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THE BOOK OF EXODUS
EXODUS 1-40 Summary
OVERVIEW OF EXODUS
GENRES WITHIN THE BOOK
CONTEXT OF THE BOOK
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EXODUS 1-40 Summary
"Exodus tells the story of how God chose Moses to deliver Israel from slavery in Egypt and lead them to accept a covenant so that he would be their God and they would be his people (Ex.6:7)." (Boadt, 1984, p.89)
It begins with Pharaoh imposing forced labor onto the Israelites who are entrapped as slaves to the Egyptians. Moses, an Israelite himself, is born and placed amongst the reeds of the Nile in a basket for safety. He is found and saved by Pharaohs daughter who raises him until adulthood in Pharaohs house.
Moses sees the forced labor on his people. He flees from Pharaoh to Midian where he finds and marries his wife, Zipporah, a priests daughter. He becomes a shepherd for his father-in-law. While tending his flock, God appeared to him in the form of a 'burning bush'. God wanted Moses to lead the Israelites to freedom with his help. Moses had been chosen by God, but he needed convincing. God performed some miracles to show Moses who he was. Aaron, Moses' brother, was appointed as Moses' spokesman.
Moses is a central character in the Exodus, meaning "departure" (Browning, 1996, p.127 ) or "going forth (from Egypt)" (Brown, Fitzmyer, Murphy, 1992, p. 21). This becomes the main theme of The Book of Exodus.
The story continues with Moses, along with his brother Aaron, appealing to Pharaoh to release the Israelites from Egypt. Pharaoh refuses. Moses tried to prove his words were from God by using the 'miraculous powers' God had given him. Each time Pharaoh refused to release the Israelites, God sends down another plague on Egypt. There were ten plagues in total as stated in the Bible; Water turned to Blood, Frogs, Gnats, Flies, Livestock Disease, Boils, Thunder and Hail, Locusts, Darkness, and finally, Death of the Firstborn, The Passover.
The Passover was when the 'Angel of Death' (God) passed over Egypt killing all firstborn, both humans and animals, however, sparing the Israelites. The Iraelites were instructed by God, through Moses, to have a ritual meal on the night of the Passover. They were to mark their doorposts with the lambs blood to signify that the occupants were Israelites so the Angel of Death would 'pass over' the house leaving them spared from harm.
Upon witnessing this, Pharaoh releases the Israelites. Moses and Aaron begin the journey of the Exodus, leading the Israelites out of Egypt. Pharaoh changing his mind, sends his army to persue them. As Moses approaches the Red Sea, he raises his staff and parts the water to allow all the Israelites to cross safely. As the Egyptians advance, Moses closes the sea and they are left to drown.
The Israelites follow Moses into the wilderness. While wandering through the wilderness, God provides water and food by miraculous means, always making sure there was enough water to drink and food (manna & quail) to eat. About three months after escaping from Egypt, they reach Mount Sinai.
Moses leaves the Israelites to set up camp at the foot of the
mountain while he climbs up to listen to God. There, God spoke to Moses, sending a message
with him back to the Israelites that, as He had delivered them from slavery, they need to listen and obey Him, worship no other God and He will look after them, His people, and make a covenant with them. Moses climbed the Mount Sinai again, God told him of the important laws of morals and rules which His people were to live by, these were called the Ten Commandmants and were written on two stone tablets. Religious orders were also given to Moses to pass on to His people. A Tabernacle was constructed along with, the Ark of the Covenant and Alters. A Lampstand and Priests Vestments were also made.
The Book of Exodus concludes with the Israelites still at Mount Sinai with a Covenant that has been made between God and His people, for Him to be their God and for the Israelites to be faithful to their God.
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