May 26, 2008

Exodus: Structure and Summary

The Book of Exodus is often divided into two major sections (1:1–18:27 and 19:1–40:38). This division is quite understandable. The first eighteen chapters are primarily narrative, with Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt and into Sinai. The remaining chapters are a mixture of narrative and instruction related to Israel at Sinai. The first section is concerned with bringing the Lord’s people out of Egypt whereas the second section is concerned with bringing Israel into a right relationship with the Lord. But for our part, we suggest that the text has three major movements. First, YHWH redeems His people by grace and through His covenantal relationship with the Patriarchs (1:1–18:27). Second, YHWH’s redeemed people are given the basis for rightly relating to their Redeemer which entails both privilege and responsibility (19:1–31:18). And third, YHWH’s redeemed people fail to live up to the privilege and responsibility to which they have been called, but the Lord graciously renews the covenant and the tabernacle is built (32:1–40:38).

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