Exodus, book of


Exodus, book of
The second book of the Pentateuch. It takes its title from the Greek LXX and means ‘departure’; it is divided by scholars, like other parts of the Pentateuch, into the sources J, E, and P, with the greatest parts in this book being assigned to J and P. The book consists of an account of the birth and calling of Moses (chs. 2 to 6); the contest between Moses and Pharaoh, and the plagues, culminating in the death of the first-born (chs. 7 to 12); the march out of Egypt (chs. 13 to 15); wanderings in the wilderness (chs. 15:22 to 18); and the meetings at the mountain (chs. 19 to 40).
In the J source God is the primary agent of the exodus and Moses little more than his mouthpiece. But there is much rebellion and murmuring amongst the people, culminating in the construction of the golden [[➝ golden calf]], or molten, calf (Exod. 32), a story which seems to reflect the apostasy of the northern kingdom under Jeroboam (about 920 BCE), who set up golden calves for worship in Dan and Bethel. It could be that this source in Exodus was written to reassure loyal believers living in the north under Jeroboam—God's promises still hold good, even after backsliding.
The P narrative contains some of the stories of the plagues and the defeat of the magicians, and the inauguration of the covenant at Sinai. This was the decisive moment in the nation's realization of itself as the people of Yahweh, when all the pain of the wanderings since they abandoned the fleshpots of Egypt (Exod. 16:3), found a significance. The P narrative concentrates on instructions for sacrifices and worship, which was of vital interest to Jews after the Return from Exile when the Temple was being restored: from 520 BCE it became the focus of the nation's very life, replacing in that role the dynasty of David. What was formerly a Canaanite agricultural festival in spring was taken over and turned into the annual commemoration of the Exodus so that it should never be forgotten. The festival was Passover and Unleavened Bread.
A reader of the book of Exodus might discern in the J source a hope that in spite of rebellion and discontinuity at Sinai God does not forsake his people; in P a reader might infer that between Sinai and the second Temple there is a divine continuity. A modern reader might express astonishment that descendants of a group of slaves who fled out of Egypt over 3,000 years ago still survive in spite of all the vicissitudes of history, in the land those Hebrews then invaded.

Dictionary of the Bible.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • EXODUS, BOOK OF — (Heb. title) וְאֵלֶּה) שְׁמוֹת) (And these are) the names of – the first words of the book; Gk. exodos ton wion Israel ex aigyptou), departure (of the children of Israel from Egypt) ; (cf. Sefer Yeẓi at Miẓrayim ( book of the departure from Egypt …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Exodus, Book of —    Exodus is the name given in the LXX. to the second book of the Pentateuch (q.v.). It means departure or outgoing. This name was adopted in the Latin translation, and thence passed into other languages. The Hebrews called it by the first words …   Easton's Bible Dictionary

  • Exodus Decoded — Infobox Film name = The Exodus Decoded caption = DVD Cover director = Simcha Jacobovici producer = James Cameron writer = Simcha Jacobovici starring = music = cinematography = editing = distributor = A E Television Networks; NewVideo; The History …   Wikipedia

  • Exodus — (Greek: έξοδος, eksodos = departure ) is the second book of the Jewish Torah and of the Christian Old Testament. It tells how Moses leads the Israelites out of Egypt and through the wilderness to the Mountain of God (Mount Sinai). There Yahweh,… …   Wikipedia

  • BOOK OF THE COVENANT — (Heb. Sefer ha Berit), name derived from Exodus 24:7 ( And he took the book of the covenant, and read it aloud to the people.… ), and usually taken to refer to the legal, moral, and cultic corpus of literature found in Exodus 20:22–23:33. This… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Exodus (disambiguation) — Exodus is the second book of the Torah and the Christian Bible. The Exodus is the departure of Hebrew slaves from Egypt under the leadership of Moses as related in the above book.Exodus or The Exodus may also refer to: In modern history*… …   Wikipedia

  • EXODUS RABBAH — (Heb. שְׁמוֹת רַבָּה, Shemot Rabbah), aggadic Midrash on the Book of Exodus (for the designation Rabbah, see ruth rabbah ). The Structure Exodus Rabbah, which is divided into 52 sections, consists of two different Midrashim (see Esther Rabbah;… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Exodus (ship) — Exodus 1947 was a ship that carried Jewish emigrants, that left France on July 11, 1947, with the intent of taking its passengers to Palestine, then controlled by the British. Most of the emigrants were Holocaust survivor refugees, who had no… …   Wikipedia

  • exodus — [eks′ə dəs; ] also [ eg′zədəs] n. [< LL Exodus (O.T. book) < Gr Exodus, lit., a going out < ex , out + hodos, way: see ODE1] 1. [E ] the departure of the Israelites from Egypt: with the 2. [E ] the second book of the Pentateuch in the… …   English World dictionary

  • Exodus — Ex o*dus, n. [L., the book of Exodus, Gr. ? a going or marching out; ? out + ? way, cf. {Skr}. [=a] sad to approach.] 1. A going out; particularly (the Exodus), the going out or journey of the Israelites from Egypt under the conduct of Moses; and …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English


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