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Exodus is the second book of the Torah (the Pentateuch) and also the Tanakh (the Hebrew Bible), and the Christian Old Testament. The major events of the book concern the Exodus, a departure of Hebrew slaves from Egypt, under the leadership of Moses.

Jews call the book by its first words Ve-eleh shemoth (Hebrew: ואלה שמות) (i.e., "And these are the names") or simply "Shemoth" (שמות). The Septuagint designates the second book of the Pentateuch as "Exodus" (Greek: Εξοδος), meaning "departure" or "out-going". The Latin translation adopted the name, which passed into other languages. As a result of the theme of the first half of the book, the term "an exodus" has come to mean a departure of a great number of people.



The book is the work of Moses himself. Exodus is the name given in the Septuagint to the second book of the Pentateuch. 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, according to their custom, Ve-eleh shemoth (i.e., “and these are the names”).

It contains,

(1) An account of the increase and growth of the Israelites in Egypt (Exodus 1)

(2) Preparations for their departure out of Egypt (Exodus 2 - Exodus 12:36).

(3) Their journey from Egypt to Sinai (Exodus 12:37 - Exodus 19:2).

(4) The giving of the law and the establishment of the institutions by which the organization of the people was completed, the theocracy, “a kingdom of priest and an holy nation” (Exodus 19:3-40).

The time comprised in this book, from the death of Joseph to the erection of the tabernacle in the wilderness, is about one hundred and forty-five years, on the supposition that the four hundred and thirty years (Exodus 12:40) are to be computed from the time of the promises made to Abraham (Galatians 3:17).

The authorship of this book, as well as of that of the other books of the Pentateuch, is to be ascribed to Moses. The unanimous voice of tradition and all internal evidences abundantly support this opinion.


The book is generally broken into six sections:

The account of the growth of the Israelites into a peoples, their enslavement in Egypt, and eventual escape (1-12)

The journey from Egypt to Mount Sinai (13-18)

The formation of a covenant between YHWH and the people, and its associated laws (19-24) Intricate instructions for the construction of a tabernacle, priestly robes, and other ritual objects (25-31)

The episode of the golden calf, and the regiving of the law (32-34)

The construction of the tabernacle, priestly robes, and other ritual objects (35-40)

A major Chiastic structure runs throughout the second half of Exodus, centred on the episode of the golden calf.

The latter chapters of Genesis describe a great famine which had struck the Promised Land, causing the Israelites to relocate to Egypt. For their kinsman Joseph had risen to a position of great power there; thanks largely to his administrative skills, food in Egypt remained plentiful. Joseph persuades his entire extended family to come live under his protection so that he can support them for the duration of the famine.

Once the famine ends, however, the Israelites do not return to the Promised Land. Rather, they proceed to settle down in Egypt and remain there for many generations.

The Israelites and their escape from slavery (1-14)

Then a new Pharaoh, who knew not Joseph, becomes concerned about the military implications of the large increase in the Israelite population. He enslaves and oppresses them with forced labour, ordering the Hebrew midwives to kill all male babies. However, a daughter of Pharaoh finds the male infant of a Levite, calling him Moses (translating as drawn from the water). Moses is brought up as an Egyptian. As his past becomes revealed, (that he is actually an Israelite), he takes sympathy for one of the slaves that is being whipped by the guards. He kills the guard and buries his body in the sand.

To escape from pharaoh (the punishment for killing a man was death penalty), Moses flees the country. Moses' exile takes him to Midian, where he becomes shepherd to the priest Jethro and marries his daughter, Zipporah. As he feeds the sheep on Mount Horeb, God appears to him from a burning bush, which fails to turn to ash. YHWH orders Moses to demand the release of the Israelites from Pharaoh and gives him the power to perform two magical signs to show his authority. Aaron, mentioned for the first time and identified as Moses' brother, is appointed to assist him. On his return to Egypt, God tries to kill Moses, but Zipporah, at the inn, circumcises Moses' son, fulfilling the Abrahamic covenant and saving Moses' life. (1-4)

The Pharaoh refuses Moses' request and oppresses the people still further, ordering them to make bricks without straw. Moses subsequently complains to God, who announces to him that he will display his power to such an extent that the Pharaoh will be keen to send the Israelites away, even with all the jewelery of the Egyptians. The genealogy of Moses and his family appears at this point, rather than at the beginning of the story. (5-6)

God sends a series of plagues onto Egypt, each time acting through Moses. Since each one has respite, and the Egyptian magicians are capable of duplicating some of them, the pharaoh becomes increasingly stubborn (7-10). Finally, a great plague, killing all the firstborn, occurs, passing over the houses of the Israelites, since they have completed the passover ritual, marking their houses. Pharaoh consequently relents and is only too glad to get rid of the Israelites (11-12).

The journey through the wilderness to Mount Sinai (13-18)

The Exodus begins after Pharaoh's consent, and the Israelites leave Rameses to go to Succoth. The nobles of Egypt object to Pharaoh's consent, and so Pharaoh gathers together a large army to chase after the Israelites, who have by this point reached the Red Sea. Fortunately for the Israelites, they are divinely guarded, and are able to escape through the Red Sea, when Moses causes the waters to part. The waters collapse once the Israelites have passed, defeating Pharaoh, and the Israelites joyfully sing the Song of the Sea (13-14).

The Israelites continue their journey into the desert, and once in the Wilderness of Sin, they complain about the lack of food. Listening to their complaint, God sends them a shower of quail, and subsequently provides a daily shower of manna from heaven. Once at Rephidim, the thirst of the people gets to them, so water is miraculously provided from a rock. The Amalekites perform a sneak attack on the Israelites, and although Joshua manages to lead an army to vanquish them, God still orders an eternal war against Amalek (15-17). Jethro hears of Moses' approach, and visits him, advising Moses to appoint judges (18).

The Covenant and its Laws (19-24)

In the third month the Israelites arrive at Mount Sinai, and God announces, via Moses, that the Israelites are God's people, because he has liberated them by his omnipotence. The Israelites accept this call, and so, with thunder and lightning, clouds of smoke, and the noise of trumpets, God appears to them at the top of Mount Sinai (19).

God then announces a summarised moral law, the Ethical Decalogue (20). A more detailed Covenant Code is subsequently provided, concerning both ritual and civil law, and God promises Canaan to the Israelites if they obey, but warns against the paganism of its inhabitants (21-23). God calls Moses up into the mountain to receive a set of stone tablets containing the law, and further instructions (24).

The Instructions for a Tabernacle, vestments, and associated ritual objects (25-31)

Intricate instructions, forming one of the least readable portions of the Torah, are then given detailing the construction of a tabernacle, so that God can dwell permanently amongst the Israelites (25-28). These directions provide for a particularly extensive construction:

  • The Ark of the Covenant, to contain the tablets
  • A mercy seat, with two gilt cherubim either side, for God to sit at
  • A menorah, never to be extinguished, and its oil
  • A construction to contain these things, involving curtains for a roof, walls on silver feet, outer curtain, and a purple veil to separate the Holy of Holies, table, and menorah, from the remainder.
  • The outer court, involving pillars on bronze pedestals, connected up by hooks and silver crossbars.

Instructions are also given for the garments of the priests (28):

  • A shoulder-band (ephod), containing two onyx stones, each engraved with the names of six of the tribes of Israel
  • A breastplate containing Urim and Thummim
  • A Golden chains for holding the breastplate set with twelve specific precious stones, in four rows
  • A robe for the ephod, with bells and pomegranates around the seam
  • A coat
  • A mitre
  • A golden mitre plate with the inscription Holiness to the Lord
  • A girdle

Following these instructions are details of the ritual to be used to ordain the priests, including robing, anointing, and seven days of sacrifices. There are also instructions for daily morning and evening offerings of a lamb (29). The specifications for construction of the tabernacle is then continued with directions for making a golden altar of incense, laver, anointing oil, and perfume (30). Bezaleel and Aholiab are identified, by God, as the appointed craftsmen to construct these things (31).

The golden calf, and regiving of the law (32-34)

Whilst Moses is up the mountain, the people become impatient and urge Aaron to make them a golden calf, which they worship with joy. God informs Moses that they have become idolatrous, threatening to abandon Israel, but Moses intercedes for them. However, when he comes down, he sees what they have done, and in anger smashes the two tablets of the law. After pronouncing judgment upon Aaron and the people Moses again ascends to God to implore forgiveness, and is successful (32-33). Moses consequently is commanded to make two new tablets on which God will personally write the commandments. God then gives the Ritual Decalogue, writing the ten commandments onto the tablets. Moses then returns to the people, who listen to him in respectful silence (34).

The Construction of a Tabernacle, vestments, and associated ritual objects (35-40)

Moses collects the congregation, enjoins upon them the keeping of the Sabbath, and requests gifts for the sanctuary. The entire people respond willingly, and under the direction of Bezaleel, and Aholiab, they complete all the instructions, for making the tabernacle, its contents, and the priestly robes, and the Israelites put it together on the first day of the second month (35-40). This section is almost, but not completely, a word for word copy of Chapters 25-31.


The time-span in this book, from the death of Joseph to the erection of the tabernacle in the wilderness, covers about one hundred and forty-five years, on the supposition that one computes the four hundred and thirty years (12:40) from the time of the promises made to Abraham (Galatians 3:17).

There have been several attempts to fix the date of the events in the book to a precise point on the Gregorian Calendar. These attempts generally rest on three considerations

Who the unnamed pharaoh was

The dates for non-biblical accounts of large numbers of semitic people leaving Egypt

The date that archaeology implies Jericho was destroyed

Generally, fixing the identification of the Pharaoh is considered the key, and two dynasties are usually suggested:

Thutmose III or Amenhotep II of the 18th Dynasty, around 1444 BC, favoured by religious scholars, since it precedes the destruction of Jericho, although some doubt surrounds the archaeological evidence supporting the Exodus and Canaanite conquest dating.

Ramses II or Merneptah of the 19th Dynasty, around 1290 BCE, favoured by a large minority of secular scholars, since it is relates the Semitic Israelites with the Semitic Hyksos, although this contradicts several key aspects of the biblical account, and neglects several recent archaeological discoveries in Tel el-Dab'a and Jericho.

Another, very reasonable identification by Ahmed Osman is the grandfather of Ramses II, Ramses I, as the Bible indirectly states that the Pharaoh died in the second year of his reign, among other well supported reasons. It also fits in with the date of the exiting of the Shasu from Egypt at the end of Ramesses I's reign, which are to be identified with both the Israelites and the Midyanites.

Meaning of Exodus

The great deliverance wrought for the children of Isreal when they were brought out of the land of Egypt with “a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm” (Exodus 12:51; Deuteronomy 26:8; Psalms 114; 136), about 1490 BC, and four hundred and eighty years (1 Kings 6:1) before the building of Solomon’s temple.

The time of their sojourning in Egypt was, according to Exodus 12:40, the space of four hundred and thirty years. In the LXX., the words are, “The sojourning of the children of Israel which they sojourned in Egypt and in the land of Canaan was four hundred and thirty years;” and the Samaritan version reads, “The sojourning of the children of Israel and of their fathers which they sojourned in the land of Canaan and in the land of Egypt was four hundred and thirty years.” In Genesis 15:13-16, the period is prophetically given (in round numbers) as four hundred years. This passage is quoted by Stephen in his defence before the council (Acts 7:6).

The chronology of the “sojourning” is variously estimated. Those who adopt the longer term reckon thus:

| Years | | From the descent of Jacob into Egypt to the | death of Joseph 71 | | From the death of Joseph to the birth of | Moses 278 | | From the birth of Moses to his flight into | Midian 40 | | From the flight of Moses to his return into | Egypt 40 | | From the return of Moses to the Exodus 1 | | 430

Others contend for the shorter period of two hundred and fifteen years, holding that the period of four hundred and thirty years comprehends the years from the entrance of Abraham into Canaan (see Septuagint and Samaritan) to the descent of Jacob into Egypt. They reckon thus:

| Years | | From Abraham’s arrival in Canaan to Isaac’s | birth 25 | | From Isaac’s birth to that of his twin sons | Esau and Jacob 60 | | From Jacob’s birth to the going down into | Egypt 130 | | (215) | | From Jacob’s going down into Egypt to the | death of Joseph 71 | | From death of Joseph to the birth of Moses 64 | | From birth of Moses to the Exodus 80 | | In all... 430

During the forty years of Moses’ sojourn in the land of Midian, the Hebrews in Egypt were being gradually prepared for the great national crisis which was approaching. The plagues that successively fell upon the land loosened the bonds by which Pharaoh held them in slavery, and at length he was eager that they should depart. But the Hebrews must now also be ready to go. They were poor; for generations they had laboured for the Egyptians without wages. They asked gifts from their neighbours around them (Exodus 12:35), and these were readily bestowed. And then, as the first step towards their independent national organization, they observed the feast of the Passover, which was now instituted as a perpetual memorial. The blood of the paschal lamb was duly sprinkled on the door-posts and lintels of all their houses, and they were all within, waiting the next movement in the working out of God’s plan. At length the last stroke fell on the land of Egypt. “It came to pass, that at midnight Jehovah smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt.” Pharaoh rose up in the night, and called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, “Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve Jehovah, as ye have said. Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also.” Thus was Pharaoh (q.v.) completely humbled and broken down. These words he spoke to Moses and Aaron “seem to gleam through the tears of the humbled king, as he lamented his son snatched from him by so sudden a death, and tremble with a sense of the helplessness which his proud soul at last felt when the avenging hand of God had visited even his palace.”

The terror-stricken Egyptians now urged the instant departure of the Hebrews. In the midst of the Passover feast, before the dawn of the 15th day of the month Abib (our April nearly), which was to be to them henceforth the beginning of the year, as it was the commencement of a new epoch in their history, every family, with all that appertained to it, was ready for the march, which instantly began under the leadership of the heads of tribes with their various sub-divisions. They moved onward, increasing as they went forward from all the districts of Goshen, over the whole of which they were scattered, to the common centre. Three or four days perhaps elapsed before the whole body of the people were assembled at Rameses, and ready to set out under their leader Moses (Exodus 12:37; Numbers 33:3). This city was at that time the residence of the Egyptian court, and here the interviews between Moses and Pharaoh had taken place.

From Rameses they journeyed to Succoth (Exodus 12:37), identified with Tel-el-Maskhuta, about 12 miles west of Ismailia. (See Pithom.) Their third station was Etham (q.v.), 13:20, “in the edge of the wilderness,” and was probably a little to the west of the modern town of Ismailia, on the Suez Canal. Here they were commanded “to turn and encamp before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea”, i.e., to change their route from east to due south. The Lord now assumed the direction of their march in the pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night. They were then led along the west shore of the Red Sea till they came to an extensive camping-ground “before Pi-hahiroth,” about 40 miles from Etham. This distance from Etham may have taken three days to traverse, for the number of camping-places by no means indicates the number of days spent on the journey: e.g., it took fully a month to travel from Rameses to the wilderness of Sin (Exodus 16:1), yet reference is made to only six camping-places during all that time. The exact spot of their encampment before they crossed the Red Sea cannot be determined. It was probably somewhere near the present site of Suez.

Under the direction of God the children of Israel went “forward” from the camp “before Pi-hahiroth,” and the sea opened a pathway for them, so that they crossed to the farther shore in safety. The Egyptian host pursued after them, and, attempting to follow through the sea, were overwhelmed in its returning waters, and thus the whole military force of the Egyptians perished. They “sank as lead in the mighty waters” (Exodus 15:1-9; comp. Psalm 77:16-19).

Having reached the eastern shore of the sea, perhaps a little way to the north of ‘Ayun Musa (“the springs of Moses”), there they encamped and rested probably for a day. Here Miriam and the other women sang the triumphal song recorded in Exodus 15:1-21.

From ‘Ayun Musa they went on for three days through a part of the barren “wilderness of Shur” (22), called also the “wilderness of Etham” (Numbers 33:8; comp. Exodus 13:20), without finding water. On the last of these days they came to Marah (q.v.), where the “bitter” water was by a miracle made drinkable.

Their next camping-place was Elim, where were twelve springs of water and a grove of “threescore and ten” palm trees (Exodus 15:27).

After a time the children of Israel “took their journey from Elim,” and encamped by the Red Sea (Numbers 33:10), and thence removed to the “wilderness of Sin” (to be distinguished from the wilderness of Zin, 20:1), where they again encamped. Here, probably the modern el-Markha, the supply of bread they had brought with them out of Egypt failed. They began to “murmur” for want of bread. God “heard their murmurings” and gave them quails and manna, “bread from heaven” (Exodus 16:4-36). Moses directed that an omer of manna should be put aside and preserved as a perpetual memorial of God’s goodness. They now turned inland, and after three encampments came to the rich and fertile valley of Rephidim, in the Wady Feiran. Here they found no water, and again murmured against Moses. Directed by God, Moses procured a miraculous supply of water from the “rock in Horeb,” one of the hills of the Sinai group (17:1-7); and shortly afterwards the children of Israel here fought their first battle with the Amalekites, whom they smote with the edge of the sword.

From the eastern extremity of the Wady Feiran the line of march now probably led through the Wady esh-Sheikh and the Wady Solaf, meeting in the Wady er-Rahah, “the enclosed plain in front of the magnificient cliffs of Ras Sufsafeh.” Here they encamped for more than a year (Numbers 1:1; Numbers 10:11) before Sinai (q.v.).

The different encampments of the children of Israel, from the time of their leaving Egypt till they reached the Promised Land, are mentioned in Exodus 12:37-19; Numbers 10-21; 33; Deuteronomy 1, 2, 10.

It is worthy of notice that there are unmistakable evidences that the Egyptians had a tradition of a great exodus from their country, which could be none other than the exodus of the Hebrews.

(NOTE: For the signs J (Jahwist), E (Elohist), P or Priestly Code (Priest Codex), R (Redactor) compare the article on Genesis.)

I. In General

1. Name

The second book of the Pentateuch bears in the Septuagint the name of Ἔξοδος, Éxodos, in the Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 AD) accordingly Exodus, on the basis of the chief contents of the first half, dealing with the departure of the children of Israel out of Egypt. The Jews named the book after the first words: ואלּה שׁמות, we-'ēlleh shemōth (“and these are the names”), or sometimes after the first noun שׁמות, shemōth (“names”) a designation already known to Origen in the form of Οὐαλεσμώθ, Oualesmō̇tȟ.

2. Contents in General

In seven parts, after the Introduction (Exodus 1:1-7), which furnishes the connection of the contents with Genesis, the book treats of

(1) The sufferings of Israel in Egypt, for which mere human help is insufficient (Exodus 1:8 through Exodus 7:7), while Divine help through human mediatorship is promised;

(2) The power of YHWH, which, after a preparatory miracle, is glorified through the ten plagues inflicted on Pharaoh and which thus forces the exodus (Exodus 7:8 through Exodus 13:16);

(3) The love of YHWH for Israel, which exhibits itself in a most brilliant manner, in the guidance of the Israelites to Mount Sinai, even when the people murmur (Exodus 13:17 through Exodus 18:27);

(4) making the Covenant at Mount Sinai together with the revelation of the Ten Words (Exodus 20:1) and of the legal ordinances (Exodus 21:1) as the condition of making the Covenant (Exodus 19:1 through Exodus 24:18);

(5) The directions for the building of the Tabernacle, in which YHWH is to dwell in the midst of His people (Exodus 24:18 through Exodus 31:18);

(6) The renewal of the Covenant on the basis of new demands after Israel's great apostasy in the worship of the Golden Calf, which seemed for the time being to make doubtful the realization of the promises mentioned in (5) above (Exodus 32:1 through Exodus 35:3);

(7) The building and erection of the Tabernacle of Revelation (or Tent of Meeting) and its dedication by the entrance of YHWH (Exodus 35:4 through Exodus 40:38). As clearly as these seven parts are separated from one another, so clearly again are they most closely connected and constitute a certain progressive whole.

In the case of the last four, the separation is almost self-evident. The first three as separate parts are justified by the ten plagues standing between them, which naturally belong together and cause a division between that which precedes and that which follows. Thus in the first part we already find predicted the hardening of the heart of Pharaoh, the miracles of YHWH and the demonstrations of His power down to the slaying of the firstborn, found in the 2nd part (compare Exodus 2:23 through Exodus 7:7).

In part 3, the infatuation of Pharaoh and the demonstration of the power of YHWH are further unfolded in the narrative of the catastrophe in the Red Sea (Exodus 14:4, Exodus 14:17). Further the directions given with reference to the Tabernacle (Exodus 25 through 31 taken from P) presuppose the Decalogue (from E); compare e.g. Exodus 25:16, Exodus 25:21; Exodus 31:18; as again the 6th section (Exodus 32ff) presupposes the 5th part, which had promised the continuous presence of God (compare Exodus 32:34 J; Exodus 33:3, Exodus 33:5, Exodus 33:7 JE; Exodus 33:12, Exodus 33:14-17 J; Exodus 34:9 J, with Exodus 25:8; Exodus 29:45 f P; compare also the forty days in Exodus 34:28 J with those in Exodus 24:18 P) as in Exodus 34:1, Exodus 34:28 J and Exodus 34:11-27 J refers back to the 4th part, namely, Exodus 20:1 E; Exodus 21:1 E; Exodus 24:7 JE (Decalogue; Books of the Covenant; Making the Covenant). In the same way the last section presupposes the third, since the cloud in Exodus 40:34 P is regarded as something well known (compare Exodus 13:21 f JE; Exodus 14:19 E and J, Exodus 14:24 J) . The entire contents of the Book of Exodus are summarized in an excellent way in the word of God to Israel spoken through Moses concerning the making of the covenant: “Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be mine own possession from among all peoples: for all the earth is mine: and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:4-6). Here reference is made to the powerful deeds of God done to the Egyptians, to His deeds of lovingkindness done to Israel in the history of how He led them to Sinai, to the selection of Israel, and to the conditions attached to the making of the covenant, to God's love, which condescended to meet the people, and to His holiness, which demands the observance of His commandments; but there is also pointed out here the punishment for their transgression. The whole book is built on one word in the preface to the ten commandments: “I am YHWH thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage” (Exodus 20:2 E; compare Exodus 29:45 f P).

3. Connection with the Other Books of the Pentateuch

The events which are described in the Book of Exodus show a certain contrast to those in Genesis. In the first eleven chapters of this latter book we have the history of mankind; then beginning with Genesis 11:27, a history of families, those of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. In Exodus we have following this the beginning of the history of the chosen people. Then there is also a long period of time intervening between the two books. If Israel was 430 years in Egypt (compare Exodus 12:40 f P; also Genesis 15:13 J; see III, 4 below), and if the oppression began during the long reign of the predecessors of the Pharaoh, during whose reign Israel left the country (Exodus 2:23; Exodus 1:8), then, too, several centuries must have elapsed between the real beginning of the book (x Exodus 1:8), and the conclusion of Genesis. Notwithstanding these differences, there yet exists the closest connection between the two books. Exodus 1:1-7 connects the history of the people as found in Exodus with the family history of Genesis, by narrating how the seventy descendants of Jacob that had migrated to Egypt (compare Exodus 1:5; Genesis 46:27) had come to be the people of Israel, and that God, who offers Himself as a liberator to Moses and the people, is also the God of those fathers, of whom Genesis spoke (compare Exodus 3:6 JE; Exodus 3:13 E; Exodus 3:15 f R; Exodus 4:5 J; Exodus 6:3 P). Indeed, His covenant with the fathers and His promises to them are the reasons why He at all cares for Israel (Exodus 2:24 P; Exodus 6:8 P; Exodus 33:1 JE), and when Moses intercedes for the sinful people, his most effective motive over against God is found in the promises made to the patriarchs (Exodus 32:13 JE).

As is the case with Genesis, Exodus stands in the closest connection also with the succeeding books of the Pentateuch. Israel is certainly not to remain at Sinai, but is to come into the promised land (Exodus 3:17 JE; Exodus 6:8 P; Exodus 23:20 JE; Exodus 32:34 J; Exodus 33:1 JE; Exodus 33:12 J; Exodus 34:9 J and D; compare also the many ordinances of the Books of the Covenant, Exodus 21:1 E; Exodus 34:11 D and J). In this way the narratives of the following books, which begin again in Numbers 10:11 P and JE with the story of the departure from Sinai, continue the history in Exodus. But the legislation in Leviticus also is a necessary continuation and supplement of the Book of Exodus, and is prepared for and pointed to in the latter. The erection of the burnt-offering altar (Exodus 27:1; Exodus 38:1), as well as the mention made of the different kinds of sacrifices, such as the burnt sacrifices and the sin offering (Exodus 29:18, Exodus 29:14) and of the heave offering (Exodus 29:28), point to the promulgation of a law of sacrifices such as we find in Lev 1 through 7. The directions given in regard to the consecration of the priests (Exodus 29) are carried out in Leviticus 8 f. The indefinite commands of Exodus 30:10 in reference to the atonement on the horn of the incense altar once every year renders necessary the special ritual of the Day of Atonement in Lev 16 as its supplement. The more complete enlargement in reference to the shewbread mentioned in Exodus 25:30 is found in Leviticus 24:5-9; and even the repetitions in references to the candlesticks (Exodus 25:31; Leviticus 24:1-4; Numbers 8:1-4), as also the tāmīdh (“continuous”) sacrifices (compare Numbers 28:3-8 with Exodus 29:38-42), point to a certain connection between Exodus and the following books. How close the connection between Deuteronomy and Exodus is, both in regard to the historical narratives and also to their legal portions (compare the Decalogue and the Books of the Covenant), can only be mentioned at this place.

4. Significance of These Events for Israel

When we remember the importance which the exodus out of Egypt and the making of the covenant had for the people of Israel, and that these events signalized the birth of the chosen people and the establishment of theocracy, then we shall understand why the echo of the events recorded in Exodus is found throughout later literature, namely, in the historical books, in the preaching of the prophets and in the Psalms, as the greatest events in the history of the people, and at the same time as the promising type of future and greater deliverances. But as in the beginning of the family history the importance of this family for the whole earth is clearly announced (Genesis 12:1-3), the same is the case here too at the beginning of the history of the nation, perhaps already in the expression “kingdom of priests” (Exodus 19:6), since the idea of a priesthood includes that of the transmission of salvation to others; and certainly in the conception 'first-born son of YHWH' (Exodus 4:22), since this presupposes other nations as children born later.

The passages quoted above are already links connecting this book with Christianity, in the ideas of a general priesthood, of election and of sonship of God. We here make mention of a few specially significant features from among the mass of such relationships to Christianity.

5. Connecting Links for Christianity

How great a significance the Decalogue, in which the law is not so intimately connected with what is specifically Jewish and national, as e.g. in the injunctions of the Priest Codex, according to the interpretation of Christ in Matthew 5, has attained in the history of mankind! But in Matthew 5:17 Jesus has vindicated for the law in all its parts an everlasting authority and significance and has emphasized the eternal kernel, which accordingly is to be assigned to each of these legal behests; while Paul, on the other hand, especially in Romans, Galatians and Colossians, emphasizes the transitory character of the law, and discusses in detail the relation of the Mosaic period to that of the patriarchs and of the works of the law to faith, while in 2 Corinthians 3 he lauds the glory of the service in the spirit over that of the letter (compare Exodus 34) - an idea which in reference to the individual legal institutions is also carried out in the Epistle to the Hebrews. Compare on this subject also the articles Leviticus and Day Of Atonement. Then too the Passover lamb was a type of Jesus Christ (compare e.g. 1 Corinthians 5:7; John 19:36; 1 Peter 1:19). In Exodus 12 the Passover rite and the establishment of the covenant (Exodus 24:3-8) arc found most closely connected also with the Lord's Supper and the establishment of the New Covenant. In the permanent dwelling of God in the midst of His people in the pillar of fire and in the Tabernacle there is typified His dwelling among mankind in Christ Jesus (John 1:14) and also the indwelling of the Holy Ghost in the Christian congregation (1 Peter 2:5; Ephesians 4:12) and in the individual Christian (1 Corinthians 3:16; 1 Corinthians 6:19; 2 Corinthians 6:16; John 14:23). The Apocalypse particularly is rich in thought suggested by the exodus out of Egypt. Unique thoughts in reference to the Old Testament are found in the conceptions that the law was given through angels (Acts 7:53; Galatians 3:19; Hebrews 2:2); further that the rock mentioned in Exodus 17:6 followed, and was Christ (1 Corinthians 10:4); and that in Hebrews 9:4 the real connection of the altar of incense with the Holy of Holies appears as changed into a local connection (Exodus 40:26, Exodus 40:27), while the idea found in Hebrews 9:4 that the manna was originally in the Ark of the Covenant, is perhaps not altogether excluded by Exodus 16:33; and the number 430 years, found in Galatians 3:17, probably agrees with Exodus 12:40, Exodus 12:41, in so far as the whole of the patriarchal period could be regarded as a unit (compare on the reading of the Septuagint in Exodus 12:40, Exodus 12:41, III, 4 below).

II. Structure of the Book According to the Scriptures and According To Modern Analyses

In the following section

(a) serves for the understanding of the Biblical text;

(b) is devoted to the discussion and criticism of the separation into sources.

1. In General

(a) The conviction must have been awakened already by the general account of the contents given in I, 2 above, that in the Book of Exodus we are dealing with a rounded-off structure, since in seven mutually separated yet intimately connected sections, one uniform fundamental thought is progressively carried through. This conviction will only be confirmed when the details of these sections are studied, the sections being themselves again organically connected by one leading thought. Since, in addition, the Book of Genesis is clearly divided into ten parts by the ten tōledhōth (“generations”) (compare also the division made by typical numbers in articles Leviticus and Day Of Atonement), thus too the number seven, as itself dividing the Book of Exodus into seven parts, is probably not accidental; and this all the less, as in the subordinate parts too, a division is to be found according to typical numbers, this in many cases appearing as a matter of course, and in other cases traced without difficulty, and sometimes lying on the surface (compare 10 plagues, 10 commandments). Yet in all of the following investigations, as is the case in the articles Genesis, Leviticus and Day Of Atonement, the demonstration of the fundamental thought must be the main thing for us. The division according to typical numbers is to be regarded merely as an additional confirmation of the literary unity of the book. We refer here first of all to a number of cases, where certain numbers independently of the separate chief parts combine the Biblical text into a unity. In Numbers 14:22 R, YHWH states that Israel had now tempted Him and been disobedient to Him ten times: compare Exodus 14:11 JE(?) (Red Sea); Exodus 15:23 f JE (Marah); Exodus 16:2, Exodus 16:3 P; Exodus 16:20 JE; Exodus 16:27, Exodus 16:28 R (Manna); Exodus 17:1 JE (Massah and Meribah); Exodus 32:1 JE (Golden Calf); Numbers 11:1 JE (Tuberah); Numbers 11:4 JE (Graves of Lust); Numbers 14:2 P and JE (Spies). Most of these cases are accordingly reported in the Book of Exodus, but in such manner that in this particular a clearly marked progress can be noticed, as YHWH does not begin to punish until Exodus 32; but from here on He does so with constantly increasing severity, while down to Exodus 32 grace alone prevails, and in this particular, previous to Exodus 32, there is found nothing but a warning (Exodus 16:27). Ten times it is further stated of Pharaoh, in a great variety of forms of expression, that he hardened his own heart (Exodus 7:13 P; Exodus 7:14 JE; Exodus 7:22 P; Exodus 8:15 P; Exodus 8:32 JE; Exodus 9:7, Exodus 9:34, Exodus 9:35 JE; Exodus 13:15 D); ten times the hardening is ascribed to God (Exodus 4:21 JE; Exodus 7:3 P; Exodus 9:12 P; Exodus 10:1 R; Exodus 10:20 JE; Exodus 10:27 E; Exodus 11:10 R; Exodus 14:4, Exodus 14:8 P; 17 P ?). Here already we must note that within the narrative of the miracles and the plagues at first there is mention made only of the hardening by Pharaoh himself (Exodus 7:13 P; Exodus 7:14 JE; Exodus 7:22 P; Exodus 8:11; Exodus 8:15 P; Exodus 8:28 JE; Exodus 9:7 JE, i.e. seven times) before a single word is said that God begins the hardening; and this latter kind of hardening thereupon alone concludes the whole tragedy (Exodus 14:4, Exodus 14:8 P; 17 P?). Ten months cover the time from the arrival at Sinai (Exodus 19:1 P) to the erection of the sacred dwelling-place of God (Exodus 40:17 P). Since, further, exactly three months of this time are employed in Exodus 19:10, Exodus 19:16 JE; Exodus 24:3 JE; Exodus 24:16 P (ten days); Exodus 24:18 P (40 days); Exodus 34:28 J (40 days), there remain for the building of the tabernacle exactly seven months.

(b) What has been said does anything but speak in favor of the customary division of Exodus into different sources. It is generally accepted that the three sources found in Genesis are also to be found in this book; in addition to which a fourth source is found in Exodus 13:3-16, of a Deuteronomistic character. It is true and is acknowledged that the advocates of this hypothesis have more difficulties to overcome in Exodus than in Genesis, in which latter book too, however, there are insufficient grounds for accepting this view, as is shown in the article Genesis. Beginning with Exodus 6 the chief marks of such a separation of sources falls away as far as P and J are concerned, namely, the different uses of the names of God, Elohim and YHWH. For, according to the protagonists of the documentary theory, P also makes use of the name YHWH from this chapter on; E, too, does the same from Exodus 3:13 on, only that, for a reason not understood, occasionally the word Elohim is still used by this source later on, e.g. Exodus 13:17; Exodus 18:1. But as a number of passages using the name Elohim are unhesitatingly ascribed by the critics to J, this difference in the use of the name of God utterly fails to establish a difference of sources. To this is to be added, that J and E are at this place closely interwoven; that, while the attempt is constantly being made to separate these two sources, no generally accepted results have been reached and many openly acknowledge the impossibility of such a separation, or admit that it can be effected only to a very limited extent. Peculiarities which are regarded as characteristic of the different sources, such as the sin of Aaron in J, the staff of Moses in E, Sinai in J and the Priestly Code (P), Horeb in E, the dwelling of the Israelites in Goshen in J, but according to E their living in the midst of the Egyptians, and others, come to nought in view of the uniform text in the passages considered. This has been proved most clearly, e.g. by Eerdmans in his Alttestamentliche Studien, III (“Das Buch Exodus”) in regard to many of these passages. Narratives of a similar character, like the two stories in which Moses is described as striking the rock to produce water (Exodus 17:1; Numbers 20:1), are not duplicates, but are different events. Compare the different localities in Exodus 17:7 and Numbers 20:1, as also the improbability that Israel would without cause in the first passage have put into permanent form the story of its shame, and then in the latter there would have been an uncertainty as to the importance of this locality for the career of Moses; and finally, we must notice the distinction expressly made by the additional statement, “waters of Meribah of Kadesh in the wilderness of Zin,” in Numbers 27:12-14; Deuteronomy 32:51 (compare Ezekiel 47:19; Ezekiel 48:28). Then, too, these occurrences, if we accept the division into J and E at this place, are not reduced to a single event, since both sources would share in both narratives. The same condition of affairs is found in Exodus 16 in so far as JE comes into consideration, and in Exodus 18 in comparison with Numbers 11. In the case of Numbers 11 there is express reference made to a former narrative by the word “again” and in the second case all the details in their differences point to different occurrences. Concerning other so-called duplicates in Exodus, see later in this article. But the acceptance of P in contradistinction to the text of JE does also not lead to tangible results, notwithstanding that there exists a general agreement with regard to the portions credited to P. Not taking into consideration certain that are peculiar, the following sections are attributed to this source: Exodus 1:1-7, Exodus 1:13-15; Exodus 2:23-25; Exodus 6:2 through Exodus 7:13 (Exodus 6:28-30 R); Exodus 7:19, Exodus 7:20, Exodus 7:21, Exodus 7:22; Exodus 8:1-3, Exodus 8:11-15; Exodus 9:8-12; Exodus 12:1-20, Exodus 12:28, Exodus 12:37, Exodus 12:40-50; Exodus 13:1-2, Exodus 13:20; Exodus 14:1-4, Exodus 14:8-10, Exodus 14:15-18?, 21aa, 22-23, 19; Exodus 16:1-3, Exodus 16:1-14, Exodus 16:15-18, Exodus 16:21-26, Exodus 16:31-32, Exodus 16:34, Exodus 16:35; Exodus 17:1; Exodus 19:1, Exodus 19:2; Exodus 24:15 through Exodus 31:17; Exodus 34:29 through Exodus 40:38. It is claimed that in the Book of Genesis these sources constitute the backbone of the whole work; but this is not claimed for Exodus. The sections ascribed to P constitute in this place, too, anything but an unbroken story. In both language and substance they are, to a certain extent, most closely connected with the parts ascribed to JE, and in part they are indispensable for the connection whence they have been taken (compare for details below). It is absolutely impossible to separate on purely philological grounds in the purely narrative portions in Exodus the portions belonging to P. That genealogies like Exodus 6:14, or chronological notices like Exodus 12:40, Exodus 12:41, Exodus 12:51; Exodus 16:1; Exodus 19:1, or directions for the cults like Exodus 12; 25ff have their own peculiar forms, is justified by self-evident reasons; but this does not justify the acceptance of separate authors. It is the result of the peculiar matter found in each case. We must yet note that the passages attributed to P would in part contain views which could not be harmonized with theological ideas ascribed to this source, which are said to include an extreme transcendental conception of God; thus in Exodus 16:10 the majesty of YHWH suddenly appears to the congregation, and in Exodus 40:34 this majesty takes possession of the newly erected dwelling. In Exodus 8:19 mention is made of the finger of God, and in Exodus 7:1 Moses is to be as God to Pharaoh. In Exodus 12:12 the existence of the Egyptian gods is presupposed and the heathen sorcerers are able to act in competition with Moses and Aaron for a while; Exodus 7:11, Exodus 7:12, Exodus 7:22; Exodus 8:3. P also describes the Passover, which on account of the handling of the blood in [[Exodus 12:7 cannot be regarded in any other light than as a sacrifice in the house, and in Numbers 9:7, Numbers 9:13, this act is expressly called a ḳorban YHWH ('sacrifice of YHWH'). Compare also the commands in Exodus 12:10, Exodus 12:43, Exodus 12:18. But more than anything else, what has been said under (a) above goes to show that all these sources have been united in a way that characterizes the work of a systematic writer, and declares against any view that would maintain that these sources have been mechanically placed side by side and interwoven into each other. What has here been outlined for the whole book in general must now be applied to the different parts in particular.

2. In the Separate Pericopes

(1) Exodus 1:8 Through 7:7

(a) Everything that is narrated in this section, which in so worthy a manner introduces the whole book, is written from a standpoint of the Egyptian oppression, from which human help could give no deliverance, but from which the mighty power of YHWH, working through human agency, offered this deliverance. It is a situation which demands faith (Exodus 4:31). This section naturally falls into ten pericopes, of which in each instance two are still more closely connected. Numbers 1 and 2 (Numbers 1:8-14, Numbers 1:15-22), namely, the oppression through forced labor and the threat to take the life of the newly born males of the Israelites; and in contrast to this, the Divine blessing in the increase of the people in general and of the midwives in particular; numbers 3 and 4 (Exodus 2:1-10, Exodus 2:11-22), namely, the birth and youth of Moses stand in contrast. The child seems to be doomed, but God provides for its deliverance. Moses, when grown to manhood, tries to render vigorous assistance to his people through his own strength, but he is compelled to flee into a far-off country. Numbers 5 and 6 (Exodus 2:23 through Exodus 4:17; Exodus 4:18-31) report the fact that also in the reign of a new Pharaoh the oppression does not cease, and that this causes God to interfere, which in Exodus 2:23-25 is expressed in strong terms and repeatedly, and this again leads to the revelation in the burning bush (Exodus 3:1). And at the same time the narrative shows how little self-confidence Moses still had (Three signs, a heavy tongue, direct refusal). The sixth pericope and also the beginning of the last four, describe, from an external viewpoint, the return of Moses to Midian, and his journey from there to Egypt. Here, too, mention is made of the troubles caused by Pharaoh, which God must remove through His power. This deliverance is not at all deserved by Israel, since not even any son in a family had up to this time been circumcised. On the other hand, everything here is what can be expected. Those who sought the life of Moses had died; the meeting with Aaron at the Mount of the Lord; in Egypt the faith of the people. In an effective way the conclusion (Exodus 4:31) returns to the point where the two companion narratives (Exodus 2:24 f) begin. After this point, constituting the center and the chief point in the introductory section, numbers 7 and 8 (Exodus 5:1 through Exodus 6:1; Exodus 6:2-12), everything seems to have become doubtful. Pharaoh refuses to receive Moses and Aaron; the oppression increases; dissatisfaction in Israel appears; Moses despairs; even the new revelations of God, with fair emphasis on fidelity to the Covenant which is to unfold YHWH's name in full, are not able to overcome the lack of courage on the part of the people and of Moses. Numbers 9 and 10, introduced by Exodus 6:13 (Exodus 6:14-27 and Exodus 6:28 through Exodus 7:7), show that after Moses and Aaron have already been mentioned together in Exodus 4:14, Exodus 4:27; Exodus 5:1, and after it has become clear how little they are able of themselves to accomplish anything, they are now here, as it were, for the first time, before the curtain is raised, introduced as those who in the following drama are to be the mediators of God's will (compare the concluding verses of both pericopes, Exodus 6:27; Exodus 7:7), and they receive directions for their common mission, just at that moment when, humanly speaking, everything is as unfavorable as possible.

(b) The unity of thought here demonstrated is in this case too the protecting wall against the flood-tide of the documentary theory. For this theory involves many difficulties. In Exodus 1:13 f there would be an account of the oppression by the Priestly Code (P), but the motive for this can be found only in the preceding verses, which are ascribed to JE; Exodus 2:24 speaks of the Covenant of God With Isaac, concerning which P is said to have reported nothing in the Book of Genesis, as in the latter book a reference to this matter is found only in Genesis 26:2-5 R; Genesis 26:24 J. In Exodus 6:2 Moses and Aaron are mentioned; but as the text of P reads we know absolutely nothing from this source as to who these men are. According to Exodus 7:1 Aaron is to be the speaker for Moses before Pharaoh. But according to P neither Moses nor Aaron speaks a single word. The omissions that are found by critics in documents J and E - which, if they are separated, have lines of demarcation claimed for the separation that are very unsettled - we here pass over in silence.

On the critical theory, the narratives of the Priestly Code (P), in the Book of Exodus, as also in Genesis, would have discarded many of the stereotyped formulas characteristic of this source (compare Exodus 2:23; Exodus 6:2; Exodus 7:1), and in both form and contents would be made very similar to the rest of the text Exodus 1:9, Exodus 1:10, Exodus 1:12 JE; Exodus 1:20 E; Exodus 7:1 P; and to a great extent expressions similar to these are here found and in part refer to these. The same must be said concerning Exodus 3:7 JE in its relation to Exodus 2:23 P; Exodus 6:6 (sibhlōth) P in its relation to Exodus 1:11 JE; Exodus 2:11 E; Exodus 5:4, Exodus 5:5 JE (in contrast Exodus 1:13, Exodus 1:14; Exodus 2:23). JE, in Exodus 4:9 for “dry land,” makes use of the term ha-yabbāshāh, which in Genesis 1:9 f and Exodus 14:16 is ascribed to the Priestly Code (P), and a different expression is used for this thought by J in Genesis 7:22. In reference to Exodus 7:1 P compare Exodus 4:14 E (?). In reference to the hardening of Pharaoh, which is found in all the sources (Exodus 7:3 P), see above under 1a; in reference to the miracles, and their purpose of making YHWH known to the Egyptians (Exodus 7:3-5 P) see the following paragraph. The four generations mentioned in Exodus 7:14 P find their parallel in Genesis 15:16 J (compare Genesis 46:8); and the sons of Aaron mentioned in Exodus 6:23 the Priestly Code (P), Nadab and Abihu, are mentioned also in the text of Exodus 24:1, Exodus 24:9, ascribed to JE although, except in Leviticus 10 the Priestly Code (P), their names are not found elsewhere in the Pentateuch. In reference to the repetitions, it must be said that Exodus 1:13 P is either the continuation (in so far as the Israelites instead of being compulsory laborers became slaves), or is a concluding summary, such as is found frequently. The new revelation of God in Exodus 6 the Priestly Code (P), according to chapter 3 JE, finds its psychological and historical motive in the account of the failure described in Exodus 5:1 JE, and in the discouragement of the Israelites and of Moses resulting therefrom. In the same way the renewed mention by Moses of his difficulties of speech (Exodus 6:12 P; compare with Exodus 4:10 J and E (?)) is very characteristic of human ways, and this again necessitates the twice repeated consideration of this matter by God (Exodus 6:30 R; Exodus 4:10 J and E (?); concerning the names of God, see Genesis; Names Of God).

One difficulty, which is also not made clear by the proposed division of sources, is found in the name of the father-in-law of Moses; since according to Exodus 2:18 J, this name is Reuel, and according to Exodus 3:1; Exodus 18:1 JE, it is Jethro (Exodus 4:18 E in the form “Jether”); in Numbers 10:29 JE is called Hobab and a son of Reuel (the King James VersionRaguel”) for all of these passages are ascribed to J or E. It is probable that the name Jethro is a title (“Excellency”); and as for the rest, in Numbers 10:29 ḥōthēn probably does not mean father-in-law but brother-in-law (Judges 1:16; Judges 4:11); or in Exodus 2:18 we find father and in Exodus 2:21 daughter in the place of grandfather and granddaughter; otherwise we should be compelled to accept different traditions, by which view, however, the Mosaic authorship of Exodus would be made impossible (compare IV, below).

(2) Exodus 7:8 Through 13:16

(a) This section is separated as a matter of course from the rest by the typical number of ten plagues. It is introduced by the transformation of the rod into a serpent in the presence of Pharaoh (Exodus 7:8-13). To explain the fact that there were ten plagues on the ground of the accidental combination of sources, is from the very outset a precarious undertaking. To this must be added the following reasons that indicate a literary editing of the material. All of the plagues are introduced by the same formula (Exodus 7:12 JE; Exodus 8:1 J; Exodus 8:12 P; Exodus 8:16 JE; Exodus 8:20 JE; Exodus 9:1 JE; Exodus 9:8 P; Exodus 9:13 JE; Exodus 10:1, Exodus 10:12 JE; Exodus 10:21 E; Exodus 11:1 E), and in connection with each plague the hardening of the heart of Pharaoh is mentioned (compare (1a) above); compare Exodus 7:22 P; Exodus 8:11 J; Exodus 8:15 P; Exodus 8:28 JE; Exodus 9:7 JE; Exodus 9:12 P; Exodus 9:34 JE; Exodus 9:35 JE; Exodus 10:1 R; Exodus 10:20 JE; Exodus 10:27 E; Exodus 11:10 R; Exodus 13:15 D. As is the case in the first section, we find here too in each instance two plagues more closely connected, namely, numbers 1 and 2 already externally united by the double address of YHWH (compare Exodus 7:14 JE; Exodus 7:19 P and Exodus 7:26 J; Exodus 8:1 P), but also by the methods of punishment that are related to each other (water changed to blood and frogs); and, finally, by the extension of the plague (the Nile and beyond the river). In 3 and 4 we have to deal with insects (stinging flies and dung flies); in 5 and 6 with a kind of pest (pest among cattle, and boils); 7 and 8 are again formally joined by the repeated command of YHWH to Moses in Exodus 9:13, Exodus 9:12 JE and Exodus 10:1, Exodus 10:12 JE, as also by the fullness of the account the two show and their similarity, in both also use being made of the staff (Exodus 9:23 f JE; Exodus 10:13 f JE), in the repetition of the emphasis put on the remarkable character of the plague (Exodus 9:18, Exodus 9:24; Exodus 10:6, Exodus 10:14 JE). By both plagues vegetation is destroyed; and in the plague of locusts special reference is made also to the hail (compare Exodus 10:5, Exodus 10:12, Exodus 10:15). In the case of 9 and 10, the darkness constitutes a connecting link (compare Exodus 10:21 E; Exodus 11:4 J; Exodus 12:12 P; Exodus 12:30, Exodus 12:31 JE). By the side of the occasional rhythm formed of two members there is also one formed of three members (after the manner of a triole in a measure of two beats). In the case of each group of three plagues, two are announced beforehand (thus 1 JEP and 2 JP; 4 JE and 5 JE; 7 JE and 8 JE; 10 EJ over against 3 the Priestly Code (P), 6 P and 9 E); the first of each group of three plagues, as 1, 4 and 7, is to be announced by Moses on the following morning to Pharaoh (Exodus 7:15; Exodus 8:20; Exodus 9:13 JE). Also in regard to the impression caused by the plagues a distinct progress can be noticed, in this too, that the Egyptian sorcerers are active only down to the third plague. Naturally, too, over against these facts, further peculiarities can be pointed out in the separate plagues, e.g. the fact that Goshen, or rather that Israel, is spared in the 4th, 5th, 7th through 10th plagues (Exodus 8:22; Exodus 9:6, Exodus 9:26 JE; Exodus 10:23 E; Exodus 11:7 J); and in the mention made of the intercession in the 2nd, 4th, 7th, 8th (Exodus 8:8 J; Exodus 8:12; Exodus 9:28, Exodus 9:33; Exodus 10:17 f JE) without thereby destroying the artistic construction of the whole that has been described above, or that in each such case of individuality of presenting the matter there is to be found a reason for claiming a separate source.

(b) In the same way, too, it is not a permissible conclusion, that in the first miracle and in the first three plagues mention is made of the fact that Aaron performed this miracle with his staff (Exodus 7:8, Exodus 7:19; Exodus 8:5-20ff P). At any rate, in the parts ascribed to the Priestly Code (P), no absolute uniformity is to be found, since plagues 1 to 3 are commanded to Moses, while the 6th is commanded to Moses and Aaron (Exodus 7:19; Exodus 8:1, Exodus 8:20 over against Exodus 9:8); and since, further, in the 6th plague (Exodus 9:8) it is Moses, and in the 10th (Exodus 12:12) it is God Himself who really carries out the command, and not Aaron, as was the case in the introductory miracles and in the first three plagues. Further, according to JE (Exodus 4:30), it appears that the presupposition is that we are to consider all of the addresses and actions in general as taking place through Aaron, even in those cases where this is not especially mentioned.

Only the 1st plague (Exodus 7:14) furnishes an apparent reason for the acceptance of two sources. In this case mention is made at times of the waters of the Nile only, and then of all other waters being changed into blood; and a separation from this point of view at least could be carried through. But this possibility disappears at once in the case of the 2nd plague (frogs), where the passage Exodus 8:1-3, ascribed to the Priestly Code (P), which verses contain the consummation of the plague announced in 7:26-29 J (Hebrew), is altogether necessary for this connection; as otherwise the impression made upon Pharaoh by this plague, which is not mentioned in P at all, would be a torso. The similarity in the construction of the 2nd and the 1st plague, however (compare under (a) above), and the same difference in the mention made of the Nile and of the other waters in the 2nd plague, make it possible and even advisable in the case of the first plague, too, to discard the hypothesis of a difference in sources, because in the 2nd plague this difference cannot be carried out. Then, too, there would be other omissions found in P. According to the customary separation of sources, P would not contain the fulfillment of the threatened tenth plague announced in Exodus 12:12 at all. In the same way the statement in Exodus 12:28 refers to the carrying out of a command, the announcement of which to Israel in Exodus 12:21 would be found in another source. Further in Exodus 12:37 we would have the Priestly Code (P), as when the parts belonging to P have been eliminated, the other sources too would contain omissions in Exodus 12:21, mostly JE; Exodus 12:37 E; Exodus 13:3 D. In the same way the announcement of a large number of miracles (Exodus 7:3 P; Exodus 11:9 R) is too comprehensive, if these verses refer only to the narratives found in P. In addition, there is a remarkable similarity found in all of the narratives of P with those parts which are ascribed to JE; compare the first miracle in Exodus 7:8 with Exodus 4:2 J; Exodus 4:17 E. In the Priestly Code (P), too, as is the case with JE, it is stated that the purpose of the miracle is, that Pharaoh, or the Egyptians, or Israel, are to recognize that YHWH is God and the Lord of the earth, or something to this effect (Exodus 7:5 P; Exodus 7:17 JE; Exodus 8:10 R; Exodus 8:22; Exodus 9:14, Exodus 9:29, Exodus 9:30 JE; Exodus 10:2 R; Exodus 11:7 J; compare from the next section, Exodus 14:4 P; Exodus 14:18 the Priestly Code (P), which at the same time is also the fundamental thought that forms the connecting link of the whole section). The position of Exodus 11:1-3 E between Exodus 10:28, Exodus 10:29 E and Exodus 11:8 J constitutes a difficulty, because in the last-mentioned passages Moses is represented as standing continuously before Pharaoh. The announcement made by YHWH to Moses, that one more plague is to come, and that the Israelites should borrow articles of value from the Egyptians, must in reality have been made before, but for good reasons it is mentioned for the first time at this place, in order to explain the confident utterance of Moses, that he would not again appear before Pharaoh (Exodus 10:29). But the fact that according to Exodus 12:31 JE Pharaoh does in reality once more cause Moses and Aaron to be called, can readily be explained on the ground of the events that happened in the meantime.

The structure of Exodus 12 f contains nothing that could not have been written by one and the same author. Only Moses naturally did not at once communicate (Exodus 12:21) to the leading men of Israel the command given in Exodus 12:15 concerning the unleavened bread, which command had been given for later generations; and not until Exodus 13:3 is this command mentioned in connection with the order given to the people in the meantime concerning the firstborn (Exodus 13:1 f) . The further fact, that the story of the exodus reaches a preliminary conclusion in Exodus 12:42 before the details of the Passover (Exodus 12:3) have been given, is in itself justifiable. As far as contents are concerned, everything in chapters 12 f, namely, the exodus, the festival of unleavened bread, the firstborn, and orders pertaining thereto, that the month of the exodus is to be regarded as the first month, etc., are closely connected with the Passover and the 10th plague. Because the latter had to be described more fully than the other plagues, we find already in Exodus 11:9, Exodus 11:10, after the announcement of this plague and its results, a comprehensive notice concerning all the miracles through which YHWH demonstrated how He, amid great manifestations of power (Exodus 7:4 P) and with a mighty hand (Exodus 6:1 JE), has led His people forth.

(3) Exodus 13:17 Through 18:27

(a) This section finds its connecting thought in the emphasis placed on the love of YHWH, on His readiness to help, and His long-suffering in the leading of His at times murmuring people on the road to and as far as Sinai. This section covers two months. What is narrated, beginning with Exodus 16:1, transpires even within a single two weeks (compare Exodus 19:1).

  • Number 1 (Exodus 13:17-22), describes the journey to Etham (out of love God does not lead the people the direct way, since He fears that they will become unfaithful in the event of a battle; Joseph's bones are taken along, since God now really is taking care of His people (compare Genesis 50:24, Genesis 50:26); YHWH's friendly presence is shown in the pillar of fire).
  • Numbers 2 (Exodus 14:1-31) contains the passage through the Red Sea (YHWH the helper; compare Exodus 14:10, Exodus 14:15, Exodus 14:13, Exodus 14:14, Exodus 14:30, Exodus 14:21, Exodus 14:24, Exodus 14:26 f, 31, notwithstanding the murmuring of Israel, Exodus 14:11 f).
  • Number 3 (Exodus 15:1) contains the thanksgiving hymn of Moses for YHWH's help, with which fact each one of the four strophes begins (Exodus 15:1, Exodus 15:6, Exodus 15:11, Exodus 15:16 ff).
  • Number 4 (Exodus 15:20 f) contains Miriam's responsorium.
  • Number 5 (Exodus 15:22-27) treats of Marah and Elim (YHWH proves Himself to be Israel's helper and physician (Exodus 15:25 f) notwithstanding the murmuring of Israel (Exodus 15:24)).
  • Number 6 introduces the last five pericopes, with a designation of the time (Exodus 16:1-36), and describes the miraculous feeding with manna and quails. (The murmuring is particularly emphasized in Exodus 16:2, Exodus 16:7-9, Exodus 16:12. Israel also gathers more than they have been directed to do (Exodus 16:16 f); reserves some for the following day (Exodus 16:19 f); collects some on the Sabbath (Exodus 16:27); YHWH, who in Exodus 16:6-12 alone is mentioned in rapid succession no fewer than ten times, at first does not even utter a word of reproach, and when the Sabbath has been violated He does nothing more than reprove.)
  • Number 7 (Exodus 17:1-7) reports the help of YHWH (Exodus 17:4) at the Waters of Contention (Strife). He even appears on the rock (Exodus 17:6), notwithstanding the murmuring (Exodus 17:2-4, Exodus 17:7).
  • Number 8 (Exodus 17:8-16) describes the victory over the Amalekites, which furnished the occasion for the erection of the memorial altar, called 'YHWH-my-Banner.' Possibly in this connection Joshua (“YHWH helps”) was changed from Hosea (Numbers 13:16). Compare Hengstenberg, Authenthic. des Pentateuches, II, 395 f.
  • Number 9 (Exodus 18:1-12) shows in a constantly changing variety of expressions that emphasis is laid on the impression which the deeds of God in connection with Israel make on Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses, while he was visiting the latter (Exodus 18:1, Exodus 18:8-12). Effective in this connection is also the mention made of the symbolical names of the sons of Moses (Gershom, “I have been a sojourner in a foreign land”; and Eliezer, “The God of my father was my help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh” (Exodus 18:3 f)). Further, the name Mount of God (Exodus 18:5; compare Exodus 18:12) probably is a reminder of the fulfillment of Exodus 3:12.
  • Number 10 (Exodus 18:13-17) shows how God helps Moses (compare Exodus 18:19) through the advice of Jethro to appoint judges.

In this part, too, Exodus 13:17 through Exodus 18:27, we have ten sections, which can easily be arranged in groups of two and two. Thus numbers 1 and 2 are connected by their analogous beginnings (Exodus 13:17, Exodus 13:18 RE; Exodus 14:1, Exodus 14:2 P) and by the cloud of fire (Exodus 13:21 f JE; Exodus 14:19, Exodus 14:24 J); numbers 3 and 4 by the responsive hymn; numbers 5 and 6, which already by the feeling of hunger and thirst are connected in thought, by their reference to the ordinances of YHWH (Exodus 15:25 D; Exodus 16:4 JE ?; Exodus 16:28 R); numbers 7 and 8 by the use made of Moses' staff (Exodus 17:5, Exodus 17:9 JE); numbers 9 and 10 by Jethro's person, and the close connection of their contents in point of time (Exodus 18:13). Further, the Biblical text of this place is clearly presupposed in the list of stations, expressly stated to have been prepared at the command of Moses (Numbers 33). This list, as is acknowledged on all sides, has the characteristics of P; and it takes into consideration not only the portions ascribed to this source, but also the text of JE. Compare Numbers 33:9 (Marah and Elim) with Exodus 15:22-27, and Numbers 33:14 (lack of water in Rephidim) with Exodus 17:1.

(b) Over against the analysis into different sources the following data in detail can also be advanced. In P the last demonstration of the power of YHWH over Pharaoh would be indeed endangered in Exodus 14:4, Exodus 14:15, Exodus 14:21, but afterward would not be related. In Exodus 16:1 we cannot find in the Priestly Code (P), unless we bring in also Exodus 15:27 from JE, how Israel came to be in Elim. On the other hand, in Exodus 16:4 (JE?) the promise of bread from heaven is groundless without the preceding verses, which are attributed to P; and without Exodus 17:1 the Priestly Code (P), we do not know to what the word “there” in Exodus 17:3 belonging to JE refers, and how in Exodus 17:8 JE the Israelites had come to Rephidim. How entirely data taken from the language utterly fail here in establishing the separation of sources we see from the fact that in Exodus the distribution of the different portions and verses between P and E becomes a matter of doubt, and also in Exodus 16 a harmony of view has not been gained as to whether only the Priestly Code (P), or in addition also J, E or JE have contributed to the text. The hymn found in Exodus 15:1, which certainly is an old composition, presupposes passages which are assigned to different sources, and in this way speaks for the unity of the text. Compare Exodus 15:2 with Exodus 14:30 J; Exodus 14:13 JE (?); Exodus 15:3 with Exodus 14:14 JE (?); Exodus 14:25 J; Exodus 14:4 with Exodus 14:9 P; Exodus 14:4 with Exodus 14:7 JE; Exodus 14:8 with Exodus 14:22 EP; Exodus 14:29 P; with Exodus 14:9.

On the other hand, Exodus 14:19 and b cannot be utilized in favor of a division of sources E and J; but rather the analogous structure of this passage presupposes the same author, and there is only indicated what elsewhere is always a presupposition, namely, that God Himself has taken His abode somewhere in the cloud of fire (Exodus 13:21, Exodus 13:22 JE; Exodus 14:24 J; compare Exodus 40:34 P) Just as little are the two commands found in Exodus 14:16 to be divided between P and E and J, one stating what Moses does, and the other what YHWH does, since both rather belong together (compare Exodus 9:22 f with Exodus 9:33; Exodus 10:13). At first glance Exodus 16:6 does not appear to be in its proper place, as Moses and Aaron in Exodus 16:6, Exodus 16:7 have already told Israel what only in Exodus 16:9 is revealed through the appearance of YHWH and His injunction to Moses. But these very verses are in harmony with the character of the whole section (compare under a above), since it is here stated that under all circumstances Israel is to be convinced of this, that YHWH has proven Himself to be YHWH, and has heard their murmuring. In addition, the appearance of YHWH in Exodus 16:10 is clearly announced by Exodus 16:7. Accordingly, Exodus 16:9 serve only to confirm and strengthen what is found in Exodus 16:6. The fact that not until in Exodus 18:2 JE Jethro brings the wife and the sons of Moses, while the latter himself according to Exodus 4:20 J had taken them along when he joined Israel, finds a satisfactory explanation in Exodus 18:2. He sent them back doubtless because of the conduct of Zipporah on the occasion of the circumcision of her son (Exodus 4:25 J). The fact that Jethro comes to Moses at the Mount of God (Exodus 18:5 JE), while the latter does not arrive at Mount Sinai until Matthew 19:1 according to P and J, is no contradiction; for by the Mount of God is meant the whole chain of Horeb, which Moses has already reached according to Matthew 17:6 JE; but Mt. Sinai is a single mountain. The special legal ordinances and decisions mentioned in Matthew 18:20 JE before the giving of the law (19ff E and JE) are in perfect harmony with Matthew 15:25 D; Matthew 16:4 JE (?); Matthew 16:28 R.

(4) Exodus 19:1 Through 24:18a

(a) This fourth section contains the conclusion of the covenant at Mount Sinai (compare Matthew 19:5 R at beginning; Matthew 24:7, Matthew 24:8 JE toward the end). The contents cover a period of ten days (compare Matthew 19:10, Matthew 19:11, Matthew 19:16; Matthew 24:3, Matthew 24:1 JE; Matthew 24:16 P). The text of this section can again be divided into ten pericopes. After the introduction (Matthew 19:1-8), which contains a cardinal feature of Exodus (compare under I, 2 above), numbers 1 and 2 (Exodus 19:9-19, Exodus 19:20-25) report the preparation for the conclusion of the Covenant. Number 2 in Exodus 19:23 refers expressly to number 1, but is distinguished from number 1 through the new addition in Exodus 19:20 after Exodus 19:18, as also through the express amplified application of the ordinances referring to purifications and the restriction of the prohibition to the priests (compare Exodus 19:22, Exodus 19:21, Exodus 19:24 with Exodus 19:10, Exodus 19:12). Numbers 3 and 4 (Exodus 20:1-17, Exodus 20:18-26) contain the Decalogue and the directions for the cults, together with a description of the impression made by the revelation of the law. Numbers 5 and 6 (Exodus 21:1 through Exodus 23:13 expressly circumscribed by a subscription, Exodus 23:14-19) contain legal ordinances and further directions for the cults. Numbers 3-6 accordingly contain the laws or the conditions of the Covenant. Now follow in numbers 7 and 8 the promises of the Covenant (Exodus 23:20-26, Exodus 23:27-33), which in Numbers 6:20 and Numbers 6:27, Numbers 6:23 and 28 and 24 and 32 f correspond to each other. Numbers 9 and 10 (Exodus 24:3-8, Exodus 24:9-18, combined more closely by Exodus 24:1, Exodus 24:2) describe the conclusion of the Covenant and the Covenant congregation in different stages. Further, typical numbers at this place also appear in the laws, numbers 3-6. Numbers 4 (Exodus 20:18) contains five directions (Exodus 20:23, Exodus 20:24, Exodus 20:25, Exodus 20:26); number 6 (Exodus 23:14-19) is divided into 2 X 5 ordinances (compare the anaphoristic addition in Exodus 23:14 and Exodus 23:17), namely, verses Exodus 23:14, Exodus 23:15, Exodus 23:15, Exodus 23:16, Exodus 23:16-17, Exodus 23:18, Exodus 23:19. Number 3 (Exodus 20:1, the Decalogue) contains, according to Exodus 34:28; Deuteronomy 4:13; Deuteronomy 10:4, “ten words” margin, according to the two tables doubtless divided into two groups of five each, no matter how in detail we may divide and number them. In the same way number 5 (21:1 through 23:13) falls into ten sections, separate in form and contents, yet belonging together; and these again are divided into 2 X 5 groups, as will appear presently. Taken altogether then we have in numbers 3-6 (Exodus 20:1 through 23:19) 17 X 5 legal ordinances or groups of laws. While in the historical sections the divisions into 5 X 2 pericopes was made, we here find three times the division into 2 X 5, although here too the beginning of the last five pericopes in the second and third sections is particularly noticeable (compare Exodus 9:8 and Exodus 16:1), and in the same way a new division can be made at Exodus 4:18. Number 5 (Exodus 21:1 through 23:13) is, however, divided as follows: I and II (Exodus 21:2-6, Exodus 21:7-11) ordinances for the protection of slaves; III and IV (Exodus 21:12-17, Exodus 21:18-27) protection of life, or liberty, of the dignity of parents, and hygienic laws; V (Exodus 21:28 through Exodus 22:3) harm to animals; VI (Exodus 22:4-16) to property; VII (Exodus 22:17-26) against witchcraft, against imitating the Canaanites, and lack of mercy; VIII (Exodus 22:27-30) the relation to God; IX and X (Exodus 23:1-5, Exodus 23:6-12) ethical and humane law practice. I through IV accordingly contain laws pertaining to persons; V and VI those referring to things; VII through X, those referring to religion, morality, and administration of justice. But the chief line of demarcation is to be made after V; for I through V contain each four ordinances, VI through X each seven, which in the original text in almost each case are in their language separated from each other by particular conjunctions or by the construction. Only in VI (Exodus 22:4-16) one command seems to be lacking; for only Exodus 22:4, Exodus 22:5, Exodus 22:6 f, 9-12, 13 f, 15 f are distinguished by the “kī” in the beginning; but the seventh ordinance is found in Exodus 22:8. Here too, in each case, II and I, two and two as a rule are more closely connected, after the manner of the division in the first three sections, 1:8 through 7:7; 7:8 through 13:16; 13:17 through 18:27; at least this is the case in I and II, III and IV through VII and VIII, IX and X.

(b) In this section, too, Exodus 19:1 through Exodus 24:18a, there is no real occasion for a division into sources. It is claimed that P is found only in Exodus 19:1, Exodus 19:2; Exodus 24:15-18; but Exodus 19:1, Exodus 19:2 is indispensable for Exodus 19:2 on account of the word “there”; and before Exodus 24:15 there is an omission, if the preceding verses are to be ascribed to a different source. The duplicates Exodus 19:8, Exodus 19:9; Exodus 19:18, Exodus 19:20 are best explained by the assumption of a new beginning in Exodus 19:9 at Exodus 19:20 (compare above); Exodus 24:1, Exodus 24:2, which at the same time introduces Exodus 24:9, is placed before Exodus 24:3, because in point of time it belongs here. According to the original text, the translation at this place must read: “To Moses he spoke,” in contrast to the ordinances which, in Exodus 21:1, are addressed to the congregation of Israel. Certainly Exodus 24:3-8 is purposely formulated to show in almost the same words that Exodus 24:3 reports the Violation and Exodus 24:4 the writing of the decision to obey on the part of Israel (Exodus 24:3 and Exodus 24:7). It is not perfectly clear to the reader where Moses was during the promulgation of the Decalogue, whether upon the mountain or at the foot of the mountain (compare Exodus 19:24 f; Exodus 20:18; but also Deuteronomy 5:5). In view of the importance of the matter itself and the vividness of the narrative and the continual change in the place where Moses abode, it is psychologically easily understood that the clearness of the account has suffered somewhat.

(5) Exodus 24:18b Through 31:18

(a) During the forty days which Moses tarries with God on the mountain, and at the conclusion of which he receives the two tables of the law (Exodus 31:18), God converses with him seven times (Exodus 25:1; Exodus 30:11, Exodus 30:17, Exodus 30:22, Exodus 30:34; Exodus 31:1, Exodus 31:12). Number 1 (Exodus 25:1 through Exodus 30:10) contains directions in reference to the building of the Tabernacle, and laws for the priests serving in it. Numbers 2-6 bring a number of directions supplementing number 1, namely, number 2 (Exodus 30:11-16), individual tax; number 3 (Exodus 30:17-21), copper washing vessels; number 4 (Exodus 30:22-33), oil for anointing; number 5 (Exodus 30:34-38), incense; number 6 (Exodus 31:1-11), the calling of Bezalel and Aholiab to be the master builders; additionally and in conclusion, number 7 (Exodus 31:12-17), the Sabbath command. It is probably not accidental that the Sabbath idea is touched upon 7 times, namely, in addition to the present passage, also in

(a) Exodus 16:5 JE (?); Exodus 16:23-29 P and R;

(b) Exodus 20:8-11 E;

(c) Exodus 23:10-12 E;

(d) Exodus 24:16 P;

(e) Exodus 34:21 J;

(f) Exodus 35:1-3 the Priestly Code (P), and that as is the case in this present passage, other passages too, such as Exodus 24:16 P; Exodus 35:1-3 P conclude a main section, and Exodus 22:10-22 a subordinate section, with this reference.

The first more complete pericope itself in Exodus (Exodus 25:1 through 30:10) is, however, divided into 12 pieces (we cannot at this place enter into details in reference to the typical numbers found so often in the measurements of the Tabernacle, but can refer only to the cubical form of the Holy of Holies on the basis of 10 cubits), namely,

(1) contributions for the sanctuary (Exodus 25:1-9);

(2) The holy ark (Exodus 25:10-22);

(3) table of shewbread (Exodus 25:23-30);

(4) golden candlesticks (Exodus 25:31-40);

(5) tabernacle (Exodus 26:1-37) in which at the same time the articles mentioned from 2 to 4 are placed (compare Exodus 26:33);

(6) altar for burnt sacrifices (Exodus 27:1-8);

(7) court (Exodus 27:9-19) in which this altar stood (compare Exodus 40:29, Exodus 40:33);

(8) oil for the lights (Exodus 27:20, Exodus 27:21);

(9) sacred garments for the priests (Exodus 28:1-43);

(10) consecration of priests (Exodus 29:1-37);

(11) the burnt sacrifices (Exodus 29:38-46);

(12) incense altar (Exodus 30:1-10). The five articles included in 8 to 12 are combined into a contrast to the five in 1 to 7 by their express reference to the priests (compare in addition to 9 and 10 also Exodus 27:21; Exodus 29:44; Exodus 30:7 f, 10). With the incense altar, which was of great importance, and of equal importance with the great altar on the Day of Atonement (Exodus 30:10), this section closes (compare (b)).

Thus it will under all circumstances be better to search for an explanation for putting oil in the place of the candlesticks and of the incense altar, which at first seems surprising, than in the case of every difficulty to appeal to a redactor's working without system or order. However, the entire portion Exodus 24:18b through Exodus 31:18 finds its explanation in the promise of Exodus 25:8 that YHWH will dwell in the midst of Israel (compare Exodus 29:45 f). He is enthroned on the ark, in which the accusing law as the expression of the Divine will is deposited (for this reason called hā-‛ēdhūth; Exodus 25:16, Exodus 25:21; Exodus 26:33, Exodus 26:14), but above the atonement lid, the kappōreth, at which on the Day of Atonement, the atonement ceremony is carried out (compare Exodus 25:17-22; Leviticus 16; see Day Of Atonement.

(b) This whole section, with the exception of Exodus 31:18 E (?) is ascribed to the Priestly Code (P), although at this place, though without good reasons, different strata are distinguished. In regard to the contradiction claimed to exist in the different persons to be anointed (high priest, or all the priests; compare Exodus 29:7 over against Exodus 28:41; Exodus 29:21), see Leviticus. Also the duplicates of the tāmīdh sacrifice and of the candlesticks (compare I, 3, above) are not at all the decisive factor in proof of a difference of sources within the parts treating of the priests, providing it can be shown that each passage stands where it belongs. With regard to the candlesticks, see Leviticus. In addition compare passages like Matthew 10:39 and Matthew 16:25; Matthew 10:22 and Matthew 10:24, Matthew 10:13; Matthew 6:14 and Matthew 18:35; Matthew 5:29 f and Matthew 18:8; Matthew 19:30 and Matthew 20:16. But as far as attributing certain passages to P in general is concerned, it is self-evident that ordinances referring to the cults make use of technical terms pertaining to the cults, without this fact justifying any conclusion as to a particular author or group of authors. On the other hand, it could not at all be understood how P could so often call the Decalogue ha-‛ēdhūth, without having contained this all-important law itself (compare Exodus 25:16, Exodus 25:21 f; Exodus 26:33 f; Exodus 34:29; Exodus 38:21, etc.). On the other hand, as is well known, the fourth commandment (Exodus 20:8-11 E) expressly refers back to Genesis 2:2, Genesis 2:3, that is, to P; also Exodus 23:15 to Exodus 12:20.

(6) Exodus 32:1 Through 35:3

(a) God's promise to dwell in the midst of Israel, the turning-point in the fifth section, seems to have become a matter of doubt, through the apostasy of Israel, but is nevertheless realized in consequence of the intercession of Moses and of the grace of God, which, next to His primitive holiness, is emphasized very strongly. This entire sixth section is to be understood from this standpoint. As was the case in the preceding section, the forty days are prominent in this too (compare Exodus 34:28 J with Exodus 24:18 P). We can divide the contents here also into ten pericopes.

Number 1 (Exodus 32:1-14) reports that YHWH tells Moses of the idolatry with the golden calf, that He is determined to destroy Israel, but is influenced to change this determination by the intercession of Moses.

Number 2 (Exodus 32:15-29) describes the wrath of Moses and the punishment through him. He breaks the tablets into pieces, grinds the golden calf into powder, reproves Aaron, dissolves through the Levites the curse which had for this reason impended over them since Genesis 49:5-7 and causes this to be changed into a blessing: three thousand killed.

Number 3 (Genesis 32:30-35) reports that YHWH at the petition of Moses will send some of His angels, but later on will punish the people for their sins.

Number 4 (Genesis 33:1-6) reports that YHWH Himself no longer accompanies His people, which, on the one hand, is an act of grace, since the presence of God would even harm the people, but on the other hand is a punishment, and is felt as such by Israel.

Number 5 (Genesis 33:7-11) declares that God meets Moses only outside of the camp in a tent, but communes with him face to face.

Number 6 introduces the last six pericopes in a natural way, since God's grace is appearing in constantly increasing glory (Genesis 33:12-33). Here we have the petition of Moses to YHWH that He in person should accompany him and show him His glory (YHWH's grace is made especially prominent in Genesis 33:12, Genesis 33:13, Genesis 33:16, Genesis 33:17, Genesis 33:19).

Number 7 (Genesis 34:1-10) describes the preparation for the new conclusion of the covenant; YHWH appears to Moses as the gracious, merciful, long-suffering kind, and faithful God, so that Moses again appeals to His grace.

Number 8 (34:11-28) describes the new establishment of the covenant on the basis of the renewal of the Divine and grandiose promises of ordinances pertaining to religion and cults, and the ten words.

Number 9 (Genesis 34:29 -35) describes how, in consequence of his close communion with God, Moses' face shines.

Number 10 (Genesis 35:1-3) contains the Sabbath command (see (5a)).

Numbers 9 and 10 give expression to the renewed covenant relationship. If we again in the larger group 1 to 8 take two and two together we find that each of these four groups contains a petition of Moses: Exodus 32:11; Exodus 33:30-32; Exodus 33:12; Exodus 38:8, Exodus 38:9. The entire section brings out equally prominently the love and the holiness of God, and does this in such a way that both characteristics find their expression in each group of two of these ten numbers. The progress beyond the third section (leading Israel to Sinai) is noticeable, since the murmuring is in each case followed only by an expression of the love of God; but equally this present section stands in contrast to Numbers 11ff, where, on the occasion of the continuous murmuring of Israel the love of God is not indeed ignored, but it must take a place in the background as compared with His punitive holiness, which is particularly apparent in the story of the return of the spies in Numbers 14:11. Here is at once seen the great similarity with the present section of Numbers 14:12, Numbers 14:15, Numbers 14:16, Numbers 14:17 and with Exodus 32:10, Exodus 32:12; Exodus 34:6 f, but at the same time the great difference caused by a divergency of the events (compare Numbers 14:21). In contrast to this, Exodus 32:34 refers back to Nu 14, and Exodus 32:35 is a proleptic judgment based on this experience.

(b) It is incomprehensible how critics have found in the renewal of the covenant caused by the apostasy of Israel and in the conditions of this renewal, namely, in the Books of the Covenant and in the Decalogue, duplicates, which are distributed between E and J (Exodus 20:1; Exodus 20:21 ff; Exodus 24:8 through Exodus 34:1ff, Exodus 34:28; Exodus 34:11-26; Exodus 34:27). But in Exodus 34:11-26 there is no sign of the number ten being used in connection with the ordinances referring to the religion and the cults. Goethe's attempt to find at this place the original Decalogue, which effort is constantly being repeated, is accordingly without any foundation, even in the use of the number ten. In Exodus 34:28, according to Exodus 34:1 and tradition (compare Deuteronomy 10:2, Deuteronomy 10:4; also Exodus 24:12; Exodus 31:18), YHWH is to be regarded as the subject. Again Exodus 33:4 and Exodus 33:5 are not duplicates. In Exodus 33:4 the people are described as having laid aside their ornaments a single time as a sign of repentance; according to Exodus 33:5, Exodus 33:6 the people permanently dispense with these, a state of mind which makes it possible for God again to show His mercy. It is an arbitrary assumption that these ornaments were used in the construction of the Tabernacle, the building of which had been announced beforehand in Exodus 25ff, so that in front of Exodus 33:7 a parallel account to 35 ff P taken from JE would have been omitted. In Exodus 33:7 according to the text the author has in mind a tent already in existence, which up to this time had been standing within the camp and now had to be taken without, because YHWH for the present can no longer dwell in the midst of the people (Exodus 32:34; Exodus 33:3, Exodus 33:1), until Moses, through his intercession, again makes this possible (Exodus 33:15-17; Exodus 34:9, Exodus 34:10). And the promised tabernacle takes the place of the provisional tent (Exodus 35ff), which, as is done by the Septuagint, is probably to be preferred to Moses' own tent. In the Priestly Code (P), to whom Exodus 34:29 is attributed, such a provisional arrangement is presupposed in Exodus 34:35, since already at this place, and before the building of the tabernacle in Exodus 35ff, mention is made of the fact that Moses entered for the purpose of receiving the revelation of God. This accordingly presupposes what is reported in Exodus 33:7. Even without the facts mentioned and for other reasons, too, an omission must be accepted before Exodus 34:29; for Exodus 34:29 speaks of the tables of the Law, concerning the origin of which P has reported nothing; and in Exodus 34:32 concerning the commandments which Moses received on Mount Sinai and had imparted to the people, which, however, do not refer to the directions that were given in Exodus 25ff, since these, according to Exodus 35:4, are yet to be expressly communicated to the people.

(7) Exodus 35:4 Through 40:38

(a) The construction of the Tabernacle. This section is divided into four pericopes, each with four subdivisions (compare Structure of Leviticus 16 in Day Of Atonement). The same principle of division is found also in the history of Abraham and in Deuteronmy 12 through 26.

Number I (Exodus 35:4 through Exodus 36:7) describes the preparation for the construction:

(1) Exodus 35:4-19 appeals for contributions for this purpose;

(2) Exodus 35:20-29, contributions;

(3) Exodus 35:30 through Exodus 36:1, characterization of the builders;

(4) Exodus 36:2-7, delivering the contributions to the builders. Numbers II and III (Exodus 36:8 through Exodus 38:31; Exodus 39:1-31) report the construction of the Tabernacle and the preparation of the priests garments (compare Exodus 39:32, Exodus 39:1);

Number II:

(1) Exodus 36:8-38, dwelling-place;

(2) Exodus 37:1 through Exodus 38:9, utensils;

(3) Exodus 38:10-20, court;

(4) Exodus 38:24-31, cost of Exodus 38:1-3;

Number III

(1) Exodus 39:2-7, shoulder garment;

(2) Exodus 39:8-21, pocket;

(3) Exodus 39:22-26, outer garment;

(4) Exodus 39:27-31, summary account concerning coats, mitre, bonnets, breeches, girdle, diadem.

Number IV (Exodus 39:32 through Exodus 40:38) reports the completion:

(1) Exodus 39:32-43, consecration of these objects;

(2) Exodus 40:1-15, command to erect;

(3) Exodus 40:16-33, carrying out this command;

(4) Exodus 40:34-38, entrance of the glory of YHWH. In this way the dwelling of YHWH, which had been promised in Exodus 25:8 the Priestly Code (P), and in Exodus 32 through 34 JE had been uncertain, has become a reality. The whole section is closely connected with Exodus 25 through 31, yet is independent in character. The full details found in both groups are completely justified by the importance of the object. It is self-evident that at this place, too, the language of the cults is demanded by the object itself.

(b) The attempts to distribute this section among different authors are a total failure in view of the unity of the structure, which is independent also over against Exodus 25 through 31. Since the numbers given in Exodus 38:26 agree entirely with the numbers gathered later in Numbers 2:32, it is evident that for the latter the lists for the contributions were used, which in itself is very probable because it was practical. In case this section is ascribed to P it is inexplicable how the writer can in Exodus 40:34 speak of the pillar of fire as of something well known, since this has not yet been mentioned in the parts ascribed to the Priestly Code (P), but has been in Exodus 13:21 f JE; Exodus 14:19, Exodus 14:24 J.

III. Historical Character

1. General Consideration

The fact that extra-Israelitish and especially Egyptian sources that can lay claim to historical value have reported nothing authentic concerning the exodus of Israel need not surprise us when we remember how meager these documents are and how one-sided Egyptian history writing is. Whether the expulsion of the lepers and the unclean, who before this had desolated the country and acquired supremacy over it as reported by Manetho and other historians, is an Egyptian version of the exodus of Israel, cannot be investigated at this place, but is to the highest degree improbable. If Israel was oppressed by the Egyptians for a long period, then surely the latter would not have invented the fable of a supremacy on the part of Israel; and, on the other hand, it would be incomprehensible that the Israelites should have changed an era of prosperity in their history into a period of servitude. Over against this the remembrance of the exodus out of Egypt not only is re-echoed through the entire literature of Israel (compare I, 4, above), but the very existence of the people of God forces us imperatively to accept some satisfactory ground for its origin, such as is found in the story of the exodus and only here. In addition, the Book compare Exodus shows a good acquaintance with the localities and the conditions of Egypt, as also of the desert. It is indeed true that we are still in doubt on a number of local details. But other statements in the book have in such a surprising manner been confirmed by discoveries and geographical researches, that we can have the greatest confidence in regard to the other difficulties: compare e.g. Naville's The Store-city of Pithom (Exodus 1:11). In general, the opening chapters of Exodus, especially the narratives of the different plagues, contain so much Egyptian coloring, that this could scarcely have resulted from a mere theoretical study of Egypt, especially since in the narrative everything makes the impression of resulting from recent experience. The fact that Israel from its very origin received ordinances in regard to religion, morality, law and cults, is explained from the very conditions surrounding this origin and is indispensable for the explanation of the later development of the nation. None of the later books or times claim to offer anything essentially new in this respect; even the prophets appear only as reformers; they know of the election of Israel, and, on the other hand, everywhere presuppose as something self-evident the knowledge of a righteous, well-pleasing relation with God and chide the violation of this relation as apostasy. Ethical monotheism as the normal religion of Israel is reflected in the same way in all the sources of Israel's history, as has been proven in my work (“Die Entwicklung der alttestamentlichen Gottesidee in vorexilischer Zeit,” in the May, 1903, issue of Beiträge zur Förderung christlicher Theologie). And the idea that an oriental people, especially if they came out of Egypt, should have had no religious cult, is in itself unthinkable. If all of these norms, also the direction for the cults in the Books of Covenant, of the Priestly Code, or D, at least in the kernel, do not go back to the Mosaic times, then we have to deal with an insoluble problem (compare my work, Are the Critics Right?).

2. The Miraculous Character

The Book of Exodus is as a matter of fact from its first to its last page filled with miraculous stories; but in this characteristic these contents agree perfectly with the whole history of redemption. In this immediate and harmonious activity of God, for the purpose of establishing a chosen people, all these miracles find their purpose and explanation, and this again is only in harmony with other periods of sacred history. The reason is self-explanatory when these miracles are found grouped at the turning-points in this history, as is the case also in the critical age of Elijah and Elisha, and in the experiences and achievements of “Jonah,” so significant for the universality of the Biblical religion. Above all is this true in the ministry of Jesus Christ; and also again in His return to judgment. And in the same way, too, we find this at the beginning of Israel as a nation (see my article in Murray's Dictionary). Compare in this respect the rapid numerical growth of the nation, the miracles, the plagues, in the presence of Pharaoh, the passage through the Red Sea, the miraculous preservation of the people in the desert, the many appearances of God to Moses, to the people, to the elders, the protection afforded by the cloud, the providential direction of the people of Israel and of the Egyptians, and of individual persons (Moses and Pharaoh). The fact that the author himself knows that Israel without the special care and protection of God could not have survived in the desert is in complete harmony with his knowledge of the geographical situation already mentioned.

3. The Legislative Portions

If any part of the laws in Exodus is to be accepted as Mosaic, it is the Decalogue. It is true that the ten commandments are found in two recensions (Exodus 20; Deuteronomy 5). The original form is naturally found in Exodus 20. Only Moses could regard himself as inwardly so independent of the Decalogue as it had been written by God, that he did not consider himself bound in Deuteronomy 5 by its exact wording. The legal ordinances in Exodus 21:1 have found an analogy already in Code of H̬ammurabi, more than 500 years older although moving in a lower sphere. As Israel had lived in Goshen, and according to Genesis 26:12 Isaac had even been engaged in agriculture, and Israel could not remain in the desert but was to settle down in permanent abodes again, the fact of the existence of this law of Israel, which in a religious and ethical sense rises infinitely above the Code of H̬ammurabi, is in itself easily understood. And again since the sacred ark of the covenant plays an important role also in the other sources of the Pentateuch (Numbers 10:33; Numbers 14:44 JE; Deuteronomy 10:1-8; Deuteronomy 31:9, Deuteronomy 31:25) and in the history of Israel (compare Joshua 3; Joshua 6:6-8; Joshua 8:33; Judges 20:27; 1 Samuel 6:2; 2 Samuel 15:24 f; 1 Kings 3:15; 1 Kings 6:19; 1 Kings 8:1-9), then a suitable tent, such as is announced in Exodus 25ff, and was erected according to Exodus 35ff, was an actual necessity.

As the Paschal sacrifice, according to Exodus 12:3; Exodus 12:43 P; Exodus 12:21 JE (?) was to be killed in the houses, and this on the 14th of Nisan in the evening (Exodus 12:6), and as P directs that a festival assembly shall be held on the next day at the sanctuary (compare Leviticus 23:6; Numbers 28:17), these are conditions which can be understood only in case Israel is regarded as being in the wilderness. For this reason Deuteronomy 16:5 changes this direction, so that from now on the Passover is no longer to be celebrated in the houses but at the central sanctuary. In the same way the direction Exodus 22:29, which ordered that the firstborn of animals should be given to YHWH already on the 8th day, could be carried out only during the wanderings in the desert, and is for this reason changed by Deuteronomy 14:23; Deuteronomy 15:19 to meet the conditions of the people definitely settled after this wandering. Compare my work, Are the Critics Right? 188-189, 194-195.

4. Chronology

As is well known, the average critic handles the Biblical chronology in a very arbitrary manner and is not afraid of changing the chronology of events by hundreds of years. If we leave out of consideration some details that often cause great difficulties, we still have a reliable starting-point in the statements found in 1 Kings 6:1 and Exodus 12:40 f. According to the first passage, the time that elapsed between the exodus of the Israelites and the building of the temple in the 4th year of Solomon was 480 years; and according to the second passage, the time of the stay in Egypt was 430 years. A material change in the first-mentioned figures is not permitted by the facts in the Book of Judges, even if some particular data there mentioned are contemporaneous; and to reduce the 430 years of the stay in Egypt, as might be done after the Septuagint, which includes also the stay of the patriarchs in Canaan in this period, or to reduce the whole period from the entrance into Egypt to the building of the temple, is contrary to the synchronism of H̬ammurabi and Abraham (Genesis 14). The first-mentioned could not have lived later than 2100 BC. The 430 years in Exodus 12:40, Exodus 12:41 P are also, independently of this passage, expressly supported by the earlier prediction of an oppression of Israel for 400 years from the time of Abraham (Genesis 15:13 J); and the 480 years of 1 Kings 6:1 are confirmed by Judges 11:26, according to which, at the time of the suppression by the Amorites and of Jephthah as judge, already 30 years must have elapsed since the east Jordan country had been occupied by the Israelites. According to this the exodus must have taken place not long after 1500 BC. And in perfect agreement with this supposition would be the condition of affairs in Palestine as we know them from the Tell el-Amarna Letters dating about 1450-1400 BC, according to which the different Canaanitish cities had been attacked by the Chabiri in the most threatening manner, as this is reported too in the Book of Joshua. As is well known linguistically, too, the identification of the Chabiri with the Hebrews is unobjectionable. Finally, on the well-known Menepthah stele of the 13th century BC, Israel is mentioned in connection with Canaan, Ashkelon, Gezer, Y-nu'm (= Janoah, Joshua 16:6, Joshua 16:7?), and accordingly is already regarded as settled in Canaan. A date supported in such different ways makes it impossible for me to find in Rameses II the Pharaoh of the oppression, and in Menepthah the Pharaoh of the exodus (both between 1300 and 1200 BC). A conclusive proof that the name and the original building of the city Rameses (Exodus 1:11 JE; Exodus 12:37 P; Numbers 33:3, Numbers 33:5 P) necessarily leads back to Rameses II can, at least at the present time, not yet be given (compare on this point also, Köhler, Lehrbuch der biblischen Geschichte des Alten Testamentes, I, 238ff).

5. Unjustifiable Attacks

All these attacks on the historical character of this book which originate only in the denial of the possibility of miracles, the Christian theologian can and must ignore. Such attacks do not stand on the ground of history but of dogma. Let us accordingly examine other objections. Thus, it is claimed that the number of men in Israel, which in Exodus 12:37 is said to have been 600,000, is too high, because not only the desert but Goshen also would not have been able to support two million people, and Israel had been too short a time in Egypt to grow into so populous a nation. Yet Israel, beginning with the time of the oppression, which, according to Exodus 2:23; 18 continued many years and hence began before the highest number in population had been reached, had claims for support from the Egyptian corn (grain) granaries; and the 430 years in Exodus 12:40 certainly cannot be reduced, as has been shown under (4) above. To this must be added that in Exodus 1:7, Exodus 1:9 f, 12, 20 f the rapid numerical growth of Israel is represented as the result of a Divine blessing. Then, too, in the company of Jacob and his descendants, doubtless servants, male and female, came down to Egypt (compare the 318 servants of [Abraham]] alone in Genesis 14). The figures in Exodus 12:37 P are further confirmed by Numbers 11:21 (according to critics from JE) and by the results of the two enumerations, Numbers 1 f (Numbers 2:31; compare Exodus 38:26 (603,550)) and Numbers 26:51 (601,730). The attacks made also on the existence of the Tabernacle must be rejected as groundless. According to the Wellhauscn school the Tabernacle is only a copy of the temple of Solomon dated back into the Mosaic times; and the fact that there is only one central seat of the cults is regarded as a demand first made by the Deuteronomistic legislation in the 7th century. Against this latter claim militates not only the impossibility of placing Dt at this time (compare my work Are the Critics Right? 1-55), but also the legislation of the Book of the Covenant, which, in Exodus 23:17, Exodus 23:19; Exodus 34:23, Exodus 34:14, Exodus 34:26 presupposes a sanctuary, and which even in the passages incorrectly analyzed by Wellhausen, Exodus 20:24 (compare again, Are the Critics Right? 19, 48, 161ff, 189ff) speaks only of a single altar (compare also Exodus 21:14) and not of several existing at the same time. (The matter mentioned here is the building of an altar, according to a theophany, for temporary use.) Against the critical view we can quote the prophetic utterances of Amos, who condemns the cult in the Northern Kingdom (Amos 5:4 f), but teaches that God speaks out of Zion (Amos 1:2; compare probably also, Amos 9:1); those of Isaiah (Isaiah 1:12; Isaiah 2:2; Isaiah 4:5 f; 6; Isaiah 8:18; Isaiah 18:7; Isaiah 30:29; Isaiah 33:20; Isaiah 14:32; Isaiah 28:16); also the facts of history (compare especially the central sanctuary in Shiloh, 1 Samuel 1 through 4; Judges 21:19, which is placed on the same level with Zion in Jeremiah 7:12; Jeremiah 26:6; Psalm 78:60-72). To this must be added such statements as 2 Samuel 7:6; Joshua 18:1; 1 Kings 3:4; 1 Kings 8:4; 1 Chronicles 16:39, 1 Chronicles 16:40; 2 Chronicles 1:3. All these facts are not overthrown by certain exceptions to the rule (compare Leviticus). But the whole view leads to conclusions that in themselves cannot possibly be accepted. What a foolish fancy that would have been, which would have pictured the Tabernacle in the most insignificant details as to materials, amounts, numbers, colors, objects, which in Numbers 4 has determined with exact precision who was to carry the separate parts of the tent, while e.g. for the service of the Tabernacle, so important for later times, only very general directions are given in Numbers 18:2, Numbers 18:4, Numbers 18:6; Numbers 8:22. This complete picture would be entirely without a purpose and meaningless, since it would have no connection whatever with the tendency ascribed to it by the critics, but rather, in part, would contradict it. Compare my book, Are the Critics Right? 72ff, 87ff.

That particularly in the post-exilic period it would have been impossible to center the Day of Atonement on the covering of the ark of the covenant, since the restoration of this ark was not expected according to Jeremiah 3:16, has already been emphasized in Day Of Atonement. If God had really determined to give to His people a pledge of the constant presence of His grace, then there can be absolutely no reason for doubting the erection of the Tabernacle, since the necessary artistic ability and the possession of the materials needed for the structure are sufficiently given in the text (compare also Exodus 25:9, Exodus 25:40; Exodus 26:30; Exodus 27:8 - Exodus 31:2ff; Exodus 35:30, Exodus 12:35; Exodus 3:21, Exodus 3:22; Exodus 11:2 f; Genesis 15:14; Exodus 33:4). The examination of the separate passages in Exodus, such as the relation of Exodus 20:24 (see above) to Deuteronomy, or the ordinances concerning the Passover and the firstborn (Exodus 12 f), and other laws in the different codices, goes beyond the purpose of this article (compare however under 3 above, at the close).

IV. Authorship

1. Connection with Moses

As the Book of Exodus is only a part of a large work (compare I, 3 above), the question as to authorship cannot be definitely decided at this place, but we must in substance restrict ourselves to those data which we find in the book itself. In several parts it is expressly claimed that Moses wrote them. He sang the hymn found in Exodus 15, after the passage of the Red Sea, and it breathes the enthusiasm of what the author has himself experienced. Exodus 15:13 do not speak against the unity of the hymn, but rather for it, since the perfects here found as prophetic perfects only give expression to the certainty that the Israelites will take possession of the land of promise. In the course of history the nations often acted quite differently from what is here stated and often antagonized Israel (compare Numbers 14:39-45; Numbers 20:18; Numbers 21:4, Numbers 21:21-35; Numbers 22:6; Joshua 6 through 12; also Exodus 13:17). In Exodus 15:13, Exodus 15:17 not only Zion is meant, but all Canaan; compare Leviticus 25:23; Numbers 35:34; Jeremiah 2:7; for har, “mountain,” compare Deuteronomy 1:7, Deuteronomy 1:20 (“hill-country”); Deuteronomy 3:25; Psalm 78:54, Psalm 78:55. According to Exodus 17:14 Moses writes in a book the promise of YHWH to destroy Amalek from the face of the earth. It is absolutely impossible that only this statement should have been written without any connecting thought and without at least a full description of the situation as given in Exodus 17:8. And as Exodus 17:14 linguistically at least can mean merely 'to write a sheet,' as Numbers 5:23, it yet appears in the light of the connection of a comparison with related passages, such as Joshua 24:26; 1 Samuel 10:25, much more natural to think of a book in this connection, in which already similar events had been recorded or could at any time be recorded.

The Ten Words (Exodus 20:1) were written down by God Himself and then handed over to Moses; compare Exodus 24:12; Exodus 31:18; Exodus 34:1, Exodus 34:28 (Deuteronomy 10:2, Deuteronomy 10:4). The laws and judicial ordinances beginning with Exodus 21, according to Exodus 24:4, were also written down by Moses himself, and the same is true of the ordinances in Exodus 34:11, according to Exodus 34:27.

The proof that formerly had to be furnished, to the effect that the knowledge of the art of writing in the days of Moses was not an anachronism, need not trouble us now, since both in Egypt and Babylon much older written documents have been discovered. But already from the passages quoted we could conclude nothing else than that Moses understood how to make use of different forms of literature - the poetical, the historical and the legal - unless the different statements to this effect by decisive reasons could be shown to be incorrect. In Numbers 33, in the catalogue of stations, there is a portion ascribed to Moses that bears the express characteristics of the Priestly Code; and, finally Deuteronomy, with its hortatory, pastoral style, claims him as its author. Already in Exodus 17:14 there were reasons to believe that Moses had written not only this statement which is there expressly attributed to him. Thus it becomes a possibility, that in general only in the case of particularly important passages the fact that Moses penned these also was to be made prominent, if it can be shown as probable that he in reality wrote more, as we find in parallel cases in the writings of the prophets (compare Isaiah 8:1; Isaiah 30:8; Jeremiah 30:2; Ezekiel 43:11; Habakkuk 2:2). In addition, we notice in this connection that in the catalogue of stations mentioned above and ascribed to Moses (Numbers 33), the close relation of which to the portions attributed to P is certain, not only this part, but also the other words from JE in the present Bible text from Exodus 12 through 19 (see above) are regarded as self-evident as Mosaic (as is the case also later with the corresponding historical part), and this is an important witness in favor of the Mosaic authorship of the historical parts. But Exodus 25 through 31; 35 through 40 also claim, at least so far as contents are concerned, to be the product of the Mosaic period. The entire portable sanctuary is built with a view to he wanderings in the desert. Aaron and his sons are as yet the only representatives of the priesthood (Exodus 27:21; Exodus 28:4, Exodus 28:12, Exodus 28:41-43; Exodus 29:4, etc.). In view of the relationship which Nu 33 shows with the Priestly Code (P), it is clear, if we accept the genuineness of this part, a matter that is in the highest degree probable, that this style was current in Moses' time, and that he had the mastery of it, even if other hands, too, have contributed to the final literary forms of these laws. In favor of the Mosaic authorship of the whole Book of Exodus we find a weighty reason in the unity and the literary construction of the work as shown above. This indeed does not preclude the use and adaptation of other sources of historical or legal statements, either from the author's own hands or from others, if such a view should perhaps be suggested or made imperative by the presence of many hard constructions, unconnected transitions, unexpected repetitions, etc. But even on the presupposition of the Mosaic authorship, a difference in style in the different kinds of matters discussed is not impossible, just as little as this is the case with peculiarities of language, since these could arise particularly in the course of vivid narration of the story (compare the anacolouths in Paul's writings). But still more a reason for accepting the Mosaic authorship of Exodus is found in the grand and deep conception and reproduction of all the events recorded, which presupposes a congenial prophetic personality; and finally, too, the natural and strong probability that Moses did not leave his people without such a Magna Charta for the future. This Mosaic authorship becomes almost a certainty, in case the Book of Deuteronomy is genuine, even if only in its essential parts. For Deuteronomy at every step presupposes not only P (compare Are the Critics Right? 171ff), but also the history and the Books of the Covenant (Exodus 21ff; Deuteronomy 34:11) as recorded in Exodus.

2. Examination of Objections

Against the Mosaic authorship of Exodus the use of the third person should no longer be urged, since Caesar and Xenophon also wrote their works in the third person, and the use of this provision is eminently adapted to the purpose and significance of Exodus for all future times. In Isaiah 20:1 Ezekiel 24:24, we have analogies of this in prophetic literature. The statement (Exodus 11:3) that Moses was so highly regarded by the Egyptians is entirely unobjectionable in the connection in which it is found. That the book was not written for the self-glorification of Moses appears clearly in Ezekiel 4:10-16; Ezekiel 6:12. In itself it is possible that some individual passages point to a later date, without thereby overthrowing the Mosaic authorship of the whole (compare also under (1)). In this case we are probably dealing with supplementary material. Exodus 16:35 declares that Israel received manna down to the time when the people came to the borders of Canaan. Whether it was given to them after this time, too, cannot be decided on the basis of this passage (compare however Joshua 5:12). If the entire Book of Exodus was composed by Moses, then Exodus 16:35 would be a proof that at least the final editing of the book had been undertaken only a short time before his death. This is suggested also by Exodus 16:34, since at the time when the manna was first given the ark of the covenant did not yet exist; and the statement in Exodus 32:35 takes into consideration the later development as found in Numbers 13 f. In the same way Exodus 16:36 could be a later explanation, but is not necessarily so, if the ‛ōmer was not a fixed measure, of which nothing further is known, and which probably was not to be found in every Israelite household, but a customary measure, the average content of which is given in Exodus 16:36. If we take Exodus alone there is nothing that compels us to go later than the Mosaic period (concerning the father-in-law of Moses, see under II, 2, 1 (1:8 through 7:7) at the close). The question as to whether there are contradictions or differences between the different legal ordinances in Exodus and in later books cannot be investigated at this place, nor the question whether the connection of Exodus with other books in any way modifies the conclusion reached under (1).


Books that in some way cover the ground discussed in the article: Against the separation into different sources: Eerdmans, Alttestamentliche Studien, III (“Das Buch Exodus”); Orr, Problem of the Old Testament; Möller, Wider den Bann der Quellenscheidung. In favor of the construction of Exodus 21ff: Merx, Die Bücher Moses und Josua (“Religionsgeschichtliche Volksbücher,” II, Series, number 3). For Exodus 21ff in its relation to the Code of H̬ammurabi: A. Jeremias, Das Alte Testament im Lichte des alten Orients; J. Jeremias, Moses und H̬ammurabi (with fuller literature); Histories of Israel by Kittel, König, Oettli, Köhler, Klostermann, Hengstenberg; Commentaries of Ryssel, Lange, Keil, Strack; Introductions to the Old Testament by Strack, Baudissin, Driver, Sellin. Against the Wellhausen hypothesis: Möller, Are the Critics Right? (with fuller literature); Orr (see above). Against the evolutionary theory: Orr (see above); Möller, Die Entwicklung der alttestamentlichen Gottesidee in vorexilischer Zeit (with fuller literature). Representatives of other schools: The Introductions of Kuenen and Cornill; the Commentaries of Holzinger and Baentsch; the Histories of Israel by Wellhausen and Stade.

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