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Book of Exodus

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The Book of Exodus (from Greek , Exodos, meaning "going out"; Hebrew: ,emot, "Names") is the second book of the Hebrew Bible, and of the five books of the Torah (the Pentateuch). The Greek and English name originates with the Septuagint translation of the 3rd century BCE.[1] The book tells how the children of Israel leave slavery in Egypt through the strength of Yahweh, the god who has chosen Israel as his people. Led by their great prophet Moses they journey through the wilderness to Mount Sinai, where Yahweh promises them the land of Canaan (the "Promised Land") in return for their faithfulness. Israel enters a covenant with Yahweh who gives them their laws and instructions for the Tabernacle, the means by which he will dwell with them and lead them to the land. Traditionally ascribed to Moses himself, modern scholarship sees the book as the anonymous product of the post-Exilic Persian period (5th century BCE), although containing older traditions.

"Crossing of the Red Sea", Nicholas Poussin

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

There is no 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). Douglas Stuart in his commentary on Exodus puts it this way: "In Egypt, Israel was the servant of Pharaoh; at Sinai they became God's servants."

Egypt's Pharaoh, fearful of the Israelites' numbers, orders that all newborn boys be thrown into the Nile. A Levite woman saves her baby by setting him adrift on the river in an ark of bulrushes. Pharaoh's daughter finds the child, names him Moses, and brings him up as her own. But Moses is aware of his

origins, and one day, when grown, he kills an Egyptian overseer who is beating a Hebrew slave and has to flee into Midian. There he marries the daughter of Jethro the priest of Midian, and encounters God in a burning bush. Moses asks God for his name: God replies "I AM that I AM". God tells Moses to return to Egypt and lead the Hebrews into Canaan, the land promised to Abraham. Moses returns to Egypt, where God again reveals his name Yahweh to him. Yahweh instructs Moses to appear before the pharaoh and inform him of God's demand that he let God's people go. Moses and his brother Aaron do so, but Pharaoh refuses. Yahweh causes a series of ten plagues to strike Egypt, but whenever Pharaoh begins to relent God causes him to harden his heart. God instructs Moses to institute the Passover sacrifice among the Israelites, and kills all the firstborn children and livestock throughout Egypt. Pharaoh then agrees to let the Israelites go. Moses explains the meaning of the Passover: it is for Israel's salvation from Egypt, so that the Israelites will not be required to sacrifice their own sons, but to redeem them. The Exodus begins. The Israelites, enumerated at 603,550 able-bodied adult males (not counting Levites) and their families, with their flocks and herds, set out for the mountain of God. Yahweh causes Pharaoh to change his mind about allowing the Israelites to depart; he pursues them, but God destroys the Egyptian army at the crossing of the Red Sea (Yam Suf) and the Israelites celebrate Yahweh's victory. The desert proves arduous, and the Israelites complain and long for Egypt, but God provides manna and miraculous water for them. The Israelites arrive at the mountain of God, where Moses' father-in-law Jethro visits Moses; at his suggestion Moses appoints judges over Israel. The Israelites arrive at the mountain of God, where 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 [or possibly "sound"] of God. Moses and Aaron are told to ascend the mountain. God pronounces the Ten Commandments (the Ethical Decalogue) in the hearing of all Israel. 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 to them if they obey. Moses comes down the mountain and writes down God's words and the people agree to keep them. God calls Moses up the mountain together with Aaron and the elders of Israel, and they all feast in the presence of God. God calls Moses up the mountain to receive a set of stone tablets containing the law, and he and Joshua go up, leaving Aaron in charge. God calls Moses to go up, and Moses goes up the mountain. God gives Moses instructions for the construction of the tabernacle so that God can dwell permanently amongst his chosen people, as well as instructions for the priestly vestments, the altar and its appurtenances, the ritual to be used to ordain the priests, and the daily sacrifices to be offered. Aaron is

appointed as the first High Priest, and the priesthood is to be hereditary in his line. God gives Moses the two stone tablets containing these instructions, written by God's own finger. While Moses is with God, Aaron makes a golden calf, which the people worship. God informs Moses of their apostasy and threatens to kill them all, but relents when Moses pleads for them. Moses comes down from the mountain, smashes the stone tablets in anger, and commands 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 ascends the mountain, God dictates the Ten Commandments (the Ritual Decalogue), and Moses writes them on the tablets. Moses descends from the mountain, and his face is transformed, so that from that time onwards he has to hide his face with a veil. Moses assembles the Hebrews and repeats to them the commandments he has received from God, which are to keep the Sabbath and to construct the Tabernacle. "And all the construction of the Tabernacle of the Tent of Meeting was finished, and the children of Israel did according to everything that God had commanded Moses", and from that time God dwelt in the Tabernacle and ordered the travels of the Hebrews.

Composition and genre

Moses with the Ten Commandments, by Rembrandt(1659)

Exodus describes God as the author of laws, the plans for the Tabernacle, and the ten commandments, and Moses as the author of some further laws, a song celebrating the deaths of the Egyptians in the Red Sea, and instructions for waging war. As a result, Jewish and Christian tradition viewed Moses as the author of Exodus and the entire Pentateuch. By the end of the 19th century the increasing awareness of the discrepancies, inconsistencies, repetitions and other features of the Pentateuch had led scholars to abandon the idea that any one man was the author of these five books. According to current thinking, a first draft (the Yahwist) was probably written in

the 6th century during the Babylonian exile; this was supplemented and completed as a post-Exilic final edition (the Priestly source) at the very end of the 6th century or during the 5th century, and further adjustments and minor revisions continued down to the end of the 4th century.

The book of Exodus is not historical narrative in any modern sense. Modern history writing requires the critical evaluation of sources, and does not accept God as a cause of events. But in Exodus, everything is presented as the work of God, who appears frequently in person, and the historical setting is only very hazily sketched. The purpose of the book is not to record what really happened, but to reflect the historical experience of the exile community in Babylon and later Jerusalem, facing foreign captivity and the need to come to terms with their understanding of God.


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

Biblical scholars describe the bible's theologically-motivated history writing as "salvation history", meaning a history of God's saving actions that give identity to Israel - the promise of offspring and land to the ancestors, the exodus from Egypt ( in which God saves Israel from slavery), the wilderness wandering, the revelation at Sinai, and the hope for the future life in the promised land.[15]

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 lightening flashes.[16] The theophany in Exodus begins as soon as the people arrive at Sinai in chapter 19: Yahweh and the people meet at the mountain, God appears in the storm and converses with Moses,

giving him the Ten Commandments while the people listen. The theophany is therefore a public experience of divine law.[17] The second half of Exodus marks the point at which, and describes the process through which, God's theophany becomes a permanent presence for Israel via the Tabernacle. That so much of the book (chapters 25-31, 35-40) is spent describing the plans of the Tabernacle demonstrates the importance it played in the perception of Second Temple Judaism at the time of the text's redaction by the Priestly writers: the Tabernacle is the place where God is physically present, where, through the priesthood, Israel could be in direct, literal communion with him.[18]

The heart of Exodus is the Sinaitic covenant.[19] A covenant is a legal document binding two parties to take on certain obligations towards each other.[20] 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 and a people (Yahweh and 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 to the chosen line of Jacob whose name is changed to Israel. The theme of election by birth will later narrow still further, to the line of David, the descendant of Judah, and further in Christianity to Jesus. The goal of the divine plan as revealed in Exodus is a return to man'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 the Abrahamic religions this came to be interpreted as Israel being the guardian of God's plan for mankind, until later revelations, first to Jesus and finally to Mohammed, opened salvation to all mankind.

See also

The Exodus Moses Song of the sea Tabernacle

Weekly Torah portions in Exodus: Shemot, Va'eira, Bo, Beshalach, Yitro, Mishpatim, Terumah, Tetzaveh, Ki Tisa, Vayakhel, and Pekudei

Shovevim Film adaptations of the Book of Exodus History of the Jews in Ancient Egypt

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. ^ Dozeman, p.1 ^ Johnstone, p.72 ^ Meyers, p.17 ^ Stuart, p.19 ^ Stuart, p.20 ^ Dozeman, p.31 ^ Dozeman, p.31 ^ Meyers, p.16 ^ Johnstone, pp.68, 72

10. ^ Kugler, Hartin, p.50 11. ^ Fretheim, p.7 12. ^ Dozeman, p.9 13. ^ Houston, p.68 14. ^ Fretheim, p.8 15. ^ Dozeman, p.9 16. ^ Dozeman, p.4 17. ^ Dozeman, p.427 18. ^ Dempster, p.107. 19. ^ Wenham, p.29 20. ^ Meyers, p.148 21. ^ Meyers, pp.149-150 22. ^ Meyers, p.150 23. ^ Dempster, pp.97-98. 24. ^ Dempster, p.100.


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Translations of Exodus

Exodus at Bible Gateway

Commentaries on Exodus

Childs, Brevard S (1979). The book of Exodus. Eerdmans. Dozeman, Thomas B (2009). Commentary on Exodus. Eerdmans. Fretheim, Terence E (1991). Exodus. Westminster John Knox Press.

Houston, Walter J (1998). "Exodus". In John Barton. Oxford Bible Commentary. Oxford University Press.

Johnstone, William D (2003). "Exodus". In James D. G. Dunn, John William Rogerson. Eerdmans Bible Commentary. Eerdmans.

Meyers, Carol B (2005). Exodus. Cambridge University Press. Stuart, Douglas K (2006). Exodus. B&H Publishing Group.


Dempster, Stephen G (2006). Dominion and dynasty. InterVarsity Press. Dozeman, Thomas B (2010). Methods for Exodus. Cambridge University Press. Kugler, Robert; Hartin, Patrick (2009). An Introduction to the Bible. Eerdmans. McEntire, Mark (2008). Struggling with God: An Introduction to the Pentateuch. Mercer University Press.

Wenham, Gordon (1979). The book of Leviticus. Eerdmans.

Book of Exodus Pentateuch Hebrew Bible

Preceded by Genesis

Christian Old Testament

Succeeded by Leviticus


The Book of Exodus is the second book of the Hebrew and the Christian Bible The Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt is the theme described in the above-mentioned

In modern history

Exodus of 1879 (The Kansas Exodus), in which black Americans known as Exodusters fled the Southern United States for Kansas

1959 Tibetan exodus, 80,000 Tibetans crossed the Himalaya for India Jewish Exodus from Arab lands, the twentieth century emigration or expulsion of Jews from Arab lands 1948 Palestinian exodus, 19491956 Palestinian exodus, and the 1967 Palestinian exodus in which Palestinians fled or were expelled from Mandate Palestine, Israel and the West Bank during, and after wars

SS Exodus, a ship carrying thousands of Jewish refugees in 1947 that was refused entry into Palestine Operation Exodus (WWII operation), an Allied operation to repatriate European prisoners of war to Britain in the Second World War

German exodus from Eastern Europe, the exodus of Germans to the east of Germany's and Austria's postWorld War II borders

Istrian exodus, the exodus of Italians from Istria, Fiume and Dalmatia after World War II Jujuy Exodus, the massive evacuation of people from the province of Jujuy, Argentina, in 1812, during the Argentine War of Independence

The exodus of ethnic Macedonians from Greece, the exodus of Ethnic Macedonians following the Greek Civil War

1976 Sahrawi exodus, the exodus of Sahrawis during the Western Sahara War Mormon Exodus, the transcontinental migration of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from the Midwestern United States to the Salt Lake Valley

In literature

Exodus (poem), an Old English retelling of the Biblical departure Exodus (novel), a 1958 novel by Leon Uris, based partly on the story of the Jewish refugee ship by that name

Exodus (2002 novel), a 2002 science fiction novel by Julie Bertagna

In film

Exodus (1960 film), a film by Otto Preminger based on the novel by Leon Uris The Exodus Decoded, a 2006 documentary produced by Simcha Jacobovici claiming to verify the biblical story

Exodus (2007 British film), a contemporary retelling of the Biblical story of Exodus Exodus (2007 Hong Kong film), a film directed by Pang Ho-Cheung Exodus: Tales from the Enchanted Kingdom, a 2005 Filipino film

In music

Exodus (band), thrash metal band from California Exodus (Polish band), Polish symphonic rock band Exodus (Bob Marley & The Wailers album)

"Exodus", a song from the album of the same name by Bob Marley and the Wailers

Exodus (Andy Hunter album), by DJ Andy Hunter "Exodus" (Evanescence song), by Evanescence from the 1998 Evanescence EP Exodus (Ja Rule album), 2005 greatest-hits album by Ja Rule Exodus (The New Power Generation album), 1995 album by the New Power Generation Exodus (Samael album), 1998 EP by Samael Exodus (compilation album), 1998 album featuring various Christian artists Exodus (Hikaru Utada album), 2004 album by Hikaru Utada, under the stage-name Utada

""Exodus '04", a 2005 single from the album of the same name by Utada

Exodus, final album by Christian rock band Plus One Exodus Records, semi-independent label started in 1966 Exodus (soundtrack), soundtrack album by Ernest Gold from the 1960 film

"Theme of Exodus", Grammy-award winning piece by Ernest Gold from the 1960 film

The Exodus (album), a 2002 album by Gospel Gangstaz "The Exodus Song", by Booker T & The MGs from the 1968 album Doin' Our Thing Exodus, 2007 track by Noisia featuring KRS-One "Exodus", original name of the song "Emigre" by Anti-Flag from the album For Blood and Empire

In entertainment

Exodus (comics), a Marvel Comics character and former leader of the Acolytes Exodus (role-playing game), a post-apocalyptic role-playing game by Glutton Creeper Games Exodus (video game), a 1991 video game developed by Color Dreams centering around Moses' journey to The Promised Land

Exodus (Magic: The Gathering), an expansion to the Magic: The Gathering collectible card game Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus, a 1998 video game Ground Control II: Operation Exodus, a 2004 real-time tactical game in the Ground Control series Ultima III: Exodus, a 1983 computer role-playing game in the Ultima series

In television

"Exodus" (Battlestar Galactica), a 2006 two part episode of Battlestar Galactica "Exodus" (Entourage), an episode of Entourage "Exodus" (Stargate SG-1), a 2000 episode of Stargate SG-1 "Exodus" (Lost), a 2005 three-part episode of Lost "Exodus", an episode from season four of ER "Exodus" (Smallville), an episode of Smallville "The Exodus", a two-part episode from season three of Sliders Exodus, the original subtitle of the third volume of Heroes "Exodus", episode 10 in the Discovery channel reality series The Colony "Exodus", episode 42 in the anime TV series Bakugan Battle Brawlers: New Vestroia "Exodus", the pilot episode of the 1985-89 animated series ThunderCats

In sociology

Rural exodus, the migratory patterns that normally occur in a region following the mechanization of agriculture

Emigration, the action and the phenomenon of leaving one's native country to settle abroad

In other fields

Exodus Refugee Immigration, a refugee resettlement agency in Indianapolis, Indiana Exodus Collective, a British organization formed in Luton Exodus International, an ex-gay organization Christian Exodus, a group promoting mass emigration of Christian fundamentalists to South Carolina EXODUS (NGO), an organization to bring international fugitive Jung Myung Seok to justice Exodus Communications, a failed internet hosting company

See also

Hijra (disambiguation) Diaspora (disambiguation) Human migration, physical movement by humans from one area to another, sometimes over long distances or in large groups