The book of Exodus (Exodus 1)

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While research has not unequivocally confirmed Mosaic authorship for this book, its adherents take the traditional evangelistic view of assigning most of its writing and compiling to Moses. This position is substantiated by several passages in Genesis (Genesis 17:14, 24:3-4, 34:27) and in the New Testament (e.g. Luke 16:29, John 7:19). This does not necessarily imply that Moses composed Exodus in its present form, since editorial updating of the book probably occurred. Interpreters have claimed to find sources for the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament), but theories that deny a Mosaic origin for Exodus have significant weaknesses.

Moses almost certainly wrote/compiled Exodus at some point during the exodus period (most likely ca. 1440-1400 B.C.)

Israelites who took part in the exodus, as well as their succeeding generations, most likely read Exodus in order to understand the great saga surrounding their national origin (see Exodus 12:25-27). Not only did God miraculously deliver His people from slavery in Egypt and continue to fulfil His promises to the patriarchs, but His Presence returned to Israel and set the nation apart from all other peoples. God also gave the Israelites the gift of the law, the stipulations of the covenant by which Israel bound itself to Him. Exodus records much about matters that define the Israelites in terms of their relationship to God.

Exodus recounts one of the greatest events recorded in the Bible, the miraculous departure of the Israelites from Egypt. Not only did God liberate His people from slavery, but in the process He demonstrated His mighty power over the gods of Egypt. Afterward He guided the Israelites step-by-step toward Canaan – the promised land. God was beginning to transform this unruly group of former slaves into a united nation of 12 tribes devoted to Himself – but then they had so much to learn!

God stepped directly into His people’s daily lives in various ways: Recognizing their physical needs, He provided them daily bread and water and made them victorious over their enemies. In the desert of Sinai He gave them His law and established a special covenant with them. They became His holy people, with a solemn obligation to trust and obey Him. God made plans to live among them, even in the desert as they travelled, in the portable tabernacle He instructed them to build.

As you read, notice how God unfolded His plans through Moses, who had fled from Pharaoh’s anger until God commissioned him to return to Egypt (chapters 1-4). Watch Moses’ strides in gaining trust in God, who demonstrated miraculous power in Egypt, during the Red Sea crossing (chapters 5-14) and beyond. Observe God’s reaction when. after He had performed miracle after miracle to meet the Israelites’ needs, they still doubted, complained and even turned to idol worship at the very point at which He was engaged in establishing a covenant with them (chapters 15-34). Yet God forgave them and stipulated detailed instructions for building His tabernacle – His earthly dwelling place among His own (35:1-40:33). After its completion God filled it with His presence, again demonstrating His desire to be with His children and to form them into a united nation that would serve and glorify Him (40:34-38).

Did you know that the plague of darkness was almost certainly a challenge against Ra, an Egyptian sun god? This would also have been a direct challenge to Pharaoh, since Egyptian kings were referred to as sons of Ra (10:21-23). Did you know that in the treaty language of the ancient Nera East, the “love” owed to the great king was a conventional term for total allegiance and implicit trust expressing itself in obedient service (20:6)?


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