The second of three plenary addresses given by Dr. Erika Moore during the 2013 Women in the Word Workshop, October 2013. Dr. Erika Moore is a Professor of Old Testament and Academic Dean at Trinity School for Ministry. She is also one of my favorite teachers, especially when she teaches on the Old Testament.
I am grateful to link to a small portion of her work here on Wednesday in the Word.
The following are notes I took from her talk.
When the book of Exodus opens after 400 years of silence, the sojourn of Joseph’s family in Egypt has become captivity and their privilege has become enslavement.
- 1:1-13:16 – Israel in Egypt
- 13:17-18:27 – first wilderness journey to Sinai.
- 19:1-40:38 – Israel at Sinai
- 1-18: Salvation & redemption; God saves Israel from bondage; The King rescues His people.
- 19-24 – Covenant & law at Sinai; The King gives His law to His people.
- 25-40 – Worship; The King tells His people how He is to be worshiped; (Chaps 34-34 – golden calf; what happens when worship left up to people themselves).
- Exodus is theologically informed history.
- The Pharaoh in Exodus 1 is not named, but the Hebrew midwives (1:15) are named.
- We don’t need to know the Pharoah’s name. The Pharoah is from seed of serpent and his name not important. The midwives are from the seed of the woman.
- Three other women along with 2 midwives defeat the mighty Pharoah: Moses’s mother, Miriam and Pharaoh’s daughter. What Pharaoh meant for destruction, God uses to save Moses (Exodus 1:22).
- One of the functions of the plagues is to reveal who the Lord is; that all may know the King of Israel
The plagues are a polemic against the God’s of Egypt.
- Water into blood Exodus 7:14–25; The Nile was worshiped.
- Frogs: Exodus. 7:25–8:11. The goddess Hecht who was a woman with a frog’s head; she was a fertility goddess.
- Gnats (Lice?): Exodus 8:16–19
- Flies: Exodus 8:20–32
- Deceased livestock: Exodus 9:1–7; Apis was the most popular of the three great bull cults of ancient Egypt (the others being the bulls Mnevis and Buchis.)
- Heavy hail: Exodus 9:13–35
- Locusts: Exodus 10:1–20
- Darkness: Exodus 10:21–29 (Ra the sun god)
- Death of firstborn: Exodus 11:1–12:36
None of the Egyptian deities were able to stop the God of Israel. Pharaoh himself was considered a god and he couldn’t stop the calamities of Moses.
- God does not lead His people the easy way, the shortest way or take the well-traveled trade route.
- Pharaoh thinks the Hebrews are confused & follows them, thinking to defeat them with his superior army & technology.
- The Exodus becomes the paradigm salvation event throughout OT history; it demonstrates God will save, lead and rescue His people.
- Joshua 4 – God parts the water once again so people can move through.
- Compare Psalm 77.
- When the Hebrews return from exile, the Exodus is held up as the pattern for return.
- After redeeming His people, the King instructs them on how to act.
- When a king conquered a people, he entered into treaty with them.
- Exodus 19:5 – “my own possession”; a treasured possession; refers to the king’s private fortune; the king owns everything, but this is his private fortune.
- Compare 1Chronicles 29:3; 1Peter 2:9-10.
- The whole earth is God’s “budget” and we, His people, are His “mad money,” His own treasured possession.
- The commandments provide social cohesion, but more importantly they reflect the glory of God
- The other nations were to see a different way of living and flock to it.
- God tells them, “I want the tabernacle like this.” Then the Hebrews build the tabernacle like this.
- The Hebrews were not left on their own to design worship; God tells them how to do it.
- Why? If they design it, it will reflect the evil inclination of their hearts, as evidenced by the golden calf
- Compare Exodus 25:8-9; Hebrews 8:4-7.
- The people were mobile, so the tabernacle needed to be mobile for God to go with them.
- When they are settled in the land with David, they get the temple.
The King redeems His people from Egypt. At Mt Sinai, He explains what it means to be His people. At end of Exodus, He is dwelling with them.