Study questions, maps, charts, key words, history, background, outlines, and links to help you study the Old Testament book of Exodus.
Israel’s escape from slavery in Egypt is commonly known as the exodus (meaning ‘a going out’). The most likely date for the event is about 1280 BC, and the historical account of the event is given in the book of Exodus.
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- Historical period covered: There are two theories of when the Exodus happened: 1400s BC and 1200s BC. See When did the Exodus happen?
- Main events: Deliverance from slavery in Egypt (“the exodus”), receiving the law (divine instruction), building the tabernacle.
- Overarching theme: Who is the Lord? (Ex 5:2)
- Key issue: Idolatry. YHWH is truly God.
- Movement: From slavery to worship. The book begins with Israel’s need for deliverance from slavery in Egypt. It ends with the worshiping people of God ready to march into the promised land with the Lord’s presence as their guide.
- Exodus is a Greek title meaning “exit,” “departure” or “going out.”
- Egyptians were descendants of Ham.
- God controls nature.
- God controls history.
- History is purposeful.
- God is a redeemer from injustice and oppression.
- Exodus is a historical metaphor for redemption and salvation.
- The Jewish religious calendar is built around Exodus.
- History is a source and motive force behind ethical values.
- Adultery becomes the main metaphor for idolatry.
- Nation building: When Israel left a mixed multitude went with them (Exodus 12:38). The events of Exodus transform the people from a crowd to a nation of people, interconnected with a common purpose. They have shared history, traditions, values and close personal ties.
People of Israel
- Rebellious; They reject and question Moses’ leadership. They complain and want to return to Egypt.
- Obstinate: They repeat their rebellion despite God’s acts of care and provision.
- Impatient: Incident of the golden calf was the result of impatience.
- Paradigm for all humanity.
- Loyal to His promises; fulfills His promises to the patriarchs.
- Powerful: plagues and miraculous provision (water, manna, quail) demonstrate His power over the gods of Egypt, the forces of nature and human beings.
- Holy character: He is compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in lovingingkindness and truth, forgiving but just (Exodus 34:6-7).
- God can be related to as a person. He is not an impersonal force. Moses can reason with Him.
- God has a plan and He is able to implement it.
- Humble; He was humbled by his experiences before leading the people of out Egypt.
- Intercedes for the people.
- Loyal, loving and forgiving; he mirrors those characteristics of God.
Why study Exodus?
- It is foundational (part of the Torah). The rest of Scripture assumes the reader is familiar with the Torah.
- It describes a time when God acted overtly in human history, proving that God is in control of history.
- The Exodus is the Bible’s paradigm for salvation.
- Chapters 1:1-15:21 – in Egypt
- Chapters 15:22-18:26 – in the wilderness
- Chapters 19-40 – at Mount Sinai
|Exodus 1-4||The Call of Moses: Gift of leader for theocratic state.||Moses becomes the political founder of the nation. (Abraham was the physical founder.)|
Gift of deliverance from Egypt
|God frees His people from oppression in order to worship Him in freedom and truth.|
Gift of the covenant
|Now that Israel is free, they are told how to live. God does not show Himself in an image or form; but in words which express His moral will.|
Gift of worship
|Now that Israel is free and know how to act, they are told how to worship.|
Genre: Understanding Narrative
Background & Outlines
Ligonier: Introduction to the Pentateuch
Biblehub: Timeline of Exodus
David Malick (Bible.org): An Introduction to the Pentateuch
David Malick: An Introduction to the Book of Exodus
David Malick: An Argument of the Book of Exodus
JVernon McGee: Exodus Notes and Outline
James van Dine: Analysis of Exodus
Maps – Route of the Exodus
Maps from Holman Bible Atlas
Key Words in Exodus
Occurrences are based on New American Standard Text. “4x/3v” means the word appears 4 times in 3 verses. “3x” means the word appears 3 times in 3 verses.
holy (57x/46v) – 3:5; 12:16; 15:13; 16:23; 19:6; 20:8, 11; 22:31; 26:33f; 28:2, 4, 29, 35f, 38, 43; 29:6, 29-31, 33f, 37; 30:10, 25, 29, 31f, 35-37; 31:10f, 14f; 35:2, 19, 21; 37:29; 39:1, 30, 41; 40:9f, 13
Lord commanded (6x) – 7:6; 16:34; 36:5 Exodus 23:15; 32:8; 34:18; Lord had commanded (26x) – 7:10, 20; 12:28, 50; 19:7; 34:4; 35:29; 38:22; 39:1, 5, 7, 21, 26, 29, 31f, 42f; 40:16, 19, 21, 23, 25, 27, 29, 32
Egypt (180x/153v) – 1:1, 5, 8, 13, 15, 17ff; 2:11f, 14, 19, 23; 3:7ff, 16ff; 4:18ff; 5:4, 12; 6:5ff, 11, 13, 26ff; 7:3ff, 11, 18f, 21f, 24; 8:5ff, 16f, 21, 24, 26; 9:4, 6, 9, 11, 18, 22ff; 10:2, 6f, 12ff, 19, 21f; 11:1, 3ff, 9; 12:1, 12f, 17, 23, 27, 29f, 33, 35f, 39ff, 51; 13:3, 8f, 14ff; 14:4f, 7ff, 17f, 20, 23ff, 30f; 15:26; 16:1, 3, 6, 32; 17:3; 18:1, 8ff; 19:1, 4; 20:2; 22:21; 23:9, 15; 29:46; 32:1, 4, 7f, 11f, 23; 33:1; 34:18
Exodus in the Psalms
Brief: Psa 44; Psa 66; Psa 68; Psa 74; Psa 77; Psa 80; Psa 81; Psa 95; Psa 99; Psa 103; Psa 125.
Extended: Psalm 78; Psalm 105; Psalm 106; Psalm 114; Psalm 136
Dictionaries & Encyclopedias
Exodus, Book of
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary Exodus, book of
Holman Bible Dictionary Exodus, Book of
1911 Encyclopedia Britannica Book of Exodus
Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia Exodus book of
The Jewish Encyclopedia Exodus, Book of
Easton’s Bible Dictionary Exodus, Book of
Fausset Bible Dictionary Exodus, the Book of
Morrish Bible Dictionary Exodus, Book of
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Exodus, the Book of
American Tract Society Exodus
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary Exodus
Chabad Knowledge Base Exodus
Easton’s Bible Dictionary Exodus
Holman Bible Dictionary Exodus
Hitchcock Bible Names Exodus
Hastings’ Dictionary of the Bible Exodus
Watson’s Theological Dictionary Exodus
1911 Encyclopedia Britannica The Exodus
Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia Exodus
McClintock and Strong’s Bible Encyclopedia Exodus
The Nuttall Encyclopedia Exodus
The Jewish Encyclopedia Exodus
American Tract Society: Moses
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary: Moses
Baker Evangelical Dictionary: Moses
Easton’s Bible Dictionary: Moses
Fausset Bible Dictionary: Moses
Hitchcock Bible Names: Moses
Hastings’ Dictionary of the Bible: Moses
Hastings’ Dictionary of the NT: Moses
Dictionary of Early Christian Biography: Moses
Whyte’s Bible Characters: Moses
Wilson’s Bible Types: Moses
Watson’s Theological Dictionary: Moses
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Moses
Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia: Moses
The Nuttall Encyclopedia: Moses
Law of Moses
Easton’s Bible Dictionary: Law of Moses
Holman Bible Dictionary: Law of Moses
Smith Bible Dictionary: Law of Moses
Exodus 5:1-12:30 Moses And Aaron Deliver Their Message To Pharaoh – Increased Oppression Of Israel – Discouragement Of Moses – Aaron Shows A Sign – General View And Analysis Of Each Of The Ten “Strokes,” Or Plagues
Exodus 12-15:21 The Passover And Its Ordinances – The Children Of Israel Leave Egypt – Their First Resting-Place The Pillar Of Cloud And Of Fire – Pursuit Of Pharaoh Passage Through The Red Sea – Destruction Of Pharaoh And His Host – The Song “On The Other Side.”
Exodus 15:22; 16 The Wilderness Of Shur – The Sinaitic Peninsula – Its Scenery And Vegetation – Its Capabilities Of Supporting A Population – The Wells Of Moses -Three Days March To Marah – Elim Road To The Wilderness Of Sin – Israel’s Murmuring – The Miraculous Provision Of The Quails – The Manna
Exodus 20:18-24:12 Civil & Social Ordinances Of Israel As The People Of God – Their Religious Ordinances In Their National Aspect – The “Covenant Made By Sacrifice” And The Sacrificial Meal Of Acceptance
Exodus 24:12; 25-33 The Pattern Seen On The Mountain – The Tabernacle, The Priesthood, And The Services In Their Arrangement And Typical Meaning – The Sin Of The Golden Calf – The Divine Judgment – The Plea Of Moses – God’s Gracious Forgiveness – The Vision Of The Glory Of The Lord Vouchsafed To Moses
Flavius Josephus: The Antiquities of the Jews
BOOK II. Containing The Interval Of Two Hundred And Twenty Years. From The Death Of Isaac To The Exodus Out Of Egypt.
BOOK III. Containing The Interval Of Two Years. From The Exodus Out Of Egypt, To The Rejection Of That Generation.
CHAPTER 4. How Raguel Suggested To Moses To Set His People In Order, Under Their Rulers Of Thousands, And Rulers Of Hundreds, Who Lived Without Order Before; And How Moses Complied In All Things With His Father-In-Law’s Admonition.
CHAPTER 15. How Moses Was Displeased At This, And Foretold That God Was Angry And That They Should Continue In The Wilderness For Forty Years And Not, During That Time, Either Return Into Egypt Or Take Possession Of Canaan.
Ligionier Top 5 Commentaries: Exodus
Tim Challies Best Commentaries: Exodus
Commentary Reviews: Exodus
Biblehub Commentaries: Exodus
Calvin’s Commentary on the Bible: Exodus
Albert Barnes Notes: Exodus
Matthew Henry: Exodus
Reformation Study Bible Notes: Exodus
Geneva Study Bible: Exodus
Precept Austin Commentaries & Sermons: Exodus
Theologyof Unclean Food – Gordon J. Wenham, Evangelical Quarterly 53.1 (January/March 1981): 6-15.