The Book of Exodus begins with the Israelites trapped as slaves of Pharaoh, he is ruler of all the people. Moses is born, reaches adulthood and is witness to this slavery. With the help of Moses, God is able to lead the Israelites to freedom. In relation to the event of the Exodus, Keck (1994) points out that while it is "clearly God's work, the human Moses is indespensable as an agent in social transformation." (p. 690) Keck (1994) continues to state, "The structure of the narrative of liberation has dramatic force and power. It starts at at certain place (oppression) and ends at a very different place (liberation and celebration)." (p. 690)


"...under the inspired leadership of Moses the Israelites fled from their oppressors, tramped through the desert..." (Browning, 1996, p.126) This was not an easy journey and they were faced with adversities, such as lack of food and water, which God resolved by providing for them. The wilderness is were the majority of the Book of Exodus takes place. Moses leads the Israelites through the desert to their final destination of Mount Sinai where God enters into the covenant with them. It is said that this period of time spans over 40 years.


What was suprising in the Book of Exodus was that God seemed to be a God to be feared. He firstly threatened Pharaoh and Egypt with the plagues. He carried out these threats when what he had demanded to be done, wasn't done. Witherup (1998) writes that God is portrayed in the Book of Exodus as, "simultaneously deeply moved by suffering but also strict and demanding." (p. 57)
With each plague, the threat became more serious until it ended in death. God wasn't to be interfered with when he wanted his own way. Keck (1994) states that the "Narrative plunges the listening congregation into a world of danger, brutality and desperation"
(p. 696). Even during the wandering in the wilderness and the time at Mount Sinai, the Israelites were warned of threats by God, to behave in a certain way. Moses was given messages from God about warnings to the Israelites, that they must obey or perish (Ex 19:21). The Israelites were scared of God, they were afaid and wanted to keep their distance. They told Moses "You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, or we will die." (Ex 19:18-19) When the Israelites went against God and built a false god, a golden calf, God grew angry and wanted to destroy them, however, Moses reasoned with Him and God changed his mind. (Ex 32) The narrative of the Book of Exodus "is a powerful and primary example of what is meant by the 'dangerous' stories of the bible" (Keck, 1994, p. 691)


The writings of the laws and covenant are a large portion of the Exodus continuing through the Pentaeuch. This all takes place between God and Moses on the Mountain of Mount Sinai. God wants Moses to deliver these laws, rituals and regulations to the Israelites for they are the rules in which Gods people are to live by. These laws are the basis of Jewish religion and Christianity today. These Pentateuch laws still have an impact on modern society. Rachleff (1981) highlights that even today their "...influence may be found in all the greatest legal and political documents of the Western World, including the Constitution of the United States." (p.97)