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An Argument of the Book of Exodus

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I. LIBERATION--THE ACQUISITION OF A PEOPLE OUT OF EGYPT: Although the descendants of Jacob multiplied in Egypt and were under the oppression of the King of Egypt, the Lord delivered them out of their bondage by raising up a deliverer, Moses, demonstrating His power upon the Egyptians to such an extent that they hurried them to flee the land, delivering them from the Egyptians through the Reed Sea and providing for them through their wilderness wanderings until they arrived at Mount Horeb 1:1--18:27

A. The Setting--Oppression: Although those who came down to Egypt with Jacob were only seventy, they were fruitful and multiplied to such an extent that a new King of Egypt who did not know Joseph became threatened by their number and thus subjected them to hard labor and ordered the murder of their male children 1:1-22

1. Introduction--Continuity of History: Those who came down to Egypt with Jacob and their households were seventy, whereupon they died, but the Israelites were fruitful and filled the land 1:1-7

a. Names of Those Who Came to Egypt: The names of the Israelites who came with their households to Egypt with Jacob were Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Benjamin, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher 1:1-4

b. Seventy: The tribal offspring of Jacob was seventy persons with Joseph already being in Egypt 1:5

c. Transition: Although Joseph, his brothers and all that generation died, the Israelites were fruitful and prolific multiplying and increasing greatly so that the land was filled with them 1:6-7

2. Israel’s Persecution: Because the Israelites had become so numerous and a new king over Egypt who did not know Joseph was fearful that they would become a threat to the Egyptians, he had them oppressed and ordered that their male children be murdered 1:8-22

a. Fear Leads to Oppression: Because the Israelites had become so numerous and a new king over Egypt who did not know Joseph was fearful that they would become a threat to the Egyptians, they oppressed them with forced labor, but they increased all the more causing the Egyptians to loath them and oppress them with heavy work 1:8-14

b. Fear Leads to Murder: Because the Israelites were continuing to multiply, Pharaoh ordered the midwives to kill all of the male children and to let the female children live, but when they did not do this, Pharaoh ordered the Hebrews to throw the boy children into the river, but to let the girls live 1:15-22

B. The Separation of a Deliver unto God--Moses: Moses was separated unto God as a deliverer of the Israelites through a protected birth, experience in the house of Pharaoh until he had to flee for slaying an Egyptian for brutalizing a Hebrew, through a call from YHWH at Mount Sinai where he was tending sheep for his Median Father-in-law, through a return to Egypt where he and Aaron speak for God urging a rebellious Pharaoh to release the Israelites, and through a renewed call from YHWH to speak again to Pharaoh 2:1--7:7

1. The Birth and Protection of Moses: When a man from the house of Levi married the daughter of Levi and gave birth to a son she hid him for three months and then placed him in a basket on the Nile where Pharaoh’s daughter found him and adopted him as her son naming him Moses because she drew him out of the water 2:1-10

a. Birth and Hiding: A man from the house of Levi married the daughter of Levi and they bore a son who was so beautiful that she hid him (in her home?) for three months and then in a basket among the reeds at the bank of the Nile with his sister watching at a distance to see what would happen 2:1-4

b. Adoption: When Pharaoh’s daughter came down to bathe at the Nile she saw the basket, sent a servant to get it, saw the child crying, and took pity on it recognizing it to be a Hebrew child; whereupon, the child’s sister offered to get a nurse for the child, and Pharaoh’s daughter agreed paying the child’s mother wages until he was grown up and brought to Pharaoh’s daughter who made him her son and named him Moses because he was drawn out of the water 2:5-10

2. Moses Slays an Egyptian and Flees to Midian: Some time after Moses grew up he slew an Egyptian who was beating one of his people, was exposed, fled to Midian where he met and married Zipporah, the daughter of the priest of Midian (Reuel) whom he worked with, and bore a son, after which time Pharaoh died and the cries of Israel were heard by the Covenant God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob 2:11-25

a. Slaying of an Egyptian: Some time after Moses grew up and went out to his kinsmen to look on their toil, he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, struck down the Egypt and hid his body in the sand 2:11-12

b. Mediation and Exposure: On the next day when Moses saw two Hebrews struggling together he tried to mediate, but the one in the wrong rebuked him as not being ruler and judge over him and asked if he intended to kill him as he had the Egyptian causing Moses to be afraid that his act was known 2:13-14

c. Flight to Midian: When Pharaoh heard of the matter he tried to kill Moses, but Moses fled from Pharaoh and settled in the land of Midian sitting down beside a well 2:15

d. Acquiring a Wife and Son: At the well Moses met the daughters of the priest of Midian, helped them water their flock, was invited to their house by their father Reuel, agreed to stay with the man and married his daughter Zipporah who bore him a son named Gershom because he said that he has been a stranger in a foreign land 2:16-22

e. Transition--God Saw: A long time after Moses had fled, the king of Egypt died and the Israelites groaned under bondage and cried out for help whereupon God heard and remembered his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob 2:23-25

3. The Call of Moses: The Lord appeared to Moses who was tending his father-in-law’s sheep at Horeb, proclaimed His intention to deliver his people out of the oppression of Egypt to the Promised Land as the mighty God of promise who will authenticate Moses’ message with signs and enable Moses (and his brother Aaron) to speak for Him 3:1--4:17

a. The Appearance of God to Moses: While Moses was tending his father-in-law’s sheep near the Horeb, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob appeared to him in a bush burning with fire warning him not to come closer, proclaiming the land as holy and identifying himself as the covenant God whereupon Moses hid his face out of fear to look at God 3:1-6

b. God’s Intention to Deliver through Moses: The Lord proclaimed that he has seen and heard the oppression of his people in Egypt and has come down to deliver them to a land of blessing (the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites) through Moses and answered Moses’ reticence by assuring him of His presence and promising that they will return to this mountain to worship Him as a sign 3:7-12

c. The Mighty God of Promise: When Moses asked for the character of God (name) which he was to reveal to the Israelites, the Lord proclaims Himself to be the covenant God who sees their oppression, will fulfill His promises (YHWH) and bring the nation back to the Land of Promise by displaying His might to a resistant Pharaoh so that the Egyptians will not only free the Israelites, but allow the Israelites to plunder them of their riches 3:13-22

d. Authenticating Signs: When Moses objected to the Lord’s call insisting that the people will deny that the Lord appeared to them, He gave Moses three signs to authenticate his message (the rod & snake, the leperous hand, and the water to blood) 4:1-9

e. Help with Speech: When Moses objected to the Lord’s call insisting that he had never been good with speech, He reminded Moses that it is He who gives speech to men and exhorted Moses to go reassuring him that He will help Moses with his speech 4:10-12

f. Help through Aaron: When Moses objected to the Lord’s call and asked that He send somebody else the Lord became angry and said that his brother Aaron, who is on his way to meet Moses, would be Moses’ mouthpiece and Moses would play the role of God as the Lord helps both of them to speak and know what to do; the Lord also told Moses to take the rod in his hand with him to perform the signs 4:13-17

4. The Return of Moses to Egypt: After Moses returned to his people in Egypt with the permission of his father-in-law, an exhortation and warning from the Lord, and his brother Aaron, they told the leaders of Israel what God was going to do, and told Pharaoh to let Israel go to worship the Lord three days in the wilderness, but Pharaoh only oppressed the people causing them to curse Moses, but the Lord assured Moses that Pharaoh will soon drive them out of the land when he experiences the Lord’s strong hand 4:18--6:1

a. From Horeb to Egypt: Moses received permission from his Father-in-law to leave for his kinsmen in Egypt, was commissioned by the Lord to exhort Pharaoh to let his first-born son, Israel, go lest He slay Pharaoh’s first-born son, was reminded through the circumcision of his son that the Lord will deal harshly with disobedience, and was joined under God’s providence with Aaron who together reported to Israel God’s intention to deliver them whereupon they worship 4:18-31

1) Moses Leaves for Egypt: Moses returned and received permission from his father-in-law, Jethro, to return to his kinsmen in Egypt, and received confirmation from the Lord to return since all of those who wanted to kill him are dead, whereupon, he took his wife, his sons, and the staff of God and went back to Egypt 4:18-20

2) Exhortation for Pharaoh: The Lord exhorted Moses to perform before Pharaoh all of the marvels which He had placed in Moses’ power and to say to Pharaoh, whose heart God will harden, to let Israel, God’s first-born son go to worship Him or else He will slay Pharaoh’s first-born son 4:21-23

3) The Lord Almost Slays Moses: On the way to Egypt the Lord met Moses and sought to slay him (for not circumcising his son), but Moses’ wife cut off her sons foreskin and through it at Moses’ feet proclaiming him to be a bridegroom of blood, so the Lord let him alone 4:24-26

4) The Message to the Leaders of Israel: The Lord had Aaron go and meet Moses at the mountain where Moses reported al that the Lord had commissioned him along with the signs, whereupon, he and Aaron gathered all the leaders of Israel together and convinced them of the Lord’s intention and they bowed in worship 4:27-31

b. When Moses first met Pharaoh and exhorted him to let Israel go into the wilderness for three days to worship the Lord their God, Pharaoh responded by oppressing them with harsh work so that they would not listen to Moses’ words, the people responded by praying a curse upon Moses, and Moses responded by asking the Lord what He was doing, but the Lord told Moses that soon Pharaoh would drive Israel out of the land because of the Lord’s strong hand 5:1--6:1

1) First Meeting of Pharaoh: After Moses and Aaron met the leaders of the nation they went to Pharaoh and informed him that the Lord, the God of Israel, wanted Pharaoh to let His people go into the wilderness a three day’s journey to worship him, but Pharaoh refused and exhorted the Israelites to return to their jobs since they were more numerous than the native population 5:1-5

2) Result--No Straw: In response to the Lord’s request Pharaoh order the taskmasters to require the Hebrews to continue to meet their quota of bricks without providing them straw so that they will not pay attention to Moses’ words and they did beating them 5:6-14

3) Israelite Response: When the Israelite foremen asked Pharaoh why he was treating his servants so harshly, Pharaoh answered that it was because the people were lazy wanting to go out and sacrifice to the Lord whereupon the foremen left Pharaoh and finding Moses and Aaron waiting to meet them prayed that the Lord would see and punish them for turning Pharaoh against them 5:15-21

4) Moses’ Prayer to the Lord: When Moses prayed to the Lord asking Him why He had brought evil on this people and why He sent him since his speech has made things worse for the people and He has not delivered them, the Lord answered that Moses would soon see what He would do to Pharaoh because he will drive them out of the land because of the Lord’s strong hand 5:22--6:1

5. The Renewed Call of Moses: Moses and Aaron who are historically tied to the generation of promise once again received a call from YHWH proclaiming that He will deliver the Israelites out of bondage to the Egyptians, and exhorting Moses to go to Pharaoh, even though the Israelites are not listening and tell him to let his people go from this land 6:2--7:7

a. The Call: Moses again receives a call from YHWH proclaiming that as YHWH (the One who will fulfill His covenant promises) He will deliver the Israelites from the Egyptians and, make them his people, and lead them to the Promised Land which He will give to them for a possession 6:2-8

b. Israel’s Response: The Israelites would not listen to Moses because they were impatient from their cruel slavery 6:9

c. Go to Pharaoh: Although Moses was hesitant to speak to Pharaoh in view of the Israelites response, God commanded him to tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go from his land 6:10-13

d. Genealogy of Levi: Through a genealogy Aaron and Moses who received the revelation and spoke to Pharaoh are demonstrated to be historically tied to the covenant people 6:14-27

1) The Heads of the fathers households from oldest to Levi--Rueben, Simeon, Levi 6:14-16

2) The Sons of Levi--Gershon, Kohath, Merari 6:17-19

a) The Sons of Kohath--Amram, Izhar, Hebron, Uzziel 6:18

b) The Sons of Merari--Mahli and Mushi 6:19a

3) These are the families of the Levites according to generations 6:19b

4) Aaron and Moses from Kohath and Amram--Amram married Jochebed and bore him Aaron and Moses 6:18

5) The Sons of Izhar--Korah, Nepheg and Zichri 6:21

6) The Sons of Uzziel--Mishael, Elzaphan, Sithri 6:22

7) Aaron’s sons--Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar 6:23

8) The Sons of Korah--Assir, Elkanah, Abiasaph--Families of the Korahites 6:24

9) Eleazar’s son--Phinehas 6:25a

10) These are the heads of the father’s of the Levites according to families 6:25b

11) This same Aaron and Moses received the revelation from the Lord and spoke to Pharaoh 6:26-27

e. Go to Pharaoh Again: Again although Moses was hesitant to speak to Pharaoh because he was a halting speaking and Pharaoh would not listen, the Lord told Moses that He will make him as God to Pharaoh and Aaron as his spokesman, and they shall speak to Pharaoh, but YHWH will harden his heart so that He might increase His signs and wonders in the Land of Egypt and thus lead out his people with great acts of judgment; Moses was 80 and Aaron was 83 when they spoke to Pharaoh 6:28--7:7

C. The Demonstration of YHWH’s Sovereignty Over Egypt--The Ten Plagues: The Lord continued to harden Pharaoh’s heart resulting in his unwillingness to let Israel leave Egypt to worship the Lord so that He might demonstrate his sovereign power over Egypt to the world and Israel through a series of ten plagues 7:8--11:10

1. Introduction to the Plagues--Staff to Serpents: When Moses spoke to Pharaoh according to what the Lord had told him he demanded a miracle whereupon Moses threw down his staff and it became a serpent which ultimately swallowed up the sorcerers staffs which also became serpents, yet Pharaoh’s heart was hardened and he did not listen to them as the Lord had said 7:8-13

FIRST CYCLE (Morning/River):

2. First Plague--Water to Blood:1 In the Morning Moses went out to meet Pharaoh at the Nile as YHWH had commanded and ordered him to Let God’s people go, whereupon he turned the Nile and surrounding waters to blood whereupon the magicians did the same, but Pharaoh was unaffected even though the people had to dig for water to drink 7:14-25

3. Second Plague--Frogs:2 Moses came to Pharaoh and ordered him in the name of the Lord to let His people go to serve Him, and then brought frogs upon all of the land, which the magicians duplicated, so that Pharaoh agreed to let them go if they were abated, but when the were, according to Moses’ prayer, Pharaoh saw relief and hardened his heart as the Lord had said 8:1-15

4. Third Plague--Gnats:3 When the LORD brought about gnats from the dust of the earth over all beasts and men, the magicians were not able to reproduce this and identified it as the finger of God, but Pharaoh’s heart was hardened and he did not listen to them as the Lord had said 8:16-19

SECOND CYCLE (Morning/River):

5. Fourth Plague--Flies:4 Moses came to Pharaoh in the morning with the order to let YHWH’s people go and brought upon all of Egypt, except for the land of Goshen where the Israelites lived, flies whereupon Moses agreed to let the Israelites worship in Egypt, but Moses refused because their worship would offend the Egyptians, whereupon Pharaoh agreed to let the Israelites go to the wilderness and worship if Moses would pray that the flies would be lifted, but when they were, Pharaoh hardened his heart and did not let the people go 8:20-32

6. Fifth Plague--Animal Pestilence:5 Moses came to Pharaoh and ordered him to Let YHWH’s people go to serve Him, and then ordered pestilence upon all of the livestock of Egypt so that they died, while all of the livestock of the Israelites lived, but when Pharaoh saw this he was hardened and did not let them go 9:1-7

7. Sixth Plague--Boils:6 The Lord had Moses and Aaron take handfuls of soot from a kiln and throw it in the sky whereupon it became fine dust over all the land of Egypt and broke into boils upon all the people and animals--even upon the magicians who could not even appear before Moses because of the sores--but the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart and he did not listen to Moses and Aaron 9:8-12


8. Seventh Plague--Hail:7 Moses came and warned Pharaoh and the Egyptians that the Lord could destroy them but was going to bring a severe hail storm upon the nation on the next day so that they would know that He was God, and that they should bring their servants and animals into protection to survive it, and while some followed this word, some did not and the hail storm came causing enormous destruction whereupon Pharaoh said that he had sinned and asked for relief, but when Moses prayed and the storm stopped, Pharaoh’s heart was hardened and he did not let Israel go just as the Lord had spoken 9:13-35

9. Eighth Plague--Locusts:8 When Moses came to Pharaoh ordering him to let the Israelites go or else the Lord would bring a devastating swarm of locusts upon the land, Pharaoh agreed to let only the men go and worship, whereupon, Moses prayed and the locusts came with the east wind, and Pharaoh “repented” and the Lord took the Locust away with the west wind, but the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart because he was performing these signs among them that the Israelites would know that He was the Lord and tell their sons and grandsons that He made a mockery of the Egyptians 10:1-20

10. Ninth Plague--Darkness:9 When the Lord brought upon Egypt a darkness which could be felt for three days (except for where the Israelites were) Pharaoh called Moses and offered to let them all go and worship the Lord except for their animals, but Moses insisted upon the need for their animals in order to offer sacrifice to the Lord whereupon the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart and Pharaoh and he changed his mind and threatened to kill Moses if he ever saw him again, and Moses proclaimed that he would not see him again--he’ll be gone 10:21-29

11. Tenth Plague Announced--Death of First Born:10 In a context of the Israelites and Moses being revered by the Egyptians Moses’ speech to Pharaoh is proclaimed that the Lord will kill all of the first-born in Egypt (of cattle and mankind) at midnight but there will not even be a disturbance among the Israelites which will cause all of Pharaoh’s servants and people to come and bow themselves before Moses urging them to go out whereupon they will go out 11:1-8

a. Culmination: The last plague culminates all the other plagues in that because of it Pharaoh will let Israel go 11:1

b. Preparation: The Israelites are to prepare for their departure by asking for gold and silver which on the Passover night the Egyptians will be glad to pay for them to leave 11:2 (cf. 12:35-36)

c. Moses: Moses was highly esteemed by the Egyptians 11:3

d. Plague: The last plague will occur at midnight, and all the first-born in Egypt will die and cry out, but no-one in Israel will be harmed in order that Egypt will see YHWH’s distinction between them and Israel, whereupon, the nation of Egypt will desire that Israel leave 11:4-8

12. Conclusion: The Lord explained that Pharaoh will not listen and his heart was hardened so that the Lord’s wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt 11:9-10

D. The Deliverance of a People from Egypt: The Lord delivered the Israelites from Egypt by motivating Pharaoh to let them go through the slaying of the first born, by enabling the people to pass through the Reed Sea while destroying the Israelites in it, and by showing Himself to be their God through providing for them on their journey through the wilderness to Mount Horeb 12:1--18:27

1. The Redemption of a People--Passover and Exodus: Exhorting Israel to keep the Passover as a sacred feast both before and after the event, the Lord killed all of the first born in Egypt, passing over the Israelites, and Pharaoh and the people of Egypt hurried Israel out of their land whereupon they traveled to Succoth 12:1--13:16

a. The Passover: After the Lord instructed Moses and Aaron how to keep the Passover, and they instructed the elders of Israel how to keep the Passover, the Lord passed over Egypt killing all of the first born from Pharaoh to the prisoner to the cattle whereupon Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and exhorted them to leave with their cattle and the people of Egypt out of fear hurried them along so that the Israelites left without putting leven in their bread and with gold, silver and clothes from the Egyptians 12:1-36

1) Instructions to Moses for The Passover: The Lord instructed Moses concerning how to keep this Passover and to set it up as a perpetual feast to remember that the Lord brought them out of Egypt 12:1-20

a) Set Month Aside: As leaders, Moses and Aaron were told to set this month aside as the first month of the year (March/April) to them 12:1-2

b) The Choosing of a Lamb: Each household, or group of households, was to pick a lamb on the tenth of the month according to what they could eat from among the sheep or goats with which was without blemish and was a one year old male and they were to slaughter it on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight and apply its blood to the house and eat all of it 12:3-10

(1) Those to Pick a Lamb: Each household or grouping of households of the community of Israel was to pick a lamb on the tenth of this month according to what it could eat 12:3-4

(2) Description of the Lamb: Each household was to pick a lamb from either the sheep or the goats which was without a blemish, was a male,and was one year old 12:5

(3) Applying the Lamb: On the fourteenth day of this first month the assembled community of Israel was to slaughter the lamb at twilight and then take some of the blood and smear it on the two doorposts and lintel of the houses in which they were to eat the lamb and on that same night they were to eat the lamb--roasted, with unleavened cakes, bitter herbs, not raw or cooked in water, but roasted with its head, legs and entrails not leaving any of it over until morning, or at least burning that which is left over 12:6-10

c) Description of the Passover: Those who are eating the lamb are to do so prepared for their departure--belt fastened, sandals on their feet, staff in their hand, and in a hurry because this is the Lord’s Passover when He will pass through the land of Egypt in the night and strike down every first-born executing judgment on all the gods of Egypt, and the blood on the houses will be a sign that He should pass over them when he comes to destroy the land of Egypt 12:11-13

d) Remembrance: The Lord commanded Moses and Israel that this day was to be a memorial for them which they were to continually celebrate as a feast which included not eating unleavened bread from the fourteenth day to the twenty-first day with a sacred assembly on the first and seventh days when no work may be done as remembrance that the Lord brought them out of Egypt 12:14-20

2) Instructions to the Elders of Israel: Moses and Aaron then instructed all of the elders of Israel about how to keep the Passover in accordance with the instructions which he received, and they worshiped the Lord and did as they were instructed 12:21-28 (cf. 12:1-20)

3) The Passover: In the middle of the night the Lord struck dead all the first-born in the land of Egypt from Pharaoh to the prisoner to the cattle 12:29

4) Responses in Egypt: Pharaoh responded to the plague by exhorting Moses and Aaron to leave Egypt with their people and animals and by the Egyptians fearfully pressuring them to speed up their departure so that the Israelites left without leven in their bowls and the Egyptians gave to them their silver, gold and clothing 12:30-36

a) Pharaoh: Pharaoh’s response to the death of his son on this night was to cry and then summon Moses and Aaron in the night urging them to god serve the Lord and bring a blessing on him too 12:30-32

b) Egyptians: The Egyptians put pressure on the Israelites to speed up their departure out of fear causing the Israelites to leave before their bread was leavened, and resulting in the plunder of the Egyptians who let them have what they wanted to leave 12:33-36

b. The Exodus: After exactly four-hundred and thirty years of captivity and the Lord’s night vigil the Israelites were rushed out of Egypt and the Lord gave to them regulations requiring that they continually celebrate this event among their covenant community on the first month of the year (Abib) through a feast of unleavened bread, and that they consecrate their first born explaining to the next generation the gracious work that the Lord did for them 12:37--13:16

1) The Departure: After exactly four-hundred and thirty years of captivity and through the Lord’s night vigil the Israelites numbering six hundred thousand men plus their dependents11 journeyed from Rameses to Succoth with unleavened bread because they had been rushed out of Egypt without time to prepare food for the journey 12:37-42

2) Regulations for the Passover: The Lord gave regulations for the Passover stating that those who were uncircumcised strangers, foreigners, sojourners, natives, and hired servants may not eat of it, but those who were circumcised may eat of it in a single house without bringing forth any of the flesh outside and without breaking any bone and Israel followed the commands and the Lord brought them out of Egypt 12:43-50

3) Consecration of First Born: The Lord ordered Moses to sanctify for Him the first born among people and animals remembering the deliverance the Lord has brought about and continuing to celebrate this event on the first month (Abib) when they come to the Promised Land with a seven day feast of unleavened bread to be explained to the next generation as a part of the Law 13:1-16

2. The Deliverance at the Sea: After the Lord prepared and then actualized the pursuit of the Egyptians, His deliverance of the Israelites through the Reed Sea, and His destruction of the Egyptians in the Sea, the people worshiped the Lord by praising Him for his mighty deliverance and proclaiming the fear which the people in the Promised Land have of the Lord 13:17--15:21

a. The Deliverance: The Lord lead Israel from Egypt to Succoth to Etham to Pi-hahiroth between Migdol and the sea in front of Baal Zephon where He predicted and actualized the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart so that he would pursue Israel, which caused the people to fear, but Moses order them to trust in the Lord who would fight for them whereupon the Lord predicted and realized His deliverance of the nation through the Reed Sea and destroyed the Egyptians in the sea causing the people to fear the Lord and have faith in Him and His servant Moses 13:17--14:31

1) The Way of Deliverance---Egypt to Succoth to Etham: The Lord who lead Israel (armed with plunder from Egypt and Joseph’s bones) in either a pillar of cloud by day or fire by night, He did not lead them by the Way of the Land to the Philistines lest they face war and return to Egypt, but by the Way of the Wilderness toward the Reed Sea going from Succoth to Etham where they camped 13:17-22

2) Prediction and Realization of Egypt’s Attack: The Lord then told Moses to turn back and encamp before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea in front of Baal Zephon whereupon He will harden Pharaoh’s heart and he will pursue Israel and the Lord will gain glory through Pharaoh and his army and the Egyptians shall know that he is the Lord; and they obeyed whereupon the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart and his military pursued the Israelites 14:1-9

3) Israelite Response: The Israelites responded to the sight of the Egyptians by crying to the Lord and criticizing Moses, but Moses urged them not to be afraid and to stand by and see the deliverance which the Lord will work for them that day because He will fight for them and they will never see the Egyptians again 14:10-14

4) The Predicted and Actual Deliverance of the Israelites and Destruction of the Egyptians: The Lord told Moses to stop crying to Him and predicted His deliverance of the Israelites through the sea and His destruction of the Egyptians in the sea whereupon Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, the Lord drove it back with a strong east wind all night turning it into dry land, the Israelites went across, the Egyptians pursued them, the Lord fought against the Egyptians, returned the water upon them and destroyed them causing the Israelites to fear the Lord and have faith in Him and his servant Moses 14:15-31

b. The Song of the Sea--Praise: After their deliverance from the Egyptians by the Hand of the Lord, Moses the Israelites and Miriam (a prophet, the sister of Aaron) and all the woman sang a song to the Lord praising Him for his great salvation of them from the hand of the Egyptians through the Reed Sea and for causing the nations in the Land of Promise to fear 15:1-21

3. The Bringing of a People to YHWH in the Wilderness: As the Lord moves the Israelites through the wilderness to Mount Horeb He demonstrates Himself to be God for these people by being Healer at the waters of Marah, Provider of food and water, Warrior with the Amalekites, and provider of wisdom (natural skill for living) through Moses’ father-in-law Jethro 15:22--18:27

a. Healer of the Waters of Marah and Israel: When Moses led Israel out into the wilderness of Shur for three day and they were without water and they came upon to Marah (bitter) but were unable to drink the water which was bitter, they murmured against Moses who cried to the Lord and was told to take a tree12 and throw it in the water whereupon it became sweet and the Lord ordered the people to obey Him to overt the infliction which He imposed upon Egypt and to experience Him as their healer (as he healed the water); then they came to Elim and encamped by the water of the twelve springs and seventy palm trees 15:22-27

b. Provider--Manna and Quails: On the fifteenth day of the second month of their journey the Israelites set out from Elim and came to the wilderness of Sin between Elim and Sinai where they murmured against Moses and Aaron for bringing them to the wilderness to starve to death, but the Lord told Moses of his intention to rain bread from heaven for the people who should show their obedience to the Lord by only gather on six days, whereupon Moses informed the Israelites and the Lord appeared and confirmed Moses’ words; then He provided quail in the evening and manna in the morning for forty years and exposed those in Israel who would not obey by resting on the Sabbath, and they kept an omer of Manna for following generations to see 16:1-36

c. Provider--Water at Massah and Meribah: When the Israelites set out from the wilderness of Sin by stages they camped at Rephidim and quarreled with and murmured against Moses because they thirsted whereupon the Lord had Moses, with some of the elders of the people, strike the rock at Horeb with his rod and water poured out so that the people could drink; and they named the place Massah (test) and Meribah (quarrel) because the Israelites quarreled and tested the Lord questioning whether or not He was among them 17:1-7

d. Warrior--War with the Amalekites:13 At Rephidim Amalek came and fought with Israel, and under Moses’ instruction Joshua took some men and fought with Amalek winning while Moses held up his hand and losing when Moses let his hand down causing Aaron and Hur to support his hand which enabled Joshua to defeat Amalek; then the Lord promised to exterminate the memory of Amalek and Moses built an altar and named it “the Lord will be my banner” proclaiming his enmity with Amalek throughout the generations 17:8-16

e. Wisdom to Moses--The Visit of Jethro: When Moses’ father-in-law heard all that God had done for Moses and the Israelites he came with Moses’ wife and two sons, whereupon Moses greeted him and explained all that God had done; and when Jethro saw how Moses was judging the people he exhorted him to delegate the responsibility for his sake and that of the people whereupon Moses did and his father-in-law departed to his own country 18:1-27

II. COVENANT--THE CONSTITUTION OF A PEOPLE TO BE A NATION:14 When at Mount Sinai all of the people agreed to obey the Lord, He promised to make them a kingdom of priests and a holy nations, stated though Moses the stipulations of the covenant, and the people ratified the covenant with blood sacrifices whereupon the Lord displayed the peace which existed between Him and the leaders of the nation and called Moses to receive stone tablets of the law on Mount Sinai for forty days and forty nights 19:1--24:18

A. The Setting for the Revelation--Theophany at Sinai: On exactly the third month (Sivan/May-June) when Israel had gone out from Egypt and entered the Wilderness of Sinai from Raphidim camping in front of the mountain Moses went up to God who announced that if all the people would obey Him, He would make them a kingdom of priests and a holy nations, whereupon, the people agreed and Moses prepared the people for a Theophany of the Lord who descended with smoke and spoke to Moses in the hearing of the people 19:1-25

1. Israel arrived at Sinai and encamped 19:1-2

2. God announced his covenant with Israel 19:3-9

a. Conditions of the Covenant: 19:3-6

b. Israel’s Response of Acceptance: 19:7-8

c. Moses’ Special Role Defined: 19:9

3. Preparations Prior to the Third Day: 19:10-15

a. Instructions for Purification fro two days 19:10-11

b. Guarding the people from the Mountain: 19:12-13a

c. Commands Executed by Moses 19:14-15

4. Preparations on the Third Day: 19:16-25

a. The Beginning of Signs and the People’s Reactions: 19:16

b. Moses leads the people out to the foot of the mountain 19:17

c. Further Sings Increasing: 19:18

d. Moses Speaking with God: 19:19

e. Moses Summoned for Further Instructions: 19:20-24

f. Instructions Reported to the People: 19:25

B. The Revelation at Sinai--Granting of Covenant: The Lord presented through the mediation of Moses the stipulations of the covenant which were incumbent upon Israel as it bound itself in relationship to the Lord as their Suzerain 20:1--23:33

1. The Negative Law of Love--Proclamation of the Decalogue:15 In the commands which the Lord spoke on the mountain He required of people to love Him and one another by not doing what is evil against Him or one another 20:1-17

a. Introduction: The following are the words that God spoke 20:1


b. No Other Gods: The Lord God who brought Israel out of the land of Egypt ordered them to have no other gods before Him 20:2-3

c. No False Images: The Lord ordered the nation not to make and worship false images because he will bring about judgment upon them as a nation if they do so and will show loyal love to those who love Him and obey Him 20:4-6

d. Don’t Abuse Name: The Lord ordered the nation not to abuse the name of the Lord for He will punish those who do 20:7

e. Do Not Work on Sabbath: The Lord ordered the people to rest on the Sabbath because of his work of creation 20:8-11


f. Honor Parents: The Lord ordered the people to honor their mother and father in order that they may life long in the land 20:12

g. Don’t Kill: The Lord ordered the people not to kill 20:13

h. Don’t Commit Adultery: The Lord ordered the people not to commit adultery 20:14

i. Don’t Steal: The Lord ordered the people not to steal 20:15

j. No False Witness: The Lord ordered the people not to falsely testify against their neighbor 20:16

k. Don’t Covet: The Lord ordered the people not to covet their neighbor’s hours, wife, slave, livestock, or anything that is their neighbor’s 20:17

2. Establishment of Moses’ Covenant Office: Because of the frightful Theophany when the Lord spoke to Moses the people asked Moses to speak (as a mediator) to them from God rather than God Himself speaking to them 20:18-21

3. Further Stipulations of the Covenant: In view of the covenant relationship of Israel with the Lord God, they are required to live in accordance with stipulations regarding sacrificial altars, slaves, personal injury, theft, property damage, dishonesty, immorality, civil and religious matters, sabbaths and feasts, and conquest 20:22--23:33

a. Laws Concerning False Gods: 20:22-23

b. Laws Concerning Sacrificial Altars: 20:24-26

c. Laws Concerning Slaves: 21:1-11

d. Laws Concerning Personal Injury: 21:12-36

e. Laws Concerning Theft: 22:1-4

f. Laws Concerning Property Damage: 22:5-6

g. Laws Concerning Dishonesty: 22:7-15

h. Laws Concerning Immorality: 22:16-17

i. Laws Concerning Civil and Religious Obligations: 22:18--23:9

j. Laws Concerning Sabbaths and Feasts: 23:10-19

k. Laws Relating to Conquest: 23:20-33

C. The Sealing/Ratification of the Covenant: When Moses and the people ratified the covenant through an oath to do all which God had said by sacrificing animals and sprinkling their blood on the altar and on the people, Moses responded to the Lord’s request and he, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu and seventy of the elders of Israel went up the mountain, whereupon, they saw and ate a fellowship dinner with God; then later the Lord invited Moses to come up the mountain where He would give him tablets of stone with the teachings and commandments He had given and he and Joshua went leaving the people with Aaron and Hur and Moses entered into the cloud on the mountain for forty days and forty nights 24:1-18

III. THE PREPARATION OF A PEOPLE FOR THEIR GOD-KING: Although the initial directions for the tabernacle were postponed because Israel’s rebellion threatened their existence as well as the Lord’s willingness to enter the land of promise among this people, Moses interceded on their behalf reminding God of the risk to His reputation by abandoning His people, whereupon the Lord agreed to dwell among His people, the tabernacle was built and erected and the Lord came down upon it and dwelt among His people guiding them towards the Promise Land 25:1--40:38

A. Directions for the Tabernacle and its Service: While Moses was on the mountain for forty days and forty nights the Lord gave him directions for the building of the tabernacle and its service 25:1--31:18

1. Materials for the Tabernacle: 25:1-9

2. The Ark and Mercy Seat: 25:10-22

3. Table for the Bread: 25:23-30

4. The Lampstand: 25:31-40

5. The Curtains: 25:1-14

6. The Boards: 25:15-30

7. The Veils: 26:31-37

8. The Bronze Altar: 27:1-8

9. The Court: 27:9-19

10. The Oil 27:20-21

11. The Priests’ Garments: 28:1-43

12. The Priest’s Consecrations: 29:1-46

13. The Altar of Incense: 30:1-10

14. The Atonement Money: 30:11-16

15. The Laver: 30:17-21

16. The Anointing Oil: 30:22-33

17. The Incense: 30:34-38

18. The Builders: 31:1-11

19. The Sign of the Sabbath: 31:12-18

B. The People’s Rejection of Their God and His Presence Endangered: When Moses was up on the mountain receiving God’s instruction the people rebelled against the Lord and built an image which resulted in the Lord wanting to destroy them, but Moses interceded changing God’s mind for His sake, brought judgment upon them, and again successfully interceded on behalf of the people urging God to remain with them when they enter the land 32:1--33:23

1. The Golden Calf: When Moses was up on the mountain for so long receiving God’s instruction the people thought he was gone so they supplied their gold to Aaron to build a golden calf (or image) of the Lord and worshiped it, but the Lord was aware of their evil and only relented judgment under Moses’ reminder of how others would view His character, whereupon, Moses came down and judged the people (slaying about 3,000 men) and interceded for the nation by offering himself as atonement, but the Lord said that he would punish them in the future and that Moses should now go on and lead the people 32:1-35

2. God’s Presence Endangered: When the Lord told the nation through Moses to go ahead and enter into the Promised Land which He promised to the fathers, but that He would not go with them lest He consume them in their evil, the people went about like mourners not putting on their ornaments (from Egypt?) and met the Lord at the tent of meeting and asked the Lord to go with the people to demonstrate that they are His people and that they have gained God’s favor, whereupon the Lord agreed and confirmed that with a display of His glory (character) to Moses16 33:1-23

C. The Renewal of the Covenant: When the Lord had Moses prepare two stones and bring them on the mountain, He presented Himself as the faithful God to Moses and agreed to go in the midst of the people to give them the land again providing stipulations which they must observe, and after forty days and nights Moses returned with a glow to his face for having been in the presence of the Lord and told the Israelites all that the Lord had said as their mediator 34:1-35

D. Tabernacle Instructions Executed: When Moses provided instructions concerning building the tabernacle all of the people responded abundantly providing more than what was needed, the tabernacle was built and inspected by Moses to be exactly according to the instructions from the Lord and they erected it and consecrated the priests one year from the day that they left Egypt 35:1--40:33

1. The Preparation for the Construction: Moses provided instructions concerning keeping the Sabbath, contributions, laborers, which the people needed to follow as they prepared to construct the tabernacle, and the people responded so abundantly that they had more than enough contributions requiring that they stop receiving them 35:1--36:7

2. The Building of the Tabernacle: All of the elements of the tabernacle were made in accordance with the Lord’s directions to Moses (cf. 25:1--31:18 above) 36:8--39:31

a. The Curtains Made: 36:8-19

b. The Boards Made: 36:20-34

c. The Veil Made: 36:35-38

d. The Ark Made: 37:1-9

e. The Table Made: 37:10-16

f. The Lampstand Made: 37:17-24

g. The Altar of Incense Made: 37:25-29

h. The Brass Altar Made: 38:1-7

i. The Laver Made: 38:8

j. The Court Made: 38:9-20

k. The Materials Used: 38:21-31

l. The Garments of Aaron Made: 39:1-31

3. The Completion of the Tabernacle: After all of the work of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting was completed the Sons of Israel brought the tabernacle to Moses, the tent and all its furnishings and Moses examined it, and blessed them because they had done it just as the Lord had commanded, whereupon they erected it and anointed Aaron and consecrated his sons one year after their departure from Egypt (the first day of the first month) 39:32--40:33

E. The Dwelling of Their God-King with His People: When the tabernacle was completed the Lord came down and dwelt among them on the tent of meeting filling the tabernacle, and guided them in their journey as a could by day and fire by night 40:34-38

1 This is an attack on Hapi (also called Apis) the bull god of the Nile, Isis goddess of the Nile, Khnum, ram god and guardian of the Nile and other gods.

2 This is an attack on Heqet the goddess of birth with a frog head. This deity is multiplied in all directions until the people detest them.

3 This was an attack on Set the god of the desert.

4 This was an attack on Re a sun god or the God Uatchit who was possibly represented by the fly.

5 This was an attack on Hathor, the goddess with a cow head, and Apis, the bull god and symbol of fertility.

6 This was an attack on Sekhmet, the goddess with power over disease, Sunu, the pestilence god, and Isis, the goddess of healing.

7 This was an attack on Nut, the sky goddess, Osiris, the god of crops and fertility, and Set, the god of storms.

8 This was an attack on Nut, the sky goddess, Osiris, the god of crops and fertility.

9 This was a plague against the Sun god of Egypt, Ra, Horus, a sun god, Nut, a sky goddess, and Hathor, a sky goddess.. This also foreshadows the ultimate judgment which is about to occur in that the death of the first-born will occur at night. In addition Childs writes, there is also a certain contrast between deathly silence within a darkness which can be touched and the 'great cry' which was soon to break forth (The Book of Exodus, 160).

10 This is a hinge chapter pointing to the climax of the plague narrative and the beginning of the redemption narrative. This is an attack on Min, the god of reproduction; Heqet, the goddess who attended women at childbirth, Isis, goddess who protected children and Pharaoh's first son who was considered to be a god.

Fokkelman writes, The narrator gives much more space to the exceptional tenth plague, the destrctio of the firstborn of Egypt (chaps. 11-13), than to the others and emphasizes its unique nature by interweaving two types of text. Narrative and legislative language alternate and interpenetrate ... (Exodus, in The Literary Guide to the Bible, 56).

11 There may have been more than two million people involved in the exodus. Ryrie writes, The census at Sinai (Num 1) showed 603,000 males 20 years and older. If they represented about one-fourth of the total population, then the Israelites numbered some 2,000,000 people. An annual growth rate of 5% would increase population from 100 to 2,000,000 in only 215 years (See Gen. 46:27; Exod. 12:41) (Ryrie Study Bible, 93, n. 1:17).

12 This may be similar to Moses' use of the rod with the earlier miracles.

13 See Deuteronomy 25:17ff.

14 This entire unit may well fall under the category of a Szerainty-Vassal Treaty Form with the main elements of Preamble (20:2a), Historical Prologue (19:3b-6; 20:2b), The Stipulations (20:3--23:19) Provisions for Deposit in the Temple and Periodic Public Reading (Ex 25:16, 21; 40:20; Dt 10:2) and Invocation of the gods as Witnesses (Dt 32:1; Isa 1:2).

If the Abrahamic covenant is God's binding himself to Abram, than the Mosaic Covenant is Israel's binding of itself to God. The former is unilateral while the latter is bilateral.

15 Elliott Johnson identifes these ten words are moral and spiritual rights which one practices in righteousness--rights which God and others have and respect when one walks in righteousness (1) Right of YHWH to a unique position, (2) right of YHWH to self-revelation, (3) right of YHWH to be honored, (4) right a YHWH to be worshipped, (5) right of parents to honor, (6) right of a person to life, (7) right of a person to sexuality, (8) right of a person to personal property, (9) right of a person to a fair trial, (10) right of a person to be unique as an individual (class notes of student). While one may not agree with all of these interpretations, one can at least say that this list is a negative expression of something that is positive. Perhaps it is really a means of limiting one's self for the good of another and that is love.

16 Childs writes, the theophany to Moses has been worked in to the account of the reiteration of the Law in ch. 34 so as to provide a parallel to the theophany-law sequence of the original covenant. In the same way as once all Israel experienced the thunder and lightening on the mountain before the giving of the Decalogue, so now Moses as the mediator of the restored covenant once again encounters the majesty of God before hearing his will and receiving it on the tablets of the law.

In sum: the final section fo ch. 33 now serves to climax the intercession of Moses for Israel on account of her sin, and forms the bridge to the restoration of the covenant in the succeeding chapter (The Book of Exodus, 597).

Related Topics: Introductions, Arguments, Outlines

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