Our List of 300 Religious Subjects

Book of Exodus

General Information

Exodus, the second book of the Bible, derives its name from the narrative's main theme, Israel's exodus from Egypt. Picking up where Genesis left off, the first 15 chapters of Exodus describe Egypt's harsh policy toward Israel and the escape of the Israelites from their bondage. The narrative follows the career of Moses from his marvelous birth through his exile in Midian. It continues with his final victorious contest with Pharaoh, in which Moses is God's spokesman, and ends with the Egyptian debacle at the Reed (traditionally Red) Sea. Chapters 16 - 40 describe the march of the Israelites through the wilderness to Mount Sinai, where God descends on the mountain, gives the law to Moses, and establishes a quickly broken Covenant with Israel that must be reestablished after Aaron makes the Golden Calf.

Many important events are recorded in Exodus: the revelation of God's name as Yahweh in 3:11 - 15; the institution of the Passover in 5:1 - 12:36; and the giving of the Ten Commandments, directives for the construction of the Tabernacle, and other religious and ceremonial legislation in 19 - 40. The authorship of the book has been ascribed traditionally to Moses, but it is actually a composite work of much later date, containing the same literary strands found in Genesis.

J J M Roberts

B S Childs, The Book of Exodus (1974). C A Cole, Studies in Exodus (1986).

Book of Exodus

Brief Outline

  1. Israel in Egypt (1:1-12:36)
  2. The journey to Sinai (12:37-19:2)
  3. Israel at Sinai (19:3-40:38)


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