The name Exodus means “departure”, and refers to the most important event in Israel’s history, which is described in this book — the departure of the people of Israel from Egypt, where they had been slaves.
The book has four main parts: (1) The freeing of the Hebrews from slavery; (2) Their journey to Mount Sinai; (3) God’s covenant with his people at Sinai, which gave them moral, civil, and religious laws to live by; (4) The building and furnishing of a place of worship for Israel, and laws regarding the priests and the worship of God.
Above all, this book describes what God did, as he liberated his enslaved people and formed them into a nation with hope for the future. The central human figure in the book is Moses, the man whom God chose to lead his people from Egypt. The most widely known part of the book is the list of the Ten Commandments (20.1–17).
Outline of Contents
- The Israelites set free from Egypt 1.1—15.21a.
- Slaves in Egypt 1.1–22b.
- Moses’ birth and early life 2.1—4.31c.
- Moses and Aaron confront the king of Egypt 5.1—11.10d.
- The Passover and the departure from Egypt 12.1—15.21
- From the Red Sea to Mount Sinai 15.22—18.27
- The Law and the covenant 19.1—24.18
- The Sacred Tent and instructions for worship 25.1—40.38