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Exodus, Book of

The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia

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—Biblical Data:

The second book of the Torah or Pentateuch is called by the Jews , from the opening words, or briefly . The Greek name is ξοδος (in Philo also ξαγωγή), that is, "departure"; the Latin, "[Liber] Exodus." It contains, according to the Masorah, 1,209 (?) verses in 164 sections ("parashiyyot"), 69 ending in the middle of the line ("petuḥot" = "open"), and 95 with a space in the middle of the line ("setumot"="closed"), in 29 chapters ("sedarim"), and 14 sections ("pisḳot"), for reading on the Sabbath, in 11 lessons. The common division into 40 chapters is taken from the Vulgate.

Name and Contents.

The second book of the Torah is the organic continuation of the first book. It narrates the departure of the descendants of the Patriarchs, increased to a people, from servitude in Egypt, their journey to Sinai, and the revelations and laws which they received there. It is a well-planned and well-arranged work, displaying much literary skill in the command over great masses of material as well as in the marshaling of the facts. It is homogeneous in its views, and is not encumbered by unnecessary repetitions, though the sequel to it is found only in the following books. It is divided into two principal sections: (1) ch. i-, recounting Israel's deliverance from Egypt; (2) ch. -, the promulgation of the Law. These may again be divided into subsections.

Ch. -: The Call of Moses.

The Israelites living in Egypt are oppressed by forced labor,imposed upon them by a new Pharaoh who desires to destroy them (). The exposed male infant of a Levitic family (whose name, in order not to divert interest from the main story, is not given here), is found by Pharaoh's daughter, who calls him "Moses" and adopts him. Moses, grown to man's estate, sympathizes with his suffering brethren, and flees the country because he has slain an Egyptian overseer. He goes to Midian, becomes shepherd to the priest Jethro, and marries the latter's daughter Zipporah (). As he is feeding the sheep on Mount Horeb, he has a marvelous experience. God appears to him from a thorn-bush which, though burning, is not consumed. He reveals Himself as the God of the Fathers of Israel, and orders Moses to go before Pharaoh and demand the release of his brethren. God overcomes Moses' reluctance by His promises of supreme aid, and appoints his brother Aaron to be his assistant. Moses then returns to Egypt.

Ch. , : The Preparation.

As Pharaoh not only refuses Moses' request, but oppresses the people still further, Moses complains to God, who thereupon announces to him that He will now display His power and will surely liberate Israel. At this point the genealogy of Moses and his family is inserted, in order that it may not later interrupt or weaken in any way the story which follows.

Ch. -: The Plagues:

the proofs of God's power. After God has assigned their tasks to Moses and Aaron, and predicted Pharaoh's obduracy, and after they have attested their commission by working a miracle before Pharaoh (7:1-13), God sends nine plagues over Pharaoh, and his land: (1) the changing of the waters of the Nile into blood (, 7:14-25); (2) frogs (, 7:28-8:11); (3) vermin (, 8:12-15); (4) noxious animals (, 8:16-28); (5) death of the cattle (, 9:1-7); (6) boils upon men and beasts (, 9:9-12); (7) storms, killing men and beasts (, 9:13-35); (8) locusts that devour all vegetation(, 10:1-20); (9) deep darkness for three days (, 10:21-29). These plagues, which give evidence of God's power over nature, are increasingly obnoxious and dangerous, and are so arranged that every third plague (hence narrated more briefly) confirms the two preceding ones (narrated more in detail), and each group follows naturally upon the preceding one. The story displays a skilful climax, rhythm, and variety. Pharaoh, however, is untouched by the first plague, which his magicians can imitate; after the second plague, which they can reproduce, but not check, he begins to supplicate; after the third plague he allows his magicians to comfort him; from the third on he makes fresh promises after each plague, but recalls them when the danger is past, and remains obdurate.

Ch. xi-13:16: The Departure.

The last, decisive blow, namely, the death of all the first-born of the Egyptians (), and the departure are announced. For the protection of their homes the Israelites are commanded to kill a lamb () and to eat it quickly with unleavened bread () and bitter herbs (), on the 14th of the first month, and to be ready for immediate departure. The first-born of all the Egyptians die. Pharaoh dismisses the Israelites. To the number of 600,000 men, not including women and children, they leave the country, after a sojourn of 430 years, carrying with them rich gifts from benevolent Egyptians. They go first from Rameses to Succoth. Chap. 12:43—13:16 contain supplementary regulations regarding the future observance of the Passover.

Ch. 13:17-15:21: Pharaoh's Death.

Repenting his clemency, Pharaoh, with chariots and horsemen, pursues the Israelites, who have reached the shores of the Red Sea (), divinely guided by day by a pillar of cloud, and by night by a pillar of fire. The Israelites pass dry-shod through the waters, which marvelously recede before them while engulfing Pharaoh and his entire army. Moses and his people sing a song of praise to God.

Ch. 15:22-: The March to Sinai.

The Israelites journey into the desert of Shur, to Mara. The people, complaining of lack of water, are satisfied. They reach Elim. In the desert of Sin they complain of lack of food. God sends them quails, and from this time on, except on the Sabbath, sends them a daily shower of manna. Upon arrival at Rephidim the people again complain of lack of water. God gives them water from a rock ("Massah and Meribah" = "place of temptation and quarrels"; 17:7). Amalek attacks Israel and is vanquished by Joshua. God commands eternal war against Amalek. Moses' father-in-law, Jethro, having heard of Israel's deliverance, visits Moses, bringing him his wife Zipporah and their two children, whom Moses had left behind at home. On Jethro's advice Moses appoints subordinate judges.

Ch. -: Israel's Call:

the promulgation of the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai. In the third month the Israelites arrive in the desert of Sinai and encamp at the mountain. God announces to them through Moses that, having by His power liberated them, He will now constitute them His people, making them a nation of priests and a holy people. The Israelites accept this call with one accord, and after they have prepared themselves worthily, God, through Moses' mediation, and with thunder and lightning, clouds of smoke and noise of trumpets, reveals Himself to them on Mount Sinai and pronounces the ten fundamental commands of religion and morals, which are followed by a command regarding the altar.

Ch. -: The Law and the Covenant.

The Ten Commandments, formally declaring the divine will regarding man's attitude to God and to all His creatures, are followed by enactments relating to civil law: (1) indemnifications for injuries done to, a fellow man; (2) duties toward persons who have no actual claims, though they are dependent on the good will of others. In conclusion there are the promise of the land of Canaan as the reward of obedience, and the warning against the pagan inhabitants. God then enters into a solemn covenant with the people, through Moses. He calls Moses up into the mountain to receive the stone tablets of the Law and further instructions.

Ch. -: The Sanctuary and the Priests.

In order that God may dwell permanently among the Israelites, they are given instructions for erecting a sanctuary. The directions provide for: (1) a wooden ark, gilded inside andoutside, for the Tables of the Covenant, with a cover similarly gilded as "mercy seat" for the Divine Presence; (2) a gilt table for the so-called "shewbread" (); (3) a golden candlestick for a light never to be extinguished; (4) the dwelling, including the curtains for the roof, the walls made of boards resting on silver feet and held together by wooden bolts, the purple curtain veiling the Holy of Holies, the table and candlestick, and the outer curtain; (5) a sacrificial altar made of bronzed boards; (6) the outer court formed by pillars resting on bronze pedestals and connected by hooks and crossbars of silver, with embroidered curtains; (7) preparation of the oil for the candlestick. Then follow directions for the garments of the priests: (1) a shoulder-band (ephod) with two onyx stones, on each of which are engraved the names of six of the tribes of Israel, also golden chains for holding the breastplate ("ḥoshen") set with twelve precious stones, in four rows; (2) a robe for the ephod, with bells and pomegranates around the seam; (3) a golden miter plate with the inscription "Holiness to the Lord"; (4) a coat; (5) a miter; (6) a girdle. All these things are for Aaron. For his sons coats, bonnets, girdles, and linen breeches shall be made. Then follow directions for ordaining the priests, including robing, anointing (of Aaron), and a seven days' sacrifice; the institution of daily morning and evening offerings; directions for making a golden altar of incense, to be set up in front of the inner curtain, opposite the Ark of the Covenant, and on which an atonement shall be made once a year with the blood of the sin-offering; directions for a yearly tax of half a shekel to be paid by every Israelite enumerated in the census toward the expenses of this service; directions for making a laver and stand of brass, to be set up between the Tabernacle and the altar of sacrifice; the preparation of the holy oil for anointing and of the holy incense; appointment of the master workmen Bezaleel and Aboliab to direct the work; the observance of the Sabbaṭh.

The most striking point in this enumeration is the place given to the directions regarding the altar of incense, which, to agree with the arrangement as described in chaps. -, should follow the directions for making the golden candlestick (25:31-40). This has been a puzzle to the critics, who have made it the basis of the most far-reaching hypotheses. The passage was not only supposed to be a later interpolation, but it was assumed that originally there was no altar of incense, not even in Herod's temple! The riddle may be solved as follows: In - the articles are enumerated in the order in which they were set up, while here they are enumerated according to their uses. The golden altar of incense later stood in the Tabernacle, between the table and the candlestick, a fact leading to the assumption that, like them, it belonged to the Tabernacle. But as throughout ancient literature the offerings of sacrifice and incense are two independent coordinated acts of worship, so the altar of incense was, to all intents and purposes, an independent requisite of worship as important as the rest of the apparatus. For this reason everything that is necessary for the dwelling of God and the sacrifices that guarantee His presence is described first, and the altar of incense after (comp. especially Leviticus 16:16-17: first, atonement for the Holy of Holies and the "tabernacle . . . that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleannesses"; then, the cleansing and sanctifying of the altar of incense "from the uncleannesses of the children of Israel").

The sacrifice presumes God's presence, while it is the object of the incense to insure the continuation of His presence. The things, again, that must be repeatedly renewed are placed last, namely, the oil for lighting; the yearly tax; the laver with stand, consisting of mirrors, which were taken apart again after the laver had been used, and are, therefore, not enumerated in Numbers 4:14; the oil for anointing; and the incense. In conclusion, there are the directions for the workshop, the appointing of the master workman, and the arrangement of the work. These directions are admirably thought out, down to the smallest detail.

Ch. xxxii-: The Sin of the People with the Golden Calf.

While Moses is on the mountain the people become impatient and urge Aaron to make them a golden calf, which they worship with idolatrous joy. God informs Moses and threatens to abandon Israel. Moses at first intercedes for the people, but when he comes down and beholds their madness, he angrily breaks the two tablets containing the divine writing. After pronouncing judgment upon Aaron and the people he again ascends to God to implore forgiveness for them, as God is about to withdraw from them His blessed presence and to leave them unguided in the wilderness. Moses' intercession prevails. When he petitions God to tell him who will accompany them, what He intends to do, and how He will manifest His splendor, God commands him to make new tablets, and reveals Himself to Moses as a God of inexhaustible love and mercy. He assures Moses that in spite of their way wardness He will lead Israel into the Promised Land, giving Moses in token thereof new commandments applicable only to that land. He commands the Israelites not to have intercourse with the pagan natives, to refrain from all idolatry, and to appear before Him on the three pilgrimage festivals. Moses then returns to the people, who listen to him in respectful silence.

Ch. -: The Sanctuary and the Garments of the Priests

(almost in the same words as in ch. -). Moses collects the congregation, enjoins upon them the keeping of the Sabbath, and requests gifts for the sanctuary. The entire people, men and women, high and low, respond willingly and quickly, and under the direction of the superintendent they make: (1) the dwelling, including the curtains, the walls, and the veil; (2) the Ark and cover; (3) the table; (4) the golden candlestick; (5) the golden altar of incense; (6) the altar of burnt offerings; (7) the laver; (8) the outer court. An estimate of the cost of the material follows. Next comes the preparation of the garments of the priests, including: (1) the ephod with the onyx stones, together with the breastplate and its twelve precious stones and its golden chains; (2) the robe of the ephod; (3) the coats for Aaron and his sons; (4) the miter and bonnets; (5) the breeches;(6) the girdle; (7) the golden plate of the crown. Moses inspects the work when completed and praises it, and the sanctuary is set up on the first of the second month.

In connection with this section (-) the questions arise: Why the lengthy repetition of ch. -xxxi, in ch. -? and Why the difference in the order in which the various objects are described? To the first question the answer is: When the people fell away and God renounced them, the tablets of the covenant seemed to have become useless, wherefore Moses broke them. But after the people had been forgiven new tablets were made and the promises relating to the country had to be repeated. Furthermore, the promise given by God that He will dwell among Israel, in a sanctuary erected by them and in which they will worship, must not be allowed to remain unfulfilled; and therefore the building of the sanctuary that had been planned is undertaken anew, but according to the original idea. Hence ch. - belong necessarily between ch. - and - To the second question the reply is, that in -, which contain the plan, the pieces are enumerated according to the uses to which they are put, while in - (as also in the working-plans given to the overseers in 31:7 et seq.), which narrate the progress of the work, they are enumerated according to their arrangement.


Exodus contains the most fundamental anct sublime revelations of God regarding His nature and will, and describes the beginnings of the theocratic constitution of the Israelitic people and the foundations of its ethics, law, customs, and worship. God, as revealed in Exodus, is not a new, hitherto unknown God: He is the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob—the Fathers of the people—who has protected them and has been worshiped by them (Exodus 2:24; 3:6,13-18; 4:5; 6:3,8; 15:2; 32:13). He Himself designates the name by which He is to be addressed: " [Yhwh], the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob" (3:15). The book, however, expressly purposes to reveal, or fully develop, for the first time certain aspects of the divine nature that have not hitherto been noted. When God appears to Moses in the flaming bush, and commissions him, to announce to the Israelites their impending liberation, Moses asks doubtingly (3:13): "Behold when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?" Moses seeks to know, not the name of God, but what God's name, which he knows is full of significance, expresses in this particular case. Moses is well aware that the name "Yhwh" means "the Almighty," and that salvation rests with God; but in his anxiety, amounting indeed to a lack of faith, he wishes to know at once how God will save.

Revelations of God.

God, however, will not announce that now; merely comforting him by saying (3:14) ("I will be there [helping when necessary] in such a way as I may deem fit"; A. V. "I AM THAT I AM"). "I will prove myself as the Almighty, the unfailing savior." On this passage, if interpreted rightly, is based the passage 6:2, where God encourages Moses—who is disappointed because reference to this name has availed him nothing—by saying "I am Yhwh! I have revealed myself as a faithful God ["El Shaddai"] to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, without their having known me according to my name Yhwh." And now God works His miracles, all with the express intention that the people may "know that I am Yhwh" (6:7; 7:5,17; 8:6,18; 9:14,25,29; 10:2: 14:18; 16:12). Thus, God is, as His name Yhwh implies, the almighty Savior, subject only to His own will, independent, above nature and commanding it; the God of miracles; the helpful God, who uses His power for moral purposes in order to establish law and liberty in the world, by destroying the wicked and saving the oppressed (3:8; 6:6; 7:5; 15:2,3,11), in whose hands are given judgment and salvation (, , 6:1-8).

In ch. et seq. is revealed another side of God's nature. Israel has merited His destructive anger because of its sin with the golden calf. But God not only refrains from destruction and from recalling His word regarding the promised land; He even listens to Moses' prayers to grant His presence anew to the people. When Moses again asks, "Show me thy glory," God answers, "I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of Yhwh before thee, and will be gracious unto whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy unto whom I will show mercy" (33:18-19). And again, "Thou canst not see my face: for man shall not see me and live; . . . thou shalt see my back; but my face shall not be seen" (ib. 20, 23, R. V.). When God appears to Moses He reveals Himself as "Yhwh, Yhwh God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth. Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation" (34:6-7). In these words God has revealed Himself as a being full of holy zeal against wickedness—a zeal, however, which is counteracted by the immeasurably greater power of His love, mercy, and forgiveness, for these are inexhaustible. But even this does not constitute His entire nature, which in its full depth and clarity is beyond the comprehension of man.

These two revelations contain the highest and most blessed insight into the nature of God ever attained; and around them may be grouped the other statements regarding God which the book of Exodus contains.

God the Absolutely Exalted One.

God is the absolutely Exalted One, who can not be compared with any other gods; even the Midianite Jethro admits that Yhwh is greater than all gods (15:1,11; 18:11). The whole world belongs to God: He has created heaven and earth and all that is therein; He rules forever; He performs marvels; nothing like Him has ever been; hence He is an object of veneration (15:11,18; 19:5; 20:11; 34:10). He givesspeech to man, or leaves him deaf and dumb; gives him sight, or makes him blind (4:11). He has power over men's hearts, either encouraging them to do good (3:21, 11:3, 12:36), or, having larger ends in view, not preventing them from doing evil ("hardening the heart," 4:21; 7:3; 10:1,20; 14:4,17). God is omniscient: He knows the distant, the future, what man may be expected to do according to his nature (6:4-13,29; 8:11,15; 9:12,35; 24:20; 34:10-12). From God proceed artistic inspiration, wisdom, insight, knowledge, and skill (31:3; 35:31,34; 36:1,2).

God is Providence (2:25); He rewards good deeds, be they done from fear of or love for Him (1:21, 20:6). He is not indifferent to human misery; He sees and hears and intervenes at the right moment (3:7; 4:31; 6:5; 22:22,26); He makes promises which He fulfils (2:24, 3:16, 4:31, 6:5, 32:13). God is jealous and leaves nothing unpunished (20:7, 34:7); but He always punishes the sinner Himself, admitting no vicarious death, even if it is offered (32:33). His great moral indignation ("anger") against sin would be destructive (32:10,33) were not His forgiving love still greater (20:5, 32:14, 33:19). He is gracious and full of mercy (15:13, 34:6). His presence means grace; it sanctifies; for He Himself "is glorious in holiness" (15:11, 29:43).

Man can not perceive God in His entire nature; he may only look after God when He has passed by and imagine Him (Dillmann to Exodus 33:22).

Yet God reveals Himself to man; e., He informs man visibly and audibly of His presence and will. God, who has already appeared to the Fathers, appears in the flaming bush, in the pillar of cloud and of fire on the march, in the clouds in which He came down on Sinai, in the fire on the mountain, in the cloud in the desert, in the pillar of cloud on Moses' tent, in the cloud from which He calls out to Moses His attributes of grace, in the cloud and the fire that serve as signals to the Israelites to start or to encamp (6:3; 13:21; 14:19; 19:11;; 24:15,17; 33:9; 34:5; 34-36). This divine appearance is called God's message (14:19; 23:20,23; 32:34; 33:2) or His glory (16:7,10; 24:16-17; 33:22; 34).

God appears in order to make Himself known, to give commands, and to impart reverence leading to obedience (16:10, 19:9, 20:20). God speaks chiefly with Moses; He puts the words in Moses' mouth, and tells him what to say; He talks with him face to face, as a man with his neighbor, and gives him a staff as a token of his office (3:15; 4:17; 7:2,17,20; 9:23; 10:13; 33:11). But God also speaks from heaven to the entire people (20:22), and orders for Himself a permanent dwelling-place among them in the tabernacle set up according to His directions (20:22, 25:8, 29:45); He descends thither in order to talk with Moses, His especial place being the cover of the Ark of the Covenant, between the two cherubim (25:22, 29:43, 30:6).


God has made a covenant with the Fathers of the people, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, that He will multiply them as the stars of heaven; that He will remember them, save them, and give to them and their descendants the land of Canaan—a land "flowing with milk and honey," and that, shall reach "from the Red Sea even unto the sea of the Philistines, and from the desert unto the river" (2:24; 3:8,17; 6:4-8; 13:5; 23:31; 32:13; 33:3). God remembers this covenant and keeps it despite everything, as is exemplified in the deliverance of Israel and the destruction of Pharaoh (1:7,12; 3:7; 6:1; 23:20); He does not forget it, in spite of the dejection and the murmurings of the people (6:9; 14:10; 15:24; 16:2,27; 17:3), their worship of the golden calf and their obstinacy (32:9; 33:3,5; 34:9). He leads, fights for, heals, and educates Israel and destroys Israel's enemies (13:17; 14:14,25; 15:3,26; 16:4; 20:20; 23:22,23,27; 33:2, 34:11,24). The Israelites are God's people, His host, His first-born son (6:7, 7:4, 12:41, 15:16, 32:11 et seq.; 33:13,16). Yhwh will be Israel's God (6:7, 29:5). Israel is His property ("segullah"). Above all people Israel shall be His people, "a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation," if Israel will listen to God's voice and keep His covenant (19:5,6). Therefore He gives to the Israelites commandments, descends to them in His glory, holds them worthy of renewed revelations, and orders divine service (24:8, 34:27).

The Moral Law.

In Exodus are found for the first time the preeminent characteristics of the Israelitic law: its origin in and pragmatic connection with history. An account is given of the laws in connection with the events that called them forth. Thus, on the one hand, history explains and justifies the Law, while on the other the Law keeps alive and commemorates the events and teachings of history. As furthermore God is the subject of history as well as the lawgiver, Israel's religion assumes here the fundamental characteristic that determines its entire future development: it is a law founded on God as revealed in history. The basis is the Decalogue, the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17), in which all duties are designated as duties toward the God who liberated Israel from the slavery of Egypt. Israel must not recognize any other God; idolatry and the making and worshiping of images are forbidden (20:2-5,23; 23:13,24,33;; 34:12-14,17); Israel shall beware of seductive intercourse with the idolatrous Canaanites; sacrificing to idols, and magic, are punishable by death. Nor may the name of the true God be applied to vain idols (this is the only correct explanation of 20:7). God is recognized as Creator of the world by the sanctification of the Sabbath, on which man and beast shall rest from all labors (16:23 et seq., 20:7 et seq., 23:12, 31:12-17, 35:1-3), and also by the observance of the Sabbatical year (23:10). He is recognized as Israel's savior from Egyptian oppression by the celebration of the Passover (see below).

"Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee" (20:12, fifth commandment). He who strikes or insults his father or mother is punished by death (21:15,17). Honor must also be accorded to those in authority (22:27 [A. V. 28])."Thou shalt not kill" (20:13). Murder is punishable by death (21:12); there is no place of refuge for the murderer, as there is for the accidental homicide, even at the altar (21:13-14). For bodily injuries there is a fine (21:18-19,22-25,28-31).

"Thou shalt not commit adultery" (20:14). Lechery and intercourse with animals are punishable by death (22:17); the seducer of a virgin must either marry her or compensate her father (22:15 et seq.). "Thou shalt not steal" (20:15). Kidnaping is punishable by death (21:16). Killing of a burglar is justifiable. Whoever steals cattle, slaughtering and selling it, has to pay four or five times its value; if it is found alive, double; if the thief is unable to pay he is sold into slavery (21:37, 22:3). Property injured or destroyed must be made good (21:33-36, 22:4-14).

"Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor" (20:16). Justice, veracity, impartiality, honesty in court, are enjoined (23:1,2,6-8). An oath is demanded where there is suspicion of a default (22:7 et seq.).

"Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbor's (20:17).

The duties to one's neighbor include both kindly deeds and kindly thoughts. The poor man must be cared for: justice shall be done to him; loans shall be made to him; and he shall not be pressed for payment, nor shall the necessaries of life be taken in pawn (22:24 et seq.). Widows and orphans shall not be oppressed; for God is their advocate (22:21). Strangers shall not be injured or oppressed; "for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt" (22:20, 23:9); they also shall rest on the Sabbath (20:10). A Hebrew bond-servant shall not serve longer than six years, unless he himself chooses to remain. He may not earn any wages for himself while serving. The master of a girl that has been sold into servitude shall marry her or give her a dower. Servants are to be set free on receiving bodily injuries; and death caused by an animal is requited (21:1-11,20,21,26,27,32). Servants also shall rest on the Sabbath (20:10, 23:12). Animals shall be treated gently (23:4,5,19), and be allowed to rest on the Sabbath (20:10; 23:12). Consideration for an enemy is enjoined (23:4,5). To do these commandments is to obey God (15:26, 16:28, 20:6, xxiii, 13). Israel shall trust in Him (-, 14:31, , 17:7, 19:9); and in a significant passage (20:6) the love for God is accentuated.


In Exodus the beginnings of the national cult are seen. It is strictly forbidden to make or worship idols (20:3,23; 23:24;; 34:13,17). The symbol of the Divine Presence is the Tabernacle built according to God's directions, more especially the cover of the Ark of the Covenant and the space between the cherubim thereon (see see TABERNACLE). Worship by specially sanctified priests shall be observed in this sanctuary (LEVITICUS). The festivals include the Sabbath, for which no ritual is mentioned, and three "pilgrimage festivals," at which all males are to appear before God (23:14-17, 34:18-23).

The Passover is discussed in detail, a large part of the book being devoted to its institution (12:1-28,43-50; 13:1-16; 23:15; 34:18-20); and its historical origin is to be brought home to all future generations (12:2,14,17,24-27,42; 13:5-10,16; see MAẒẒAH; see PesaḤ; SEDER). Toward evening of the 14th day of the first month a yearling male lamb or kid without blemish shall be slaughtered, roasted by the fire, and eaten at the family dinner, together with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. It must be roasted whole, with the legs and entrails, and no bones must be broken; none of the meat must be carried from the house, but whatever remains until morning must be burned. In connection with this there is a seven days' festival (), the Feast of Maẓẓot (unleavened bread). This bread shall be eaten for seven days, from the 14th to the 21st of the first month (the month of Abib, in which Israel went out from Egypt; 23:15, 34:18). It is strictly forbidden to partake of anything leavened; it must be removed from the house on the first day. The first and the seventh day are strictly days of rest, on which only necessary food may be prepared. The sanctification of the firstlings that belong to God is also connected with the Passover. The first-born child, and that of the ass, which can not be sacrificed, must be redeemed by a lamb (13:1 et seq., 22:28, 34:19 et seq.). Other festivals are (1) the cutting of the first-fruits of the harvest ("Ḥag ha-Ḳaẓir") or the Feast of Weeks ("Ḥag Shabu'ot"), and (2) the harvest-home ("Ḥag ha-Asif") at the end of the year, after the harvest has been gathered in (23:16, 34:22). At these festivals the people must not appear empty-handed before God; they must not mix the blood of the Passover sacrifice with leavened bread, nor leave the sacrifice until the morning; they must take the firstlings of the field into the house of God, and must not seethe the kid in its mother's milk (23:18,19; 34:25,26). The tithes from the barn and the vineyard must not be delayed. Animals torn in the field ("ṭerefah") must not be eaten, but must be thrown to the dogs, for "ye shall be holy men" (22:28-30; A. V. 29-31).

E. G. H.
B. J.

—Critical View I.:

The Book of Exodus, like the other books of the Hexateuch, is of composite origin, being compiled of documents originally distinct, which have been excerpted and combined by a redactor (PENTATEUCH). The two main sources used in Exodus are the one now generally known as "JE," the chief component parts of which date probably from the seventh or eighth century B.C., and the one denoted by "P," which is generally considered to have been written during or shortly after the Babylonian captivity. The former of these sources is in tone and character akin to the writings of the great prophets; the latter is evidently the work of a priest, whose chief interest it was to trace to their origin, and describe with all needful particularity, the ceremonial institutions of his people. It is impossible, within the limits of the present article, to state the details of the analysis, at least in what relates to the line of demarcation between J and E, or to discuss the difficult problems which arise inconnection with the account of the legislation contained in JE (- and -); but the broad and important line of demarcation between P and JE may be indicated, and the leading characteristics of the principal sources may be briefly outlined.

The parts of Exodus which belong to P are: 1:1-5,7,13-14, 2:23b-25 (the oppression); 6:2-7:13 (commission of Moses, with genealogy, 6:14-27); 7:19-20a, 21b-22, 8:1-3,11b-15 (A.V. 5-7, 15b-19), 9:8-12, 11:9-10 (the plagues); 12:1-20,28,37a, 40, 41, 43-51, 13:1-2,20 (Passover, maẓẓot, dedication of first-born); 14:1-4,8-9,15-18,21a, c, 22-23, 26-27a, 28a-29 (passage of Red Sea); 16:1-3,6-24,31-36 (the manna); 17:1a, 19:1-2a (journey to Sinai); 24:15-18a, 25:1-31:18a (instructions respecting the Tabernacle); 34:29-35, - (the construction and erection of the Tabernacle). The rest of the book consists of J and E, which (before they were combined with P) were united into a whole by a redactor, and at the same time, it seems, expanded in parts (especially in the legal portions) by hortatory or didactic additions, approximating in style to Deuteronomy.

Characteristics of JE.

In JE's narrative, particularly in the parts belonging to J, the style is graphic and picturesque, the descriptions are vivid and abound in detail and colloquy, and both emotion and religious feeling are warmly and sympathetically expressed. As between J and E, there are sometimes differences in the representation. In the account of the plagues, for instance, the Israelites are represented by J as living apart in Goshen (8:18 [A. V. 22], 9:26; compare Genesis 45:10, 46:28, etc.; also J); and the plagues are sent by Yhwh at a specified time announced beforehand to Pharaoh by Moses. In E the Israelites are represented, not as occupying a district apart, but as living side by side with the Egyptians (3:22, 11:2, 12:85 et seq.); and the plague is brought to pass on the spot by Moses with his rod (7:20b; 9:23; 10:12,13a; compare 4:2,17,20b; xvii, 5; also E) or his hand (10:22). An interesting chapter belonging to E is , which presents a picture of Moses legislating. Disputes arise among the people; they are brought before Moses for settlement; and his decisions are termed "the statutes and directions ["torot"] of God." It was the office of the priests afterward to give direction () upon cases submitted to them, in matters both of civil right (Deuteronomy 17:17) and of ceremonial observance (ib. 24:8; Haggai 2:11-13); and it is difficult not to think that in Exodus there is a genuine historical tradition of the manner in which the nucleus of Hebrew law was created by Moses himself.

JE's account of the Sinaitic legislation is contained in 19:3-24:14,18b; 31:18b-34:28. This narrative, when examined attentively, discloses manifest marks of composite structure. The greater part of it belongs tolerably clearly to E, viz.: 19:3-19; -23:33 (expanded in parts by the compiler); 24:3-8,12-14,18b; 31:18b; 32:1-8 (9-14, probably compiler), 15-35; 33:5-11. To J belong 19:20-25, 24:1-2,9-11 (fragments of an account of the theophany on Sinai); and 33:1-4, 33:12-34:28 appear also to be based upon J, but amplified by the compiler. A particularly noticeable passage in E's narrative is 33:7-11, which preserves the oldest representation of the "Tent of Meeting"; it was outside the camp (compare Numbers 11:16,17,24-30; 12:4; also E; and contrast the representation of P in Numbers 2 et seq.); the youthful Joshua was its keeper; and Moses from time to time repaired to it for the purpose of communing with Yhwh. Evidently the Tent of Meeting, as pictured by E, was a much simpler structure than it is in the representation of P (-, etc.), just as the altar (20:24-26), feasts, etc. (23:10-19), presented by E, reflect the usage of a simpler, more primitive age than do the corresponding regulations in P.

The laws of JE are contained in 12:2127 (Passover); 13:3-16 (maẓẓot and consecration of first-born); 20:1-17 (the Decalogue); 20:22-23:33 (the "Book of the Covenant"; see 24:7); and the repetition (with slight verbal differences, and the addition in 34:12-17 of more specific warnings against idolatry) of 13:12-13, and of the theocratic section of the Book of the Covenant (23:10-19) in 34:10-26 (sometimes called the "Little Book of the Covenant"). The Decalogue and the Book of the Covenant both belong in particular to E.

These laws have in many places had parenetic additions made to them by the compiler (e.g., much of 13:3-16; the explanatory comments in 20:4-6,9-11,12b, 17; 22:21b, 22; 23:23-25a). The laws in 34:10-26 are introduced ostensibly as embodying the conditions for the renewal of the Covenant after it had been broken by the sin of the golden calf; but it is generally supposed that originally they formed a separate collection, which was introduced independently, in slightly different recensions, into E in 23:10-19, and into J here, and which probably, when J was complete, stood as part of J's direct sequel to 24:1-2,9-11. Further, although by the author of 34:1-28 in its present form (see verse 1b), the "ten commandments" (Hebr. "ten words") of verse 28b are evidently intended to be the Decalogue of 20:1-17, yet the natural subject of "And he wrote" in verse 28 is "Moses" (compare verse 27); hence it is also inferred by many critics that, in the original context of verse 28, the "ten words" were the preceding group of laws (verses 10-26), which, though now expanded by the compiler, would in that case have comprised originally ten particular injunctions (the "ritual Decalogue" of J, as opposed to the "moral Decalogue" of E in 20:1-17). Whatever the true explanation of the double appearance of this little group of laws may be, it is in any case the earliest existing formulation of what were regarded at the time as the essential ritual observances of the religion of Yhwh.

Characteristics of P.

The literary and other characteristics of P are, mutatis mutandis, the same in Exodus as in other parts of the Hexateuch. The same or similar stereotyped formulas appear; and (as a reference to the synopsis above will show) there is the same disposition to reduce the account of ordinary events to a bare summary, but to enlarge upon everything connected with ceremonial institutions. In - the narrative of P runs parallel to that of JE; and the compiler has sometimes preserved divergent versions of the same events. Thus, if 6:2-7:13 be compared carefully with 3:1-6:1, it will be seen not to describe the sequel of it, but to contain a parallel and partly divergent account of the commission of Moses and of the preliminary steps taken by him to secure the release of the people. In the narrative of the plagues there aresystematic differences between P and JE: thus in P Aaron cooperates with Moses; no demand for Israel's release is ever made upon Pharaoh, the plagues being viewed rather merely as signs or proofs of power; the description is brief; the success or failure of the Egyptian magicians (who are mentioned only in this narrative) is noted, and the hardening of Pharaoh's heart is expressed by the verb "ḥhazaḳ," "ḥizzaḳ" (this verb is used also by E; but J has regularly "kabed," "hikbid"), In - the double strand is particularly evident: Passover, maẓẓot, narrative, and the dedication of the first-born are all in duplicate (in P, 12:1-13 [43-50 supplementary], 14-20, 28, 37a, 40-41, 51; 13:1-2: in JE, xii, 21-27 (which careful comparison will show to be not really the sequel of 12:1-13), 29-36, 37b-39, 42a; 13:3-10,11-16).

The most characteristic part of P is, however, the account of the instructions given to Moses on the Mount (24:15-18a) for the construction of the Tabernacle and the appointment of a priesthood (-). These instructions fall into two parts: (1) -; (2) - In - the following subjects are dealt with: the Ark, table of show-bread, and candlestick (); the Tabernacle ("mishkan"), its curtains, boards, and veil (); the altar of burnt offering, and the court (); the dress of the priests (); the ritual for their consecration, and for the daily burnt offering, which it is a primary duty of the priesthood to maintain (29:1-42); and finally what is apparently the formal close of the entire body of instructions, Yhwh's promise to take up His abode in the sanctuary thus established (29:43-46). Chapters - contain directions respecting the altar of incense, the maintenance of public worship, the brazen laver, the anointing-oil, the incense (); the nomination of Bezaleel and Aholiab, and the observance of the Sabbath (). While now it is not doubted that -, with unimportant exceptions, form part of the original legislation of P, it is generally held by critics that - belong to a secondary and posterior stratum of it, reflecting a later stage of ceremonial usage. The chief reason for this conclusion is the manner in which the altar of incense is introduced (31:1-10). If such an altar had been contemplated by the author of -, he must, it is argued, have introduced it in , together with the other furniture of the Holy Place, and also mentioned it in 26:33-35; moreover, he would naturally, in such a case, have distinguished the altar described in 27:1-8 from the altar of incense, and not have spoken of it simply as thealtar.

This conclusion respecting the secondary character of the altar of incense appears to be confirmed by the fact that in the other laws of P there is a stratum in which such an altar is not recognized (for instance, 16). There are also other indications tending to show that - belong to a posterior stratum of P, as compared with - Chapters xxxv- describe, largely in the same words as - (the tenses alone being altered), but with several differences of order, how the instructions given there to Moses were carried out. In these chapters the altar of incense and the brazen laver (30:17-21) are introduced in the places which they would naturally be expected to occupy, namely, in the descriptions of the Holy Place and the court respectively (37:25-28, 38:8). It follows that if - belong to a secondary stratum of P, the same must be true of - The later origin of - seems to be further supported by the fact that the Septuagint version of these chapters is not by the same hand as the rest of the book; so that presumably they were not in the manuscript used by the original translators. The chapters, if this view is correct, have taken the place of a much briefer account of the manner in which the construction of the Tabernacle was carried out.

P's Representation of the Tabernacle Unhistorical.

P's representation of the Tabernacle and its appointments can not be historical. The lsraelites in the wilderness had undoubtedly an "ohel mo'ed"; but it was the simple "ohel mo'ed" of E (Exodus 33:7-11; Numbers 11, ), not the costly and elaborate structure described by P. P's representation is the embodiment of an ideal; it is a "product of religious idealism," constructing for the Mosaic age, upon the basis of traditions or reminiscences of the Temple of Solomon, a shrine such as might be adequate to Yhwh's majesty, and worthily symbolize His presence in the midst of His people (compare Ottley, "Aspects of the O. T." p. 226).

  • The introductions to the O. T. by Kuenen, Driver, Holzinger, König, Cornill, Baudissin;
  • the commentaries of Dillmann, Baentsch (1900), Holzinger (1900), and A. R. S. Kennedy (forthcoming);
  • C. A. Briggs, The Higher Criticism of the Hexateuch, 1897;
  • Carpenter and Harford-Battersby, The Hexateuch, Oxford, 1900, especially 2:79-143 (text of Exodus, with the sources distinguished typographically, and full critical notes);
  • G. F. Moore, Exodus, in Cheyne and Black, Encyc. Bibl. (where further literature is referred to).

E. G. H.
S. R. D.

—Critical View II.:

The critical problems and hypotheses that Exodus shares with the other books, such as the historical value of the accounts; authorship; relation to the later books; age, origin, and character of the alleged sources, can not be discussed here now; the analysis of sources of Exodus can alone be treated. According to the critics of the Pentateuch, Exodus, like all the other books of the Torah, possesses no unity, having been compiled from different sources at different times, the various parts being then revised finally by one redactor (R); the same sources as those for Genesis furnish the material, namely, J (Jahvist), E (Elohist), and P (Priestly Code), in which again several strata must be distinguished, as P2, P3, P4, J1, J2, E1, E2, etc. It is not necessary to refer to all the suggestions that have been made; the analyses of sources by Kuenen and Cornill are chiefly treated here (Kuenen: Introduction; § 5; § 6, 2-15; § 8, 10-13; § 13, 12 et seq.; § 16, 12; Cornill: Introduction; § 7; § 11, 4; § 12; § 13, 2, 8; § 14, 1, 2, 3.

To P2 is assigned, according to Kuenen: 1:1-7,13,14; 2:23-25; 6:2-12 (13-28 interrupt the course of the story and are by a later reviser; they are, according to Wellhausen, unskilfully inserted and amplified); 7:1-13,19,20a (21c ?), 22; 8:1-3,11b, 12-15; 9:8-12 (35 ?); 11:9-10; 12:1-20,28,40revision , 41revision, 43-51 (13:20 ?); 14:1-4,8,9,10 (inpart), 15-18, 21 (in part), 22, 23, 26, 27 (in part), 28, 29; ("this chapter has been subsequently revised and completed") (17:1; 19:2a ?); 24:15-18a; - "follow in natural and regular order, and may have been arranged in this way by the author himself," but (§ 16, 12) contain many interpolations by R.

Ch. , 31:1-17, in which "the connection is looser, or is wanting altogether; and in which there are contained regulations that do not harmonize with what has preceded, and that are not presupposed later where they would naturally be mentioned . . . probably contain later additions, harmonizing in style with -, but not composed by the same author." To P4 are assigned ch. - (and also Leviticus 8), which "depend entirely on -, which the author must have had before him." They formed "originally a very brief account of the observance of the regulations laid down in et seq.; they seem to have been gradually worked out, and then made as similar to those regulations as possible. The striking variations found in the Greek translation of - lead to the assumption that the final redaction of these chapters was hardly completed—if indeed it was completed—when that translation was made, e., about 250 B.C." This entire theory regarding -, - is based on Popper's work, which the other critics also follow.

Cornill, who includes the later parts of P2 under the general designation Px, assigns to the Priestly Code the following portions: 1:1-5,7revision , 13, 14 revision; 2:23revision, 24-25; essentially (13-30 = Px): 7:1-13,19,20a revision, 21b-22; 8:1-3,11a, b-15; 9:8-12; 11:9-10; 12:1-20,28,37 revision, 40-41, 43-51 (15-20 and 43-50 = Px); 13:1-2; 14:1-4,8,9b, 10a, b, 15 revision, 16-18, 21-23essentially, 26-28aa, 28 revision, 29; 16:1-3,6-7,9-18 revision, 20, 22a, b-24, 32-35a; 17:1a; 19:1 revision, 2a; 24:15-18aa; 25:1-31:18a (28:41 belongs surely to Px, as do perhaps also other shorter additions to -; and - entire); 34:29-35 (?); - (entirely Px).

It is much more difficult in what remains to distinguish between the closely related J and E. Passages relatively complete in themselves are: (1) ch. -, the so-called "Book of the Covenant"; it belongs to E, though dating from an earlier time, and was found by him and incorporated in his work; (2) the story of the golden calf (-), J and E sharing about equally in the account; (3) the Decalogue and the preparations for it (, ), chiefly E, but J also has a Decalogue tradition, its Ten Commandments being found in 34:14-26 (Wellhausen). E1, originally composed in the Northern Kingdom, must be distinguished from E2; the latter was compiled about 100 years later for Judah, and was worked over with J to form JE, many passages of which can no longer be analyzed.

E: Kuenen: Traces of E are found in (15-21, and apparently also 8-12, "is generally included in E"); in "there is great difference of opinion" on the origin of verses 1-23 (according to Jülicher verses 1-22 are taken from E; according to Dillmann 1-14 from E and 15-23a from J. Wellhausen takes the story on the whole to be a combination from J and E.) This document appears especially clear, though not without admixture, in 3:1-15, a section that, as complement to 6:2 et seq. (P), also explains the use of "Elohim" in the account of the pre-Mosaic time taken from E. In the following "the traces are only with difficulty distinguished: in 3:16- only here and there with any certainty." (Dillmann includes in E: the greater part of 3:16-22; 4:17,20b, 18, 21; the greater part of; 7:15,16,17b, 20b, 21a, 23 in part, 24; 8:16a, 21-24a, 25b; 9:22,23a, 24a, 25b (?), 31, 32, 35; 10:8-13a, 14 in part, 15 in part, 20, 21-27; 11:1-3; 12:31-33,37b, 38. Jülicher includes: 4:17,18,20b: 5:1,2,5; 7:17 in part, 18, 20 in part, and 21, 24, 25a; 8:21b, 22, 23; 9:22,23a, 24 and 28 in part, 35; 10:7,8-11,12,13a, 14a, 15a, 20, 21-27, 28, 29; 11:1-7; 12:32,35-38.) E is found again in: 13:17-19,21,22; 14:19a (19b ?); 15:22-26; 17:1b-7, 8-16; Also 19:9a, 10-17; 20:18-21,1-17 (in this order); this—the so-called "first"—the Decalogue, with the historical matter connected with it in -, belongs to E2. From the Book of the Covenant 24:1,2,9-14,18a, and various other passages, belong to E, as does also the story of Israel's apostasy at Sinai, which appears enlarged and connected with other stories in -, belonging originally to E2.

Cornill: 1:11-12,15-22 essentially; 2:1-10 essentially; 3:1-15essentially, 21-22; 4:17,18,20b; 7:15b, 17b-18, 20b-21a, 24; 9:22-23a, 24brevision, 25b, 31-32, 35; 10:12-13aa, 14aa, b, 15b, 20-23, 25 (?); 11:1-3; 12:35-36,37revision; 13:17-19; 14:7-9a,β, 10a, β, 19a, 20 (?); 15:20-26essentially; xvii-essentially; 31:18b; essentially; 33:1-11revision; 34:1a,4 revision, 28b revision (?). In - only 19:13b (perhaps); 24:1-2,9-11; and 33:7-10 belong to E1.

J, according to Kuenen, is represented in - by accounts parallel with those of E, but which can not now be distinguished; "but it is doubtful whether J contributed anything to the account of the laws promulgated at Mount Sinai and of the defection of Israel, - and -" (Wellhausen finds J in: 19:20-25; 20:23-26; -; 24:3-8; Dillmann, in: 19:9a, 20-25 [20:1-17, perhaps under a different form]; 24:1,2; 34:10-27; fragments in 24:3-8,9-11,12 in part, 18b; 32:1-14,19b-24, 30-34; also in 33:1-6,12,13,18-23; 33:14-17; 34:1-9.)

Cornill: 1:6,7a,b, 8-10, 14a,β, 20b, 22 (?); 2:11-23aa; 3:16-20; 4:1-12,19,20a, 24-26, 29revision, 30revision, 31; essentially; 6:1; 7:14-15a, 16-17a, 23, 25, 29; 8:4revision, 5-7, 8revision, 9-11aa, 16-20, 21 revision, 22-28; 9:1-7,13-21,23b, 24 revision, 25a, 26, 27 revision, 28-30, 33; essentially; 11:4-8; 12:21-27essentially, 29-39essentially, 42a; 13:3-16essentially, 21-22; 14:5-6,9aa, 10ba, 11-14, 19b, 21a,β, 24-25, 27 revision, 28b, 30-31; 16:4-5,16a,β, 18b, 21-22aa; 25-31essentially, 35b; 17:1a,b, 2, 7; 19:2b, 7, 9-11, 18, 20-21, 22b, 25a; 33:12-23essentially (?); 34:1a revision, 2-3, 4 revision, 5, 6a, 8, 10-28essentially.


Editions (according to Cornill): In the first place J and E were combined into one book (JE) by one redactor (RJE). He greatly revised , and may have added the marching song 15:1-19 ("it is entirely improbable that it was composed at the time the event itself took place"). He also did much editing of the pericope dealing with the legislation (-). He used E2 throughout as foundation, supplementing it with J; he omitted entirely the second Decalogue in J, incorporating what he thought valuable in the Book of the Covenant, 23:15-19, and reduced -, on the whole, to its present form. A second redactor then combined (the later) Deuteronomy with JE ( = JE + D). He added 4:21-23; in the story of the Egyptian plagues (10:2) "there is at least a Deuteronomistic, touch"; he also added 8:18b and 9:29b, and probably revised 9:14-16. He greatly revised 12:21-27, 13:3-16, 15:26, , and 18:20b. He transferred, according to Kuenen, the Book of the Covenant to Mount Sinai in order to get room for Deuteronomy, being responsible, therefore, for all the confusion caused thereby—for example, the transferring of 20:18-21 from its original position before, to its present position after, 20:1-17; the transition to the Book of the Covenant as found in 20:22,23; and the peculiar form of 24:1-15a. Ch. 19:3b-8 is also specifically Deuteronomic, as well as the revisions of the Book of the Covenant with the final admonitions in 23:22b-25a, 27, 31b-33, and the revision of the second Decalogue, which RJE transferred to the Book of the Covenant.

A third redactor, who combined JED with P, thus practically producing the Pentateuch (RP), added 4:13-16 and 27-28, revised 29-30, and in - added everywhere the name of Aaron (which was not includedat all originally!). He or Px (see ante) added 6:13-30. It is more difficult to ascertain the method of his revision of 12:40-42. To he transferred (in consideration of JE) a passage by P on the manna, which originally was placed after the revelation on Sinai (the reason assigned for this assumption on the part of the critics is that verse 34 presupposes the Tabernacle; but this verse is as much merely an anticipatory comment as is 35). He added to the fragment of the Jahvistic miraculous story of the spring in order to make room for P in Numbers 20 He added finally the repeated phrase "the tables of testimony," 31:18, 34:29, and in he omitted the Elohistic account of the making of the Ark of the Covenant. It is often doubtful whether a revision was made by RP or by P3, 4, 5—RP is himself a priestly redactor.

Errors of Critical School.

All these and similar analyses of the sources of Exodus and the conclusions based thereon are entirely wrong. However rich and many-sided may have been the traditions from which the author drew his material, the book from beginning to end is composed and arranged according to a predetermined plan. The fundamental errors of the critical views are these: (1) The distinction made between J and E is erroneous, resting as it does on the varying use of the divine names "Yhwh" and "Elohim"; this use does not indicate a difference in authorship, but is due to the different meanings of the two names, the choice of which is carefully considered in each case. The statement that E uses in 3:15 the name "Yhwh" for the first time, is due to a wrong interpretation; it is based on the Alexandrian-Essenic-Christian-Gnostic common superstition of the power of names and mere words, which, going back to Egyptian antiquity, is strongly marked in the New Testament—and hence naturally influences modern scholars—but is entirely foreign to the Old Testament. The verses 6:2 et seq. are likewise interpreted wrongly. (2) An entirely insufficient argument is the alleged further variations of the language; for this presupposes the point to be proved. This argument turns in a circle: the critics seek to prove different sources by the variations of language, and vice versa. Moreover, the vocabulary is too limited for such assertions. (3) The differences of style and treatment do not indicate different authors, but are called forth by the different subjects. The account of the Tabernacle demanded technical details; while the stories of the deliverance from Egypt and of the revelation on Sinai prompted a strong, energetic, and thoughtful style. A separation into JE and P is not admissible. (4) All suggestions of reduplications, differences, and contradictions show an insufficient insight into the spirit and intentions of the author. Ch. -, for example, appear, on close investigation, to be an indissolubly united passage, from which not one word may be omitted. The same holds good of the story of the Egyptian miracles (-), the arrangement of which the critics have entirely misunderstood. The critics have refuted their own argument by making as a criterion of the division of this narrative into J and E the very want of definite scheme which is, according to them, characteristic of J and E.

The Book of the Covenant (-) is a unified piece of work, with logical connections that are admirably established. The alleged double tradition of the revelation, and especially Wellhausen's so-called second Decalogue in ch. , are mere figments of the brain. The inadequacy of these criticisms is most striking in the review of the account of the Tabernacle, in the sequence of the passages - and - and their connection with - (5) The theory that the book was compiled from previous works is not sufficiently supported; and the attempt to analyze it into its component parts is a hopeless one, for all the elements of the book are closely welded together into one harmonious whole. Compare Deuteronomy.

  • The commentaries: M. Kalisch, 1855;
  • A. Knobel, 1857 (2d ed. by A. Dillmann, 1880;
  • 3d ed. by V. Ryssel, 1897);
  • J. P. Lange, 1874;
  • Rawlinson, 2d ed., 1882;
  • H. L. Strack, 1894;
  • B. Baentsch, 1899.
  • Criticism: Th. Nöldeke, Untersuchungen zur Kritik des Alten Testaments, 1869;
  • Colenso, The Pentateuch and Book of Joshua, , 1872;
  • A. Kayser, Das Vorexilische, Buch der Urgesch. Israels und Seine Erweiterungen, 1874;
  • Wellhausen, Die Composition des Hexateuch und der Historischen Bücher des Alten Testaments, 1876-77, 2d ed. 1889;
  • A. Jülicher, Die Quellen von Exodus, -7:7,1880;
  • idem, Die Quellen von Exodus, 7:8-24:11, in Jahrb. für Protestantische Theologie, 1882, 8:79-177,272-315;
  • A. Kuenen, in Theologische Tijdschrift, 1880, 14:281-302 (Exodus 16);
  • ib. 1881, 15:164-223, (Israel at Sinai, Exodus 19-, -);
  • Cornill, in Stade's Zeitschrift, 1881, (on the relation of Exodus 17:1-7 to Numbers 20:1-13);
  • E. Bertheau, Die Sieben Gruppen Mosaischer Gesetze, etc., 1840;
  • Bruston, Les Quatre Sources des Lois de l'Exode, in Revue de Théologie et de Philosophie, 1883, 16:329-369;
  • idem, Des Cinq Documents de la Loi Mosaïque, 1892;
  • J. W. Rothstein, Das Bundesbuch und die Religionsgesch. Entwickelung Israels, 1888 (designates Exodus 21 et seq. as a commentary to the Decalogue);
  • Budde, Die Gesetzgebung der Mittleren Bücher des Pentateuch, Insbesondere der Quellen J und E, in Stade's Zeitschrift, 1891, 11:193-234;
  • idem, Bemerkungen zum Bundesbuch, in ib. pp. 99 et seq.;
  • B. W. Bacon, JE in the Middle Books of the Pentateuch, in Jour. Bib. Lit. 1890, ix a, 161-200 (Exodus 7-);
  • ib. 1891, x b, 107-130 (Exodus 1-);
  • ib. xi b. 1892, 177-200 (Exodus 12:37-17:16);
  • ib. 1893, xii a, 23-46 (Exodus 18-);
  • idem, The Triple Tradition of the Exodus, Hartford, 1894;
  • B. Baentsch, Das Bundesbuch, 1892 (Exodus 20:23-23:33);
  • L. B. Paton, The Original Form of the Book of the Covenant, in Jour. Bib. Lit. 1893, xii b, 79-93;
  • Briggs, Higher Criticism of the Hexateuch, 1893, Appendix,;
  • idem, The Greater Book of the Covenant, etc., pp. 211-232;
  • R. Kraetzschmar, Die Bundesvorstellung im A. T. 1896, pp. 70-99;
  • Steuernagel, Der Jehovistische, Bericht über den Bundesschluss am Sinai (Exodus 19-, 31:18, 34:28), in Studien und Kritiken, 1899, p. 319.
  • On the Decalogue in particular: Franz Delitzsch, Der Dekalog in Exodus und Deuteronomium, in Zeitschrift für Kirchliche Wissenschaft, 1882, 3:281-299;
  • O. Naumann, Der Dekalog und das Sinaitische Bundesbuch, ib. 1888, pp. 551-571;
  • C. G. Monteflore, Recent Criticism upon Moses and the Pentateuchal Narratives of the Decalogue, in J. Q. R. 1891, 11:251-291;
  • Briggs, The Higher Criticism, Appendix, 3:181-187;
  • O. Meissner, Der Dekalog, 1893.
  • On the question of the division of the Ten Commandments: Dillmann, c. p. 221. On the Tabernacle: J. Popper, Der Biblische Bericht über die Stiftshütte, 1862;
  • Delitzsch, in Zeitschrift für Kirchliche Wissenschaft und Kirchliches Leben, 1880, 1:57-66,622;
  • Green, in Presbyterian and Reformed Review, 5:69-88;
  • A. Klostermann, in Neue Kirchliche Zeitscrift, 1897, pp. 48-77, 228-253, 289-328, 353-383;
  • introductions by Kuenen, Cornill, Strack, Driver, König, Baudissin, and especially Holzinger, Einleitung in den Hexateuch, 1893.
B. J.
Bibliography Information
Singer, Isidore, Ph.D, Projector and Managing Editor. Entry for 'Exodus, Book of'. 1901 The Jewish Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/​encyclopedias/​eng/​tje/​e/exodus-book-of.html. 1901.
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