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1. The Starting-Point 2. Rameses to Succoth 3. Succoth to Etham 4. Passage of the Sea 5. Other Views of the Route


1. Old Testament Chronology 2. Date of Conquest of Palestine 3. Date of Exodus 4. Other Views 5. Astronomical Calculations 6. Relation between Date of Exodus and Date of Patriarchs 7. Agreement between Monuments and Old Testament Chronology 8. A Text of Minepthah


1. 1st Argument: City Rameses 2. 2nd Argument: Manetho's Statements 3. Relation of Manetho's Stories to the Exodus 4. Greek and Latin Writings 5. Condition of Egypt under Minepthah 6. Explanations of Minepthah's Statements (1) Pithore was Heroopolis (2) Rameses II not Named in Judges (3) Some Hebrews Were never in Egypt


1. Colenso's Criticism of Large Number 2. Increase of Population 3. Number a Corruption of Original Statement 4. Review


I. The Route.

1. The Starting-Point:

On the 14th Abib (early in April) the Hebrews were gathered at Rameses (Numbers 33:5) where apparently the hostile Pharaoh was also living (Exodus 12:31). From Psalm 78:12, 43 it appears that the wonders preceding the Exodus occurred in the "field of Zoan," where the starting-point may be placed (see RAAMSES; ZOAN). Dr. Naville has suggested that the court was at Bubastis, not at Zoan, and that the route lay from near Zagazig down Wady Tumeilat-a line well fitted for a people driving flocks and herds. On the other hand, in favor of the starting-point having been at Zoan, we read that the "way of the land of the Philistines" was "near" (Exodus 13:17). This route, which was not taken lest the people should be discouraged by defeat at Gaza where the Egyptians always had troops, reached Egypt at Migdol (see MIGDOL, 2), and ran thence to Daphnai-some 15 miles-and to Zoan by a second march of the same length. The route from Bubastis to Daphnai (some 50 miles) is less likely to have been described as "near." Although an Arab will march 30 miles in a day on foot, yet when moving camp with camels, who travel only about 2 miles an hour, with women and children and herds, he only covers about 12 or 15 miles a day. We cannot suppose the Hebrew cattle to have covered more than this distance without water on any single march.

2. Rameses to Succoth:

We are not told how many days were occupied on the way from Rameses to SUCCOTH (which see), though the general impression is that the stages mentioned (Numbers 33) represent a day's journey each. Measuring back from the first camp after crossing the Red Sea, we find that Succoth probably lay in the lower part of Wady Tumeilat, where there was plenty of water and herbage. The direct route from Zoan leads to Phakousa (Tell Faqus) by a march of 15 miles through well-watered lands. A second march, across the desert to Heroopolis and down the valley to Succoth, would be of the same length. The Hebrews departed "in haste," and no doubt made as long marches as they could. If the whole of the people were not in Rameses, but scattered over Goshen, it is possible that some came down the valley from near Bubastis, and that the whole force concentrated at Succoth.

3. Succoth to Etham:

The next march (Exodus 13:20 Numbers 33:6) led Israel to Etham, on the "edge of the wilderness" which lies West of the Bitter Lakes, not far from where the Nile water then entered them, and no doubt made them sweet. The intention of Moses probably was to reach the desert of Shur by rounding the head of this stretch of water; but we are told (Exodus 14:2 f) that he was commanded to "turn"-evidently to the South-and to encamp before "the mouth of the lakes" (see PI-HAHIROTH), in order that Pharaoh might conclude that the Hebrews were "entangled in the land," and shut in between the lakes on their left and the desert mountains on their right. This camp would seem to have been West of the lakes, and some 10 miles North of Suez. It was perhaps two days' journey from Etham, since the lakes are 30 miles long; or, if Etham was farther South than the head of the lakes, the distance may have been covered by one forced march of 20 to 25 miles, the beasts being watered from the lakes if they were then filled with fresh water, as they would be when having an outlet to a tideless sea.

4. Passage of the Sea:

The sea which Israel crossed is not named in the actual account of the journey, but in the So of Moses (Exodus 15:4) it is called the "Red Sea" in the English Versions of the Bible, following the Septuagint, the Hebrew name being Yam Cuph, or "weedy sea," a term which applied not only to the Gulf of Suez (Numbers 33:10), but also to the Gulf of 'Aqabah (Deuteronomy 28 1 Kings 9:26). We are also told that the route chosen was "the way of the wilderness by the Red Sea" (Exodus 13:18). It is generally supposed that the head of the Gulf of Suez at the time of the Exodus was farther North than at present; and, as the Bitter Lakes were then probably filled by the Nile waters flowing down Wddy Tumeildt, they would no doubt have carried the Nile mud into this gulf, which mud had gradually filled up this Nile branch before 600 B.C. The probable point of passage was the narrow channel (about 2 miles across) by which the lakes discharged into the sea, and was thus about 10 miles North of Suez. We are told that the water was driven back by "a strong east (or "contrary") wind" in the night (Exodus 14:21), and the sea (or "lake," as the word yam often means in the Old Testament; see Gesenius, Lexicon, under the word) was thus "divided," a shoal being formed and the waters being heaped up (Exodus 15:8), so that when the wind ceased they rushed back; whereas, during the passage, they were a "wall" or "defence" (Exodus 14:22) against any flank attacks by the Egyptians (compare 1 Samuel 25:16, where David's men are said to have been a "wall" when defending Nabal's shepherds). The effect of the wind on shallow waters can be seen at the mouth of the Kishon, where a shoal exists which is dry with a west wind, but under water and impassable when the wind blows down the river. In 1882, Sir Alexander Tulloch saw the waters of Lake Menzaleh driven back more than a mile by the east wind. Thus, however opportune the occurrence, the drying up of the sea, as described in the Bible, was a perfectly natural phenomenon. The Hebrews crossed in the morning, and a march of 15 miles would bring them to the springs from which Suez is supplied, called 'Ain Naba' and 'Ayyun Musa ("the gushing spring" and "the spring of Moses"), from which point their wanderings in the desert of Shur would begin (see WANDERINGS OF ISRAEL).

5. Other Views of the Route:

This view of the Exodus route is practically the same as advocated by Dr. Robinson, by Dr. E. Naville, by Sir S. Warren, by Sir W. Dawson, and by others who have visited the region in question. The view advocated by Brugsch, according to which the sea crossed was a lagoon near Pelusium, has found no supporters, because it directly conflicts with the statement that Israel did not follow the shore road to Philistia, but went by the wilderness of the Red Sea. Another theory (see SINAI), according to which the "Red Sea" always means the Gulf of 'Aqabah, is equally discarded by most writers of experience, because the distance from Egypt to Elath on this gulf is 200 miles, and the Israelites could not have traversed that distance in four marches, especially as the route has hardly any water along it in springtime. As detailed above, the route offers no difficulties that would discredit the historical character of the narrative.

II. The Date.

1. Old Testament Chronology:

The actual statements of the Books of Kings, giving parallel reigns from the time of Solomon's death down to the fixed date of the fall of Samaria in 722 B.C., place the foundation of the Temple within a few years of 1000 B.C. It is true that this interval is reduced, by about 30 years, by scholars who accept the very doubtful identification of Ahabu of Sir-lai with Ahab of Israel; but this theory conflicts with the fact that Jehu was contemporary with Shalmaneser II of Assyria; and, since we have no historical account of the chronology of Hebrew kings other than that of the Old Testament, for this period, and no monumental notice of Israel in Egypt, or of the Exodus, we must either adopt Old Testament chronology or regard the dates in question as being unknown.

2. Date of Conquest of Palestine:

We have several statements which show that the Hebrew writers believed the conquest of Palestine by Joshua to have occurred early in the 15th century B.C., and this date fully agrees with the most recent results of monumental study of the history of the XVIIIth (or Theban) Dynasty in Egypt, as about to be shown, and with the fact that Israel is noticed as being already in Palestine in the 5th year of Minepthah, the successor of Rameses II. In 1 Kings 6:1 we read that the Temple was founded "in the 480th year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt," this referring to the Conquest and not to the Exodus, as appears from other notices. The Septuagint reads "440 years," but the details show that the Hebrew text is preferable. In Judges 11:26 the first victory of Jephthah is said to have occurred 300 years after Joshua's conquest. The details given for this interval, in other passages of the same book, amount to 326 years; but the periods of "rest" may be given in round numbers, and thus account for this minor discrepancy. Samuel ruled apparently for 20 years (1 Samuel 7:2), and Saul (the length of whose reign is not stated in our present text of this same book) very probably ruled for 20 years also, as Josephus (Ant., VI, xiv, 9) states. Thus 175 years elapsed between Jephthah's victory and the foundation of the Temple-a total of 475 years, or rather more, from Joshua's conquest.

3. Date of Exodus:

The popular belief that many of the judges were contemporary does not agree with these facts, and is indeed in conflict with ten definite statements in Judges. In Acts 13:19, 20 we read that after the Conquest there were judges about the space of 450 years, and this rough estimate (including the rule of Samuel) agrees pretty nearly with the 415, or 420, years of the various passages in the Old Testament. According to the Pentateuch and later accounts (Amos 5:25 Acts 7:30), Israel abode in the desert 40 years. We therefore find that Joshua's conquest is placed about 1480 B.C., and the Exodus about 1520 B.C. According to the revised chronology of the XVIIIth Dynasty of Egypt (see HITTITES), which rests on the notices of contemporary Kassite kings in Babylon, it thus appears that the Pharaoh of the oppression was Thothmes III-a great enemy of the Asiatics-and the Pharaoh of the Exodus would be Amenophis II or Thothmes IV. If Moses was 80 at the time of the Exodus, he must have been born when Thothmes III was an infant, and when his famous sister Hatasu (according to the more probable rendering of her name by French scholars) was regent, and bore the title Ma-ka-Ra. She therefore might be the "daughter of Pharaoh" (Exodus 2:5) who adopted Moses-no king being mentioned in this passage, but appearing (Exodus 2:15) only when Moses was "grown"; for her regency lasted more than 20 years, till Thothmes III came of age.

4. Other Views:

As regards this date, it should be remarked that theory of Lepsius, which has been adopted by Brugsch and by many writers who accept his authority, is not accepted by every scholar. E. de Bunsen supposed that the Exodus occurred early in the times of the XVIIIth Dynasty; Sir Peter le Page Renouf said that "no materials have yet been discovered for fixing historical dates in periods of Egyptian history as far back as the Hebrew Exodus"-which was true when he wrote. Professor J. Lieblein supposes the Exodus to have occurred late in the time of Amenophis III-also of the XVIIIth Dynasty (see Proc. Biblical Arch. Soc., 1890, 157-60; 1892, 60-62; 1898, 277; 1899, 53; 1907, 214). Dr. Hommel has also recently declared in favor of the view that the Exodus took place under the XVIIIth Dynasty (Expository Times, February, 1899). Lepsius asserted that the Exodus occurred in 1314 B.C., being the 15th year of Minepthah; but this is generally regarded as at least half a century too early for the year in question, and Israel was not in Egypt even ten years earlier in his reign.

5. Astronomical Calculations:

The approximate dates given by Brugsch for the XVIIIth and XIXth Dynasties are very close to those which can be deduced from notices of contemporary kings of Babylon (History of Egypt, II, 314). The later dates which Mahler based on certain astronomical calculations of the French astronomer Blot (Academie des inscriptions, March 30, 1831, 597, 602-4) are not accepted by other Egyptologists. Brugsch says that on this question, "scientific criticism has not yet spoken its last word" (Hist Egypt, I, 36). Renouf (Proc. Biblical Arch. Soc., December, 1892, 62) more definitely states that "unfortunately there is nothing on Egyptian documents which have as yet come down to us which can, by astronomical calculations, be made to result in a date." This judgment appears to be justified by recent discoveries, since Mahler's dates are about a century too late, as shown by the known history of the Kassites of Babylon. Biot's calculations were based on recorded observations of the rising of Sirius just before the sun, in certain years of certain Egyptian kings. But Sirius is not in the plane of the earth's orbit, and its rising is not constant in retardation. The "heliacal" rising is now about 2 1/2 min. later each year, but about the date in question the retardation was about 12 min., so that a cycle of 1,461 years cannot be used by simple addition. Blot also assumed that the Egyptian observations were as accurate as those made by a modern astronomer with a telescope, whereas, when using the naked eye, the Egyptian observer may well have been a day wrong, which would make a difference of 120 years in the date, or even more. The Babylonian chronology thus gives a far safer basis than do these doubtful observations. On the basis of Biot's calculations the Exodus has been placed in 1214 B.C., or even (by Dr. Flinders Petrie) in 1192 B.C. (Proc. Biblical Arch. Soc., December, 1896, 248). He thus cuts off more than three centuries in the period of the Judges, many of whom he regards as contemporary. Lepsius in like manner, in order to establish his date, accepted the chronology of the Talmud, which is notoriously 166 years too late for the known date of the fall of Samaria, and he endeavored (while rejecting the Old Testament statement as to the 480 years) to base himself on the number of generations before the Exodus, whereas it is well known that the Hebrew genealogies often give only the better-known names and skip several links.

6. Relation between Date of Exodus and Date of Patriarchs:

As regards the relation between the earlier date for the Exodus (about 1520 B.C.) and the chronology of the Hebrew patriarchs, the Hebrew text gives an interval of 645 years, and the Greek text of 430 years between the Exodus and the call of Abraham; and the call would thus be dated about 2165 B.C. or 1950 B.C. Abraham is very generally held to have been contemporary with Hammurabi of Babylon (Amraphel), whose accession dates (according to Dr. F. Peiser) in 2139 B.C. Dr. Hommel and Mr. King prefer a later date, about 1950 B.C., though Nabunahid (the last king of Babylon) places Hammurabi about 2140 B.C. The longer reckoning is reconcilable with the Hebrew text, and the shorter with the Greek text, of Genesis, without disturbing the approximate date for the Exodus which has been advocated above.

7. Agreement between Monuments and Old Testament Chronology:

There is in fact no discrepancy between the actual results of monumental study and the chronology of the Old Testament. If the Exodus occurred under Thothmes IV, it would have been useless for Israel to attempt the entrance into Palestine by the "way of the land of the Philistines," because at Gaza, Ashkelon and in other cities, the road was still held by forces of Egyptian chariots, which had been established by Thothmes III. But about 40 years later the rebellion of the Amorites against Egypt began, in the time of the Egyptian general Yankhamu, and general chaos resulted in Southern Palestine The Egyptian garrison at Jerusalem (Amarna Tablets, Berlin, No. 102) was withdrawn in his time-about 1480 B.C.-and it is then (numbers 102-3-4-6, 199) that a fierce people coming from Seir, and called the 'Abiri or Chabiri, are noticed by the Amorite king of Jerusalem as "destroying all the rulers" of the country. They are not named in any of the other Amarna letters (the term gum-gaz, or "man of war," though once applying probably to them, being used of other warriors as well); and the name is geographical for they are called (no. 199) "people of the land of the 'Abiri." The first sign has the guttural sounds 'A and Chronicles, and has not the sound K, which has been wrongly attributed to it, making the word to mean Kabiri, "or great ones." Nor can it be rendered "allies," for it is the name of a people, and quite another word is used for "allies" in this correspondence. The date agrees with that mentioned in the Old Testament for the Hebrew conquest of Palestine, and the only objection to the identification of the 'Abiri (who attacked Ajalon, Lachish, Ashkelon and other cities) with the Hebrews is, that it upsets theory of Lepsius and the popular views as to the date of the Exodus which he maintained.

8. A Text of Minepthah:

Nor is this the only evidence which destroys his theory; for Dr. Flinders Petrie (Contemporary Review, May, 1896) has published an equally important text of the 5th year of Minepthah, from Thebes. A slab of black syenite, bearing this text, was reused from a temple of Amenophis III. In it Minepthah boasts of his conquest of the invaders who-as elsewhere stated-attacked the Delta, and penetrated to Belbeis and Heliopolis. He says that "Sutekh (the Hittite god) has turned his back on their chief"; "the Hittites are quieted, Pa-Kan'ana is ravaged with all violence"-this town being otherwise known to have been near Tyre-"the people of Israel is spoiled, it has no seed"; "Ruten has become as the widows of the land of Egypt." Thus, so far from the Exodus having occurred in the 15th year of Minepthah, Israel is noticed 10 years earlier in connection with a place near Tyre with Hittites yet farther North. Even if the Hebrews had only just arrived, they must have left Egypt 40 years before-in the reign of Rameses II-if we attach any value to Old Testament statements; and all the dates variously given by followers of Lepsius are quite upset; whereas the notice of the 'Abiri, two centuries before Minepthah's accession, is quite in accord with this allusion to Israel, as well as with Old Testament chronology.

III. The Theory of Lepsius.

The reasons which influenced Lepsius require, however, to be stated, and the objections to a date for the Hebrew Conquest about 1480 B.C. (or a little later) to be considered, since theory that Rameses II was the Pharaoh of the oppression, and Minepthah the Pharaoh of the Exodus is often said to be a secure result of monumental studies, whereas it is really not so, because the only monumental allusions to Israel and the Hebrews are those just mentioned.

1. 1st Argument: City Rameses:

The arguments adduced in favor of the later date are as follows: In the first place, Lepsius (Letters from Egypt, 1842-44) held that no city called Rameses could have been so named, or built by the Hebrews, before the reign of Rameses II, and he placed the site at Heroopolis. This was a very doubtful assumption (see RAAMSES), and his identification of the city is now abandoned. The theory always was vitiated by an objection which he seems to have overlooked: for the "land of Rameses" is noticed in the time of Jacob (Genesis 47:11), and since it is impossible to suppose that Jacob lived in the time of Rameses II, the followers of Lepsius are obliged to regard this notice as an anachronism, which destroys their case, as it might equally be an anachronism in the account of the Exodus, though it is probably correct.

2. 2nd Argument: Manetho's Statements:

The second argument is based on the account by Manetho of the expulsion of leprous and unclean tribes from Egypt. Manetho was an Egyptian priest who wrote about 268 B.C., and who evidently hated the Jews. His account only reaches us secondhand through Josephus (Apion, I, 14, 15, 26-31), this Hebrew author rejecting it as fabulous. Manetho apparently said that, after the Hyksos kings had ruled for 511 years, and had fortified Avaris (see ZOAN), they agreed with King Thummosis to leave Egypt, and went through the desert to Jerusalem, being afraid of the Assyrians (who had no power in Palestine at this time). He continued to relate that, after Armesses Miamon (Rameses II) had ruled 66 years, he was succeeded by an Amenophis whom Josephus calls a "fictitious king"-and rightly so since the name does not occur in the XIXth Dynasty. Apparently Minepthah was meant-though perhaps confused with Amenophis II-and he is said by Manetho to have sent the leprous people to quarries East of the Nile, but to have allowed them later to live in Avaris where the shepherds had been. They were induced by Osarsiph, a priest of Heliopolls, to renounce the Egyptian gods, and this Osarsiph Manetho identified with Moses. They then induced the shepherds who had been expelled by Thummosis to return from Jerusalem to Avaris, and Amenophis fled to Memphis and Ethiopia. His son Rhampses (apparently Rameses III is meant) was sent later to expel the shepherd and polluted people, whom he met at Pelusium and pursued into Syria. This story Josephus discredits, remarking: "I think therefore that I have made it sufficiently evident that Manetho, while he followed his ancient records, did not much mistake the truth of the history, but that, when he had recourse to fabulous stories without any certain author, he either forged them himself without any probability, or else gave credit to some men who spoke so out of their ill will to us"-a criticism sounder than that of Lepsius, who prefers the libelous account of a prejudiced Egyptian priest of the 3rd century B.C., identifying Moses with a renegade priest of Heliopolis named Osarsiph, to the ancient Hebrew records in the Bible.

3. Relation of Manetho's Stories to the Exodus:

A thread of truth underlay Manetho's stories, but it has nothing to do with the Exodus, and the details to be found on Egyptian monuments do not agree with Manetho's tale. The Hyksos rulers were not expelled by any Thothmes, but by Aahmes who took Avaris about 1700 B.C., and who reopened the quarries of the Arabian chain. Minepthah, about 1265 B.C., was attacked in Egypt by Aryan tribes from the North, who had nothing to do with Hyksos chiefs, being Lycians, Sardians and Cilicians. He repelled them, but they again attacked Rameses III (about 1200 B.C.), and were again driven to the North. No mention of Israel occurs in connection with any of these events.

4. Greek and Latin Writers:

The story of the leprous Jews was, however, repeated by other Greek writers. Cheremon (see Josephus, Apion I, 32) says that Rameses, the son of Amenophis, defeated and expelled a diseased people led against him, at Pelusium, by Tisithen and Petesiph, whom he identified with Moses and Joseph. Lysimachus said that a scabby people were led by Moses through the desert by Judea and Jerusalem in the time of Bocchoris (735 B.C.). Diodorus Siculus (Fr. of Bk, 34) repeats the tale, about 8 B.C., saying that lepers were driven out of Egypt, and were led by Moses who founded Jerusalem, and "established by law all their wicked customs and practices," and again (Fr. of Bk, 40) that strangers in Egypt caused a plague by their impurity, and being driven out were led by Moses. Tacitus, about 100 A.D. (Hist, v. ii), believed the Jews to have fled from Crete to Libya and, being expelled from Egypt, to have been led by their "Captains Jerusalem and Judah." Again he says (v. iii) that under Bocchoris (735 B.C.) there was sickness in Egypt, and that the infected being driven out were led by Moses, and reached the site of their temple on the 7th day.

5. Condition of Egypt under Minepthah:

No true critic of the present time is likely to prefer these distorted accounts of the Exodus, or any of the Greek and Roman calumnies leveled against the hated Jews, to the simple narration of the Exodus in the Bible. The historic conditions in the 5th year of Minepthah were very different from those at the time of Moses. The invaders of Egypt reached Belbeis and Heliopolis (see Brugsch, History of Egypt, II, 117), and Minepthah states, in his text on the wall of the temple of Amon at Thebes, that he had to defend Hellopolls and Memphis against his foes from the East. The region was then "not cultivated but was left as pasture for cattle, on account of the foreigners. It lay waste from the time of our forefathers." The kings of upper Egypt remained in their entrenchments, and the kings of lower Egypt were besieged in their cities by warriors, and had no mercenaries to oppose them. But Israel, as Minepthah himself has told us now, was in Palestine, not in Egypt, in this year of his reign; and, far from desiring to expel Asiatic pastoral peoples, the same Pharaoh encouraged their immigration into the region of Goshen (see PITHOM) laid waste by the Aryan raid.

6. Explanations of Minepthah's Statements:

Objections to the view that the Exodus occurred two centuries and a half before the reign of Minepthah began, and attempts to explain away the statements on his monuments require some notice.

(1) Pithom was Heroopolis. The first of these objections is due to the belief that Pithom was Heroopolis, and was a city founded by Rameses II; but this (see PITHOM) is too hazardous a conclusion to suffice for the entire neglect of Old Testament chronology which it involves, since the site of this city is still very doubtful.

(2) Rameses II Not Named in Judges.

A second objection is made, that the Old Testament shows complete ignorance of Egyptian history if it makes Rameses II contemporary with Jud because he is not named in that book. But Old Testament references to foreign history are always very slight, while on the other hand it is quite probable that there are allusions, in this book, to the events which took place in the reigns of Rameses II, and of Minepthah. The Hebrews were then confined to the mountains (Judges 1:19) and the Egyptians to the plains. No Pharaoh is mentioned by name in the Old Testament till the time of Rehoboam. In his 8th year Rameses II took various towns in Galilee including Salem (North of Taanach), Merom, Beth-Anath, Anem and Dapur (Daberath at the foot of Tabor). The revolt of Barak probably occurred about the 25th year of Rameses II, and began at Tabor. In the So of Deborah (Judges 5:2), the first words (bi-pheroa` pera`oth), rendered by the Septuagint (Alex MS) "when the rulers ruled," may be more definitely translated "when the Pharaohs were powerful," especially as Sisera-who commanded the Canaanite forces-bears a name probably Egyptian (ses-Ra, or "servant of Ra"), and may have been an Egyptian resident at the court of Jabin. So again when, about 1265 B.C., Minepthah says that "Israel is ruined, it has no seed," the date suggests the time of Gideon when wild tribes swarmed over the plains, "and destroyed the increase of the earth, till thou come unto Gaza, and left no sustenance in Israel" (Judges 6:4). The Midianites and Amalekites may have then joined the tribes from Asia Minor who, in the 5th year of Minepthah, ruined the Hittites and invaded the Delta.

(3) Some Hebrews Were Never in Egypt.

But another explanation of the presence of Israel in this year on the line of Minepthah's pursuit of these tribes after their defeat has been suggested, namely, that some of the Hebrews never went to Egypt at all. This of course contradicts the account in the Pentateuch (Exodus 1:1-5; Exodus 12:41) where we read that all Jacob's family (70 men) went down to Goshen, and that "all the hosts of the Lord" left Egypt at the Exodus; but it is supposed to be supported by a passage (1 Chronicles 7:21) where we read of one of the sons of Ephraim "whom the men of Gath born in the land slew, because they came down to take away their cattle." Ephraim however was born in Egypt (Genesis 41:52), and his sons and "children of the third generation" (Genesis 50:23) remained there. The meaning no doubt is that men of Gath raided Goshen; and there were probably many such raids by the inhabitants of Philistia during the times of the Hyksos kings, similar to those which occurred in the time of Minepthah and of Rameses III. The objections made to the Old Testament date for the Exodus early in the reign of Amenophis III, or in that of his predecessor Thothmes IV, thus appear to have little force; and the condition of Egypt before the 5th year of Minepthah was unlike that which would have existed at the time of the Exodus. The theory of Lepsius was a purely literary conjecture, and not based on any monumental records. It has been falsified by the evidence of monuments found during the last 20 years, and these are fully in accord with the history and chronology of the Old Testament.

IV. The Numbers.

1. Colenso's Criticism of Large Number:

The historic difficulty with respect to the Exodus does not lie in the account of plagues natural to Egypt even now, nor in the crossing of the Red Sea, but in a single statement as to the numbers of Israel (Exodus 12:37), `about 600,000 footmen-strong men-with many children, and also many wanderers.' The women are not mentioned, and it has been supposed that this represents a host of 2,000,000 emigrants at least. The objection was urged by Voltaire, and the consequences were elaborately calculated by Colenso. Even if 600,000 means the total population, the "heroes," or "strong men on foot" would, it is urged, have been as numerous as the largest Assyrian army (120,000 men) employed in the conquest of Syria.

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1. Name 2. Contents in General 3. Connection with the Other Books of the Pentateuch 4. Significance of These Events for Israel 5. Connecting Links for Christianity


1. In General 2. In the Separate Pericopes


1. General Consideration 2. The Miraculous Character 3. The Legislative Portions 4. Chronology 5. Unjustifiable Attacks


1. Connection with Moses 2. Examination of Objections


(NOTE: For the signs J (Jahwist), E (Elohist), P or Priestly Code (Priest Codex), R (Redactor) compare the article on GENESIS.)


I. In General.

1. Name:

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 1:8-7:7), 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 7:8-13:16);

(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 13:17-18:27);

(4) making the Covenant at Mt. Sinai together with the revelation of the Ten Words (Exodus 20:1) and of the legal ordinances (Exodus 21:1) as the condition of making the Covenant (Exodus 19:1-24:18);

(5) the directions for the building of the Tabernacle, in which Yahweh is to dwell in the midst of His people (Exodus 24:18-31:18);

(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 32:1-35:3);

(7) the building and erection of the Tabernacle of Revelation (or Tent of Meeting) and its dedication by the entrance of Yahweh (Exodus 35:4-40:38).

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 2:23-7:7).

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 25:31 taken from P) presuppose the Decalogue (from E); compare eg. Exodus 25:16, 21; Exodus 31:18; as again the 6th section (Exodus 32) presupposes the 5th part, which had promised the continuous presence of God (compare Exodus 32:34 J; 33:3, 5, 7 JE; 33:12, 14-17 J; 34:9 J, with 25:8; 29:45 P; compare also the forty days in 34:28 J with those in 24:18 P) as in 34:1, 28 J and 34:11-27 J refers back to the 4th part, namely, 20:1 E; 21:1 E; 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 P is regarded as something well known (compare 13:21 JE; 14:19 E and J, 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 29:45 P).

3. Connection with the Other Books of the Pentateuch:

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 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; Exodus 1:8), then, too, several centuries must have elapsed between the real beginning of the book (x 1:8), 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; 3:13 E; 3:15 R; 4:5 J; 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; 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).

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; 6:08 PM; 23:20 JE; 32:34 J; 33:1 JE; 33:12 J; 34:9 J and D; compare also the many ordinances of the Books of the Covenant, 21:1 E; 34:11 D and J). In this way the narratives of the following books, which begin again in Numbers 10:11 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 (27:1; 38:1), as well as the mention made of the different kinds of sacrifices, such as the burnt sacrifices and the sin offering (29:18, 14) and of the heave offering (29:28), point to the promulgation of a law of sacrifices such as we find in Leviticus 1-7. The directions given in regard to the consecration of the priests (Exodus 29) are carried out in Leviticus 8. 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 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.

4. Significance of These Events for Israel:

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.

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.

5. Connecting Links for Christianity:

How great a significance the Decalogue, in which the law is not so intimately connected with what is specifically Jewish and national, as eg. 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 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 eg. 1 Corinthians 5:7 John 19:36 1 Peter 1:19). In Exodus 12 the Passover rite and the establishment of the covenant (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; 1 Corinthians 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 Numbers 14:22 R, Yahweh states that Israel had now tempted Him and been disobedient to Him ten times: compare Exodus 14:11 JE(?) (Red Sea); 15:23 JE (Marah); 16:2, 3 P; 16:20 JE; 16:27, 28 R (Manna); 17:1 JE (Massah and Meribah); 32:1 JE (Golden Calf); Numbers 11:1 JE (Tuberah); 11:4 JE (Graves of Lust); 14:2 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 Exodus 32; but from here on He does so with constantly increasing severity, while down to Exodus 32 grace alone prevails, and in this particular, previous to Exodus 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 PM; 8:15 PM; 8:32 JE; 9:7, 34, 35 JE; 13:15 D); ten times the hardening is ascribed to God (4:21 JE; 7:03 PM; 9:12 PM; 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 PM; 8:11; 8:15 PM; 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 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 Exodus 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 Exodus 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 Exodus 3:13 on, only that, for a reason not understood, occasionally the word Elohim is still used by this source later on, e.g. 13:17; 18:1. 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 (Exodus 17:1 Numbers 20:1), are not duplicates, but are different events. Compare the different localities in Exodus 17:7 and Numbers 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 Numbers 27:12-14 Deuteronomy 32:51 (compare Ezekiel 47:19; Ezekiel 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 Exodus 16 in so far as JE comes into consideration, and in Exodus 18 in comparison with Numbers 11. In the case of Numbers 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 Exodus, 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: Exodus 1:1-7, 13-15; Exodus 2:23, 25; 6:2-7:13, 6:28-30; Exodus 7:19, 20, 21, 22; Exodus 8:1-3, 11-15; 9:8-12; 12:1-20, 28, 37, 40-50; 13:1-2, 20; Exodus 14:1-4, 8-10, 15-18, 21, 22-23, 19; Exodus 16:1-3, 1-14, 15-18, 21-26, 31-32, 34, 35; Exodus 17:1; Exodus 19:1, 2; 24:15-31:17; 34:29-40:38. 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 Exodus 6:14, or chronological notices like 12:40, 41, 51; 16:01; 19:1, or directions for the cults like Exodus 12; Exodus 25 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 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 Exodus 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; 8:03. 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 Numbers 9:7, 13, this act is expressly called a qorban Yahweh (`sacrifice of Yahweh'). Compare also the commands in Exodus 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:

(1) Exodus 1:8-7:7:

(a) Everything that is narrated in this section, which in so worthy a manner introduces the whole book, is written from a standpoint of the Egyptian oppression, from which human help could give no deliverance, but from which the mighty power of Yahweh, working through human agency, offered this deliverance. It is a situation which demands faith (4:31). This section naturally falls into ten pericopes, of which in each instance two are still more closely connected. Numbers 1 and 2 (1:8-14, 15-22), namely, the oppression through forced labor and the threat to take the life of the newly born males of the Israelites; and in contrast to this, the Divine blessing in the increase of the people in general and of the midwives in particular; numbers 3 and 4 (Exodus 2:1-10, 11-22), namely, the birth and youth of Moses stand in contrast. The child seems to be doomed, but God provides for its deliverance. Moses, when grown to manhood, tries to render vigorous assistance to his people through his own strength, but he is compelled to flee into a far-off country. Numbers 5 and 6 (Exodus 2:23-4:17; Exodus 4:18-31) report the fact that also in the reign of a new Pharaoh the oppression does not cease, and that this causes God to interfere, which in Exodus 2:23-25 is expressed in strong terms and repeatedly, and this again leads to the revelation in the burning bush (3:1). And at the same time the narrative shows how little self-confidence Moses still had (three signs, a heavy tongue, direct refusal). The sixth pericope and also the beginning of the last four, describe, from an external viewpoint, the return of Moses to Midian, and his journey from there to Egypt. Here, too, mention is made of the troubles caused by Pharaoh, which God must remove through His power. This deliverance is not at all deserved by Israel, since not even any son in a family had up to this time been circumcised. On the other hand, everything here is what can be expected. Those who sought the life of Moses had died; the meeting with Aaron at the Mount of the Lord; in Egypt the faith of the people. In an effective way the conclusion (4:31) returns to the point where the two companion narratives (2:24) begin. After this point, constituting the center and the chief point in the introductory section, numbers 7 and 8 (Exodus 5:1-6:1; Exodus 6:2-12), everything seems to have become doubtful. Pharaoh refuses to receive Moses and Aaron; the oppression increases; dissatisfaction in Israel appears; Moses despairs; even the new revelations of God, with fair emphasis on fidelity to the Covenant which is to unfold Yahweh's name in full, are not able to overcome the lack of courage on the part of the people and of Moses. Numbers 9 and 10, introduced by Exodus 6:13 (6:14-27 and 6:28-7:7), show that after Moses and Aaron have already been mentioned together in 4:14, 27; 5:1, and after it has become clear how little they are able of themselves to accomplish anything, they are now here, as it were, for the first time, before the curtain is raised, introduced as those who in the following drama are to be the mediators of God's will (compare the concluding verses of both pericopes, 6:27; 7:7), and they receive directions for their common mission, just at that moment when, humanly speaking, everything is as unfavorable as possible.

(b) The unity of thought here demonstrated is in this case too the protecting wall against the flood-tide of the documentary theory.

Read Complete Article...

1841. exodos -- a departure
... Phonetic Spelling: (ex'-od-os) Short Definition: an exit, departure, death Definition:
(a) an exit, going out, departure from a place; the exodus, (b) death. ...
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Hitchcock's Bible Names Dictionary

going out, departure

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 int he wilderness, between B.C. 1491 and 1451. It may be divided into two principal parts:

  1. Historical, chs. (Exodus 1:1-18; 27:1) ... and
  2. Legislative, chs. (Exodus 19:40; 38:1)
  3. The first part contains an account of the following particulars: the great increase of Jacob's 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.
  4. 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.
ATS Bible Dictionary

Going out, the name of the second book of Moses and of the Bible; so called because it narrates the departure of the Israelites from Egypt. It comprises a period of about one hundred and forty-five years, from the death of Joseph to the erection of the tabernacle in the desert. The various topics of the book may be thus presented: (1.) The oppression of the Israelites, under the change of dynasty which sprung up after the death of Joseph: "There arose up another king, who knew not Joseph," Exodus 1:8. The reference many believe is to the invasion of Egypt by the Hyksos, who are spoken of in secular history as having invaded Egypt probably about this period, and who held it in subjection for many years. The are termed shepherd-kings, and represented as coming from the east. (2.) The youth, education, patriotism, and flight of Moses, Exodus 2:1 6:30. (3.) The commission of Moses, the perversity of Pharaoh, and the infliction of the ten plagues in succession, Exodus 7:1-11:10. (4.) The institution of the Passover, the sudden departure of the Israelites, the passage of the Red Sea, and the thanksgiving of Moses and the people on the opposite shore, after the destruction of Pharaoh and his host, Exodus 12:1-15:27. (5.) The narration of various miracles wrought in behalf of the people during their journeyings towards Sinai, Exodus 15:1-17:16. (6.) The promulgation of the law on mount Sinai. This includes the preparation of the people by Moses, and the promulgation, first of the moral law, then of the judicial law, and subsequently of the ceremonial law, including the instructions for the erection of the tabernacle and the completion of that house of God, Exodus 19:1-40:38.

The scope of the book is not only to preserve the memorial of the departure of the Israelites from Egypt, but to present to view the church of God in her afflictions and triumphs; to point out the providential care of God over her, and the judgments inflicted on her enemies. It clearly shows the accomplishment of the divine promises and prophecies delivered to Abraham: that his posterity would be numerous, Genesis 15:5 17:4-6 46:27 Numbers 1:1-3,46; and that they should be afflicted in a land not their own, whence they should depart in the fourth generation with great substance,

Genesis 15:13-16 Exodus 12:40-41. Their exodus in many particulars well illustrates the state of Christ's church in the wilderness of this world, until her arrival in the heavenly Canaan. See 1 1 Corinthians 10:1-33 Hebrews 1:1-13:25. The book of Exodus brings before us many and singular types of Christ: Moses, De 18:15; Aaron, Hebrews 4:14-16; the paschal lamb, Exodus 12:46 John 19:36 1 1 Corinthians 5:7-8; the manna, Exodus 1:1-40:38 16:15 1 1 Corinthians 10:3; the rock in Horeb, Exodus 17:6 1 1 Corinthians 10:4; the mercy seat, Exodus 37:6 Romans 3:25 Hebrews 4:16; the tabernacle, Exodus 40:1 38, "The Word tabernacled among us," John 1:14.

This departure from Egypt, and the subsequent wanderings of the children of Israel in the desert, form one of the great epochs in their history. They were constantly led by Jehovah, and the whole series of events is a constant succession of miracles. From their breaking up at Rameses, to their arrival on the confines of the promised land, there was an interval of forty years, during which one whole generation passed away, and the whole Mosaic law was given, and sanctioned by the thunders and lightnings of Sinai. There is no portion of history extant which so displays the interposition of an overruling Providence in the affairs both of nations and of individuals, as that which recounts these wanderings of Israel.

The four hundred and thirty years referred to in Exodus 12:40, date, according to the received chronology, from the time when the promise was made to Abraham, Genesis 15:13. From the arrival of Jacob in Egypt to the exodus of his posterity, was about two hundred and thirty years. The threescore and fifteen souls had now become 600,000, besides children. They took with them great numbers of cattle, and much Egyptian spoil. It was only by the mighty hand of God that their deliverance was effected; and there seems to have been a special vindication of his glory in the fact that the Nile, the flies, the frogs, fishes, cattle, etc., which were made the means or the subjects of the plagues of Egypt, were there regarded with idolatrous veneration.

After the tenth and decisive plague had been sent, the Israelites were dismissed from Egypt in haste. They are supposed to have been assembled at Rameses, or Heroopolis, in the land of Goshen, about thirty-five miles northwest of Suez, on the ancient canal, which united the Nile with the Red Sea. They set off on the fifteenth day of the first month, the day after the Passover, that is, about the middle of April. Their course was southeast as far as Etham; but then, instead of keeping on directly to Sinai, they turned to the south, Exodus 14:2, on the west side of the Red Sea, which they reached three days after starting, probably near Suez. Here, by means of a strong east wind, God miraculously divided the waters of the sea in such a way that the Israelites passed over the bed of it on dry ground; while the Egyptians, who attempted to follow them, were drowned by the returning waters. The arm of the sea at Suez is now only three or four miles wide, and at low water may be forded. It is known to have been formerly wider and deeper; but the drifting sands of ages have greatly filled and altered. The miracle here wrought was an amazing one, and revealed the hand of God more signally than any of the ten plagues had done. According to the Bible, God caused a "strong east wind" to blow; the deep waters were sundered, and "gathered together;" "the floods stood upright as a heap;" "the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea, and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand and on their left." These effects continued all night till the morning watch, and without obstructing the progress of the Hebrews; whereas in the morning the pursuing Egyptians were covered by the sea, and "sank like lead in the mighty waters." These were wonders towards the effecting of which any wind must have been as insufficient as Naaman's mere washing in Jordan would have been to the healing of his leprosy. It should here be stated also, that some geographers think this miracle took place below Mount Atakah, ten or twelve miles south of Suez, where the sea is about twelve miles wide. This opinion is liable to several objections, though it cannot be proved to be false. At this late day the precise locality may be undiscoverable, like the point of a soul's transition from the bondage of Satan into the kingdom of God; but in both cases the work is of God, and the glory of it is his alone.

Having offered thanksgiving to God for their wonderful deliverance, the Israelites advanced along the eastern shore of the Red Sea and through the valleys and desert to Mount Sinai. This part of their route may be readily traced, and Marah, Elim, and the desert of Sin have been with much probability identified. They arrived at Mount Sinai in the third month, or June, probably about the middle of it, having been two months on their journey. Here the law was given, and here they abode during all the transactions recorded in Exodus 21:1Nu 9:23, that is, until the twentieth day of the second month (May) in the following year, a period of about eleven months.

Breaking up at this time from Sinai, they marched northwards through the desert of Paran, or perhaps along the eastern arm of the Red Sea and north through El-Arabah, to Kadesh-barnea, near the southeast border of Canaan. Rephidim near Mount Sinai, and Taberah, Kibroth-hattaaveh, and Hazerorh, on their journey north, were the scenes of incidents, which may be found, described under their several heads. From Kadesh-barnea, spies were sent out to view the promised land, and brought back an evil report, probably in August of the same year. The people murmured, and were directed by Jehovah to turn back and wander in the desert, until the carcasses of that generation should all fall in the wilderness, Numbers 14:25. This they did, wandering from one station to another in the great desert of Paran, lying south of Palestine, and also in the great sandy valley called El-Ghor and chiefly El-Arabah, which extends from the Dead Sea to the gulf of Akaba, the eastern arm of the Red Sea. See JORDAN. Where and how these long years were spent we are not informed, nor by what routes they traversed the desert, nor how they were furnished with food except manna. Moses says they "compassed mount Seir many days," always under the guidance of the pillar of fire and cloud, Numbers 9:22; he also gives a list of seventeen stations, mostly unknown, where thy rested or dwelt before reaching Ezion-gaber, Numbers 33:19-35; and then mentions their return to Kadesh, Numbers 33:36-37, in the first month, Numbers 20:1, after an interval of almost thirty-eight years. While thus a second time encamped at Kadesh, Moses sent to the king of Idumaea, to ask liberty to pass through his dominions, that is, through the chain of mountains (mount Seir) lying along the eastern side of the great valley El-Arabah. See IDUMAEA. This was refused; and Israel, feeling too weak to penetrate into Palestine from the south, in face of the powerful tribes of Canaanites dwelling there, was compelled to take the southern passage around Edom, Numbers 21:4. Soon after turning, they came to mount Hor, where Aaron died and was buried, Numbers 20:20-28. Proceeding southward along the valley El-Arabah to Ezion-gaber, at the head of the eastern gulf of the Red Sea, they here passed through the eastern mountains, and then turned north along the eastern desert, by the route which the great Syrian caravan of Mohammedan pilgrims now passes in going to Mecca. They arrived at the brook Zered, on the southern border of Moab, just forty years after their departure from Egypt.

Easton's Bible Dictionary
The great deliverance wrought for the children of Isreal when they were brought out of the land of Egypt with "a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm" (Exodus 12:51; Deuteronomy 26:8; Psalm 114; 136), about B.C. 1490, and four hundred and eighty years (1 Kings 6:1) before the building of Solomon's temple.

The time of their sojourning in Egypt was, according to Exodus 12:40, the space of four hundred and thirty years. In the LXX., the words are, "The sojourning of the children of Israel which they sojourned in Egypt and in the land of Canaan was four hundred and thirty years;" and the Samaritan version reads, "The sojourning of the children of Israel and of their fathers which they sojourned in the land of Canaan and in the land of Egypt was four hundred and thirty years." In Genesis 15:13-16, the period is prophetically given (in round numbers) as four hundred years. This passage is quoted by Stephen in his defence before the council (Acts 7:6).

The chronology of the "sojourning" is variously estimated. Those who adopt the longer term reckon thus:

" Years " " From the descent of Jacob into Egypt to the " death of Joseph 71 " " From the death of Joseph to the birth of " Moses 278 " " From the birth of Moses to his flight into " Midian 40 " " From the flight of Moses to his return into " Egypt 40 " " From the return of Moses to the Exodus 1 " " 430

Others contend for the shorter period of two hundred and fifteen years, holding that the period of four hundred and thirty years comprehends the years from the entrance of Abraham into Canaan (see LXX. and Samaritan) to the descent of Jacob into Egypt. They reckon thus:

" Years " " From Abraham's arrival in Canaan to Isaac's " birth 25 " " From Isaac's birth to that of his twin sons " Esau and Jacob 60 " " From Jacob's birth to the going down into " Egypt 130 " " (215) " " From Jacob's going down into Egypt to the " death of Joseph 71 " " From death of Joseph to the birth of Moses 64 " " From birth of Moses to the Exodus 80 " " In all... 430

During the forty years of Moses' sojourn in the land of Midian, the Hebrews in Egypt were being gradually prepared for the great national crisis which was approaching. The plagues that successively fell upon the land loosened the bonds by which Pharaoh held them in slavery, and at length he was eager that they should depart. But the Hebrews must now also be ready to go. They were poor; for generations they had laboured for the Egyptians without wages. They asked gifts from their neighbours around them (Exodus 12:35), and these were readily bestowed. And then, as the first step towards their independent national organization, they observed the feast of the Passover, which was now instituted as a perpetual memorial. The blood of the paschal lamb was duly sprinkled on the door-posts and lintels of all their houses, and they were all within, waiting the next movement in the working out of God's plan. At length the last stroke fell on the land of Egypt. "It came to pass, that at midnight Jehovah smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt." Pharaoh rose up in the night, and called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, "Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve Jehovah, as ye have said. Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also." Thus was Pharaoh (q.v.) completely humbled and broken down. These words he spoke to Moses and Aaron "seem to gleam through the tears of the humbled king, as he lamented his son snatched from him by so sudden a death, and tremble with a sense of the helplessness which his proud soul at last felt when the avenging hand of God had visited even his palace."

The terror-stricken Egyptians now urged the instant departure of the Hebrews. In the midst of the Passover feast, before the dawn of the 15th day of the month Abib (our April nearly), which was to be to them henceforth the beginning of the year, as it was the commencement of a new epoch in their history, every family, with all that appertained to it, was ready for the march, which instantly began under the leadership of the heads of tribes with their various sub-divisions. They moved onward, increasing as they went forward from all the districts of Goshen, over the whole of which they were scattered, to the common centre. Three or four days perhaps elapsed before the whole body of the people were assembled at Rameses, and ready to set out under their leader Moses (Exodus 12:37; Numbers 33:3). This city was at that time the residence of the Egyptian court, and here the interviews between Moses and Pharaoh had taken place.

From Rameses they journeyed to Succoth (Exodus 12:37), identified with Tel-el-Maskhuta, about 12 miles west of Ismailia. (see PITHOM.) Their third station was Etham (q.v.), 13:20, "in the edge of the wilderness," and was probably a little to the west of the modern town of Ismailia, on the Suez Canal. Here they were commanded "to turn and encamp before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea", i.e., to change their route from east to due south. The Lord now assumed the direction of their march in the pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night. They were then led along the west shore of the Red Sea till they came to an extensive camping-ground "before Pi-hahiroth," about 40 miles from Etham. This distance from Etham may have taken three days to traverse, for the number of camping-places by no means indicates the number of days spent on the journey: e.g., it took fully a month to travel from Rameses to the wilderness of Sin (Exodus 16:1), yet reference is made to only six camping-places during all that time. The exact spot of their encampment before they crossed the Red Sea cannot be determined. It was probably somewhere near the present site of Suez.

Under the direction of God the children of Israel went "forward" from the camp "before Pi-hahiroth," and the sea opened a pathway for them, so that they crossed to the farther shore in safety. The Egyptian host pursued after them, and, attempting to follow through the sea, were overwhelmed in its returning waters, and thus the whole military force of the Egyptians perished. They "sank as lead in the mighty waters" (Exodus 15:1-9; Comp. Psalm 77:16-19).

Having reached the eastern shore of the sea, perhaps a little way to the north of `Ayun Musa ("the springs of Moses"), there they encamped and rested probably for a day. Here Miriam and the other women sang the triumphal song recorded in Exodus 15:1-21.

From `Ayun Musa they went on for three days through a part of the barren "wilderness of Shur" (22), called also the "wilderness of Etham" (Numbers 33:8; Comp. Exodus 13:20), without finding water. On the last of these days they came to Marah (q.v.), where the "bitter" water was by a miracle made drinkable.

Their next camping-place was Elim (q.v.), where were twelve springs of water and a grove of "threescore and ten" palm trees (Exodus 15:27).

After a time the children of Israel "took their journey from Elim," and encamped by the Red Sea (Numbers 33:10), and thence removed to the "wilderness of Sin" (to be distinguished from the wilderness of Zin, 20:1), where they again encamped. Here, probably the modern el-Markha, the supply of bread they had brought with them out of Egypt failed. They began to "murmur" for want of bread. God "heard their murmurings" and gave them quails and manna, "bread from heaven" (Exodus 16:4-36). Moses directed that an omer of manna should be put aside and preserved as a perpetual memorial of God's goodness. They now turned inland, and after three encampments came to the rich and fertile valley of Rephidim, in the Wady Feiran. Here they found no water, and again murmured against Moses. Directed by God, Moses procured a miraculous supply of water from the "rock in Horeb," one of the hills of the Sinai group (17:1-7); and shortly afterwards the children of Israel here fought their first battle with the Amalekites, whom they smote with the edge of the sword.

From the eastern extremity of the Wady Feiran the line of march now probably led through the Wady esh-Sheikh and the Wady Solaf, meeting in the Wady er-Rahah, "the enclosed plain in front of the magnificient cliffs of Ras Sufsafeh." Here they encamped for more than a year (Numbers 1:1; 10:11) before Sinai (q.v.).

The different encampments of the children of Israel, from the time of their leaving Egypt till they reached the Promised Land, are mentioned in Exodus 12:37-19; Numbers 10-21; 33; Deuteronomy 1, 2, 10.

It is worthy of notice that there are unmistakable evidences that the Egyptians had a tradition of a great exodus from their country, which could be none other than the exodus of the Hebrews.

Exodus, Book of

Exodus is the name given in the LXX. to the second book of the Pentateuch (q.v.). It means "departure" or "outgoing." This name was adopted in the Latin translation, and thence passed into other languages. The Hebrews called it by the first words, according to their custom, Ve-eleh shemoth (i.e., "and these are the names").

It contains,

(1.) An account of the increase and growth of the Israelites in Egypt (ch. 1)

(2.) Preparations for their departure out of Egypt (2-12:36).

(3.) Their journeyings from Egypt to Sinai (12:37-19:2).

(4.) 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.

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
1. (n.) A large migration, a going out, as, the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt under the conduct of Moses; and hence, any large migration from a place.

2. (n.) The second of the Old Testament, which contains the narrative of the departure of the Israelites from Egypt.

Exodus (2 Occurrences)
... deliverance wrought for the children of Isreal when they were brought out of the
land of Egypt with "a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm" (Exodus 12:51 ...
/e/exodus.htm - 82k

Staffs (47 Occurrences)
... (WBS). Exodus 7:12 For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents:
but Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods. (See NAS NIV). ...
/s/staffs.htm - 19k

Acacia-wood (27 Occurrences)
...Exodus 25:5 and rams' skins dyed red, and badgers' skins; and acacia-wood; (DBY
JPS). ...Exodus 25:13 And make staves of acacia-wood and overlay them with gold. ...
/a/acacia-wood.htm - 13k

Screen (26 Occurrences)
...Exodus 26:36 "You shall make a screen for the door of the Tent, of blue, and purple,
and scarlet, and fine twined linen, the work of the embroiderer. ...
/s/screen.htm - 15k

Yarn (37 Occurrences)
... YARN. yarn. See LINEN; SPINNING; WEAVING. Multi-Version Concordance Yarn (37
Occurrences). Exodus 25:4 blue, purple, scarlet, fine linen, goats' hair, (See NIV) ...
/y/yarn.htm - 18k

Skillful (42 Occurrences)
...Exodus 26:1 "Moreover you shall make the tabernacle with ten curtains; of fine
twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, with cherubim. ...
/s/skillful.htm - 19k

Acacia (28 Occurrences)
... Easton's Bible Dictionary (Hebrews shittim) Exodus 25:5, RV probably the Acacia
seyal (the gum-arabic tree); called the "shittah" tree (Isaiah 41:19). ...
/a/acacia.htm - 16k

Sanctify (91 Occurrences)
...Exodus 13:2 "Sanctify to me all of the firstborn, whatever opens the womb
among the children of Israel, both of man and of animal. ...
/s/sanctify.htm - 36k

Sockets (44 Occurrences)
...Exodus 26:19 You shall make forty sockets of silver under the twenty boards; two
sockets under one board for its two tenons, and two sockets under another ...
/s/sockets.htm - 20k

Aaron's (53 Occurrences)
... NAS RSV NIV). Exodus 6:25 Eleazar Aaron's son took one of the daughters
of Putiel as his wife; and she bore him Phinehas. These are ...
/a/aaron's.htm - 25k

Bible Concordance
Exodus (2 Occurrences)

Hebrews 11:22 By faith, Joseph, when his end was near, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel; and gave instructions concerning his bones.

Genesis 21:14 Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread and a bottle of water, and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder; and gave her the child, and sent her away. She departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba. Exodus



Exodus of Early Tribes

Related Terms

Staffs (47 Occurrences)

Acacia-wood (27 Occurrences)

Screen (26 Occurrences)

Yarn (37 Occurrences)

Skillful (42 Occurrences)

Acacia (28 Occurrences)

Sanctify (91 Occurrences)

Sockets (44 Occurrences)

Aaron's (53 Occurrences)

Ark-cover (21 Occurrences)

Yeast (48 Occurrences)

Stubborn (40 Occurrences)

Smitten (215 Occurrences)

Skilful (38 Occurrences)

Staves (50 Occurrences)

Shittim (34 Occurrences)

Skill (26 Occurrences)

Skilled (44 Occurrences)

Spice (25 Occurrences)

Sides (170 Occurrences)

Stuff (49 Occurrences)

Vail (44 Occurrences)

Straw (21 Occurrences)

Spices (64 Occurrences)

Ability (34 Occurrences)

Sacred (140 Occurrences)

Attach (12 Occurrences)

Armies (361 Occurrences)

Scarlet (54 Occurrences)

Settings (19 Occurrences)

Statute (63 Occurrences)

Sweet (147 Occurrences)

Seventh (123 Occurrences)

Sanctified (105 Occurrences)

Alien (102 Occurrences)

Space (98 Occurrences)

Shekel (37 Occurrences)

Attached (31 Occurrences)

Articles (78 Occurrences)

Signet (21 Occurrences)

Shekels (92 Occurrences)

Sprinkled (55 Occurrences)

Stretch (73 Occurrences)

Setteth (116 Occurrences)

Supplication (71 Occurrences)

Staff (91 Occurrences)

Smite (230 Occurrences)

Smiting (76 Occurrences)

Smell (77 Occurrences)

Shoulders (38 Occurrences)

Skins (27 Occurrences)

Stretched (234 Occurrences)

Amalek (35 Occurrences)

Succoth (18 Occurrences)

Vessels (210 Occurrences)

Six (198 Occurrences)

Amorite (81 Occurrences)

Arts (48 Occurrences)

Approach (56 Occurrences)

Stubble (18 Occurrences)

Smiteth (156 Occurrences)

Stoned (38 Occurrences)

Separation (50 Occurrences)

Slaughter (121 Occurrences)

Anointing (39 Occurrences)

Aught (52 Occurrences)

Anointed (132 Occurrences)

Sacrificed (112 Occurrences)

Station (78 Occurrences)

Anoint (59 Occurrences)

Smote (281 Occurrences)

Settled (112 Occurrences)

Struck (373 Occurrences)

Strikes (39 Occurrences)

Sacrifices (186 Occurrences)

Support (135 Occurrences)

Snake (43 Occurrences)

Slay (189 Occurrences)

Amount (66 Occurrences)

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