Book of Exodus

The book of Exodus (Hebrew: Vellay Shemot or just Shemot, meaning "These are the names...") is the second book of the Old Testament. It deals with Israel's departure (from the Greek exodos, from which we get the name of the book) from Egypt and draws out in detail God's relationship with this nation. It can be broken up by geographical arrangement:

  • Israel in Egypt (Ex. 1:1 - 12:36)
  • Israel in the desert (Ex. 12:37 - 18:27)
  • Israel at Mount Sinai (Ex. 19 - 40)


  • Exodus (QuickTime), by Douglas Stuart

Exodus begins with Israel's captivity in the land of Egypt (1:9-14). Recapping from the last chapters of Genesis, Jacob has just moved his decendants to this land, and they have settled in Egypt and begin to multiply. Their growing number concerns the Egyptians, and in an attempt to impose control over the Israelites, they make the Israelites slaves under the bondage of Pharaoh. The Israelites bondage is so great that they cry out to God, and he answers them by raising up a prophet, Moses. Throughout Exodus, God reveals Himself more fully through Moses (cf. Ex. 3:14) to Israel.

Moses tells Pharaoh to let the Israelites go, and after ten plagues they are finally released (Ex. 11:1; 12:31). After the Passover, the Israelites leave Egypt and cross the Red Sea on their journey to Mount Sinai. Here, God reveals his law through the Ten Commandments and his plans to build the tabernacle.

Exodus and the New Testament

In relation to the New Testament, it is interesting to note Moses' words in Exodus 24:8, "This is the blood of the covenant." Upon a reading of Matthew 26:28, a connection can be made with the words of Jesus when he says, "this is my blood of the covenant." Furthermore, there is an interesting, yet speculative connection between Luke's choice of the Greek exodos, meaning "exodus" or "departure". Here, at the Transfiguration, Peter, James, and John speak of Jesus' "departure". Theologians have made note of this, understanding the salvation that Jesus brings to those who are exiled. Jesus' departure, or exodus to the cross will bring such salvation just as God saved Israel through Moses in their Exodus (Arnold & Beyer, p. 111).

See also


  • Bill T. Arnold and Bryan E. Beyer (eds.), Encountering the Old Testament. Baker, 1999.