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The Book of Exodus tells the story of the Israelites leaving Egypt, due to the strength of Yahweh. He has chosen them as his people.
Taking a short break before reading or studying the Bible
This is no rocket science, but it does involve a bit of ado. The best way to accomplish this is to set aside a little time each day to read, ponder, and ponder. This may be a good time to delve into your favorite book, if yours is the biblical type. If not, a trip to the library or the park may well be in order. Whether you’re in the neighborhood of a burgeoning teen, or a seasoned exec, the plethora of books is bound to keep you occupied for a while. What’s more, you’ll get to read some of your most treasured books in the process. Besides, it’s the best way to connect with your spouse or kids, minus the drudgery of day to day living. Plus, you can read while watching TV or surfing the web. Alternatively, you could be out playing the field on a Saturday afternoon, or mingling with friends at a bar.
Retelling the story
The Exodus is an incredibly important and complex story. Its narratives portray Jewish people in slavery in Egypt and describe dramatic redemption. These stories are not easily forgotten. In addition, the Exodus narrative also describes God’s plan for the Israelite community. However, these narratives fail to fully describe the collective history of Jews.
As a result, these scriptures have undergone extensive revisions by Second Temple Period Jewish interpreters. These interpretations can be divided into three general categories. Each category presents the same story but with varying details. For example, Luke’s retelling of the Exodus in Acts 7 is quite similar to Artapanus’s. But it differs significantly from Philo’s.
Philo’s retelling of the Exodus pericope omits some key detail. He restructures the events of Moses’s early life to make it appear that Pharaoh will enslave the Hebrews after Moses grows up. Although he mentions a rash action by Moses, he doesn’t make the same claim that Artapanus did.
The other interesting retelling of the Exodus narrative is found in the Damascus Document. This version retells the Scriptural narrative, albeit in a highly partisan fashion. Unlike the aforementioned retellings, it distinguishes between two types of Israelites: straying and remnant. Despite the similarities, this retelling fails to mention the same details of the Exodus as the aforementioned retellings.
In short, the Exodus narrative has a lot to say about the Jewish people, but it isn’t the most comprehensive of histories. That said, the Deuteronomy story tells Israel’s identity as chosen and covenanted people, the latter of which explains what happened in the valley of the Rock.
While all three retellings of the Exodus narrative contain the key facts, they re-arrange and re-write the details to make the story more exciting and more palatable. And it’s not hard to see why.
No archaeological traces of the exodus
In the biblical account of the Exodus, there is no mention of Hebrew slaves. However, ancient Jewish writers, such as Maimonides, wrote extensively about the ancient Near East. This knowledge may have provided a basis for some aspects of the story.
The Bible describes harsh physical conditions in Egypt during the time of the Exodus. Many details of the story have parallels in archaeological discoveries. Nevertheless, many of these elements are not entirely accurate.
Archaeology cannot prove all of the details of the Exodus. For instance, no archeological record of Israelites crossing the Red Sea is available. Ancient Egyptian records do not mention plagues that match the biblical descriptions.
Another point of contention is that ancient Egyptian sources mention no Hebrews. Some historians have suggested that the Israelites did not leave Egypt until the 14th century BCE. Others have argued that ancient Egyptian traditions regarding the Sinai peninsula and the Exodus are in fact independent. These views have been vigorously debated by both modern and historical scholars.
Nonetheless, a number of sites across Israel have been found with destruction layers dating to the 13th or 14th century BCE. These layers fit within the period of brutal biblical judges.
One of these sites is Tell ed-Daba, which is being excavated by Manfred Bietak. There are a number of other sites with destruction layers that fit within this period.
An Egyptian document known as the Merneptah stele is another source of evidence. The stele dates to 1210 BC. It states that Canaan is plundered and is destroyed. Also, it mentions that Gezer and Ashkelon are taken away. Moreover, it claims that the Hebrews do not have a king.
A later “exodus” recorded in the Egyptian book Manetho fits more closely with the biblical account. He describes an army led by Osarseph.
Enslavement and release
If you’ve been reading the Bible you know the story of Enslavement and Release in Exodus. This is the story of Israelites enslaved in Egypt, delivered by YHWH to the Egyptians, and then released to a life of freedom and obedient service to YHWH.
Slavery was common in ancient Near East societies. However, there were exceptions to the rule. While there are biblical laws against slavery, there is no universal prohibition. In fact, the Bible describes many situations in which it is permissible.
According to the biblical laws, there are several reasons why a Hebrew might be enslaved. These include a court order, the need for a temporary refuge, and the threat of debt.
The Bible also speaks of a change in masters. A slave’s wife and children belong to their master. When a master dies, a slave is freed.
A Hebrew who becomes a slave is called “bd” (plural: ‘eved). He is a member of the household of the master.
Hebrew slaves have to serve six years before becoming free. They are to be released in the Jubilee Year. After they have served, they are to be furnished with grain, wine, and livestock.
In Deuteronomy, there is a different system of social-calendary institutions for slaves. There is a sabbatical year, in which slaves are not to be compelled to work.
The main issue with slavery is not status, but time. Slaves are to be treated with care until they are released.
While there are similarities between the laws of the three biblical collections, there are differences as well. One of the major differences is that the law of Leviticus more or less abolishes slavery.
Another difference is the treatment of women as slaves. While they are subject to legal capacity and the deed of sale, women taken captive in battle are not permitted to sell.
Instructions on how to build a holy container
The Book of Exodus tells us about the building of the Ark of the Covenant. It is a portable wooden chest that holds the Ten Commandments tablets. These were the tablets engraved by God on Mount Sinai. They were a legal binding covenant between Yahweh and Israel.
The ark also had a cover and a lid. The lid was to be made of solid gold. On top of the lid were two golden cherubim. One was to be pictured in prayer while the other stretched out its wings to cover the ark.
The ark also had a table that held a ceremonial offering of twelve loaves of unleavened bread. This offering was to be placed on a golden table with an acacia wood fence around it.
There were many more things in the Ark of the Covenant. A golden jar containing manna was inside. Also, there was a bronze cup that was used to hold holy water.
Other things in the ARK included a movable shrine and a curtain. While the movable shrine allowed the Ark to move, the curtain served as a screen to keep people from seeing the ark.
Another must-have item was the gold lamp stand. Although it seems to be the most mundane of all the items, it was really the most important of all. In Hebrew, the lamp-stand was a symbol of the Divine Presence of Yahweh. The most important function of the lamp-stand was to light the interior of the sacred space.
Other notable items in the ARK include the “Mercy Seat” or the “Ark of the Testimony”. This was the most significant of all the items in the ark. The “Mercy Seat” was a meeting place between God and His people.