Editorial


EXODUS TAKES ITS TITLE from terms that describe its main theme: Israel's "going out" from Egypt. This theme, in turn, lies at the foundation of Israel's faith, which explains why it reverberates throughout the literature of the Old and New Testaments. It is with a view to Israel's exodus from Egypt that both Jews and Christians have drawn profound conclusions about the God they worship and how the community of faith is to relate to this God.

The God of Exodus is neither remote nor impersonal but intimately involved in nature and history to accomplish his purposes. The claim Exodus raises is that the creation of Israel as a people, its enslavement in Egypt, and its liberation from slavery were the result not of mere political, economic, and human forces but the direct and immediate work of Yahweh, Israel's God and Lord. Theologically, this means that the God who broke the resistance of the Egyptians on Israel's behalf is the God of all history, and it is from this God, who acts to judge and to save, that history derives its meaning and direction. In a familiar passage in Exodus itself, God describes himself this way: "The Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and . . . forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, yet by no means clearing the guilty, but visiting the iniquity of the parents upon the children . . . to the third and the fourth generation" (34:6-7).

In the New Testament, the God who rescues Israel from bondage in Egypt is identified as the God who acts in the fullness of time to save humanity from the bondage of its sins.

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