (1981), ISBN 0-8074-0055