Book of Exodus


Exodus (ĕk´sədəs), book of the Bible, 2d of the 5 books of the Law (the Pentateuch or Torah) ascribed by tradition to Moses. The book continues the story of the ancestors of Israel in Egypt, now grown in number to a large landless population enslaved by the pharaoh. Although the book describes all 12 tribes, it is much more likely that the book is based on the traditions of a group of nomadic Hebrews whose sojourn in Egypt became one of oppression and slavery. Grouped around Moses, they were freed from bondage at the Red Sea. Their saga and their Mosaic religion became the determinative feature of the great national epic that is enshrined in the Pentateuch and the historical books of the Hebrew Bible. The religious and 12-tribe political establishment of the later Temple period is read back into the Exodus narrative. The events of the book may be outlined as follows: first, the bondage in Egypt, from which God prepares liberation through the agency of Moses, including Moses' early career and vocation, and the first nine plagues of Egypt; second, the exodus proper, with the plague of the first-born and the institution of the Passover and the dry crossing through the Red Sea; third, the first divine legislation at Mt. Sinai. The last portion includes the Ten Commandments, a law code, directions for a tabernacle and worship, the designation of Aaron as high priest, the first national apostasy in worshiping the golden calf, a brief restatement of the code, and the institution of the tabernacle.

See studies by N. M. Sarna (1986), J. Durham (1987), and T. E. Fretheim (1991).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Book of Exodus: Selected full-text books and articles

Exodus 1-18 By George W. Coats; Rolf P. Knierim; Gene M. Tucker W.B. Eerdmans, 1999
The Exodus in the Christian Bible: The Case for "Figural" Reading By Clifford, Richard J Theological Studies, Vol. 63, No. 2, June 2002
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
God at War: Power in the Exodus Tradition By Thomas B. Dozeman Oxford University Press, 1996
Homilies on Genesis and Exodus By Origen; Ronald E. Heine Catholic University of America Press, 1982
A primary source is a work that is being studied, or that provides first-hand or direct evidence on a topic. Common types of primary sources include works of literature, historical documents, original philosophical writings, and religious texts.
God and His People: Covenant and Theology in the Old Testament By Ernest W. Nicholson Clarendon Press, 1986
Librarian's tip: Chap. 5 "'They Saw God and Ate and Drank' - A Covenant Meal at Sinai? (Exodus 24:1-2, 9-11)," Chap. 6 "Apostasy and Renewal of the Covenant at Sinai (Exodus 34:10-28)," and Chap. 8 "The Covenant Ritual at Sinai (Exodus 19:3b-8 and 24:3-8)"
The Oxford History of the Biblical World By Michael D. Coogan Oxford University Press, 2001
Librarian's tip: Chap. Two "Bitter Lives: Israel in and out of Egypt"
The Bible in History: How the Texts Have Shaped the Times By David W. Kling Oxford University Press, 2004
Librarian's tip: Chap. 6 "'Let My People Go': Exodus in the African American Experience"
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