Exodus. Introduction. Record of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt Author: Moses Audience: Israelites in the wilderness and their future generations Where: Egypt, Sinai & Canaan When: 1445-1440 BC
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deliverance from Egypt
Audience: Israelites in the wilderness and their future generations
Where: Egypt, Sinai & Canaan
When: 1445-1440 BC
Why: to show God’s faithfulness to the covenant, deliverance, and record God’s guidelines for His people
Plagues and Exodus (8-18)
The Law (19-24)
Tabernacle and worship (25-40)
The Author of the book is Moses according to Traditional Scholarship. However, some scholars, namely source critics argue that many different people covering a period of roughly 300 years wrote, re-wrote, and edited the book of Exodus and its present format is a combination of all of those varied editions.
The reason why authorship is such an important issue is that it points to the motive for composition. Some people argue that different portions of the Bible were written at different times for varied reasons/motives, and is not always the inspired word of God transmitted by his holy servants.
At several points in the Pentateuch, Moses described himself in the third person as the author of what he had written. For example, he mentioned how he was told by God to write down the story of the Israelite encounter
Exodus 17:14 - Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this in a book as a memorial and recite it to Joshua” (NASB)
Other Mosaic claims to authorship: Exod 24:4; 34:1, 27–28; Deut 31:9, 24
The exact date of Exodus and when the Israelites left Egypt is a matter of debate. The reason is it sometimes a challenge for scholars to locate the Bible sites with modern sites in Ancient Israel and Egypt, some challenging archeological evidence, and the Pharaoh names
2 prominent theories for the date
Early – mid 1400s BC
Late – early 1200s BC
Biblical data points to an early date.
1 Kgs 6:1, we read that Solomon began building the Temple in the 480th year after the exodus, which was the fourth year of Solomon’s reign. This year was 966 BC, using Thiele’s chronology. Thus, the Exodus would have occurred in 1446 BC.
In Judg 11:26 Jephthahthe judge, in speaking with his Ammonite adversaries, mentioned that for the three hundred years since Israel had first settled in Transjordan, the Ammonites had not disputed Israel’s claims to that territory. Jephthah came relatively late in the period of the judges, perhaps ca. 1100 BC; thus this number would indicate a settlement in Transjordan ~1400 BC
However, other biblical data and numbers in the OT are not so clear, and the archaeological evidence has been interpreted to point in other directions.
The prime impetus for a late dating of the Exodus has come from a fairly consistent and widespread layer of destructions that has been discovered in Palestine dating to the middle and late thirteenth centuries BC, and 1200 BC is used as the date of convenience for the end of the Late Bronze Age and the beginning of the Early Iron Age. These destructions have been attributed to the entering Israelites, and the Exodus is placed forty years previous to that.
According to terminus a quo, the Exodus would be ~1279 BE, the beginning of the reign of the pharaoh Ramses II (ca. 1279–1213 BD). This is because Exod 1:11 mentions the Israelites building two store-cities for the Egyptians, Pithom and Rameses. The latter city logically would have been named for this long-lived pharaoh known for his building projects.
A stele of the Egyptian pharaoh Mer-ne-Ptah (!1213–1203 BC) from his fifth year mentions Israel as a people whom he encountered and subdued in a campaign into Canaan.
The number “480” in 1 Kgs 6:1, for example, is interpreted as a symbolic number, representing twelve generations of forty years. If the actual lifespan at that time was closer to twenty-five years, then the time span mentioned in 1 Kgs 6:1 would be closer to three hundred years, placing the exodus early in the thirteenth (rather than in the fifteenth) century BD. This is compatible with Jephthah’s number of 300.
40 chapters (for reference)
The content of the book is often referenced as a “bifid”
Bifid…meaning that its material is presented to the reader in two main parts.
A first part tells the story of God’s rescue of the people of Israel from Egypt and bringing them to Mount Sinai (ch.1-19)
Asecond part describes his covenant with them, made as they encamped at Mount Sinai (ch.20-40)
The text of the book of Exodus is on the whole rather well preserved in the Masoretic tradition, which is the tradition that all modern English translations are based primarily on. In all likelihood, the reason for this good state of preservation textually is the work of Ezra
In the book of Exodus God establishes Moses as the leader of Israel and Moses appoints other leaders to help lead, guide, and instruct the people.
God uses a series of plagues against the Egyptians and Pharaoh in order to get Pharaoh to finally release the Israelites.
God institutes the Passover.
God delivers the Israelites out of Egypt and thus proves that he is faithful to the people of Israel and maintains his covenantal promises.
God gives the Law to his people, which further defines the Israelites relationship to their God and distinguishes them from other nations/peoples/groups.
God’s People Murmur and Complain when they do not receive what they desire at the moment they desire it, but God remains faithful.
God provides instructions for the Tabernacle and the Israelites build it according to God’s commands.
(1) Salvation, Freedom from Bondage
Exod6:6 “I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment” (NIV)
So-called liberation theology often misunderstands Exodus and Christian “freedom”. The teaching is not about liberation in general or about political and religious freedoms in particular, but about deliverance from bad servitude to good servitude.
(2) Real Knowledge of God
Exod6:7–8 “Then you will know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians.… I am the Lord” (NIV)
The repetition of the statement “I am the Lord” is unmistakably a way of God’s repeatedly emphasizing his self-disclosure to his people.
How can they obey and be benefited by a God whom they only vaguely understand, whose characteristics and will for them are clouded by ignorance on their part? But if his people can actually understand him, that is, be fully aware of his covenant stipulations and therefore know what to do to please him and receive his favor, they can actually live in relationship with him so that their own lives are influenced directly and constantly by his.
To know Christ is to know his benefits
(3) A Covenant People
Exod6:7 “I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God” (NIV)
Yahweh knew them not just as a nation needing rescue but as his own people needing to be closely bound to him by the beneficent covenant.
To be in the image of God is to have a job assignment. God’s “image” is supposed to represent him on earth and accomplish his purposes here.
Since the essence of holiness is belonging to God, by belonging to God his people became holy, reflecting the character of their Lord as well as being obedient to his purposes
(4) A Promised Land
Exod6:8 “I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the Lord” (NIV)
The tabernacle was a tent, not a temple, a portable worship center, not a fixed emplacement for worship. The Israelites of Exodus were a people on the go, not a people who had yet arrived at their ultimate destination.
(5) The Limited Presence of God
Exod3:5 “‘Do not come any closer,’ God said. ‘Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground’ ” (NIV)
He does not fully disclose himself in the manner that New Covenant believers look forward to as one of the great joys of heaven. Rather, he puts symbols of himself (a visible brilliance associated with his glory; the gold-surfaced ark of the covenant) behind barriers that keep his people from direct access even to those symbols.
These barriers include
distance (God normally comes to the top of Mount Sinai while the people are strictly forbidden to go anywhere above the base of the mountain),
darkness (God usually “appears” within a thick, dark cloud that conceals most of his glory and through which no human eyes can penetrate)
the tabernacle itself (with its layers of thick curtains and hide covers, its special floor-to-ceiling curtain shielding the ark from view by everyone, even priests)
(6) An Invisible God using Visible Symbols
Exod 25:21–22“Place the cover on top of the ark and put in the ark the Testimony, which I will give you. There, above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the Testimony, I will meet with you and give you all my commands for the Israelites” (NIV)
Part of the genius of invisibility is that it does not place limits on God’s greatness. It prohibits even the depiction of limitation of him by forbidding any likeness at all.
If God is omnipresent, he should not be given a shape that can be thought to confine him or concentrate him somewhere.
If God is omnipotent, he should not be depicted as smaller than any part of his creation.
(7) The Necessity of Law
Exod 19:5; 20:20 “Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession.… Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning” (NIV)
God is a guide, and his Law gives guidance – an eternal relationship that begins to take a person out of the limits of temporal living for temporal pleasures and leads that person to eternal life
God insisted on obedience to his law, comprehensively stated in many commandments. This did not mean that the Law by itself saved—only that it provided the standards by which someone saved by faith could know how to respond to the new Master
The laws of Exodus spell out both the obligations and the benefits
(8) The Necessity of Following God
Exod40:36–38 “In all the travels of the Israelites, whenever the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle, they would set out; but if the cloud did not lift, they did not set out—until the day it lifted. So the cloud of the Lord was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel during all their travels” (NIV)
As Moses followed God’s commands, the people followed Moses; Wisely, they respectfully insisted through Moses that if God himself would not go with them they would not go at all.
It can never be considered advisable to take one’s own direction if God is available to lead.
The proper role before God is that of follower
(9) Only One God Has Any Real Power
Exod12:12 “I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord” (NIV)
The Plagues - It was God’s plan that they should see his absolute sovereignty so visibly that they would be able to convert to the truth, leave Egypt, and become his covenant people at Sinai—all in the space of a few months
Easily, comprehensively, impressively, dramatically, publicly, decisively—he demonstrates his total control over all aspects of the physical world that were thought by the Egyptians to be the province of “the gods of Egypt.