The Book of Exodus
The Genesis account ended with the Hebrew family being welcomed by Pharaoh into the land of Egypt in order that they might survive the devastating famine that had struck the region.
Over the next 430 years Jacob’s family of seventy or so people grew to become a strong national group of around one million people. The influence they had received through the power of their ancestor Joseph was long forgotten and the current Pharaoh feared the numerical strength of the people, who had by this time become slaves of the Egyptians.
God heard the cry of his people and raised up a great leader, Moses, who was chosen to lead the Israelites out of slavery and into the Promised Land.
The first part of the book, chapters 1-18, provides details of the events both preceding and following their flight from Egypt. It includes many miracle stories including how the Israelites were protected when the entire first born of Egypt were killed for opposing God, and how they were able to pass through the Red Sea. It also includes the remarkable provision of God for this huge number of people as they journeyed through the wilderness for 40 years.
In chapters 19-40 the focus shifts to legislation. The Ten Commandments were the first law given by God to his people through Moses on Mount Sinai, which was followed by further and detailed legislation concerned with God’s intention to live among his people. Just as they lived in tents, so too God would join them in their camp; however, his own tabernacle was to be quite distinct and separate from theirs, a design that would give great insight into initial separation between God and his people, and the ultimate reconciliation that would come through Jesus.
The second part also includes some narrative, one of the saddest being the occasion where the people persuaded Moses’ brother Aaron to build them a golden calf to worship at the very time God was meeting with Moses to give him the Ten Commandments. The book concludes with the detailed construction of the tabernacle, with God taking up residence and his glory of his presence coming down onto his tent.
There is some supplementary material for the book and two mind maps of the structure of the Book of Exodus that may prove useful for study. They are: The Exodus of Israel from Egypt and The Covenant at Sinai.
For information regarding the date of the Exodus click here.
For more information refer to the Introduction to the Pentateuch.