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Exodus

The Book of Exodus is the second book of the Hebrew Bible,  and of the five books of the Torah (the Pentateuch).  Exodus from the Greek meaning “going out”.

Exodus tells the story of how God led the children of Israel out of the bondage of slavery under Pharoah in Egypt to the promised land of Canaan.  God calls Moses to lead the children of Israel and gives them the Law and instructions for the Tabernacle, the means by which he will dwell with them and lead them to the land.

  •  Chapter 1  The Affliction of the Israelites in Egypt
  •  Chapter 2  The Birth of Moses, Moses Flees from Egypt
  •  Chapter 3  The Call of Moses
  •  Chapter 4  Moses Returns to Egypt
  •  Chapter 5  Moses and Aaron before Pharaoh

Egypt’s Pharaoh, fearful of the Israelites’ numbers, orders that all newborn boys be thrown into the Nile. A Levite woman saves her baby by setting him adrift on the river in an ark of bulrushes. Pharaoh’s daughter finds the child, names him Moses, and brings him up as her own. But Moses is aware of his origins, and one day, when grown, he kills an Egyptian overseer who is beating a Hebrew slave and has to flee into Midian. There he marries the daughter of Jethro the priest of Midian, and encounters God in a burning bush. Moses asks God for his name: God replies “I AM that I AM”. God tells Moses to return to Egypt and lead the Hebrews into Canaan, the land promised to Abraham.

Exodus 13-15 And Moses said to God,”Behold, when I come to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you’, and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ What shall I say to them?”

And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM and WHAT I AM, and I WILL BE WHAT I WILL BE;” and He said, “You shall say this to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you!”

God said also to Moses, This shall you say to the Israelites: The Lord, the God of your fathers, of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, has sent me to you! This is My name forever, and by this name I am to be remembered to all generations.

  • Chapter 6  The LORD’s Charge to Moses and Aaron
  • Chapter 7  Aaron’s Rod, The Plague of Blood, The Plague of Frogs
  • Chapter 8  The Plague of Lice, The Plague of Flies
  • Chapter 9  The Plague on the Cattle, The Plague of Boils, The Plague of Hail

Moses returns to Egypt, where God again reveals his name Yahweh to him. Yahweh instructs Moses to appear before the pharaoh and inform him of God’s demand that he let God’s people go. Moses and his brother Aaron do so, but Pharaoh refuses. Yahweh causes a series of ten plagues to strike Egypt, but whenever Pharaoh begins to relent God causes him to harden his heart.

  • Chapter 10  The Plague of Locusts, The Plague of Darkness
  • Chapter 11 The Death of the Firstborn Foretold
  • Chapter 12 The Passover, The Death of the Firstborn, The Israelites Leave Egypt
  • Chapter 13 The Consecration of the Firstborn, The Pillar of Cloud and the Pillar of Fire

God instructs Moses to institute the Passover sacrifice among the Israelites, and kills all the firstborn children and livestock throughout Egypt. Pharaoh then agrees to let the Israelites go. Moses explains the meaning of the Passover: it is for Israel’s salvation from Egypt, so that the Israelites will not be required to sacrifice their own sons, but to redeem them.

  • Chapter 13   The Consecration of the Firstborn, The Pillar of Cloud and the Pillar of Fire
  • Chapter 14   Crossing the Red Sea
  • Chapter 15   The Song of Moses, The Bitter Water at Marah
  • Chapter 16   God Gives Manna
  • Chapter 17   Water from the Rock, War with Amalek

The Exodus begins. The Israelites, enumerated at 603,550 able-bodied adult males (not counting Levites) and their families, with their flocks and herds, set out for the mountain of God. Yahweh causes Pharaoh to change his mind about allowing the Israelites to depart; he pursues them, but God destroys the Egyptian army at the crossing of the Red Sea (Yam Suf) and the Israelites celebrate Yahweh’s victory. The desert proves arduous, and the Israelites complain and long for Egypt, but God provides manna and miraculous water for them.

  • Chapter 18   Jethro Visits Moses, The Appointment of Judges
  • Chapter 19   Israel at Mount Sinai
  • Chapter 20  The Ten Commandments, The People’s Fear

The Israelites arrive at the mountain of God, where Moses’ father-in-law Jethro visits Moses; at his suggestion Moses appoints judges over Israel. The Israelites arrive at the mountain of God, where God asks whether they will agree to be his people. They accept. The people gather at the foot of the mountain, and with thunder and lightning, fire and clouds of smoke,and the sound of trumpets, and the trembling of the mountain, God appears on the peak, and the people see the cloud and hear the voice of God. Moses and Aaron are told to ascend the mountain. God pronounces the Ten Commandments in the hearing of all Israel.

  • Chapter 21   The Treatment of Servants, Laws concerning Acts of Violence, Laws concerning Responsibility of Owners
  • Chapter 22   Laws concerning Restitution, Laws of Human Relations
  • Chapter 23   The Three Appointed Feasts, The LORD’s Angel Sent to Lead Israel
  • Chapter 24   Moses and the Elders on Mount Sinai

Moses goes up the mountain into the presence of God, who pronounces the Covenant Code (a detailed code of ritual and civil law), and promises Canaan to them if they obey. Moses comes down the mountain and writes down God’s words and the people agree to keep them. God calls Moses up the mountain together with Aaron and the elders of Israel, and they all feast in the presence of God. God calls Moses up the mountain to receive a set of stone tablets containing the law, and he and Joshua go up, leaving Aaron in charge. God calls Moses to go up, and Moses goes up the mountain.

  •  Chapter 25   Israel to Bring an Offering, The Ark of the Testimony, The Table for the Showbread, The Golden Candlestick
  • Chapter 26The Tabernacle

God gives Moses instructions for the construction of the tabernacle so that God can dwell permanently amongst his chosen people.

  • Chapter  27   The Altar of Burnt Offering, The Court of the Tabernacle, The Tending of the Lamp
  • Chapter  28   The Garments for the Priests
  • Chapter  29   The Consecration of Aaron and His Sons, The Daily Offerings
  • Chapter 30   The Altar of Incense, The Atonement Money, The Laver, The Anointing Oil and the Incense

God gives instructions for the priestly vestments, the altar and its appurtenances, the ritual to be used to ordain the priests, and the daily sacrifices to be offered. Aaron is appointed as the first High Priest,and the priesthood is to be hereditary in his line.

  • Chapter 31   The Call of Bezaleel and Aholiab, The Sabbath as a Sign
  • Chapter 32  The Golden Calf
  • Chapter 33  The LORD’s Presence Promised
  • Chapter 34  The Second Tables of Stone, Israel Warned of the Idolatry of Canaan, The Three Appointed Feasts, Moses and the Tables of the Law

God gives Moses the two stone tablets containing these instructions, written by God’s own finger. While Moses is with God, Aaron makes a golden calf, which the people worship. God informs Moses of their apostasy and threatens to kill them all, but relents when Moses pleads for them. Moses comes down from the mountain, smashes the stone tablets in anger, and commands the Levites to massacre the unfaithful Israelites. God commands Moses to make two new tablets on which He will personally write the words that were on the first tablets. Moses ascends the mountain, God dictates the Ten Commandments and Moses writes them on the tablets. Moses descends from the mountain, and his face is transformed, so that from that time onwards he has to hide his face with a veil.

  • Chapter 35  Regulations for the Sabbath, Israel to Bring an Offering, The Tabernacle Articles, The People Bring the Offering, The Call of Bezaleel and Aholiab
  • Chapter 36  Moses Restrains the People from Bringing Gifts, The Making of the Tabernacle
  • Chapter 37  The Furnishings of the Tabernacle
  • Chapter 38  The Court of the Tabernacle, The Supervision of the Work, The Metal of the Sanctuary
  • Chapter 39 The Making of the Priests’ Garments, The Tabernacle Articles Completed
  • Chapter 40 The Setting Up of the Tabernacle, The Cloud over the Tabernacle

Moses assembles the Hebrews and repeats to them the commandments he has received from God, which are to keep the Sabbath and to construct the Tabernacle. “And all the construction of the Tabernacle of the Tent of Meeting was finished, and the children of Israel did according to everything that God had commanded Moses”, and from that time God dwelt in the Tabernacle and ordered the travels of the Hebrews.

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