Outline of Exodus — Introduction
The book of Exodus is the book of national redemption. It is about God’s great deliverance of Israel from Egypt and His meeting with them at Mt. Sinai. The book begins in Egypt and ends at Mt. Sinai. Theologically, the book takes us from the transcendent God to the imminent God, from a God who listens from afar to a God who dwells with His people, in His Shekinah (dwelling) glory.
For Israel, they went from a rich river delta to a desert. They went from the natural appearance of food to the supernatural appearance, from slavery to freedom, from despair to hope, from serving the Egyptians to being served by God.
Date: 1526-1446 B.C.
Chronologically, the book takes us through about 82 years (compare Genesis of between 2499 and 3835 years or more), from the birth of Moses in 1526 B.C. to the Exodus in 1446 B.C. The book of Genesis ends with the death of Joseph in either 1579 B.C. or 1805 B.C. (if the sojourn in Egypt is held at 430 years). Our uncertainty with dates drops perceptibly with the book of Exodus, with most conservative scholars in close agreement.
We know very little about the time between the death of Joseph and the birth of Moses. We know that there was unrest in Egypt and that the Hyskos, a Semetic people related to the Israelites, took over control of part of Egypt and held that control until the mid-16th century. Thereafter, they were expelled which may have given rise to the king who did not know Joseph. We also know that Israel suffered a great deal under their slave-masters in Egypt. Throughout the remaining pages of Scripture, the hardship endured in Egypt is a constant referent. We also know that Israel, while crying out to God for help, did not know God and had to be told who He was when Moses went back to Egypt. We further know that Israel was very prolific in reproduction and grew from just a few (70 descendants of Jacob – Exodus 1:5) to around 600,000 men. (Exodus 12:37). We know that the Israelites built for Pharaoh supply cities of Pithom and Raamses.
This outline of Exodus shows that the book is not divided by characters but by events. It can be divided into three parts:
- The Redemption from Egypt Chapters 1-19
- The Giving of the Law Chapters 20-31 (moral & instructions for the tabernacle & clothing)
- The People’s Response Chapters 32-40 (initially bad,then good)
In it we find the story of Moses, the ten plagues of Egypt, the crossing of the Red Sea, the manna, the water from the rock, the appearance of God on Mt. Sinai, the giving of the Law, the instructions for the tabernacle system, the golden calf, Moses seeing the backside of God and living, the building of the tabernacle and its furniture, and the coming of God to dwell in the tabernacle.
There is a single phrase that is brought into prominence in this book. It is the phrase “I am the LORD.” (Ex. 6:2, 7, 8, 29; 7:5, 17; 8:22; 10:2; 12:12; 14:4, 18; 15:26; 16:12; 20:2; 29:46(2) — some 16 times) The word “LORD” is found some 386 times, nearly 10 times per chapter, yet it does not appear until the third chapter. The book centers around this name. Notice:
- The call of Moses: 3:13-16
- The encouragement of Moses: 4:1-5
- The identity of the name: 6:2-8 (17 “I’s” of God)
- Proof to Pharaoh & Egypt: 5:2 – 7:17-18; 8:22; 14:18
- The Passover: 12:12
- Lesson to Israel: 14:31; 15:1-3, 6-8, 11-13, 18, 21
- The healer: Yahweh Rapha; 15:26
- The provider of Manna: 16:12
- The victor: Yahweh Nissi; 17:15
- The giving of the Law: 20:2
- The priest: 28:36
- The name: 34:6-7
- The glory: 40:34-38
Besides this phrase, there is some other phrases that predominate in sections of the book. During the plagues, an often repeated phrase is “Let My people go.” (7:16; 8:1, 20; 9:1, 13; 10:3). During the law, the words “You shall” or “You shall not” predominate. These are laws to be obeyed, not suggestions for consideration. “You shall” is mirrored in the last part of the book with “he made,” “they made,” “they did.” (Ex. 39:32; 40:16)
Key Passage: 20:2-17
The entire book builds up to and declines from this passage. See 19:4-6. Israel now gets to meet their great deliverer. And this is what he says to them. Thereafter, he speaks through Moses. (20:22)
From desperation to redemption to the presence of God.
God’s Redemption is always for the purpose of bringing people to Himself.
1526-1406: Moses–He died before the conquest at the age of 120 (Deuteronomy 34:7).) His life is easily divided into three periods:
- 0-40 – He had everything as a member of royal family.
- 40-80 – He was a sheepherder in Midian.
- 80-120 – He was Israel’s first leader, gave them their law. His one recorded sin, He struck the rock instead of speaking to it. He missed the promised land but was there at the Mount of Transfiguration. He authored one Psalm, 90.
1446: Exodus from Egypt – The greatest redemption story of all time, except for Christ.
- waters turned to blood (7:14-24)
- frogs (7:25-8:12)
- Lice (magicians said: “This is the finger of God.” (8:16-19)
- Flies (8:20-32)
- Diseases in livestock (9:1-7)
- boils (9:8-12)
- hail (9:13-35)
- locusts (10:1-20)
- darkness (10:21-29)
- firstborn (11, 12:1-30)
- You shall have no other gods (heart – 20:3)
- You shall not make any graven images (hands – 20:4-6)
- You shall not take the name of the LORD in vain (mouth – 20:7)
- Remember the Sabbath day (mind – 20:8-11)
- Honor your parents (hold them up – 20:12)
- You shall not murder (don’t place them down – 20:13)
- You shall not commit adultery (heart – 20:14)
- You shall not steal (hands – 20:15)
- You shall not bear false witness (mouth – 20:16)
- You shall not covet (mind – 20:17)
Only Deuteronomy, Psalms, and Isaiah are quoted more often in the New Testament than Exodus. It is quoted by every author of the New Testament, except Jude, some 44 times in all. Even Jude, though not quoting the book, references the exodus of Israel. Direct quotes from Exodus are found in 12 different books in the New Testament.
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