Book of Exodus

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The Book of Exodus or, simply, Exodus (from ἔξοδος, éxodos, meaning "going out"; שְׁמוֹת, Shəmōṯ, "Names", the second word of the beginning of the text: "These are the names of the sons of Israel" ואלה שמות בני ישראל), is the second book of the Torah and the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament).

The book tells how the Israelites leave slavery in Egypt through the strength of Jehovah, the God who has chosen Israel as his people. Led by their prophet Moses they journey through the wilderness to Mount Sinai, where Jehovah promises them the land of Canaan (the "Promised Land") in return for their faithfulness. Israel enters into a covenant with Jehovah who gives them their laws and instructions to build the Tabernacle, the means by which he will come here from heaven and dwell with them and lead them in a holy war to possess the land, and then give them peace.

Structure

Exodus has two main themes. Part 1 at the crossing of the Red Sea, and part 2 or at the beginning of the theophany (appearance of God) in chapter 19. The first part tells of God's rescue of his people from Egypt and their journey under his care to Sinai (chapters 1–19) and the second tells of the covenant between them (chapters 20–40).

Summary

Jacob's sons and their families join their brother, Joseph, in Egypt. Once there, the Israelites begin to grow in number. Several generations later, Egypt's Pharaoh, fearful that the Israelites could be a fifth column, orders that all newborn boys be thrown into the Nile. A Levite woman (identified elsewhere as Jochebed) saves her baby by setting him adrift on the river Nile in an ark of bulrushes. The Pharaoh's daughter finds the child, names him Moses, and brings him up as her own. But Moses is aware of his origins, and one day, when grown, he kills an Egyptian overseer who is beating a Hebrew slave and has to flee into Midian. There he marries Zipporah, the Ethiopian daughter of Midianite priest Jethro, and encounters God in a burning bush. Moses asks God for his name: God replies: "I AM that I AM." God tells Moses to return to Egypt and lead the Hebrews into Canaan, the land promised to Abraham.


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