The Book Of Exodus was written during a period of great change for the Israelites. From, oppression under Pharaohs reign, to freedom, however they were still required to live by a set of rules, Gods. Life, as the Israelites knew it in the beginning, was very different to how their lives were at the end of the Book of Exodus. God had made himself known to his people and now they had a God to worship.

To read the Book of Exodus, it needs to be read in context. It reads like a historical story, "Since the Bible does have a historical intention, it makes claims about what happened in the past" (Dillard, 1994, p. 25) Brown et al. (1992) states that "the Bible does supply history in various forms. It does record events of the past, but not precisely as they occured." (p. 13) Originally stories weren't written down, they were passed on orally. Boadt (1984) states that in ancient times stories and events were told in a 'communal setting' and that these stories weren't recited word for word, they would have been constantly updated or embellished. Overall, the oral story telling tradition "demanded that the storyteller stick to the wellknown plot or basic outline of the fact but he often varied the details and the order of minor incidents, or even added in extra..." (Boadt, 1984, p. 77) this being the reason why the reader needs to understand that the scriptures are based on fact but may not neccessarily be completely factual. Historical context is important also, "the time period in which it is written" (Dillard, 1994, p. 21) can have a big impact on the depth of understanding the reader acquires from the scripture.

The Book of Exodus, in it's final form, seems to be written by three sources, J, E and P. Each source wrote according to their own style and personal knowledge therefore their writings have their own characteristics. The J, "Speaks of God in a lively way, as a human being, with vivid storytelling and a creative theological vision of promise and fulfilment...gives expression to the old traditions." (Brown et al., 1992, p. 9) Brown et al. (1989) suggests the E source "...emphasizes morality and reflects the proper response of Israel: faith, and fear of the Lord," (p. 5) and "It has been considered to be merely inserted indepentent traditions, or an up-dating of J." (Brown et al., 1992, p. 9) Finally, P mentions cults and rituals and "speaks of the presence of God in terms of glory." (Brown et al., 1989, p. 5) For a true understanding of this section in the Bible, Brown (1989) continues on to suggest, "...one must read the Pentateuch (not to mention the entire OT) with an awareness of the various literary forms that are contained within it." (p. 5)

In summary, the reader needs to "read the Bible 'in it's context' and not to treat passages in an isolated fashion." (Dillard, 1994, p. 21) To obtain the full understanding of the Bible and it's scriptures, the reader needs to understand that "...meaning is conveyed through the text, that meaning cannot be arrived at without taking into account all the charactistics of the text ( sound, onomatopoeia, catch words - in short, the functions of language that are employed to convey meaning)." (Brown et al., 1992, p. 13)

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