EXODUS, the book of [Easton's Bible Dictionary]
- An account of the increase and growth of the Israelites in Egypt (ch. 1)
- Preparations for their departure out of Egypt (2-12:36.).
- Their journeyings from Egypt to Sinai (12:37-19:2).).
- 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" (19:3-ch. 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 (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.
EXODUS, the Book of [Smith's Bible Dictionary]
(that is, going out [of Egypt]), the second book of the law or Pentateuch. Its author was Moses. It was written probably during the forty-years wanderings in the wilderness, between B.C. 1491 and 1451. It may be divided into two principal parts:
Historical, chs. (Exodus 1:1-18; 27:1) ... and
Legislative, chs. (Exodus 19:40; 38:1)
The first part contains an account of the following particulars: the great increase of Jacobís posterity in the land of Egypt, and their oppression under a new dynasty, which occupied the throne after the death of Joseph; the birth, education, flight and return of Moses; the ineffectual attempts to prevail upon Pharaoh to let the Israelites go; the successive signs and wonders, ending in the death of the first-born, by means of which the deliverance of Israel from the land of bondage is at length accomplished, and the institution of the Passover; finally the departure out of Egypt and the arrival of the Israelites at Mount Sinai.
This part gives a sketch of the early history of Israel as a nation; and the history has three clearly-marked stages. First we see a nation enslaved; next a nation redeemed; lastly a nation set apart, and through the blending of its religious and political life consecrated to the service of God.
EXODUS, The Book of (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia)
I. In General.
3. Connection with the Other Books of the Pentateuch:
The second book of the Pentateuch bears in the Septuagint the name of Exodos, in the Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) 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: we-'elleh shemoth ("and these are the names"), or sometimes after the first noun shemoth ("names") a designation already known to Origen in the form of Oualesmoth.
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 Yahweh, 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 Yahweh for Israel, which exhibits itself in a most brilliant manner, in the guidance of the Israelites to Mt. Sinai, even when the people murmur (Exodus 13:17 through Exodus 18:27);
- (4) making the Covenant at Mt. Sinai together with the revelation of the Ten Words (Exodus 20:1 ff) and of the legal ordinances (Exodus 21:1 ff) 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 Yahweh 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 Yahweh (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 Yahweh 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 Yahweh are further unfolded in the narrative of the catastrophe in the Red Sea (Exodus 14:4,17). Further the directions given with reference to the Tabernacle (Exodus 25 through Exodus 31 taken from P) presuppose the Decalogue (from E); compare e.g. Exodus 25:16,21; 31:18; as again the Exodus 6th section (Exodus 32 ff) presupposes the 5th part, which had promised the continuous presence of God (compare Exodus 32:34 J; Exodus 33:3,5,7 ff JE; Exodus 33:12,14-17 J; Exodus 34:9 J, with Exodus 25:8; 29:45 f P; compare also the forty days in Exodus 34:28 J with those in Exodus 24:18 P) as in Exodus 34:1,28 J and Exodus 34:11-27 J refers back to the Exodus 4th part, namely, Exodus 20:1 ff E; Exodus 21:1 ff 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 ff 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 Yahweh 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).
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 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 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; 1:8), then, too, several centuries must have elapsed between the real beginning of the book (x Exodus 1:8 ff), 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).
4. Significance of These Events for Israel:
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 (3:17 JE; 6:8 P; 23:20 ff JE; 32:34 J; 33:1 ff JE; 33:12 ff J; 34:9 ff J and D; compare also the many ordinances of the Books of the Covenant, 21:1 ff E; 34:11 ffD and J). In this way the narratives of the following books, which begin again in Numbers 10:11 ff 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 (Numbers 27:1 ff; 38:1 ff), as well as the mention made of the different kinds of sacrifices, such as the burnt sacrifices and the sin offering (Numbers 29:18,14) and of the heave offering (Numbers 29:28), point to the promulgation of a law of sacrifices such as we find in Leviticus 1 through Leviticus 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 Leviticus 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 ff; Leviticus 24:1-4; Numbers 8:1-4), as also the tamidh ("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.
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 Yahweh' (Exodus 4:22), since this presupposes other nations as children born later.
5. Connecting Links for Christianity:
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.
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 ff 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 Ep. 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; 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 40:26-27), 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 12:40-41, 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 12:40-41, 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 toledhoth ("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 Nu 14:22 R, Yahweh states that Israel had now tempted Him and been disobedient to Him ten times:
compare Ex 14:11 ff JE(?) (Red Sea); 15:23 f JE (Marah); 16:2,3 P; 16:20 JE; 16:27,28 R (Manna); 17:1 ff JE (Massah and Meribah); 32:1 ff JE (Golden Calf); Nu 11:1 ff JE (Tuberah); 11:4 ff JE (Graves of Lust); 14:2 ff 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 Yahweh does not begin to punish until Ex 32; but from here on He does so with constantly increasing severity, while down to Ex 32 grace alone prevails, and in this particular, previous to Ex 32, there is found nothing but a warning (16:27).
Ten times it is further stated of Pharaoh, in a great variety of forms of expression, that he hardened his own heart
(7:13 P; 7:14 JE; 7:22 P; 8:15 P; 8:32 JE; 9:7,34,35 JE; 13:15 D); ten times the hardening is ascribed to God
(4:21 JE; 7:3 P; 9:12 P; 10:1 R; 10:20 JE; 10:27 E; 11:10 R; 14:4,8 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
(7:13 P; 7:14 JE; 7:22 P; 8:11 ff; 8:15 P; 8:28 JE; 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
(14:4,8 P; 17 P?). Ten months cover the time from the arrival at Sinai (19:1 P) to the erection of the sacred dwelling-place of God (40:17 P).
Since, further, exactly three months of this time are employed in 19:10,16 JE; 24:3 ff JE; 24:16 P (ten days); 24:18 P (40 days); 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 Ex 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 Ex 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 Yahweh. For, according to the protagonists of the documentary theory, P also makes use of the name Yahweh from this chapter on; E, too, does the same from Ex 3:13 ff on, only that, for a reason not understood, occasionally the word Elohim is still used by this source later on, e.g. 13:17 ff; 18:1 ff. 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 Buck 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 (Ex 17:1; Nu 20:1 ff), are not duplicates, but are different events. Compare the different localities in Ex 17:7 and Nu 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 Nu 27:12-14; Dt 32:51 (compare Ezek 47:19; 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 Ex 16 in so far as JE comes into consideration, and in Ex 18 in comparison with Nu 11. In the case of Nu 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 Ex, 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: Ex 1:1-7,13-15; 2:23b-25; 6:2 through 7:13 (6:28-30 R); 7:19,20a,21b,22; 8:1-3,11b-15; 9:8-12; 12:1-20,28,37a,40-50; 13:1-2,20; 14:1-4,8-10,15-18?,21aa,22-23,19; 16:1-3,1-14,15b-18,21-26,31-32,34a,35; 17:1a; 19:1,2a; 24:15 through 31:17; 34:29 through 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 Ex. 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 Ex 6:14 ff, or chronological notices like 12:40,41,51; 16:1; 19:1, or directions for the cults like Ex 12; 25 ff 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 16:10 the majesty of Yahweh suddenly appears to the congregation, and in 40:34 ff this majesty takes possession of the newly erected dwelling. In 8:19 mention is made of the finger of God, and in 7:1 Moses is to be as God to Pharaoh. In Ex 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; 7:11,12,22; 8:3. P also describes the Passover, which on account of the handling of the blood in 12:7 cannot be regarded in any other light than as a sacrifice in the house, and in Nu 9:7,13, this act is expressly called a qorban Yahweh (`sacrifice of Yahweh'). Compare also the commands in Ex 12:10,43,18. 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:
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 Ex, 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 Beitrage zur Forderung 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 ff have found an analogy already in Code of Hammurabi, 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 Hammurabi, 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 ff; Numbers 14:44 JE; Deuteronomy 10:1-8; 31:9,25) and in the history of Israel (compare Joshua 3; 6:6-8; 8:33; Judges 20:27; 1 Samuel 6:2 ff; 2 Samuel 15:24 f; 1 Kings 3:15; 6:19; 8:1-9), then a suitable tent, such as is announced in Exodus 25 ff, and was erected according to Exodus 35 ff, was an actual necessity.
As the Paschal sacrifice, according to Exodus 12:3 ff; Exodus 12:43 ff P; Exodus 12:21 ff JE (?) was to be killed in the houses, and this on the 14th of Nisan in the evening (12:6), and as P directs that a festival assembly shall be held on the next day at the sanctuary (compare Leviticus 23:6 ff; Numbers 28:17 ff), these are conditions which can be understood only in case Israel is regarded as being in the wilderness. For this reason Deuteronomy 16:5 ff 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 Yahweh already on the Exodus 8th day, could be carried out only during the wanderings in the desert, and is for this reason changed by Deuteronomy 14:23 ff; Deuteronomy 15:19 ff to meet the conditions of the people definitely settled after this wandering. Compare my work, Are the Critics Right? 188-89, 194-95.
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 Hammurabi and Abraham (Genesis 14). The first-mentioned could not have lived later than 2100 BC. The 430 years in Exodus 12:40-41 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 16:6-7?), 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 33:3,5 P) necessarily leads back to Rameses II can, at least at the present time, not yet be given (compare on this point also, Kohler, Lehrbuch der biblischen Geschichte des Alten Testamentes, I, 238 ff).
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 12:40 certainly cannot be reduced, as has been shown under (4) above. To this must be added that in Exodus 1:7,9 f, Exodus 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 23:17,19; 34:23,14,26 presupposes a sanctuary, and which even in the passages incorrectly analyzed by Wellhausen, Exodus 20:24 (compare again, Are the Critics Right ? 19, 48, 161 ff, 189 ff) 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 (Exodus 5:4 f), but teaches that God speaks out of Zion (Exodus 1:2; compare probably also, Exodus 9:1); those of Isaiah (Exodus 1:12; 2:2 ff; Exodus 4:5 f; Exodus 6; 8:18; 18:7; 30:29; 33:20; 14:31; 28:16); also the facts of history (compare especially the central sanctuary in Shiloh, 1 Samuel 1 through 1 Samuel 4; Judges 21:19, which is placed on the same level with Zion in Jeremiah 7:12 ff; Jeremiah 26:6; Psalms 78:60-72). To this must be added such statements as 2 Samuel 7:6; Joshua 18:1; 1 Kings 3:4; 8:4; 1 Chronicles 16:39-40; 2 Chronicles 1:3. All these facts are not overthrown by certain exceptions to the rule (compare LEVITICUS, 1 ). 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 18:2,4,6; 8:22 ff. 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? 72 ff, 87 ff.
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 25:9,40; 26:30; 27:8 through Exodus 31:2 ff; Exodus 35:30 ff through Exodus 12:35; 3:21-22; 11:2 f; Genesis 15:14; Exodus 33:4 ff). The examination of the separate passages in Ex, 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).
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 ff 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; 20:18 ff; Numbers 21:4,21-35; 22:6; Joshua 6 through Joshua 12; also Exodus 13:17). In Exodus 15:13,17 not only Zion is meant, but all Canaan; compare Leviticus 25:23; Numbers 35:34; Jeremiah 2:7; for har, "mountain," compare Deuteronomy 1:7,20 ("hill-country"); Deuteronomy 3:25; Psalms 78:54-55. According to Exodus 17:14 Moses writes in a book the promise of Yahweh 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 ff. 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 ff) were written down by God Himself and then handed over to Moses; compare Exodus 24:12; 31:18; 34:1 ff,Exodus 28 (Deuteronomy 10:2,4). 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 ff, 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; 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 Exodus 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 Exodus 31; 35 through Exodus 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; 28:4,12,41-43; 29:4 ff, etc.). In view of the relationship which Numbers 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? 171 ff), but also the history and the Books of the Covenant (Exodus 21 ff; Exodus 34:11 ff) 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
ff 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 Exodus 4:10-16; 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 16:34b, 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 `omer 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 underII , 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; Moller, Wider den Bann der Quellenscheidung. In favor of the construction of Exodus 21 ff: Merx, Die Bucher Moses und Josua ("Religionsgeschichtliche Volksbucher," II, Series, number 3). For Exodus 21 ff in its relation to the Code of Hammurabi: A. Jeremias, Das Alte Testament im Lichte des alten Orients; J. Jeremias, Moses und Hammurabi (with fuller literature); Histories of Israel by Kittel, Konig, Oettli, Kohler, Klostermann, Hengstenberg; Commentaries of Ryssel, Lange, Keil, Strack; Introductions to the Old Testament by Strack, Baudissin, Driver, Sellin. Against the Wellhausen hypothesis: Moller, Are the Critics Right? (with fuller literature); Orr (see above). Against the evolutionary theory: Orr (see above); Moller, 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.