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CONTOURS OF THE EXODUS MOTIF IN JESUS' EARTHLY MINISTRY
RICHARD D. PATTERSON and MICHAEL TRAVERS
he report of Israel's exodus from Egypt has engaged the hearts and minds of the people of Israel from ancient times until this day. The events surrounding the exodus have come under the scrutiny of scholars of all persuasions. Not only does a voluminous literature exist on the historical reality, date, and route of such an exodus,l but there are also careful literary studies on the biblical record2 and its thematic transmission.3 This study is devoted to the latter two
Richard D. Patterson is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Liberty University, Lynchburg, Va. Michael Trave Professor of English at Southeastern College, a school of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Fo MC. 1 See, e.g., Charles Aling, Egypt and Bible History (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1981), 77-110; John Bimson, Redatmg the Exodus and the Conquest (Sheffield: Almond Press, 1981 ); John J. Davis, Moses and the Gods of Egypt (2d ed.; Winona Lake: BMH Books, 1986), 15-49; Michael Grisanti, "Old Testament Poetry as a Vehicle for Historiography," BSac [forthcoming]; Alfred Hoerth, Archaeology and the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998), 157-82; James Hoffineier, Israel in Egypt (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998); Walter G. Kaiser, Jr., A History of Israel (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 1998), 95-111; Eugene Merrill, Kingdom of Priests (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1987), 57-91; John Rea, "The Time of the Oppression and the Exodus," Grace TheologicalJournal 2 (1961): 5-14; William Shea, "The Exodus," in An Orderly Account: Critical Issues in the History of Israel (ed. David Howard, Jr., and Michael Grisanti; Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2003), 236-55. Whole conferences have centered on the history of the exodus, such as the one held at Brown University in 1992. For published papers of this conference, see E. S. Frerichs and L. H. Lesko, Exodus: The Egyptian Evidence (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 1997). 2 J. J. Burden, "A Stylistic Analysis of Exodus 15:1- 21: Theory and Practice," Old Testament Society of South Africa 29 (1986): 34-72; U. Gassuto, A Commentary on the Book of Exodus (Jerusalem: Magnes, 1967), 172-82; G. W. Coats, "The Traditio-Historical Character of the Reed Sea Motif," FT 17 (1967): 253-65, and "The Song of the Sea," CBQßl (1969): 1-17; Frank M. Cross, Studies in Ancient Tahwistic Poetry (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University, 1950), 83-127; David N. Freedman, "The Song of the Sea," and "Strophe and Meter in Exodus 15," in Pottery, Poetry, and Prophecy (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 1980), 179-86, 187-227; Maribeth Howell, "Exodus 15, lb-18: A Poetic Analysis," ETL 65 (1989): 5-42; J. Muilenburg, " Liturgy on the Triumphs of Yahweh," in Studia Biblica et Semitica (Wageningen: Veenman, 1966), 233-51 ; Richard D. Patterson, "The Song of Redemption," WTJ 57 (1995): 453-61, and "Victory at Sea: Prose and Poetry in Exodus 14-15," BSac 161 (2004): 42-54; M. S. Smith, "The Poetics of Exodus 15 and Its Position in the Book," in Imagery and Imagination in Biblical Literature (ed. L. Boadt and M. S. Smith; CBQMS 32; Washington, D.C.: Catholic Biblical Association, 2001), 23-34; H. Strauss, "Das Meerlied des Mose - ein Siegeslied' Israels?" £áW97 (1985): 103-9; James Watts, Psalm and Story: Inset Hymns in Hebrew Narrative (JSOTSup 139; Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1992), 41-62. 3 George Balenane, "Death of Jesus As a New Exodus," ReoExp 59 (1962): 27-41; D. Daube, The Exodus Pattern in the Bible (London: Faber and Faber, 1963); David Pao, Acts and the Isaianic New Exodus (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2000); Richard D. Patterson, Nahum, Habakkuk, %phaniah (Chicago: Moody, 1991), 267-72, and "The Psalm of Habakkuk," Grace Theological Journal 8 (1987): 163-94;
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considerations. After sketching the contours of the biblical exodus and its transmission in the Old Testament, primary attention will be given to the exodus motif as a picture of a better hope. This will in turn provide a background for Jesus' own employment of this motif. I. The Exodus: The Primary Accounts Thoughts of Israel's deliverance from Egypt naturally turn to the account in the book of Exodus. Following the details of the slaying of the firstborn of Egypt and the Passover (Exod 12:29-13:16), the story of the exodus is traced. But even as Moses gives last minute instructions to the people concerning the commemoration of the Passover, he points out the goal of God's deliverance. The exodus would not be fully accomplished until God has brought his people safely into the land of promise (Exod 13:11). In informing the people of the eventual culmination of the exodus event, Moses is communicating the essence of the assurance that the Lord had given him previously: "The LORD the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob— appeared to me and said: I have watched over you and have seen what has been done to you in Egypt. And I have promised to bring you up out of your misery in Egypt into . . . a landflowingwith milk and honey." (Exod 3:16-17) The Lord's words recall his great promise to Abraham that the divine blessing of all people would be channeled through the line of Abraham (Gen 12:1-3; 15:1-19; 17:1-8; 22:15-18). God would subsequently deliver Abraham himself from Egypt (Gen 12:18-20), after which the Lord told him that the land of Canaan was to be his and his heirs'in perpetuity (Gen 13:14-18; cf. 17:8). God also revealed to him that he should "know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions" (Gen 15:13-14). Thus Israel's stay in and deliverance from Egypt was revealed to Abram/ Abraham long before Israel's descent into Egypt. Based on the promises regarding the exodus, Joseph gave instructions concerning the taking of his remains to Canaan when die exodus should occur (Gen 50:24-25), a charge that Moses dutifully carried out (Exod 13:19). The data of these texts thus make it clear that the exodus was intimately tied to the Abrahamic Covenant and comprised not only the actual deliverance from Egypt but the entire trek to the Promised Land. As Michael Fishbane observes, "The exodus from Egyptian bondage was bound to the conquest of the promised land of Canaan. Indeed, the divine oracle to Abraham in Genesis 15:13-16 ties the inheritance of the land to a future restoration from a land of bondage."4
Rikki Watts, "Consolation or Confrontation? Isaiah 40-55 and the Delay of the New Exodus," TynBuU\ (1990): 31-59, and Isaiah's New Exodus m Mark (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1997); William Webb, Returning Home: New Covenant and Second Exodus as the Contextfir2 Corinthians 6.14-7.1 (JSOTSup 85; Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1993). 4 Michael Fishbane, Text and Texture (New York: Shocken Books, 1979), 122.
The GUgamesh Epic and Old Testament ParaMs (Chicago: University of Chicago Press. H. Steinberg. S. (1) God. it would appear that the essential contours of the exodus event were told and handed down in Israel's poetic literature in what may be termed an exodus epic cycle.. 17). For details. For Egypt. The poem concentrates on three themes: the deliverance through the sea (Exod 15:1-12). 409-34. "Psalm. see Patterson. see also Theodore Hiebert. ^ephaniah. A. Habakkuk. and Deuteronomy. The epic was even alive as far away as ancient India. Atlanta: Scholars Press. "Epic. Combining Exod 15:1-18 and Hab 3:3-15. traditional poetic aspect This poetic form was specifically epic in character. 267-72. Israel's Divine Warrior. Excellent discussions of epic genre can be found in many sources." 163-94. 6 For details. . 1980). 1952). 7 See Patterson. As U. Another long piece contributing to the epic cycle is found in Hab 3:3-15. it would seem only natural that the Hebrews would also possess something of that nature.. 55-60. Nahum. 1963). 1986). delivers his people from Egypt and defeats the pursuing Egyptians at 5 U. 154-59. Granted the wide general use of epic genre in the ancient Near Eastern and Mediterranean world. Although it commemorates the days of the conquest. Peter Craigie. itself set into the narrative of the journey from Egypt to Mount Sinai (Exod 13:17-19:2). see Vincent Smith. Basham. see Frank Cross. 269. of course. For the classical world. see Samuel Kramer. For example. The Oxford History of India (3d ed. 1:195-200. 1958). Told in poetry that belongs to an earlier stage of the Hebrew language. Numbers. 1949). 1964)." JBL 88 (1959): 253-65. When we have regard to the fact that the relevant passages depict the events in poetic colours and expressions. which was liable to variations. Habakkuk. see Miriam Lichtheim.. 1963). The second (w.. Jerusalem: Magnes Press. recurring verbatim in quite a number of different verses. Canaanite Myth and Hebrew Epk (Cambridge. The account proceeds infiveparts. Cassuto observes. see Robert Flacelière. For the ancient Near East. the main contours of the exodus epic may be noted. and that in the main these phrases are stereotyped. Moses Hadas. 1975). 8-15) is.CONTOURS OF THE EXODUS MOTIF 27 Although the narrative concerning the exodus and the journey to Canaan is recorded in vast portions of Exodus. 1-63. 2:73. L. 2:57-72. belongs to Moses' great victory song in Exod 15:1-18. Cassuto. Leviticus. Zephaniah. 1973). Oxford: Clarendon. Alexander Heidel. the journey on the way to Canaan (w. Berkeley: University of California Press.6 the passage is composed of two short poems. like Exod 15:1-18. New York: Hawthorne. Ancient Egyptian literature (3 vols.7 The first (w.. but assumed a fixed. see Catherine Ing. a victory song. The Wonder That Was India (2d ed. 2 vols. A History of Latin Literature (New York: Columbia University Press.5 Pride of place." in Biblical & Oriental Studies (2 vols. Mass. 14-16).. A Literary History of Greece (Chicago: Aldine Publishing Company. 13. it points out that victory began with the defeat of Pharaoh both in Egypt and at the sea..: Harvard University Press. The Sumerians (Chicago: University of Chicago Press. God of My Victory (HSM 38. 1953). Nahum. 471 -78." in CasselTs Encyclopedia of Literature (éd. London: Cassell and Company. 184-205. For Syro-Palestine. "The Israelite Epic.. and the successful entry into the Promised Land where God will establish his holy dwelling (w. "The Song of Deborah and the Epic of Tukulti-ninurta. 3-7) describes God's leading of his heavenly and earthly hosts from the south in an awe-inspiring theophany. it follows that these legends were not handed down orally in a simple prosaic speech.
the skies resounded with thunder. your way through the mighty waters. 13-14. Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind. (w. O God. To be sure. He brings those parted waters back over the soldiers. while delivering his people from their enemies (Exod 15:1416). a full epic has not been inscripturated as one grand story. he destroys the Egyptian army when it attempts to do the same thing.g. Judg 5:4-5. Pss 18:7-15. Ps 68:7-8). 68:8-9. we learn of a shaking earth and pelting rain against the Egyptians as they are stranded in the middle of the sea (Ps 77:16-18). incomparable. Other early poetic pieces recall these themes and add other details concerning the exodus event. Hab 3:7). Deut 33:2. Your path led through the sea. God leads his people up from the south (Hab 3:3-5) through the Transjordanian nations who cringe in fear before Israel's Omnipotent Redeemer (Exod 15:14-16. The waters saw you. though your footprints were not seen. as well as a mighty display in nature (cf. Psalm 77 contains many allusions to the exodus. he displays his mighty power in nature (Hab 3:3-6. Second Samuel 22:8-16 (= Ps 18:7-15) records such matters as a shaking mountain and the darkness so reminiscent of Israel before Mount Sinai. he recalls God's redemption of his covenant people out of Egypt (Ps 77:15). we get a fuller picture of those miraculous events. the earth trembled and quaked. 16-19) These poetic portions betray thematic and grammatical features that speak of a stage considerably earlier than the standard Hebrew poetry. the waters saw you and writhed. the very depths were convulsed. Exod 15:11. In addition to the main features of the exodus sketched above. The victorious movement from the south and the accompanying powerful natural phenomena are also noted in several places (e.28 WESTMINSTER THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL the sea. killing them to the last man (Exod 15:1-12.. (5) Eventually Israel reaches the Jordan River. We are informed that God used such phenomena repeatedly as an indication of his powerful presence on behalf of his people as they moved into the Holy Land (Judg 5:4-5. Ps 144:5-6). 8). your arrowsflashedback and forth. He follows this with a high note of praise by tucking in poetic bits drawn from the earlier traditions of the victory at the sea. (2) God therefore could be trusted to lead his people on to Mount Sinai and eventually to the land of promise (Exod 15:13. Although God parts the waters and forms a path in the sea so that Israel may pass through safely. The clouds poured down water. If they are not to be dismissed as poetic hyperbole. Hab 3:13-15). 17). 14-16). 144:5-6). (3) After leaving Sinai. your lightning lit up the world. As the psalmist praises the Lord as a holy. whose waters also are overcome by Israel's God (Hab 3:6. cf. This may be . wonder-working God who demonstrated his power among the nations (w.10-11). (4) As God guides his people toward the Holy Land.
23:15.C. who moved in mighty power to defend. Israel's Redeemer. 9:1). 8 . Though not always mutually exclusive and at times overlapping. Attention is called to the fact of the exodus for many reasons such as in dealing with false prophets in Israel (Deut 13:5) or in rebuking those who would attempt to entice fellow Israelites to apostatize (Num 13:10). Thus.. Num 1:1. it should be pointed out that a good case for the traditional biblical date can be made. Exod 19:1. it is Yahweh. when the Moabite king Balak sent for Balaam to come and curse Israel. he pointed to the existing Israelite presence as a "people that has come out of Egypt" and "covers the face of the land" (Num 22:5. Beginning with the latter half of the Pentateuch the exodus was cited as an observable and undeniable fact. He is indeed its Divine Warrior and covenant-keeping God. II. it seems surprisingly strange that they who were so recently redeemed should forget all that had Because Solomon's accession to the throne is generally agreed upon as occurring in 931/30 B.8 The fact of the exodus can be seen in the narrator of Kings' observation that the northern kingdom fell to Assyrian invaders because Israel departed from the God who had redeemed them out of Egypt (2 Kgs 17:7). Although the issues in the ongoing debate concerning the problems relative to the dating of the exodus are not in focus here. deliver. Following a thorough investigation of the Egyptian evidence. The exodus event is retold not only in various settings and lengths but stresses individual threads of the whole fabric.C. 11). The exodus is also mentioned or alluded to with distinctive emphases in accordance with the needs of the context. Scattered reminiscences concerning the exodus event. "The LORD will reign forever and ever" (Exod 15:18). at least a half-dozen different contextual categories may be discerned. and direct his people. Throughout its history many have pointed to that miraculous time as the cornerstone of Israel's national existence. taking this text at face value would indicate that the exodus happened in 1447/46 B. First Kings 6:1 reports that Israel's exodus took place 480 years before the fourth year of Solomon's reign.CONTOURS OF THE EXODUS MOTIF 29 because it would be all too easy to treat the account as a mere legend like those of the ancient world or to reverence the words themselves rather than the Author of the Word. William Shea ("Date of the Exodus.." 254-55) suggests that there is much to commend an exodus in Egypt's eighteenth dynasty. The Exodus as Historical Witness Against Israel In light of God's miraculous intervention on Israel's behalf. 1. 34:18. however. 2. underscore in each case the proper praise of God. He alone is God and to be praised. Surely.g. The Exodus as Historical Fact In a number of instances the exodus was given historical notice simply to date an event or episode in Israel's history (e. It is not Moses or Israel that takes center stage in the unfolding drama of Israel's redemption but God. From Egypt to Canaan. The Exodus: Its Transmission in the Old Testament The ancient epic tradition rehearsing the movement from Egypt to the Promised Land became a living part of Israel's experience. then.
In connection with the united monarchy the Lord condemns the past sins of the Amalekites (1 Sam 15:2-3) and later instructs David with regard to the building of the Temple to serve as the Lord's earthly dwelling place (2 Chron 6:5-6). 18-20. They were to remember and observe this day in which God devastated the Egyptians but passed over the homes of the Israelites (Exod 12:21-27). Yet that is precisely what happened. who rescued you from slavery in Egypt" (Exod 20:2. 54-55). Deut 5:6). 23:43) or social relationships (Lev 25:38. Because the Israelites took their eyes off of the Lord.g. Amos 2:10-16. Such ingratitude would be noted again and again in the narrative concerning the journey to the Promised Land (Exod 15:14. such as their penchant for going after Baal (Hos 11:2-3) or for violating his covenant with them in various ways (Mie 6:1-5). The remembrances of the exodus experience in these pentateuchal texts are thus uniformly negative.. 32:1. The Exodus as a Source of Instruction. Indeed. Unfortunately. many of God's declarations with regard to Israel contain his denunciation of them. Deut 16:1-8) that has continued until this very time. 21:5. Num 11:1. "Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt?" (Exod 14:11). Even before the crossing of the sea they complained. they reaped the reward of infidelity by wandering forty years in the wilderness. . the Lord declares. Indeed. In so doing. Lev 22:33. Hos 13:4-15. Deut 1:2-6). cf. a number of texts expand the historical perspective of the exodus account by recording the redeemed people's whining ingratitude. 16:3. 17:2. the Passover celebration became a fixed tradition for Israel (Lev 23:4-8.42. the pentateuchal texts often record God's mention of Israel's redemption from Egyptian bondage in association with the Lord's delivering various stipulations for Israel's worship experience (Exod 29:46. Moses delivered the Lord's instructions to the people. Warning. Later. The Exodus in God's Declarations God himself often takes the exodus experiences as a point of reference in his speeches to his redeemed people. Similar instructions were given to the people soon afterward at Succoth (Exod 13:1-16). 14:2-4. and Admonition Instruction. 4. 9:7-10). Similarly. 20:5. Their conduct led him to confront them for their sins. "I am the LORD your God. Thus in announcing the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai. Already on the day that the Lord was to strike down everyfirstbornof Egypt. a retiring Joshua declared God's words as to the fact that it was Yahweh who rescued Israel from the Egyptians at the sea and guided them into the land where they now lived (Josh 24:5-13). 3.30 WESTMINSTER THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL occurred. the Israelites are at times challenged to proper living before the Lord (Num 15:41) and the rewards for continuedfidelity(Lev 26:3-13). he includes a threat of judgment with the denunciation (e. In most of these instances when God applies the remembrance of the exodus. Several of the texts in which the exodus experience is mentioned contain instructions from God with regard to covenant living. 3.
Thus the angel of the Lord reprimanded the people in the days of the judges for their failure to appropriate the covenant blessings that God had given to their forefathers at the time of the exodus. What a privilege Israel has had! Israel is unique in that it alone has heard God "speaking from . they have degenerated into a bunch of evildoers (Jer 7:21-29).. much as God delivered oppressed Israel from Egypt. 106). they have turned to idolatry. 11:1-3. Warning. Because of their infidelity. 25:17-19). 34:8-22). Others concern proper worship protocol when the Israelites have setded down in Canaan (Deut 26:1-11) and the need for God's people to keep the terms of their covenant with the Lord (Deut 6:20-25.. 7:7-12. Exod 33:1-6).CONTOURS OF THE EXODUS MOTIF 31 Further instructions based upon the exodus experience occur frequently in Deuteronomy. guiding them through many perils in the wilderness. Thus Jeremiah warns Babylon that. Ezekiel (20:4-31). warnings. 29:1-29).g. 5-6). including the exodus. Turning to his own people. and an announcement of comingjudgment. In the transitional days at the end of the period of the judges. and in some cases instructions. Rather than remaining loyal to the God who brought Israel up out of Egypt. 24:8-9. Moses' admonitions to the Israelites are given in various passages in Deuteronomy. Many texts contain warnings to God's people concerning the consequences of disobedience toward God or infidelity (e. Such speeches characteristically contain two main features: an accusation or denunciation. 2 Chron 7:20-21). Samuel delivers the Lord's condemnation of their motives in demanding a king. Jeremiah points out that they have been ungrateful. and denunciations may all be found in a given context (e. Historical remembrances of the exodus became examples that served as springboards for prophetic denunciations. In Deut 4:32-40 Mosestiestogether several key themes relative to Israel's covenant relation with the Lord. Thus Hosea records God's disappointment and displeasure with Israel for forgetting his redemption of them from Egypt and turning to idolatry (Hos 11:1-4). they preferred to have a human king(l Sam 10:18-19). especially the worship of the Canaanite storm god Baal (Jer 2:5-9). Rather than remembering God's redeeming grace toward them in bringing them out of Egypt. Admonition. At times strong warnings turn into denunciations. and Amos (2:10-11). Similar oracles of judgment can be found in Jeremiah (11:4-17.g. when the Israelites began to clamor for a king. Some instructions concern the treatment of people who opposed the Israelites during their journey to the Promised Land (Deut 23:3-6. Clear denunciations of Israel can be found in those historical psalms that mention God's goodness to his people during the exodus experiences despite Israel's repeated disobedience (Pss 78. Israel's penchant for spiritual disobedience often forms part of an oracle of judgment. so he will deliver them again from Babylon (Jer 50:33-38). and bringing them safely into the land of promise. God announces Israel's sure judgment (w. Their disobedience would mean that the people of the land whom they should have driven out would remain as thorns and a snare to them (Judg 2:1-3). Despite all the clear commands of God and his warnings through his prophets.
106:21-22). having instructed the people with regard to the people they wouldfindliving in Canaan. by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm" and "by great and awesome deeds" (Deut 4:34). dried up the sea. Other Deuteronomic texts add still further to the picture of the exodus motif. They could count on his strength and provision (Hag 2:4-5). Exod 19:21 . the citizens of Jericho were terrified (Josh 2:10-11). and strength (Deut 6:2-12. Thus Moses in petitioning the king of Edom for permission to pass through their territory on the way to Canaan mentions the historical precedence of the exodus from Egypt. These include the proper reverence of the Lord and keeping of his decrees.6. God had delivered them from their oppression in Egypt. Thus Moses. 105:23-45). In his farewell address Samuel reminds the people of his day of God's great goodness on behalf of his people (1 Sam 12:6-8). Deut 6:4). In doing so he reminds them that although the work seemed insurmountable. . Rahab acknowledged to them that the people knew full well how Yahweh had delivered his people from Egypt. The Exodus as Testimony. Much later the prophet Haggai admonishes those who returned to the land from exile to undertake the task of rebuilding the Temple. now they simply wished for safe passage through Edomite territory (Num 20:14-17). cf. Praise. Therefore. On entering the land Joshua took stones from the dried bed of the Jordan River and erected them into a pillar as a testimony to God's stopping of the waters of the Jordan in order that Israel might pass through safely (Josh 4:19-24). 33. Several testimonies to the exodus occur in connection with the conquest of Canaan.g. the Lord who brought the people out of Egypt and into the land of promise was still in their midst. and defeated powerful kings on the journey to Canaan. and Prayer In many texts the exodus is mentioned as testimony to God's interceding on behalf of Israel. When Israelite spies were sent into Jericho to survey the situation. 5. Several other texts of an historical nature give testimony to God's part during the days of the exodus (e. by miraculous signs and wonders. Num 22:5. 20:18-21 . Subsequent leaders of Israel also employed admonitions utilizing the exodus motif.Pss78:l-14. Additional passages in Deuteronomy add to the significance of the exodus motif for proper theological perspective and godly living. The whole exodus event displayed the fact that Yahweh alone is God—there is no other (cf. The people of Gibeon would later bear a similar testimony (Josh 9:9-13). at times extolling God's patience with his thankless people (Neh 9:16-18. Only Israel has experienced divine deliverance from slavery to the most powerful nation on earth—and that by many "testings. challenged them to remain a holy people in order that they might see God's power used on their behalf even as in the days of the exodus (Deut 7:1-19). Thus Moses passes along God's commands for a balanced life. Pss 78:40-55. by war.32 WESTMINSTER THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL fire" at Mount Sinai (v.. 11:1-11). soul. as well as honoring him and loving him with all one's heart. 24:17) and lived to tell about it. 1 Kgs8:9.
in which he praises God for his faithfulness to the people throughout the entire exodus event from Egypt to the Promised Land (Jer 32:20-22). In the former. 1 Chron 17:21) in acknowledging his gratitude for the Lord's covenant with him (2 Sam 7:11-16) and God's channeling his great promise for Israel through the Davidic line (w. In response to Jeremiah's prayer. Several of the texts that reflect the exodus experiences are found in the prayers of God's servants. He reminds God that Israel was his special possession. Moses intercedes with God for his mercy on behalf of Israel after they sinned in making the golden calf idol (Exod 32:11-14). A particularly significant case can be noted in Jer 32.. Moses also records a similar time of intercessory prayer for Israel when they chose to believe an evil report concerning the dangers that lay ahead in Canaan Peut 9:25-29). 18-21). Pss 66:3-6. Would not people question his purposes in dealing with his people if he were to destroy them here at Mount Sinai? Moses points out that these people were the heirs of the Abrahamic Covenant. Especially noteworthy are Pss 106:7-33 and 114. Psalm 114 commemorates the entire exodus event including Israel's departure from Egypt and the miraculous journey that took them through the sea. "whom you brought from Egypt by your mighty power and glorious strength" peut 9:29). Other examples of the remembrance of the exodus may be found in the prayers of the prophets (e.g. The seventh-century prophet Habakkuk expresses a similar sentiment: I have heard of your fame. cf. the eighth-century prophet Micah prays that God would once again display his marvelous power as he had done at the time of the exodus and states his confidence in the God of the Abrahamic Covenant (Mie 7:14-20). in our time make them known.CONTOURS OF THE EXODUS MOTIF 33 The emphasis of many of the testimonial texts is one of praise for all that God did in connection with the exodus (e. 40). I stand in awe of your deeds. This is true of several of those found in the Psalms (e. Isa 63:7-18). Another exodus lay ahead as well as a new covenant that would bring all the promises made to Abraham and David to their final fulfillment. 135:8-9). the psalmist declares that God is to be praised for delivering a thoughtless people from their bondage in Egypt and bringing them safely through the sea despite their constant tendency for rebellion. (Hab 3:2) LORD.g. Shortly before the fall of the northern kingdom.. God's instructions to Jeremiah to purchase his uncle'sfieldin Anathoth in the face of the certain Babylonian conquest of Judah was to serve as a source of hope for all. and the Jordan River. Renew them in our day. in wrath remember mercy.g. God's people will yet enjoy a glorious return to the land and live everlastingly in abiding peace and felicity. God assures Jeremiah that he will make a new everlasting covenant with his people (v. . the wilderness. O LORD. David also cites God's redemption of Israel in the exodus (2 Sam 7:23.. Exod 18:10). 80:8. In so doing he petitions God on the basis of the Lord's established reputation.
. As of old the New Exodus will also be accompanied by a revelation of Yahweh's glory (40:5. Isaiah prophesies the future exodus in several passages: Yahweh's advent "in strength" inaugurates the deliverance of his people from bond age among the nations (40:1 Off. 52:12). The Exodus as a Source of Hope While many pentateuchal texts already express a note of hope in God's good intentions toward an obedient people (e. 10 John Oswalt.g. "Consolation or Confrontation?" 33-34. 1986). Many of these prophecies point out that when Israel's judgment has caused them to go into captivity. Such are those passages that center upon the Messianic era. 77:21 . 2000)." in A Complete Literary Guide to the Bible (ed." see the discussion in Richard D. Grand Rapids: Zondervan. Isa 61:1-3.. It becomes a reason to hope. the Lord assures his people that God's judgment will turn against Israel's oppressors (Isa 10:26). the fact remains that God will one day lead his people in a new exodus that will be even greater than the first. "The coming destruction which cannot be averted is not a cause for despair. 295-96. 49:9ff and Exod 17:1-7. repentant remnant (e.11 In most cases that contain a reference to the exodus experience it seems clear that the historical exodus from Egypt serves as an assurance of future exoduses. New York: Doubleday.^ Many texts clearly predict events that belong to the end times. As John Oswalt observes. judgment and hope combined together to serve as fully developed kingdom oracles. Longman ΠΙ. 78:52f). cf. 80-81. providing food and water (49:9..g. Isa 52:4-13). the eschatological future. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. 48:21) in a miraculous transformation of the wilderness (43:19f. Isa 48:20-21). As previously noted in the case of Jeremiah Israel's hope for the future is often tied to the exodus motif. Ex. 9 . Ex. 3:2 If. 52:1 Off).g. f ( leading the glorious procession (40: lOf. 52:10). The Book of Isaiah Chapters 1-39 (NICOT. Num 20:8). Jer 16:14-15. Hos 11:1-11). L. 11 For the term "kingdom oracles. 15:13. see Joseph Blenkinsopp. Often it is difficult to know whether a given text speaks of a future that is some what close at hand or to a far distant future or both (e. Isaiah 40-55: ANew Translation with Introduction and Commen tary (AB 19A. 42:16. 272. 14:19f). cf. cf.34 WESTMINSTER THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 6.g. "Old Testament Prophecy. Some clearly refer to a time that lay in the near future after Israel's historical exile has run its course (e.g. The goal of the New Exodus is the enthronement of Yahweh in a restored erusalemJ Zion. Ezek 20:32-38). cf. See also Watts. Isaiah's New Exodus in Mark.. Thus in speaking of that grand time Isaiah points to the coming of the Lord with his For details. 51:9ff. and being both front and rear guard in the cloud and in the ire 52:12. 302-3. 1993). Yahweh will again f ( shepherd his people (40:11 . 12 Watts. Pss. 49:10. Often the perspective is such that near and distant futures blend into one another (e. Lev 26:44-45). Ryken and T. oracles of hope are often characteristic of the prophetic writings. Patterson.. As he had dried up the sea of old (51:9ff) so Yahweh will accompany them through the waters and the ire 43: l-3(-7))."10 Indeed.9 Thus in promising relief from the Assyrian captivity. Nevertheless. oracles of judgment can at times be a basis for veiled hope. there will be restoration for a humbled.
As surely as God led his people along the way in thatfirstexodus. who will exercise power like that at the time of the exodus (Ps 89:20-25. the Redeemed of the LORD. the Messiah.David's heir. his reward is with him. for it will serve as a road for a holy redeemed people to return homeward. cf.CONTOURS OF THE EXODUS MOTIF 35 people (Isa 40:1-13). Build up. The Messiah will reign injustice and righteousness (Isa 11:1-9. 66:18-23. build up the highway! Remove the stones. God's corporatefirstborn(Exod 4:2223). 3). and felicity." 13 . having been defeated in a climactic judgment by the Lord. 45:22. Raise a banner for the nations. with singing. 43:16-20. The theme of the way is characteristic of Isaiah. marvelous as it was. 52)findsspiritual significance in the term "way": "The terminology of the way becomes a key theme in the reformulation of the Exodus paradigm in Isaiah 40-55. and his recompense accompanies him. he will do so once again. (Isa 62:10-12) In other passages it is the Lord who goes before his helpless people "to smooth out the road ahead of them" (Isa 42:16. make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God" (v. will then turn to him. Those who will be living in Jerusalem in that day are urged: Prepare the way for the people. "In the desert prepare the way for the Lord. 51:4-5. That road to Zion will be named "the Way of Holiness" (Isa 35:8). Ruling over Israel. 14 David Pao (Acts. Ps 2:7-9. 9-11. 66:18). Zech 14:16). Earlier he prophesied that those who would return from exile in Assyria would be led along the highway that God would make (Isa 11:16). cf. and God's people from the nations will come to worship the Lord in Zion (Zeph 3:8-10.' but they will say. The LORD has made proclamation to the ends of the earth: "Say to the Daughter of Zion. Ezek 34:23-24). Of God's servant. cAs surely as the LORD Uves. 49:11-12). 60:1-22. 11:10-16). everlasting joy will crown their heads" (Isa 35:10. In that future exodus from the nations they will "return . will be God'sfirstborn. the Lord declares. 43:16-19. who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt. Jer 23:5-6. 33:15-16). . 49:5-6. will pale in comparison with the final exodus and return of God's people. Thefirstexodus.13 In that day the Holy One. 65:17-25. 52:12). 10.14 Once restored to the land they are to be an avenue of the message of redemption and blessing for all people (Isa 2:2-4. *See. The Way' symbolizes the presence of God in the ancient Exodus story as well as the anticipated eschatological event. 49:5. prosperity. cf. . "I will also make you a light for the Gentiles.' " They will be called the Holy People. who brought the descendants of Israel up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where he had banished them' " (Jer 23:7-8). as well as one dominated by the glory of God (Isa 40:5. your Savior comes! See.18) and lead then safely back to their land (Isa 40:3-5. Isa 19:19-25. that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth" (Isa 49:6). 51:10-11. The era thus inaugurated will be one of great blessedness. Gen 12:3. cf. the God of Israel will command the release of his own from all the distant lands (Isa 43:3-7. Isaiah records the words of a messenger crying.12. As surely as the LORD lives. The nations. So glorious will be that time when God has called his people to himself that people "will no longer say. Hab 2:14).
9:25-29. 17:1-8) channeled through the line of David (2 Sam 7:11-26. Therefore. Both terms occur in Ezek 37:26 where they are connected with the earlier promises in the Davidic and New Covenants (Ezek 37:24-27).. 24-26): The Messiah. (2) The name Jacob could also recall something of Israel's propensity to self-seeking and spiritual disobedience despite the Lord's patient dealing with his people. 927. Hos 2:13-23). 33:1. "Ezekiel.16). (1) The promise to Abraham was transmitted first to Isaac (Gen 26:1-6) and then to Jacob (Gen 28:10-15. Num 32:11. 31:42). 55:3. David's heir will reign over them. as the third of the patriarchs and the final member of the thematic formula. 21-22). Ezekiel's mentioning of the realization of the Abrahamic Covenant in terms of "the land I gave to my servant Jacob" (Ezek 37:25) has been a long-standing puzzle. the promise of God's continued presence with his people and the assurance of their right to the Promised Land in perpetuity often became associated with the theme of "the God of Abraham. 22b." JETS 42 (1999): 389-92. . Ezek 16:60). 89:20-29. The prophets often mention the New Covenant. The restoration of God's people will therefore be both physical and spiritual.15 Particularly significant in this regard is the Lord's message to Ezekiel.g. 34:10b-31 .16 15 It was noted above that the concept of exodus is found already in the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen 15:13-14). 2 Kgs 13:23. 36:16-32. 34:1-4. God specifically told Jacob. Ps 105:6-11).36 WESTMINSTER THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL That age will be the time when God's New Covenant will reach its final intended goal (Isa 55:3-5. Grand Rapids: Zondervan. 35-37) reaches its intended goal in a grand New Covenant (Jer 31:31 -34) as centered in Israel's Messiah. which were written on tablets of stone. Jer 31:31 -34). There his redeemed and purified people will worship God in truth (v. David's greater Son. "Jacob" could stand for the original covenant promise. and Jacob" (Gen 50:24. 29:12-13. 6 of The Expontor's Bible Commentary. 16 Ralph Alexander. Thus the age-old promise to Abraham (Gen 12:1-3. Deut 6:10. the consummate heir of David (Isa 55:3-5. 1986). new exodus of his people (Ezek 37:18-28). the standards of God's New Covenant will be written on the hearts of his people (Jer 31:31-34). Patterson. cf.. He will gather them from all the nations and bring them back to the land of God's ancient promise (w. Ezek 34:35) and an everlasting covenant (Isa 24:5. 23a. "The Old Testament Use of an Archetype: The Trickster. Moreover. 24a. 23). Isaac." in Isaiah-Ezekiel (vol. "The land I gave to Abraham and Isaac I also give to you. and I will give this land to your descendants after you" (Gen 35:12). Unlike the precepts of the old covenant. See further. 61:8. Further. 25b. This united people of God would be cleansed from their former idolatry and transgressions through the complete forgiveness provided by the Messiah's death and the ministry of the Spirit promised in the new covenant (v. Frank Gaebelein et al. would be the only King. 1 Chron 16:16-18. in which he promises a coming. Stffljurther Jacob is often mentioned as the third in the chain of the family patriarchs to whom God's promise was made (e. 2 Chron 30:6-9). 1 Kgs 18:36. 50:5. Pss 2:4-9. Jer 32:40. though often under corresponding names such as a covenant of peace (Isa 54:10. God would one day bring his people out of Egypt. Perhaps the solution is to be sought along two lines. and Prince that Israel would ever have in accord with the Davidic covenant (w. shepherding a faithful and productive people under a great new covenant of peace (w. 30:20. 1 Chron 29:18. 2 Sam 7:13. Exod 32:13. Much as the Lord called Abram out of Ur and entered into covenant with him (Gen 12:1-3). Ezek 34:20-30). ed. Shepherd. Richard D.
As F. as David 17 F. 1970). Included in these events are John the Baptist's preparation ministry. a section in Isaiah that. 18 F. . especially those that occur in the wilderness or on mountains. Heb 8). Bruce.. All four evangelists make use of exodus imagery and even design their accounts of the narrative of salvation in exodus patterns. Finally at the end of the Bible. in This is That: The New Testament Development of Some Old Testament Themes. III. Bruce observes. "In some degree the New Testament sees certain phrases of the Exodus pattern recapitulated in the personal experience of Christ. 2 Cor 3:6. nor that Christ himself uses exodus imagery when he speaks of his office as Messiah.CONTOURS OF THE EXODUS MOTIF 37 Then God's dwelling "will be with them. 32. and the crucifixion and resurrection. F. F. The Exodus: Its Transmission in the New Testament 1. F. John's account of history's conclusion makes use of familiar images and motifs that reflect exodus influence. Christ's earthly ministry is preceded and announced by the New Isaianic herald."17 More specifically. I will be their God. Thus. Events of Christ's Earthly Life Many of the key events in Christ's earthly life are associated with the exodus of the Old Testament. exodus motifs. In the Gospel accounts. identified in the New Testament as John the Baptist. Bruce. F. It should not be surprising. In all three of these important events in salvation history. revealing his covenant in detail and claiming the nation as his own at Mount Sinai.. F. Bruce remarks. Even the settings of some of the events in Christ's earthly life have exodus parallels. to find that the narrative of Christ's earthly ministry is set forth in images and patterns provided by the exodus. therefore. Christ's baptism by John. 1968). 34. and they will be my people" (Ezek 37:27)."18 At three key points in the biblical narrative. God initiates the New Covenant in Jesus Christ in terms of exodus motifs. God establishes the nation of Israel in the exodus. In the Old Testament. images. The Isaianic herald is revealed in the prologue to Isa 40-55. The New Testament Development of Old Testament Themes (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. the triumphal entry into Jerusalem. and patterns inform the story of God's redemptive work in human history. the temptation in the wilderness. Many of the images and patterns found in the exodus motif become central to Jesus' earthly ministry. the Transfiguration. the Exodus provides for the rest of the biblical record a form of language and imagery for communicating the message of salvation. It is this message of hope that becomes pivotal for further revelation with the coming of Jesus and the inauguration of the New Covenant (Matt 26:27-29. several of Christ's ministry activities (such as the feeding of the 5000 and his walking on the water). ". Devonshire: Paternoster Press. the exodus material underscores the hope that the coming kingdom of God offers. the story of salvation in the New Testament is often presented in exodus terms. This is That: The New Testament Development of Some Old Testament Themes (Exeter. the journey to Jerusalem.
Ato. 'God with us'" (Matt 1:23). Mark links the exodus with the promise of the coming kingdom. Luke follows the nativity narrative with John's ministry. 19 20 21 22 Pao. The angel's message identifies Jesus of Nazareth with Isa 7:14. Luke 3:1-6. and they will call him Emmanuel'—which means. Pao. as Rikki Watts demonstrates. In exodus terms. in announcing John's ministry as the herald of Christ."19 Isaiah's voice in the wilderness simultaneously "evokes. . Mark's Isaianic New Exodus references set the tone of expectation and hope that pervades his Gospel and.38 WESTMINSTER THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL Pao states.. the virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son.. Ibid. Ato. In this regard. John 1:19. 70-74. and John follows his Prologue of the Logos with the account of John the Baptist. Matthew's account of the birth of Christ is brief.21 Augustine Stock stresses the importance of "the wilderness place" in Mark's Gospel and links it with the wilderness of the exodus and the ministries of Moses. In the New Testament. Augustine Stock. Mark 1:1-3. "the foundation story of ancient Israel"20 and heralds comfort and hope for God's scattered people. Indeed.: Liturgical Press.. Watts. The New Testament presence of Messiah brings to an end the sense of banishment the Israelites must have felt when God seemed to be ignoring his people for all those years. provide the narrative framework for the entire Gospel. "The early Christian announcement of the presence of God among His people is therefore an announcement of the end of the exile. the Lord promises the hope to his people that he would dwell among them. but it strikes the keynote of hope that the Son of David brings. . As we might expect. the angel announces that " ' .22 Thus. In all four Gospels."23 In effect. the Baptist preaches the hope of the soon-coming kingdom of God and a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. all four evangelists reference John the Baptist as the voice in the wilderness and thus link Christ's earthly ministry with the New Exodus of the Old Testament (Matt 3:1-3. the beginning of a new period that is characterized by the salvific work of God in history. 23 . Matthew follows Joseph and Mary's return from Egypt with his account of John the Baptist. 52. 41. declaring him the Messiah. In Joseph's dream. 1969). Isaiah's New Exodus in Mark.23). it is as if they had been wandering in the wilderness and were now to enter the Promised Land. signifies ". the Gospels begin with expectation and hope in the nativity narratives. Jesus Christ brings to an end the exile of true Israel—those who would accept him as Messiah when he came preaching the kingdom and calling them to faith. The Way in the Wilderness (Collegeville. Mark emphasizes the Isaianic New Exodus connections in his Gospel by proclaiming John as the herald of the Messiah. With a simple declaration to a poor carpenter. Minn." in Pao's terms. to be certain. The angel's use of the name Emmanuel in his revelation to Joseph is significant because it brings to an end the intertestamental years of God's silence. 4. In the opening verses of his Gospel. David Pao comments. For his part. 146. 89. John's announcement is given priority in declaring the arrival of the Messiah.
Mark 1:12. Most of those who heard John speak that day were Israelites who would have been thoroughly familiar with the necessity of a lamb for sin atonement. for he alone records John's announcement that Christ is "the Lamb of God. The Israelites spent forty years in the wilderness. Christ is led by the Spirit into the wilderness where he remains forty days. but these are enough to suggest that Christ's wilderness sojourn was intended at least to bring the Old Testament exodus wanderings to mind and may even point the way to the end of the spiritual wasteland the Israelites were experiencing at the time of Christ's appearance. Christ does not wander aimlessly in the wilderness. . The associations of Christ's temptations with the wilderness wanderings of the ancient Israelites in the desert are obvious. 232. Watts. but he instructed his disciples not to worry about food and to feed the multitudes who gathered to hear him speak. Mark 1:9-13. constitute the provision of manna in Israel's founding moment Exodus experience. John's identification of Christ as the Agnus Dei would connect the whole system of Old Testament blood sacrifices in their minds with the one who was being baptized. Luke 4:1). In the exodus. who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). for he would in fact become their sacrifice and do away with the whole Old Testament system of sin sacrifices." 37. They are especially so in the contrasts. They may not have realized at the time. and they complained frequendy and bitterly to Moses that they would be better dead than wandering interminably (e. "Death of Jesus As a New Exodus. The feeding of the multitudes deserves comment. his first act occurs in the wilderness where he is baptized by John (Matt 3:13-16. Luke 3:21-22. Immediately after his baptism. Isaiah's New Exodus in Mark.24 The Evangelist John makes the clearest connection between Christ's baptism and Old Testament themes.CONTOURS OF THE EXODUS MOTIF 39 As Christ begins his public ministry. though we should not push them too far."25 That is. Christ fasted when he was alone in the wilderness.. The Israelites complained for food. Rather. John 1: 29-34). and God provided manna. Exod 16:2-3). how radical the hope was that Christ would bring them. however. Christ's baptism at once reminds the reader of exodus themes and brings the system of sacrificial offerings to an end. LXX) out of the Jordan with Christ's "coming up" (Mark 1:10) out of the water at his baptism. Christ. Rikki Watts notes that Christ's feedings of the multitudes ". on the other hand.. The New Testament analogues to God's feeding manna to the Israelites in the wilderness are Christ's encouragement to his disciples to trust God to provide their food (Luke 9:3) and his feeding of the multitudes who attended his teaching.. the exodus initiated the nation Balentine. In contrast.g. asks for no food and fasts. The contrasts could be extended. George Balentine draws attention to the similarities between the ancient Israelites crossing the Red Sea and their "coming up" (Josh 4:10. The Israelites must have found it difficult to see any purpose in what appeared to them to be random wandering. Jesus Christ stayed forty days. God provided daily manna for the hungry Israelites. he is led deliberately by the Spirit for the express purpose of facing the temptations (Matt 4:1.
The Transfiguration takes place on a mountain. also see Watts's footnotes 28-31 on pages 126-27. similarly Jesus takes three disciples to the mountain of Transfiguration. whereas in his visit to Jericho.. Similarly. especially in the Lukan account. kingdom. The Way. In the exodus event." with the Son of God feeding the multitudes fish and bread. so too there is a cloud and voice on the mount of Transfiguration (Mark 9:7.27 The Transfiguration demonstrates Christ's glory and must have been extremely encouraging to the disciples who were on the mountain with him. The next major event in Christ's earthly life is the Transfiguration. and contrasts the people's fear with the gracious invitation God 26 27 Stock. The connections between the exodus manna and the feeding of the multitudes appear only too obvious. Luke 9:28). even though they did not understand that the kingdom was a spiritual. If Luke did indeed have the exodus events in mind when he reported Christ's ministry in Jericho. The writer mentions thefire. A. and not a political. Watts. then. ". . God did not spare Jericho (apart from Rahab and her family). In Luke's Gospel. the writer draws an explicit parallel between Moses' Mount Sinai event (law) and Mount Zion (grace in Christ). Luke 9:34-35).. Stock notes. and trumpets at Mount Sinai. Christ's proclamation of the gospel initiates the "New Exodus. Rikki Watts notes several parallels that others have observed. it pointed to the future also. 126-27. He heals a blind man on his way to Jericho (Luke 18:35-43) and calls Zacchaeus to himself when he is in the city (Luke 19:1-10). Isaiah's New Exodus in Mark. anticipate the future kingdom in terms of the ancient exodus.40 WESTMINSTER THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL of Israel. as do God's meetings in the Old Testament with Moses when he gave him the Decalogue. Christ's ministry in Jericho has exodus overtones as well."26 for Jesus was the new Moses—the new shepherd— leading his people to the "Promised Land. Christ speaks of his imminent death as a "departure" (ESV. In the Episde to the Hebrews. The parallels between the Old Testament exodus and the New Testament Transfiguration are striking. leaving the rest of the disciples at the foot of the mountain (Exod 24:1. he could not have missed the irony that Jesus offers sight to a blind man and hope to a sinner at the very place where God destroyed the first pagan resistance to the ancient Israelites' occupation of the Promised Land. One wonders whether these miracles of healing and conversion are intended to contrast with the destruction of Jericho when the Israelitesfirstentered the Promised Land. Just as Mount Sinai was surrounded by hghtning and thunder. Matt 17:9-10. with God feeding the people. NIV) or exodus. Jesus deliberately stops to heal and redeem. and it too echoes exodus motifs and patterns. 79. showing and declaring Christ's glory. It also foreshadows Christ's eschatological return in glory and invites the disciples to hope for their future deliverance. Moses takes three people with him to the foot of Mount Sinai (along with the 70 elders of Israel). all of which terrified the Israelites (Heb 12:18-21). if Jesus' action [of feeding the multitudes in the wilderness] recalled the past.the storm." The miraculous feedings in the wilderness. signifying the awe-inspiring presence of God. In this regard.
much as Yahweh led his people through the wilderness in the Old Testament. 5:30.. "This sense of journey has been linked with the passion teaching and Jesus' increased concentration on the disciples such that the cWay' is the way of suffering discipleship reflecting Jesus' own 'way of the cross. 6:38). Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press. seeing in him their hope for freedom. Along the way. with Moses leading the Israelites—by a circuitous path. What Mark records in one chapter (chapter 10). 30 Ibid. Luke 9:51). Jesus heals the multitudes and teaches his disciples the cer tainty of his death and its necessity.' " 2 9 Watts expands this point. When he enters Jerusalem. Isaiah's New Exodus in Mark. purposeful decision to move toward Jerusalem and his death at Calvary. .. and glory to the three disciples who witnessed the event. Mark 11:1-10. In the entry on mountains in the Dictionary of Biblical Imagery the writer reflects. Parallels with the exodus include the travel narrative itself. . suggesting that esus leads the uncom J prehending disciples who are spiritually "blind" and "deaf" to Jerusalem. John 12:12-15).. especially in Luke. it is clear that Christ makes a deliberate. In both accounts. Following the Transfiguration. Matt 21:1-11.. the mountain-top experience announces Christ's deity. and their anticipation must have 28 "Mountain" in Dictionary of Biblical Imagery (ed. The Jewish multitudes that day must have thought of Jesus as something of a second Moses. and Tremper Longman ΙΠ. the movement from Sinai to Zion is the passage rom lavery to sin on f s the one hand to freedom in Christ on the other. then. 348. mountains in the Bible] declare the nature of God. 221ÍF. Christ moves deliberately toward Jerusalem to die for his people (cf. Christ is. The Transfiguration gives the disciples a foretaste of Christ's future glory.CONTOURS OF THE EXODUS MOTIF 41 makes in Christ Jesus. Leland Ryken. Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem" (9:51).. turns to Jerusalem at the appointed hour and leads his disciples on the way to his cruci fixion. 574. Luke initiates his middle section by stating. it must be admitted—to the Promised Land. James C. Thus Watts writes. "As symbols. however. for it occurs largely in rural and sometimes even wilderness places and leads to a teleologica! conclusion in which the people of God find "rest"—in the Old Testament Canaan and the New Testament promise of salva tion in Christ. Rikki Watts suggests that part of Christ's teaching of his disciples on the way to Jerusalem was the way of suffering that he and they must follow. " . they [i. In Hebrews. "the mediator of a new covenant. Luke 19:28-40. 125-26." (Heb 12:24). Mark 10:32. Jesus."28 In the Transfiguration.30 The travel narrative. 29 Watts. 1998). . Moses and the people nonetheless follow God's leading in the pillar of cloud by day and the iery illar f p by night. reenacts the exodus journey of the ancient Israelites. holiness.e. and Jesus' leading the disciples to Jerusalem where he will pay the price for their sins. in Watts's words. who came to do his father's will (John 4:34. Luke expands to several chapters (9:51-19:44). 31 Ibid. acclaimed by the "rejoicing crowds" for he "bears the appropriate authority"31 of the Messiah (cf. Though the exodus journey takes years to complete. Wilhoit.
87-91. 14. echoing his interpretation of the bread and wine "in terms of himself. Easier to recognize are the parallels between Christ's sacrificial death and the Old Testament paschal lamb sacrifices. Jesus' entry into Jerusalem in fulfillment of Zech.42 WESTMINSTER THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL been high. and the picture is complete. 49. 19:7. 36 Watts. 362. Latah's New Exodus in Mark... Howard Marshall. the link seems obvious and intentional. the triumphal entry concludes the journey/pilgrimage portion of the earthly ministry and positions Christ in Jerusalem tofinishhis redemptive work at Calvary. The Great Code: The Bible and literature (San Diego: Harcourt. F. "Death of Jesus As a New Exodus. Whatever John's intention was. for they rejected Christ's claims to be their Messiah. ". 6:1 . they were nonethelessfilledwith the hope they thought Jesus' triumphal entry promised them."36 Northrop Frye understands the Passover Lamb motif to begin as early as God's request of Abraham to sacrifice Isaac."32 While the crowds misinterpreted the freedom that Christ offered as political emancipation for them from Rome. raises several reservations on the matter. Brace and Company. 9). Howard Marshall. 35 I. on the other hand. 17. 12:11. 37 Northrop Frye. the Aposde Paul certainly thinks of Christ's sacrifice in paschal lamb and Passover terms (1 Cor 5:7). The Israelites of Christ's day did not recognize the significance of the exodus they were witnessing any more than the Israelites of old did.37 Add to these allusions to the paschal lamb the images of Christ in the Apocalypse as the Lamb (Rev 5:6. 1966). The sad truth is that. 1983). This is That. Bruce. Apart from the gospel writers. For modern readers with the Old and New Testaments at their disposal. who takes away the sin of the world. 12-13. and Peter does as well (1 Pet 1:19). to continue with the exodus Passover. F. Joachim Jeremías thinks John's use of the paschal motif was deliberate." 34.35 Rikki Watts sees the issue as "open to some question. 222. Balentine. 33 32 ."341. the same crowd that hailed Jesus as Messiah called out later that same week for his crucifixion. 34 Joachim Jeremías. Bruce writes. The Eucharistie Words ofJesus (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. just as the ancient Israelites who saw God's miraculous dealings with the Egyptians and the parting of the Red Sea murmured against Moses and complained that they were better off as slaves in Egypt. 14:1-5. Whether John deliberately framed his gospel narrative in paschal terms remains uncertain.' "33 John's allusion early in his Gospel to the Baptist's proclamation of Jesus as the paschal lamb initiates his gospel narrative in exodus terms. and to come to rest in "God's sacrifice of his son" as the antitype of the Old Testament lamb sacrifice. 'Behold the Lamb of God. 9:9 presents him as the king who comes in the name of the Lord to accomplish His victory for the deliverance of His people. it is difficult to discount the close association of the paschal terminology in 1:29 with the Passover sacrifice of Christ at Calvary. Seen in the larger narrative framework of Christ's earthly life. George L. initiated at thefirstPassover (Exod 12:120). Last Supper and Lord's Supper (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. 1980). 7:10. Balentine observes that Christ's "death at the symbolic hour of the paschal sacrifice recalls the words of the Baptist in [John] 1:29. 183.
Luke 4:14-21 ). only to be rejected as Moses was of old (cf.. If there is indeed a parallel between the darkness thrust on Egypt and that on the land in the hours leading up to Christ's death. not all who are descended from Israel are Israel" (Rom 9:6). Christ announces his second coming in terms of an eschatological exodus of all believers who will be gathered ". Christ's earthly ministry is bookended with exodus motifs. "thefirstbornover all creation" (Col 1:15). . darkness covers the land (Mark 15:33). Christ himself warns the Israelites. Christ makes explicit references to the exodus in his words about the events the disciples are witnessing. Similarly in the New Testament.. 2. thefirstbornof all Egypt are struck down (Mark 15:34)—payment for Pharaoh's refusal to bend to God's will. who . The plague on Egypt immediately precedes the killing of the firstborn. Jesus' Office as Messiah/the Christ Exodus material informs Jesus' office as Messiah/Christ. Details of Christ's life either parallel or contrast the exodus event. Christ offers in himself the kingdom of God and freedom from the slavery of sin. Along the way. Christ uses Isaianic New Exodus terminology to declare himself as Messiah (Luke 4:14-21). there may well be a parallel between the final Egyptian plague and Christ's death. and the darkness at Calvary immediately precedes Christ's expiration on the cross. The Mosaic exodus is essentially the narrative of Yahweh's redeeming his people from slavery in Egypt and leading them to Canaan.. Matt 10:7. only those who enter into God's rest. In Nazareth at the beginning of his public ministry. and a new generation enters the Promised Land. Jesus' ministry as Messiah offers numerous parallels to the Old Testament exodus. In the parable of the tenants.. Paul speaks of salvation in exodus terms when he teaches that ". In God'sfinaljudgment on Pharaoh.. from the four winds. This should come as no surprise. the crucifixion darkness three hours. for the evangelists take pains to connect the hope that Jesus of Nazareth offers with the messianic prophecies in the Old Testament and to parallel events in Christ's life with the Old Testament. It seems inescapable that these similarities are intentional. All four evangelists use exodus terminology to recount their narratives. dies as the payment for the sins of mankind—the father's righteous sacrifice of his Son for human sin. The Egyptian plague of darkness lasted three days. Those who trust Christ by faith are the people of God. from one end of the heavens to the other" (Matt 24:31). Similarly the penultimate plague that God visits upon Egypt is the plague of darkness for three days (Exod 10:21-22). As these few examples from the events of Christ's earthly life suggest. At the end of his ministry. The details in the two events of the exodus and the crucifixion certainly evoke these similarities. a whole generation of unbelieving Israelites perishes in the wilderness. just as it does the events of his earthly ministry. Christ. it seems likely that the exodus informs the gospel narratives to a great extent. Christ is not alone in the New Testament in speaking of his work in exodus terminology. or "Israel" in these terms.CONTOURS OF THE EXODUS MOTIF 43 Other parallels between the exodus and the crucifixion might also be noted. he will rent the vineyard to other tenants. Between the sixth and the ninth hours of Christ's crucifixion. ".
As their anger at Stephen's indictment shows.40 What Christ teaches. Abraham and David's "son" (Gen 12:3. David Pao righdy understands the Gentiles to be recipients of the Abrahamic promise as well as Jews.44 WESTMINSTER THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL will give him his share of the crop at harvest time" (Matt 21:43). Paul too places Abraham in the salvific line. After his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. "In Acts 3:25. Bruce cites numerous other New Testament passages that corroborate the same idea. Jew and Gentile alike. Commenting on this verse. when Stephen defends himself before the Council. onefindsa clear reference to the concern for the Gentiles. brings to fruition the Abrahamic Covenant that God would bless all the nations through Abraham— that is. therefore. . the "new Israel" of the New Testament. he recounts the history of God's dealings with his ancient people Israel and places the Messiah direcdy in the redemptive line from Abraham to Moses and to David. In his Pentecost-day sermon in the book of Acts. Luke and Paul extend. Bruce. Pao. 52. In their outrage they have him stoned (Acts 7:1-60). through Jesus Christ. Describing his ministry in these terms helps Christ's hearers understand that he is their Messiah and effectively announces his coming kingdom at the same time. For Christ. The words of Christ indicate an Abrahamic and exodus understanding of his ministry. F. This is That."39 Later in the book of Acts.38 Thus it is clear that there is in the New Testament a "new Israel"—the church—and. The ancient Israelites longed to be 38 39 40 Watts. Acts. 354. when he calls Zacchaeus a "son of Abraham" whom he—Messiah—has come to redeem (Luke 19:9-10). F. Christ's offer of the kingdom is often spoken of in exodus terms. Christ leads his new covenant people out of the "Egypt" of their sins and into the "Promised Land" of forgiveness. Luke and Paul also present Christ in Abrahamic terms. varying the "you" of Gen 12:3 ("And all peoples on earth will be blessed through you") to "offspring" in Acts 3:25 ("Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed"). calling the covenant God made with Abraham a "preaching" of the gospel to him (Gal 3:8) and insisting that Abraham's offspring included the Gentiles (Gal 3:16). Peter states that Jesus Christ is the "offspring" promised in the Abrahamic Covenant.41 -42). cf. Isaiah's New Exodus in Mark. 234. It seems clear then that Christ saw his ministry as completing the Abrahamic as well as the Davidic covenant and proclaims himself publicly in these terms. Christ links himself with Abraham even more clearly in the Zacchaeus incident. in a manner similar to Moses' leading of the exodus in the Old Testament. comprised of all those who by faith trust in himself. drawing implicit attention to his own descent not only from David but from Abraham as well. Within the larger framework of the kingdom wefindthe more specific hope that our sins can be forgiven in Jesus Christ. the Pharisees did not miss his condemnation of them. yet his Lord at the sametime(Luke 20:37-38. Jesus Christ is not alone in the New Testament in claiming that the promises to Abraham are completed in himself. Pao states. 321-22. Acts 3:25). Christ informs the Pharisees that Messiah is the son of David.
Christ goes so far in this account as to assert his divinity by saying he was alive even when Abraham was born (John 8:58). Stand firm. adopted . In chapter four Paul pictures our condition as unsaved sinners in the imagery of slavery and our status as believers in the image of sons. In reply. as Paul says elsewhere. Paul develops the slavery/freedom motif in some detail in Galatians. then. Christ offers hope to his hearers in exodus terms. and Isaac and Jerusalem/Mount Zion with freedom in Christ on the other (4:21-31)." Christ says. So if the Son sets you free. or heirs (Gal 4:3. has freed us from our sins by his blood. and has made us a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father. In his greetings in the Apocalypse to the seven churches. and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery" (5:1). Paul and John use the slavery/ freedom imagery to elaborate Christ's defeat of sin at Calvary. When he teaches Nicodemus that he is the Messiah." (Rev 1:5-6). We are made priests in a new kingdom. In a similar manner. you will be free indeed" (John 8:34-36). 9. Nicodemus could not have missed Jesus' claim to be the Messiah in the exodus allusion to the snake lifted up in the wilderness. only here the point is extended beyond release from slavery to include the new status of believers. serving the sanctuary. "I tell you the truth. though they grumbled in the wilderness and even asked Moses to take them back to Egypt (Deut 1:27). everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 7. "Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert. as it were. of God in Christ. Picturing our sinfulness as slavery. "so the Son of Man must be lifted up. For those who listen to the remainder of Jesus' excursus on Abraham (John 8:31-59).. Paul clinches his argument by calling on believers tofivein submission to Christ. Believers are set free from sin. whom the Jews claim to be their source of freedom—so too the Jews of Jesus' day were enslaved—by sin. he offers hope that they might be free of sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family. Here again is the familiar imagery of slavery and freedom. they act defensively and fall back on their descent from Abraham as the source of their freedom (John 8:33). Christ immediately undercuts the self-righteous Jews' claim to freedom on the basis of their ethnic and national heritage. not sin: "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Paul re-interprets the Abraham story spiritually by equating Ishmael and Mount Sinai with spiritual slavery on the one hand. but a son belongs to it forever. especially in chapters four and five. John writes that Christ ". but they must choose daily not to allow sins to rule over them.. When Jesus tells the believing Jews that the "truth will set [them] free" (John 8:32). if we are honest. longs to be freed from its power. in Jesus Christ. In his teaching about sin in the terms of slavery and freedom. Learned man that he was.. we are. Jesus states. that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life" (John 3:14-15). he refers to the exodus to make his point.. Only Jesus Christ offers freedom from sin. 21-31. Christ's excursus on sin and salvation in slavery/freedom terms is not an isolated use of the imagery in the New Testament. believers have confidence that.CONTOURS OF THE EXODUS MOTIF 45 released from their Egyptian slavery. Born as slaves. Just as the ancient Israelites were enslaved by Egypt—and that well after Abraham. 5:1). In Christ. This offer is made through the allusions to the exodus. everyone is plagued by sin and. they are sons and ministers.
A. God inaugurates the nation of Israel in the exodus from Egypt. In all Sylvia G. Paul uses the exodus as the pattern for the way he tells "the story of God's salvation" in his letter. the imagery and structure of the themes in Galatians are informed in exodus terms as well. If Keesmaat is correct in this interpretation. "The pattern of redemption from slavery and bondage to become sons of God is found in the Exodus event and called upon as the paradigm for the new Exodus event in much of Jewish literature. particularly when he identifies himself with Abraham and David. freedom from bondage is here. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press. 42 Ibid. father. andfinallyleads them into the Promised Land. Paul makes use of the imagery of slavery and freedom and links it with Mount Sinai (slavery) and Mount Zion (freedom). Sanders. "Paul and His Story: Exodus and Tradition in Galatians. Paul alludes to the exodus event initiating the ancient people of Israel in his discussion of salvation by faith in Jesus Christ. He establishes his covenant with the nation at Mount Sinai. Keesmaat. In thefirstrecorded sermon at Pentecost. In his extended discussion in Galatians of the believer's release from sin. to Moses and David. JSNTSup 148.46 WESTMINSTER THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL heirs of Christ (2 Cor 6:18).42 It informs the pattern. A. Commenting on Paul's exodus imagery in the episde. and the way to participate in this great Exodus event is to join with the son in crying Abba. as well as the theology. Keesmaat writes. Peter explicidy associates Jesus of Nazareth with Abraham's offspring. IV Conclusion The exodus event is one of the archetypal narratives of the Bible for it informs the beginning. and end of the biblical account of redemptive history. It is not just the themes and theology of Galatians that the exodus material informs. the exodus paradigm forms the foundation for Paul's understanding of salvation by grace in the episde to the Galatians. it is certainly consistent with Christ's own use of exodus materials during his earthly ministry.. Keesmaat summarizes her interpretation of the structure of Paul's salvation narrative in Galatians in her statement that Paul "asserts that the new Exodus has already happened in Jesus Christ. 314. middle. If this is so. of the episde."41 For Keesmaat. Paul's use of exodus materials in Galatians is more than the use of a few "basic motifs. 43 Ibid. and his theology of the Christian's living by grace and not falling to sin in his daily life. 303. Sylvia C. Christ refers to his office as Messiah in exodus terms. 1997). Evans and J." For her. This office is often presented in exodus terms.' "43 Thus the whole design of Paul's soteriology in Galatians is based in exodus materials. 41 . Paul's spiritual re-interpretation of the Abraham story in exodus terms contributes significandy to his themes in the episde. Stephen places Jesus in the redemptive line from Abraham. The central work of Jesus Christ as Messiah was to declare the coming kingdom and offer salvation to those who would believe in him. the salvation has come. provides for his people's needs in the wilderness for forty years. C." in Early Christian Interpretation of the Scriptures of Israel: Investigations and Proposals (ed.
Triumphal Entry. The historical fact of the exodus event in the Old Testament grounds the later uses of it in the Bible. They will be home. the writers often use the exodus as the basis of their teachings. The four New Testament evangelists frame at least parts of their gospel narratives in exodus terms and patterns. By the conclusion of redemptive history. He dies as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. not tablets of stone as he did at Mount Sinai. exodus themes and patterns help explain the events of Christ's life and death. and resurrection. . the believer's release from the power of sin is offered in the exodus imagery of slavery and freedom. Christ manifests his glory as an exodus to his disciples at the Transfiguration. the exodus from Egypt assures believers of future exoduses. At the end of it all. lifted up as the snake was in the wilderness. As our brief comments have shown. Mount Zion replaces Mount Sinai. The exodus is never far from the readers of the Old and New Testaments. death. In effect. and his actions among the multitudes have exodus overtones. John makes use of exodus allusions and patterns in die Apocalypse to bring the biblical narrative to its conclusion. He enters Jerusalem as the anointed one promised in the Old Testament after what is at times a wilderness journey to the city.CONTOURS OF THE EXODUS MOTIF 47 of these events. The future exoduses the Old Testament promises are realized in Jesus of Nazareth. In the Gospels. He establishes the new covenant in his own blood and writes it on the hearts of his people. In the middle of God's plan of redemptive history wefindJesus Christ's incarnation. New Testament Christians enter the promised rest of their salvation and freedom from their sins. and crucifixion. Finally. The ancient Israelites entered Canaan. and admonishing them to look forward to the promised rest. At the end of redemptive history is the Apocalypse. God repeatedly warns and admonishes his unfaithful people while he himself remains faithful to them. their Promised Land. offering them the hope of rest if they will obey him. From John the Baptist's declaration in the wilderness to the Transfiguration. the exodus links the narrative of Abraham with those of Moses and David. Christ's teaching of his disciples is often informed by the exodus experience. life. the exodus journey that inaugurated the nation of Israel informs Jesus' ministry and the new heavens and new earth: out of Egypt into Jerusalem. All of Old Testament redemptive history anticipates Jesus Christ. In the imagery of Paul's episde to the Galatians. instructing the people in God's ways. Throughout the Old Testament. the redeemed of all ages will enter the New Jerusalem and their exile willfinallybe over. warning them when they are apostate.
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Bible. p 25-47. ThePublication Type:ArticleIssued by ATLA:20110225Accession Number:ATLA0001500825 . Michael E. Jesus Christ --Messiahship.ISSN:0043-4388Publication Year:2004Language:EnglishSubjects:Jesus Christ --Biographies. Old Testament -Theology. Travers. Exodus.Title:Contours of the exodus motif in Jesus' earthly ministryAuthor(s):Patterson. Bible. Richard D. New Testament --Relation to Old Testament. New Testament --Theology --Christology.Source:Westminster Theological Journal 66 no 1 Spr 2004. Bible..
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