The Herald of Jehovah's Kingdom
The Herald of Jehovah's Kingdom
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth.
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Bible Study

 
Exodus
 
    The title of the second book of the Pentateuch is borrowed from the Greek Septuagint, in which it is called "Exodos", which means exit, or departure; i.e., from Egypt.
"Exodus" is the Latin form for the Greek "Exodos". This title is descriptive particularly of the first part of the book. Likewise the Hebrew title of this book. In the Hebrew Bibles it is called Ve-Elleh Shemoth, "and these are the names"; which are the words with which the book begins. Abbreviated the book is simply named, "Shem'th," "names"; that is, the names of the first Israelites in Egypt.

    That Moses wrote this book, and that its composition was during the wilderness sojourn, have already been established in the study on Genesis, which shows the entire Pentateuch as the divine record by the hand of Moses. Jesus quoted from Exodus and spoke of the source as "the book of Moses". (Exodus 17:14; Mark 12: 26) The book contains a history of events which occurred during the 145 years from the death of Joseph, in the year 1657 B.C., to 1512 B.C., the year of the erection of the tabernacle in the wilderness, at the foot of Mount Sinai.

    In Exodus Moses narrates the rise of a new Pharaoh, one who in his envy of the prosperity of God's people launches a vigorous anti-Semitic campaign. He grinds them under the state heel by regimenting them into his public works program. The bitter bondage and oppression fails; the Hebrews continue to increase. The decree to kill all male Hebrew babes goes forth, but Moses escapes the in-fantieidal policy by concealment and is reared by-Pharaoh's daughter.—1:1-2:10.

    When grown, in staunchly defending his brethren he kills an Egyptian oppressor. He flees to Midian, where he marries Zipporah, the daughter of lieuel. His flight was at the age of forty; now, forty years later, he returns to Egypt. He received a divine command to do so, in this wise: While keeping the flocks of his kinsman Jethro at the foot of Mount Sinai he was struck with the phenomenon of seeing a bush burning yet not consumed. God spoke to him from the bush. The Almighty had noted the affliction of Israel in Egypt, and here stated his purpose to deliver them, and thereby he disclosed the meaning of his name"Jehovah" to Moses. Moses is appointed to rally the Israelites to godliness and to demand their release of Pharaoh that they might have freedom.—2:11-4: 28.

    Planked by his brother Aaron as spokesman, Moses convinced the Israelites of God's backing by the performance of signs. Then he faced the Egyptian Pharaoh! The result is well known. No freedom of worship! was his edict. Nothing but more work in the interests of the state, was the answer. Moses performs signs, which Pharaoh's magicians are able to duplicate to a degree; but they are quickly defeated and admit it. With devastating effect the plagues roll through the land: rivers turned to blood, frogs coming over the land, lice everywhere as the dust, swarms of flies next, then the murrain of beasts, plaguing boils, a destructive hail, followed in rapid succession by plagues of locusts and darkness, the Israelites being spared from the fourth plague on. All this only served to harden Pharaoh's heart. Then the woeful tenth plague! The firstborn of Egypt slain! Before it the Passover was instituted among the Israelites on Nisan 14; after it Pharaoh was anxious for them to leave. They marched forth a free nation.—4: 29-13: 22.

    But they had not seen the last of hardhearted Pharaoh. In a final all-out drive against God's people, he, with his fighting armies, overtakes them by the Red sea. Moses stretches his rod over the waters. Miraculously an escape corridor opens for them, but is quickly converted into a deathtrap for the madly pursuing hosts of Pharaoh. The parted sea closes with destructive fury and buries Pharaoh's forces in a watery grave. And as the churning sea brings Pharaoh's career to a climactic end, the delivered Israelites sing a victory song on the shore.—14:1-15 : 21.

    Thereafter the varied experiences of the wilderness sojourn begin. Jehovah sends manna to feed them; he fights for them in defeating Amalek. Moses is reunited with his family by a visit from Jethro, his kinsman. Three months after their exodus they encamp at Sinai. There the law covenant made in Egypt at the time of the first Passover is inaugurated. Jehovah through Moses details at great length the law by which they are to be guided. It is epitomized in the Ten Commandments. It is to guide them in the worship for which they were freed. But even as it is being given to Moses, the Israelites turn to idolatrous calf-worship.

    Specific commandment is received from Cod as to the construction of the tabernacle. The Israelites contribute liberally, and skilled craftsmen directed by Jehovah's spirit complete the work. It is reared up, and the priesthood, headed by Aaron, is inducted into office, on Nisan 1 of the second year after their exodus from Egypt. All is acceptable in God's sight, as manifested by a covering cloud over the tabernacle and his glory filling it. The closing verses show that as long as the cloud remained thereon the Israelites journeyed not; when it was lifted they broke camp. The cloud by day and the fire by night was comforting assurance of Jehovah's presence and watch care. The Theocrat was guiding his typical Theocracy.—15: 22-40: 38.

    Exodus is the record of the birth and organization of the typical new nation of God and of the constitutional history of Jehovah's typical Theocracy. It relates how Israel was set apart and freed to be unto Jehovah 'a peculiar treasure above all people, a kingdom of priests and a holy nation'. This is the very essence of the book.

    The canonicity of this book is sufficiently established by the fact that over forty passages are quoted from it by Christ and his apostles, either verbatim or as to the sense. Fulfilled prophecy, both in miniature and completion, fully proves the inspiration of Exodus.