The title “Exodus" means a “way out" or “departure”, and was given because it records the way in which Jehovah brought Israel out of the bondage of Egypt. The theme of the book is redemption; the theme of Genesis is election. The people who are chosen in Genesis are now called, and the main part of the book records their “going out”. Here we have the beginnings of Israel’s national existence and incidents that immediately preceded their memorable migration. The covenant made with the Patriarchs is perpetuated with the nation, and the name of Jehovah is here unveiled. Here is the fulfilment of Genesis 46. 3-4; 50. 24, and the growth from the family to the nation is suggested in the opening words, “Now these are the names".
Its authorship by Moses is distinctly asserted by himself, Exod. 24. 3, 4, 7. He sang the hymn found in chapter 15, and according to 17. 14 Moses wrote in a book the promise of Jehovah to destroy Amalek from the face of the earth. The book gives every evidence of having been written by an eye-witness of Israel’s journeys. The book is ascribed to Moses in Deuteronomy 31. 9-11; Joshua 1. 7; Nehemiah 9. 14. Note in the early chapters the repetition of the phrase, “The Lord spake unto Moses”; it is used to open chapters 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. The book gives us both the observations of Moses and divine communications to Moses. He “tells" the words of the Lord; he “writes” them, and then “reads” them to the people.
Its authenticity is confirmed by our Lord in Mark 12. 26; Luke 20. 37; John 5. 46. God is represented as speaking as One who was known to the Patriarchs, 3. 6. Note our Lord’s appeal in Mark 7. 8-13 and the language of Acts 7.17-44. The word “exodus”, translated “decease”, is used of our Lord’s work accomplished at Jerusalem in Luke 9. 31. By His death and resurrection, He was about to make a “way out" for believers from the bondage of sin. Paul refers to the covenant of Exodus in Galatians 3. 17, and he shows the “passover’ is a type of our redemption in Christ, 1 Cor. 5-7.
This is to record the emancipation of the nation, their education in the wilderness, and their association with the tabernacle for worship. It opens with Israel crushed and crying as a helpless slave, and closes with Israel redeemed, related, enriched and free. Their deliverance was effected by the death of the Paschal Lamb and the power of God. We can trace the history of the carnal Christian in their experiences, 1 Cor. 10. 1-6.
The book carries on the story of the preservation of that people out of whom Messiah was to come, Matt. 2. 15. The chosen people in Egypt have become “a great nation”, they have “multiplied” and become “mighty”. “There is a gap between Genesis and Exodus of nearly 280 years, from the death of Joseph to the birth of Moses”, Rawlinson.
The dominant note of the book is deliverance or redemption. The man God used, Moses, is a type of Christ, for redemption centres in the Man Christ Jesus. Compare chapters 1-6 with Ephesians 1. 7; Colossians 1. 12-14, Note, too, the miserable state of the nation, chs. 1-2, 7-11; the means of redemption, both by blood, ch. 12, and by power, ch. 14; the message of redemption seen in the law, the motive of redemption being salvation, separation and service, chs. 13-24; and the medium by which it is enjoyed set forth in the tabernacle, chs. 25-40.
Appeal. In this book we see God’s hand in human history. God raised up Moses to be the leader of the nation, to bring them out of bondage into liberty. God revealed Himself to Moses as Jehovah, the Covenant God, assuring him that the divine Presence was his fitness, the divine Name was his message, and the divine Power was his capacity. What God had promised the Patriarchs, He will accomplish, and He will bring Israel out of Egypt into Canaan. The mighty hand of God is seen:
The Sovereignty of God is revealed by Self-revelation:
To Moses, His plans and purposes in redemption; To Pharaoh, His power in righteous judgment; To Israel, His salvation, with its privileges and responsibilities.
The contents may be considered as follows:
1. Subjugation, 1.1 to 11.10. The Need of Redemption.
The Multiplied People, ch. 1, “Bondage”.
Its cause, 1-10; its character, 11-16; its consequences, 17-22.
The Mighty Prophet, chs. 2-4, “Burdened”.
Moses, his preservation, 2.1-10; rejection 11-25; occupation 3. 1; his revelation from God, 3. 4 to 4. 26.
The Master Plan, 4. 29 to 11. 10, “Blight in Egypt”.
The plan resisted, ch. 5; Pharaoh’s defiance, 1-9; his demands, 10-23.
The plan revealed, ch. 6; Jehovah’s promise, 1-13; his people, 14-30.
The plan rejected, 7. 10 to 11. 10; Pharaoh’s determination brings disaster.
The nine plagues were directed against the Egyptian deities. The river god judged, 7. 14-25; frog goddess judged, 8. 1-15; earth god judged, 8. 16-19; the sacred beetle, 8. 20-32; the sacred bull, 9. 1-7; the goddess Neit, 9. 8-12; priestism judged, 9. 13-35; atmosphere god, 10. 1-20; the sun god, 10. 21-29; Egypt’s sovereign rebuked, magicians defeated, devotees disheartened and idols demolished.
2. Emancipation, chs. 12-18. The Power of Redemption.
Sheltered, ch. 12. The spotless lamb, 1-6; sheltering blood, 7-12, 21-27; special memorial, 14-20; simple obedience, 24-28; and speedy departure, 29-42.
Sanctified, ch. 13. The new life, 1-16; the new leading, 17-22.
Salvation, ch. 14. Directions, 1-4; determination, 5-9; despair, 10-12; dependance, 13-14; deliverance, 15-22; destruction, 23-31.
Singing, ch. 15. The song of triumph 1-21; season of trial, 22-25; supplies from God, 26-27.
Sustenance, ch. 16. The manna given by God, gathered in the morning, good food from heaven, Psa. 78. 24, 25.
Satisfied, ch. 17. Water from the rock, 1-7; war with Amalek, 8-13; worthy memorial, 14-16.
Seasonable Counsel, ch. 18. Acknowledge God’s power, 1,9,10; appreciate His supremacy, 11; and His presence, 12; have associates in service, 19–26.
3. Obligation, chs. 19-24. The Claims of Redemption.
Preparation for the Law, ch. 19. Spiritual Life.
Declaration of His purpose, 1-8; preparation of His people,9-15; manifestation of His power,16-20; communication to His people, 21-25;
Revelation of the Law, ch. 20. Moral Life.
Foundation, 1-2; obligation – Godward, 3-11; manward, 12-17; impression, 18-21; injunctions, 22-26;
Regulation of the Law, chs. 21-23. Social Life.
Masters and servants, 1-11; physical injuries, 12-36; property rights, 22. 1-15; evil practices, 22, 16 to 23. 9; Sabbath and feasts, 10-19;
Recognition of the Law, ch. 24. Religious Life.
Association, 1-2; acceptance, 3-8; ascent of the mount, 9-18.
4. Association, chs. 25-40. The Purpose of Redemption.
The Institution of the Tabernacle, chs. 25-27. Preparation, 25. 1-7; plan, 25. 8 to 27. 21; purpose, 25. 8, 22.
The Ordination of the Priesthood, chs. 28. 29. Calling, clothing, consecration.
The Provision of Workmen, ch. 31. Engaged, equipped, encouraged.
The Transgression of the People, chs. 32-34. Idolatry, 1-6; indignation, 7-10; intercession and restoration, ch. 34.
The Construction of the Tabernacle, chs. 35 to 39. 32. The programme of and provision for the work, chs. 35-36;participation in, and progress of, the work, chs. 37 to 39. 32.
The Completion and the Consecration of the Tabernacle, 39. 33 to 40. 38.
Trace occurrences of the words, “brought forth, up and out”, over forty times.
Key words, “The Lord said”, eighty times; “I will”, over seventy times; "Thou shalt" and “shalt not”, two hundred times; and “as the Lord commanded”, over twenty times.
Find time to study the tabernacle and priesthood.