Book Of The Month

"Going Out"

Michael G. Foresha

The English title "Exodus" comes from the Septuagint and means "departure" or "going out." The title is supported by the contents of the book. The theme of Exodus is the deliverance or salvation of the nation of Israel. The book contains 40 chapters, 1,213 verses, and some 32,692 words. Exodus covers the time period from Joseph's death to the construction of the tabernacle at Mt. Sinai. Exodus begins with both the growth of the tribes and their loss of favor. "Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph." (Exodus 1:8).

The first section, chapters 1:1 - 13:16, traces the steps of the Hebrews in Egypt. These events were shown to Abraham in Genesis 15:12-16. (1) His descendants would be sojourners in a strange land; (2) they would be in slavery for 430 years; and (3), God would judge the nation they served and deliver Israel with great substance. The first 80 years in the life of Moses are recorded in Exodus. We read of the events surrounding the birth of Moses and his training in the house of Pharaoh (2:1-10): His refusal (at age 40) to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, his failed attempt to rescue his people by killing an Egyptian, and his escape to Midian (2:11-15). Moses was a shepherd in Midian for the next 40 years, until he was called by God (the burning bush) to return to Egypt and deliver his people. Moses was reunited with his brother, Aaron, and his sister, Miriam (2:16 - 4:31). Moses and Aaron confronted Pharaoh saying "Let my people go!" God judged Egypt with the ten plagues that culminated in the Passover, the death of the firstborn of man and animal in Egypt, (the houses not painted with blood). The Egyptians begged the Israelites to leave and even gave them great gifts (or substance) for their journey (5-13).

The second section, chapters 13:17 - 18:27. Permission to leave was finally granted by Pharaoh. God lead the Israelites to the Red Sea. The crossing of the Red Sea was the stage for the deliverance of the children of Israel and the destruction of Pharaoh and his army (13:17 - 15:21). In the next part, we observe the preservation of the Israelites by God in the wilderness. God preserved them from thirst (at Marah & Rhephidim), hunger (at Elam), and defeat (with a victory over Amalek). The section closes with Moses learning the importance of delegating responsibility from his father-in-law, Jethro (15-18).

The third section, chapters 19-40, opens with the children of Israel encamped at Sinai. God gave them a set of Laws - both civil and religious (including the Ten Commandments, 20:1-20) to govern them as a nation. God entered into a covenant with His people. The children of Israel broke the covenant (the golden calf incident, 32:1 - 34:9). After much pleading, God renewed His covenant with Israel. The tabernacle (a portable sanctuary) and its furnishings were constructed. A cloud then covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. God led them in all of their subsequent journeys back to the land of Canaan (34:10 - 40:38). The covenant of God with the Israelites at Mt. Sinai marked a change in how God communicated with His people from the Patriarchal system to the Law of Moses.

The book of Exodus continues to unfold God's redemptive plan. Abraham's seed had begun to multiply (Ex. 1:7) but, as they left Egypt, they awaited the fulfillment of the Land Promise and the coming of the Messiah. Reader's Guide: I. Israel in Egypt (Exodus 1:1 - 13:16); II. Israel Going Out of Egypt - In the Wilderness (Exodus 13:17 - 18:27); III. Israel at Sinai (Exodus 19:1 - 40:38). 90 Pleasants Ave., Shinnston, WV 26431.


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