Old Testament: Exodus

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Exodus is the second book of the Torah in the Old Testament. The term "Exodus" is a Latin word which comes from the Greek Exodus, meaning "exit" or "departure" which signifies goes out (Introduction to the Book of Exodus). It contains a record of the history of the children of Israel going out of Egypt. It is the second of the Pentateuch which is the name given to the first five books of the Old Testament. Exodus narrates of how the Israelites leave slavery in Egypt through the mighty hand of Yahweh. Led by Prophet Moses through the journey in the wilderness to Mount Sinai, Yahweh promises them land in Canaan. They were to be awarded with the "Promised land" if they remained faithful.

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The book of Exodus narrates of how the Israelites entered into a covenant with Yahweh and were subjected to certain laws and instructions for the Tabernacle, with which they were to act as a guide as they navigated their way through the desert ("Exodus Summary"). Modern scholarship views the book being a product of the Babylonian Exile. The book presents the defining features of Israel's identity: memories of a past marked by hardship and escape, a binding covenant with God, who chooses Israel as His people ("Introduction to the Book of Exodus"). The book also reveals of the account in which the life of the Israelite community related with the Egyptians. Moreover, the book details Gods call to the people of Israel out of slavery in Egypt. Generally, the book talks of myriad experiences and activities that take place in different context including the historical background, geographical, political, social, cultural and social aspects as well. These concepts are covered in the text as follows:

Historical.The book of Exodus commences with an account the names of children of Israel that went to Egypt with Jacob. After the death of Jacob, Joseph stayed in Egypt. The Israelites multiplied in Egypt and were oppressed by the Pharaoh. Moses was thereafter born and exposed on the bank of the river. Having been spotted by the daughter of Pharaoh, he was taken into the palace and adopted as her son. Moses murdered an Egyptian and fled to Median where he married a wife ("Exodus 2:11 - The Israelites Oppressed - These Are"). While looking at his father-in-laws sheep, God called him and set him to deliver the children from the Egyptian. History plays significant role in book as it a outlines a series of events by describe the course of life of Moses till he became the deliverer of Israel. History plays a great role in this context in the series of events that take place during the plague period really helps in showing how mighty God is and reveals his nature. From the history, it is evident that God is determined to save the children of Israel since the beginning of time. He sets out a savings plan which finally succeeds after the tenth plague which shook the hardened heart of Pharaoh.


The book of Exodus brings to the sight the children of Israel in Egypt. According to Exodus 1:5-8, Joseph was situated in Egypt and the children of Israelites arose first traced their roots from there. On the other hand, Moses resided in Pharaoh's palace located in Egypt but after killing an Egyptian, he fled to Median where he married a wife and looked after the sheep of his father in law Jethro. At Horeb, he came to the mountain of God where he had a confrontation with the Lord at Mt. Sinai. Nevertheless, the children of Israel resided in the land of Gessen where they quietly witnessed the plagues taking place, but they were not affected by any of them since God shielded them.

Political.The Israelites grew in multitudes in Egypt and became a threat to the Egyptians. Ideally, the new Pharaoh instituted measures that saw all the firstborn male children killed in Israel (Exodus 1:7). There was a change in leadership at first when a new Pharaoh came into power and unfortunately, he knew not Joseph (Exodus 1:8). Seeing that the population of Israelites was growing enormously, he felt threatened of being overthrow. As seen from Exodus 1:9-10, the new king of Egypt said that, " Behold the people of the children of Israel are numerous and stronger than we. Let us wisely oppress them, lest they multiply: and if any war shall rise against us, join with our enemies, and having overcome us, depart out of the land ("SparkNotes: Bible: The Old Testament: Exodus"). From verse 11, the Pharaoh places supervisors to monitor their chores. He resulted to overburdening the Israelites with work of building cities of tabernacles. After another regime, the king of Israel died, and there was a change in leadership. The children of Israel continued weeping and groaning in pain because of the misery and slavery they were undergoing.


The more the Egyptians oppressed the Israelites, the more they grew in numbers. Exodus (1:13-14) records that the Egyptians hated the children of Israel, afflicted them and mocked them. The life of the Israelites became bitter and unbearable since the hard work in clay and bricks plus all manner of service, was really overburdening. There existed a strained relationship between the Egyptians and the Israelites. Their relationship was socially crippled. The King of Egypt spoke to the midwives of the Hebrews one of whom was called Sephora and the other Phua. He commanded them to kill all the male children but spare every female child born (Exodus 1:16). However, the midwives feared God, and they relented from executing the king's rule. They instead spared the male children. Due to this, God blessed the midwives and the people multiplied and grew exceedingly strong. Hatred among the Israelites and the Egyptians made them become live enemies. At the incident in which Moses saw an Egyptian striking one of the Hebrews, he was filled with anger and he sought to revenge (Exodus 2: 11- Book of Exodus Overview - Insight for Living Ministries"). Moses killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. Fearing that he might be discovered, he fled to Midian. When Pharaoh go the news, he searched for him in order to kill him. Fortunately, Moses had already left and found home at Midian.


The Israelites held various festivals to celebrate and commemorate historical times. One good example is the service of phase in which no foreigner was allowed to eat, and at this festival, very male was brought to be circumcised (Exodus 12:43-44). Nevertheless, the Israelites held other cultural festivals such as the Passover whereby they got to commemorate the period when the angel passed over their doors and headed to the doors of Egyptians killing their firstborns. Nevertheless, the Israelites held other lots of cultural festivals since they maintained their culture and originality. In the instance when Moses went up the Mountain to get Laws from God, he came back and found that the Israelites had reverted back to their former culture of idol worship.

Religious.During the Paschal solemnity, the firstborns were consecrated to God (Exodus 13). In chapter 19 of Exodus, the Israelites came to Mt. Sinai and the people were required to be sanctified in preparation for the coming of the Lord who appeared to them in myriad ways. It is at this point when God gave Moses the Ten Commandments that were to serve as the guiding principles. It is religion that set out the code of conduct upon which the Israelites would use a manual when relating with their God. The Israelites got accustomed to offering sacrifices and thanksgiving as a form of worship of Yahweh (Scripture 19:1-31). This was the only way that they would establish a covenant and make it legally binding. They used the tabernacle, the ark and the candlestick during holy events. Religion was different between the Israelites and the Egyptians. While the Israelites worshipped Yahweh, the Egyptians worshiped gods. The Israelites honored the altar and regarded it as holy. The consecration was also prevalent among the people of Israel. It was conducted to drive away sin. Nevertheless, the Israelites also observed the Sabbath as a command. At one instance, the Israelites abandoned holiness and embraced idolatry (Exodus 32). Ideally, this made them suffer and many of them perished. Due to the mercies of God, the people repented their sins, and God forgave them.

Themes.Israel's slavery is a truly a real picture of the same suffering and slavery man suffers because of sin. It is only through God's divine guidance and leadership that man can escape from sin. God used Moses to lead the Israel out of slavery into Canaan the Promised Land. That is the same way that God operates in the lives. He brings people into freedom through the wise leadership of the anointed leaders. God also appoints and uses His word in directing His people. The people of Israel cried out to God for deliverance and since God was concerned with their suffering, He rescued them. The book of Exodus has all these events of the rescuing plan of God ("Book of Exodus - Bible Survey"). Thus, the theme of restoration is quite evident and conspicuous in the book. Other prominent themes addressed in the book of Exodus include force, violence and social Justice.


Exodus (5: 9) states that the more Moses continued to put pressure on the Pharaoh to let the Israelites go, the more oppression they received from Pharaoh. In chapter 7 of Exodus, Moses and Aaron go to Pharaoh and perform miracles. However, Pharaohs magicians also perform the miracles and this only hardens Pharaohs heart. The Lord hardened pharaoh's heart so that the Egyptians get to know Israelites Lord is God. Force was used to drive out the children of Israel out of Egypt. God hardened the heart of Pharaoh and even though God performed miracles in his sight, this only hardened his heart.


Hatred among the Israelites and the Egyptians made them live like enemies. After Moses murdered one of the Hebrews, he fled to Midian (Exodus 2: 11). When the news came to Pharaoh, he sought to kill him. Upon reaching Midian, Moses married a wife. Essentially, this is a clear indication of how harshly the Egyptians treat the Israelites harshly. While on their way in the desert, the Israelites encountered lots of troubles. They experienced harsh climatic conditions in addition to hostile desert tribes such as the Amalekites (Exodus 17).

They had to fight with them and win over them if at all they were to reach the Promised Land. Essentially, the Lord gave them victory (Exodus 3:7-10). The Lord said, I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying and because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of Egyptians and to bring them out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey.And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt. Moses while in the desert with the Israelites, lots of conflict and violence arose between them and Moses had to intercede for the people in order to end the violence. One another occurrence recording violence is when the Israelites forgot about God and sought other means of worship. The Israelites also fought among themselves especially when they failed to agree on something. In battles, fought other tribes and took away their plunder.

Social Justice

The scripture from Exodus (9:27), pharaoh at the time confessed that he had sinned and that God was just. He said that, "I have sinned this time. Also, the Lord is just: I and my people are wicked." In Exodus (14), Pharaoh pursued the Israelites in the desert. The Israelites, on the other hand, complained to Moses for having brought them to the wilderness to suffer, and when they arrived at...

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