Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible 
Exodus . The book relates the history of Israel from the death of Joseph to the erection of the Tabernacle in the second year of the Exodus. In its present form, however, it is a harmony of three separate accounts.
1. The narrative of P [Note: Priestly Narrative.] . which can be most surely distinguished, is given first.
Beginning with a list of the sons of Israel ( Exodus 1:1-5 ), it briefly relates the oppression ( Exodus 1:7; Exodus 1:13 f., Exodus 2:23-25 ), and describes the call of Moses, which takes place in Egypt, the revelation of the name Jahweh , and the appointment of Aaron ( Exodus 6:1 to Exodus 7:13 ). The plagues ( Exodus 7:10; Exodus 7:20 a, Exodus 7:21 b, Exodus 7:22 , Exodus 8:5-7; Exodus 8:15-19 , Exodus 9:8-12 , Exodus 11:9 f.), which are wrought by Aaron, forma trial of strength with Pharaoh’s magicians. The last plague introduces directions for the Passover, the feast of unleavened bread, the sanctification of the firstborn; and the annual Passover ( Exodus 12:1-20; Exodus 12:28; Exodus 12:40-51 , Exodus 13:1 f.). Hence emphasis is laid, not on the blood-sprinkling, but on the eating, which was the perpetual feature.
The route to the Red Sea (which gives occasion to a statement about the length of the sojourn. Exodus 12:40 f.) is represented as deliberately chosen in order that Israel and Egypt may witness Jahweh’s power over Pharaoh ( Exodus 12:37 , Exodus 13:20 , Exodus 14:1-4 ). When Moses stretches out his hand, the waters are miraculously divided and restored ( Exodus 14:8 f, Exodus 14:15 a, Exodus 14:21-22 Exodus 14:21-22 f., Exodus 14:26-27 a, Exodus 14:28 a, Exodus 15:19 ).
Between the Red Sea and Sinai the names of some halting places are given ( Exodus 16:1-3 , Exodus 17:1 a, Exodus 19:2 a). Ch. 16 is also largely ( Exodus 16:6-13 a, Exodus 16:16-24; Exodus 16:31-36 ) from P [Note: Priestly Narrative.] . But the mention of the Tabernacle in Exodus 16:34 proves the story to belong to a later date than the stay at Sinai, since the Tabernacle was not in existence before Sinai. Probably the narrative has been brought into its present position by the editor.
On the arrival at Sinai, Jahweh’s glory appears in a fiery cloud on the mountain. As no priests have been consecrated, and the people must not draw near, Moses ascends alone to receive the tables of the testimony ( Exodus 24:15-18 a) written by Jahweh on both sides. He remains (probably for 40 days) to receive plans for a sanctuary, with Jahweh’s promise to meet with Israel (in the Tent of Meeting) and to dwell with Israel (in the Tabernacle) ( Exodus 25:1 to Exodus 31:18 a, Exodus 32:15 ). He returns ( Exodus 34:29-35 ), deposits the testimony in an ark he has caused to be prepared, and constructs the Tabernacle ( Exodus 34:35 ). The differing order in the plans as ordered and as executed, and the condition of the text in the LXX [Note: Septuagint.] , prove that these sections underwent alterations before reaching their present form.
This account was evidently written for men who were otherwise acquainted with the leading facts of the history. It is dominated by two leading interests: (1) to insist in its own way that everything which makes Israel a nation is due to Jahweh, so that the religion and the history are interwoven; (2) to give a history of the origins, especially of the ecclesiastical institutions, of Israel.
2. The narrative of JE [Note: Jewish Encyclopedia.] . The rest of the book is substantially from JE [Note: Jewish Encyclopedia.] , but it is extremely difficult to distinguish J [Note: Jahwist.] from E [Note: Elohist.] . For (1) with the revelation of the name of Jahweh, one of our criteria, the avoidance of this name by E [Note: Elohist.] disappears; (2) special care has been taken to weld the accounts of the law-giving together, and it is often difficult to decide how much is the work of the editor. We give the broad lines of the separation, but remark that in certain passages this must remain tentative.
A. Israel in Egypt
According to J [Note: Jahwist.] , the people are cattle-owners, living apart in Goshen, where they increase so rapidly as to alarm Pharaoh ( Exodus 1:6; Exodus 1:8-12 ). Moses, after receiving his revelation and commission in Midian ( Exodus 2:11-22 , Exodus 3:2-4 a, Exodus 3:7 Exodus 3:7 f., Exodus 3:16-20 , Exodus 4:1-16; Exodus 4:19-20 a, Exodus 4:24-26 a, Exodus 4:29-31 ), demands from Pharaoh liberty to depart three days’ journey to sacrifice ( Exodus 5:3; Exodus 5:5-23 ). On Pharaoh’s refusal, the plagues, which are natural calamities brought by Jahweh, and which are limited to Egypt, follow Moses’ repeated announcement ( Exodus 7:14; Exodus 7:16-17 a, Exodus 7:21 Exodus 7:21 a, Exodus 7:24 f., Exodus 8:1-4; Exodus 8:8-15 a, Exodus 9:7 Exodus 9:7 , Exodus 9:13-35 , Exodus 10:1-11; Exodus 10:13 b, Exodus 10:14 b, Exodus 10:15 a, Exodus 10:15-18 , Exodus 10:28 Exodus 10:28 f., Exodus 11:4-8 ). In connexion with the Passover ( Exodus 12:21-27 ), blood-sprinkling, not eating, is insisted on. The escape is hurried ( Exodus 12:29-34; Exodus 12:37-39 ), and so a historical meaning is attached to the use of unleavened bread ( Exodus 13:3-16 [based on J [Note: Jahwist.] ]).
According to E [Note: Elohist.] , the people live among the Egyptians as royal pensioners and without cattle. Their numbers are so small that two midwives suffice for them ( Exodus 1:15-20 a, Exodus 1:21 f.) Moses ( Exodus 2:1; Exodus 2:10 ), whose father-in-law is Jethro ( Exodus 3:1 ), receives his revelation ( Exodus 3:6; Exodus 3:21 Exodus 3:21 f) and commission ( Exodus 4:17 f., Exodus 4:27 Exodus 4:27 f.). Obeying, he demands that Israel he freed ( Exodus 5:1 f, Exodus 5:4 ) in order to worship their God on this mountain a greater distance than three days’ journey. E [Note: Elohist.] ’s account of the plagues has survived merely in fragments, but from these it would appear that Moses speaks only once to Pharaoh, and that the plagues follow his mere gesture while the miraculous element is heightened ( Exodus 7:15; Exodus 7:17 b, Exodus 7:20 b, Exodus 7:23 , Exodus 9:22-25 , Exodus 10:12-13 a, Exodus 10:14 a, Exodus 10:15 b, Exodus 10:20-23; Exodus 10:27 ). The Israelites, however, have no immunity except from the darkness. The Exodus is deliberate, since the people have time to borrow from their neighbours ( Exodus 11:1-3 , Exodus 12:35 f.).
B. The Exodus
According to J [Note: Jahwist.] , an unarmed host is guided by the pillar of fire and cloud ( Exodus 13:21 f.). Pharaoh pursues to recover his slaves ( Exodus 14:5 f.), and when the people are dismayed, Moses encourages them ( Exodus 14:10-14; Exodus 14:19 b, Exodus 14:20 b.). An east wind drives back the water, so that the Israelites are able to cross during the night ( Exodus 14:21 b, Exodus 14:24-25 b, Exodus 14:27 b, Exodus 14:28 f., Exodus 14:30 f.) but the water returns to overwhelm the Egyptians. Israel offers thanks in a hymn of praise ( Exodus 15:1 ); but soon in the wilderness tempts Jahweh by murmuring for water ( Exodus 15:22-25 a, Exodus 15:27 , Exodus 17:3; Exodus 17:2 b, Exodus 17:7 ).
According to E [Note: Elohist.] , an armed body march out in so leisurely a fashion that they are able to bring Joseph’s bones. For fear of the Philistines they avoid the route of the isthmus ( Exodus 13:17-19 ). Pharaoh pursues ( Exodus 14:9 a, Exodus 14:10 b.). but the people, protected by an angel, cross when Moses lifts his rod ( Exodus 14:15 b, Exodus 14:16 a, Exodus 14:19 a, Exodus 14:20 a, Exodus 14:25 a, Exodus 14:29 ). The women celebrate the escape ( Exodus 15:2-18; Exodus 15:20 f.); and in the wilderness Jahweh tests Israel, whether they can live on a daily provision from Him ( Exodus 16:4; Exodus 16:15 a, Exodus 16:19 a, Exodus 16:16 a, Exodus 16:19-21 , Exodus 16:35 a). Water, for which they murmur, is brought by Moses striking the rock with his rod ( Exodus 17:1 b, Exodus 17:2 a, Exodus 17:4-7 b). Jethro visits and advises Moses (ch. 18 [in the main from E [Note: Elohist.] ]). The condition of the account of the journey between the Red Sea and Sinai, and the fact that events of a later date have certainly come into P [Note: Priestly Narrative.] ’s account, make it likely that JE [Note: Jewish Encyclopedia.] had very little on this stage, the account of which was amplified with material from the wilderness journey after Sinai.
C. At Sinai [here the accounts are exceptionally difficult to disentangle, and the results correspondingly tentative].
According to J [Note: Jahwist.] , Jahweh descends on Sinai in lire ( Exodus 19:2 b, Exodus 19:18 ), and commands the people to remain afar off, while the consecrated priests approach ( Exodus 19:11 b, Exodus 19:12; Exodus 19:20-22; Exodus 19:24 f.). Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and 70 elders ascend ( Exodus 24:1 f.) and celebrate a covenant feast ( Exodus 19:9-11 ). Moses then goes up alone to receive the Ten Words on tables which he himself has hewn, and remaining 40 days and 40 nights receives also the Book of the Covenant (ch. 34) [J [Note: Jahwist.] ’s statement as to the 40 days has been omitted in favour of E [Note: Elohist.] ’s, but its presence in his account can be inferred from references in Exodus 34:1; Exodus 34:4 ]. Ch. 34 is also inserted at this point, because its present position is eminently unsuitable after the peremptory command in J [Note: Jahwist.] and E [Note: Elohist.] to leave Sinai ( Exodus 32:34 , Exodus 33:1-3 ). Hearing from Jahweh of the rebellion ( Exodus 32:7-12; Exodus 32:14 ), Moses intercedes for forgiveness, and descends to quell the revolt with help from the Levites ( Exodus 32:25-29 ). He further intercedes that Jahweh should still lead His people, and obtains a promise of the Divine presence ( Exodus 33:1; Exodus 33:3; Exodus 33:12-23 ). This was probably followed by Numbers 10:29 ff. The Law he deposits in an ark which must already have been prepared.
J [Note: Jahwist.] ’s law (ch. 34) is the outcome of the earliest effort to embody the essential observances of the Jahweh religion. The feasts are agricultural festivals without the historical significance given them in Deuteronomy, and the observances are of a ceremonial character, for, according to J [Note: Jahwist.] , it is the priests who are summoned to Sinai. Efforts have been frequently made (since Goethe suggested it) to prove that this is J [Note: Jahwist.] ’s decalogue a ceremonial decalogue. Any division into 10 laws, however, has always an artificial character.
According to E [Note: Elohist.] . Jahweh descends in a cloud before the whole people ( Exodus 19:3-11 a), whom Moses therefore sanctifies ( Exodus 19:14-17 ). They hear Jahweh utter the Decalogue ( Exodus 19:19 , Exodus 20:1-17 ), but, as they are afraid ( Exodus 20:18-21 ), the further revelation with its covenant is delivered to Moses alone ( Exodus 20:22 to Exodus 23:33 in part). The people, however, assent to its terms ( Exodus 24:3-8 ). Moses ascends the Mount with Joshua to receive the stone tables, on which Jahweh has inscribed the Decalogue ( Exodus 24:12-15 a), and remains 40 days ( Exodus 24:18 b) to receive further commands. He returns with the tables ( Exodus 31:18 b), to discover and deal with the outbreak of idolatry ( Exodus 32:1-6; Exodus 32:16-24 ). On his intercession he receives a promise of angelic guidance ( Exodus 32:30-35 ). From verses in ch. 33 ( Exodus 32:4; Exodus 32:6-11 ) which belong to E [Note: Elohist.] and from Deuteronomy 10:3; Deuteronomy 10:5 (based on E [Note: Elohist.] ), this account related the making of an ark and Tent of Meeting, the latter adorned with the people’s discarded ornaments. When JE [Note: Jewish Encyclopedia.] was combined with P [Note: Priestly Narrative.] , this narrative, being superfluous alongside Exodus 32:25 ff., was omitted.
E [Note: Elohist.] ’s account thus contains three of the four collections of laws found in Exodus, for 21 23 consists of two codes, a civil ( Exodus 21:1 to Exodus 22:16 ) and a ceremonial ( Exodus 22:17 to Exodus 23:33 [roughly]). Probably the ceremonial section was originally E [Note: Elohist.] ’s counterpart to ch. 34 in J [Note: Jahwist.] , while the civil section may have stood in connexion with ch. 18. As it now stands, E [Note: Elohist.] is the prophetic version of the law-giving. The basis of the Jahweh religion is the Decalogue with its clearly marked moral and spiritual character. (Cf. art. Deuteronomy.) This is delivered not to the priests (like ch. 34 in J [Note: Jahwist.] ), but to the whole people. When, however, the people shrink back, Moses, the prophetic intermediary, receives the further law from Jahweh. Yet the ceremonial and civil codes have a secondary place, and are parallel. The Decalogue, a common possession of the whole nation, with its appeal to the people’s moral and religious sense, is fundamental. On it all the national institutions, whether civil or ceremonial, are based. Civil and ceremonial law have equal authority and equal value. As yet, however, the principles which inform the Decalogue are not brought into conscious connexion with the codes which control and guide the national life. The Book of Deuteronomy proves how at a later date the effort was made to penetrate the entire legislation with the spirit of the Decalogue, and to make this a means by which the national life was guided by the national faith.
The following view of the history of the codes is deserving of notice. E [Note: Elohist.] before its union with J [Note: Jahwist.] contained three of these codes: the Decalogue as the basis of the Covenant; the Book of the Covenant, leading up to the renewal of the Covenant; and the Book of Judgments, which formed part of Moses’ parting address on the plains of Moab. The editor who combined J [Note: Jahwist.] and E [Note: Elohist.] , wishing to retain J [Note: Jahwist.] ’s version of the Covenant, used it for the account of the renewal of the Covenant, and united E [Note: Elohist.] ’s Book of the Covenant, thus displaced, with the Decalogue as the basis of the first Covenant. The editor who combined JE [Note: Jewish Encyclopedia.] with D [Note: Deuteronomist.] , displaced E [Note: Elohist.] ’s Book of Judgments in favour of Deuteronomy, which he made Moses’ parting address; and combined the displaced Book of Judgments with the Book of the Covenant.
The view represented in the article, however, explains the phenomena adequately, is much simpler, and requires fewer hypotheses.
A. C. Welch.
American Tract Society 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 Corinthians 10:1-33 Hebrews 1:1-13:25 . The book of Exodus brings before us many and singular types of Christ: Moses, Deuteronomy 18:15; Aaron, Hebrews 4:14-16; the paschal lamb, Exodus 12:46 John 19:36 1 Corinthians 5:7-8; the manna, Exodus 1:1-40:38 16:15 1 Corinthians 10:3; the rock in Horeb, Exodus 17:6 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 21:1 -Nu 21:1- 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 
Exodus 12:51 Deuteronomy 26:8 Psalm 114 136 1 Kings 6:1
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; Compare 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; Compare 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 1021-21; 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.
Holman Bible Dictionary 
Deuteronomy 26:5-9 1 Samuel 12:6-8 Psalm 78:1 Psalm 105:1 Psalm 106:1 Psalm 114:1 Psalm 135:1 Psalm 136:1 Isaiah 11:16 Jeremiah 2:6 Jeremiah 7:22-25 Ezekiel 20:6 20:10 Hosea 2:15 Hosea 11:1 Amos 2:10 Amos 3:1 Micah 6:4 Haggai 2:5 Luke 22:1-20 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
Historicity The only explicit account of the Exodus we have is the biblical account ( Exodus 1-15 ). No extra-biblical witnesses directly speak of the sojourn of Israel's ancestors in the land of the Nile. However, Egyptian sources do confirm the general situation that we find in the end of Genesis and the beginning of the Book of Exodus. There are many reports in Egyptian sources of nomadic people called Habiru coming into Egypt from the east fleeing from famine. Extra-biblical evidence from Egypt indicates that Egypt used slave labor in building projects ( Exodus 1:11 ). At one time the land in Egypt was owned by many landholders; but after the reign of the Hyksos kings the Pharaoh owned most of the land, and the people were serfs of the king ( Genesis 47:20 ). Old Testament scholars accept the essential historicity of the Exodus.
The Nature of the Event Some scholars see the Exodus as the miraculous deliverance of the people of God from the grip of Pharaoh's army at the Red Sea. Others see it as an escape across a sprawling wilderness and sweltering desert of a small mixed band of border slaves. Some argue that the military language in the account indicates that the event was a military skirmish. Such language may be the language of holy war. The people of Israel went up from the land of Egypt “equipped for battle” ( Exodus 13:18 RSV), but God did not lead them by the way of the Philistines, which was the closest way but it was also the way of war. God thought that if Israel saw war she would repent and return to Egypt ( Exodus 13:17 ). God is called a “man of war” in Exodus 15:3 .
The Bible stresses that the Exodus was the work of God. God brought the plagues on Egypt ( Exodus 7:1-5 ). The miracle at the sea was never treated merely as a natural event or as Israel's victory alone. In the earliest recorded response to the event Miriam sang, “Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea” ( Exodus 15:21 RSV).
Elements of the wonderful and the ordinary contributed to the greatest Old Testament events. The natural and supernatural combined to produce God's deliverance. The Exodus was both miraculous and historical. An air of mystery surrounds this event as all miraculous events. We are not told when the Exodus occurred. We do not know precisely where it happened since the Hebrew term may have meant the Red Sea as we know it, one of its tributaries, or a “sea of reeds” whose location is unknown. We do not know who or how many may have been involved. The record makes it clear that God delivered Israel from bondage because of His covenant with the patriarchs and because He desired to redeem His people ( Exodus 6:2-8 ).
The Date of the Exodus The Bible does not give an incontrovertible date for the Exodus. 1 Kings 6:1 says, “In the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, in the month of Zif, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the Lord.” But this verse refers primarily to the beginning of the building of Solomon's Temple and only in a general way to the time of the Exodus. We do not know the precise dates of Solomon's reign. If we use 961 B.C. as the beginning of Solomon's reign, his fourth year would be 957 B.C. If we take the 480 years of 1 Kings 6:1 literally, the Exodus would be dated in 1437 B.C. Exodus 1:11 says, however, that the Israelites in Egypt built the store cities of Pithom and Raamses for Pharaoh. Evidently the name Raamses was not used in Egypt before 1300 B.C. If one of the store cities was named for a king by that name, the Exodus could not have happened before 1300 B.C. Thus some scholars believe the Exodus must have taken place after 1300 B.C.
Another difficulty in dating these events is that although the term “pharaoh” is used over a hundred times in the first fifteen chapters of Exodus to refer to the king of Egypt, the title is always anonymous. No personal name of any individual pharaoh is used. The text does not indicate the identity of the pharaoh of the oppression nor the one of the Exodus. Old Testament scholars have generally agreed that the Exodus occurred either during the eighteenth (1570-1310 B.C.) or nineteenth (1310-1200 B.C.) dynasties.
It has been the opinion of most scholars since the rise of modern Egyptology that the Exodus likely occurred during the reign of Ramses II in the nineteenth dynasty about 1270 B.C., although many Bible students attempt to date it in the earlier eighteenth dynasty about 1447 B.C. Several variations of these dates have been suggested, ranging all the way back to 2000 B.C. None of these attempts to redate the Exodus has gained widespread acceptance. Perhaps the best estimate of the date for the Exodus remains about 1270 B.C., but this is far from a proven fact.
The Number Involved in the Exodus In our English Bibles Exodus 12:37 says, “And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot, that were men, besides children.” For a very long time and for various reasons some Bible scholars have asked: Should the number 600,000 be understood literally? It seems to be an excessively large number. Exodus 23:29-30 and Deuteronomy 7:22 suggest the number was so small that the people would be endangered by wild beasts. Many scholars believe the Hebrew word eleph, usually translated “thousand,” can also be translated “clan” or “fighting unit.” Perhaps this is the meaning in Exodus 12:17 . Assuming this, conservative scholars have estimated the number at between 6,000,72,000. We may not know the exact date, route, or number of people in the Exodus. But the significant thing is we know and believe that such an event happened and that we interpret it as a saving act of God.
The Exodus was the work of God. It was also a historical event involving a superpower nation and an oppressed people. God acted redemptively in power, freedom, and love. When the kingdom of God did not come, the later prophets began to look for a second Exodus. That expectation was fulfilled spiritually in Christ's redemptive act.
Ralph L. Smith
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary 
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 (see Exodus, Book Of )
Significance of the exodus
The actual going out from Egypt was but one part of a series of events that gave the exodus its great significance in Israel’s history. It was preceded by God’s judgment on Egypt through a number of plagues (Exodus 1; Exodus 2; Exodus 3; Exodus 4; Exodus 5; Exodus 6; Exodus 7; Exodus 8; Exodus 9; Exodus 10; Exodus 11; see Plague ); it came about through the decisive judgment on Passover night and the subsequent crossing of the Red Sea (Exodus 12; Exodus 13; Exodus 14; Exodus 15; see Passover; Red Sea); and it was followed by the covenant ceremony at Mt Sinai, where God formally established Israel as his people (Exodus 16; Exodus 17; Exodus 18; Exodus 19; Exodus 20; Exodus 21; Exodus 22; Exodus 23; Exodus 24; see Covenant ). After giving them his law, God directed them to the new homeland he had promised them in Canaan.
Throughout the years that followed, Israelites looked back to the exodus as the decisive event in their history. This was not just because the exodus led to the establishment of Israel’s national independence, but more importantly because it showed them the sort of person their God was. Yahweh revealed his character, showing that he was a God who redeems ( Deuteronomy 15:15; 2 Samuel 7:23; Nehemiah 1:8-10; Micah 6:4; cf. Exodus 6:6-8; Exodus 15:2; Exodus 15:13; see Redemption ). The exodus was a sign to the people of this Redeemer-God’s love ( Deuteronomy 4:37; Deuteronomy 7:8; Hosea 11:1), power ( Deuteronomy 9:26; 2 Kings 17:36; Psalms 81:10) and justice ( Deuteronomy 6:21-22; Joshua 24:5-7).
In demonstrating the character of God, the exodus gave assurance to God’s people that they could trust in him. At the same time it reminded them that he required them to be loyal, obedient and holy ( Leviticus 11:45; Deuteronomy 4:37-40; Deuteronomy 5:6-7; Deuteronomy 7:7-11; cf. Hosea 11:1-4).
The pattern repeated
Even with the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 BC and the subsequent captivity in Babylon, God’s people never forgot his redeeming power. They looked for a ‘second exodus’ when he would again deliver them from bondage. They prayed that as he had first brought them out of Egypt and into the promised land, so he would now bring them out of Babylon and back to their homeland ( Isaiah 43:1-7; Isaiah 43:14-21; Isaiah 48:20-21; Isaiah 49:25-26; Isaiah 51:9-11; Isaiah 52:11-12; Jeremiah 31:10-12; Micah 7:14-17).
The exodus theme is prominent also in the New Testament. The word ‘exodus’ (RSV: ‘departure’) is used of Jesus’ death, by which he delivers people from the bondage of sin ( Luke 9:31; cf. Colossians 1:13; Hebrews 2:14-15; see Redemption ). As the Passover lamb, he died in the place of those under judgment and so achieved redemption for them ( 1 Corinthians 5:7; 1 Peter 1:18-19; see Passover ). Those redeemed through Christ can therefore sing the song that the redeemed Israelites sang, but with new meaning ( Revelation 15:2-4; cf. Exodus 15:1-21). They must also heed the lessons that the Israelites failed to learn in the wilderness years that followed their deliverance ( 1 Corinthians 10:1-11; Hebrews 3:7-19).
People's Dictionary of the Bible 
Exodus ( Ĕx'O-Dŭs ), Going Out [of Egypt]. The second book in the Old Testament. Its author was Moses. It was written probably during the forty years' wanderings in the wilderness. The first part of the book gives an account of 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 attempts to prevail upon Pharaoh to let the Israelites go; the 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, the institution of the passover, and the departure put of Egypt and the journey of the Israelites to Mount Sinai. The second part gives a sketch of the early history of Israel as a nation, set apart, and in its religious and political life consecrated to the service of God.
Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary 
from εξ , out, and οδος , a way, the name of the second book of Moses, and is so called in the Greek version because it relates to the departure of the Israelites out of Egypt. It comprehends the history of about a hundred and forty-five years; and the principal events contained in it are, the bondage of the Israelites in Egypt, and their miraculous deliverance by the hand of Moses; their entrance into the wilderness of Sinai; the promulgation of the law, and the building of the tabernacle. See Pentateuch .
Webster's Dictionary 
(1): ( n.) The second of the Old Testament, which contains the narrative of the departure of the Israelites from Egypt.
(2): ( n.) A going out; particularly (the Exodus), the going out or journey of the Israelites from Egypt under the conduct of Moses; and hence, any large migration from a place.
Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature 
(Gr. ῎Εξοδος , an Exit; in the Hebrew canon וְאֵלֶּה שְׁמוֹת , Ve-L'Leh Shemoth', its initial words, or simply שְׁמוֹת ; in the Masora to Genesis 24:8 called נזיקין see Buxt. Lex. Talm. col. 1325; Vulig. Exodus), the second book of the law or Pentateuch, so called from the principal event recorded in it, namely, the Departure of the Israelites from Egpyt. (See Exode). With this book begins the proper history of that people, continuing it until their arrival at Sinai, and the erection of the sanctuary there.
I. Contents. —
1. Preparation for the Deliverance of Israel from their Bondage in Eyypt. — This first section (Exodus 1:50-12:36) 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 (chapter 1); the birth, education, and flight of Moses (chapter 2); his solemn call to be the deliverer of his people ( Exodus 3:1 to Exodus 4:17), and his return to Egypt in consequence ( Exodus 4:18-31); his first ineffectual attempt to prevail upon Pharaoh, to let the Israelites go, which only resulted in an increase of their burdens ( Exodus 5:1-21); a farther preparation of Moses and Aaron for their office, together ewith the account of their genealogies ( Exodus 5:22 to Exodus 7:7); the successive signs and wonders, by means of which the deliverance of Israel from the land of hondage is at length accomplished, and the institution of the Passover ( Exodus 7:8 to Exodus 12:36).
2. Narrative Of Events From The Departure Out Of Egypt To The Arrival Of The Israelites At Mount Sin ai.We have in this section
(a.) the departure and (mentioned in connection with it) the injunctions then given respecting the Passover and the sanctification of the first- born ( Exodus 12:37 to Exodus 13:16); the march to the Red Sea, the passage through it, and the destruction of Pharaoh and his host in the midst of the sea, together with Moses's song of triumph upon the occasion ( Exodus 13:17 to Exodus 15:21);
(b.) the principal events on the journey from the Red Sea to Sinai, the bitter waters at Marah, the giving of quails and of the manna, the observance of the Sabbath, the miraculous supply of water from the rock at Rephidim, and the battle there with the Amalekites ( Exodus 15:22 to Exodus 17:16); the arrival of Jethro in the Israelitish camp, and his advice as to the civil government of the people (18).
3. The Solemn Establishment Of The Theocracy On Mount Sinai. — The people are set apart to God as "a kingdom of priests and a holy nation" ( Exodus 19:6); the ten commandments are given, and the laws which are to regulate the social life of the people are enacted ( Exodus 21:1 to Exodus 23:19); an angel is promised as their guide to the Promised Land, and the covenant between God and Moses, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy elders, as the representatives of the people, is most solemnly ratified ( Exodus 23:20 to Exodus 24:18); instructions are given respecting the tabernacle, the ark, the mercy-seat, the altar of burnt-offering, the separation of Aaron and his sons for the priest's office, the vestments which they are to wear, the ceremonies to be observed at their consecration, the altar of incense, the laver, the holy oil, the selection of Bezaleel and Ahmoliab for the work of the tabernacle, the observance of the Sabbath and the delivery of the two tables of the law into the hands of Moses ( Exodus 25:1 to Exodus 31:18); the sin of the people in the matter of the golden calf, their rejection in consequence, and their restoration to God's favor at the intercession of Moses ( Exodus 32:1 to Exodus 34:35); lastly, the construction of the tabernacle, and all pertaining to its service in accordance with the injunctions previously given ( Exodus 35:1 to Exodus 40:38).
This book, in shout, 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, asnd, through the blending of its religious and political life, consecrated to the service of God. The close literarv connection between the books of Genesis and Exodus is clearly marked by the Hebrew conjunctive particle ו (Vay), "and," with which the latter begins, and still more by the recapitulation of the name of Jacob's sons who accompanied him to Egypt, abridged from the fuller account in Genesis 46:8-17. Still the book of Exodus is not a continuation in strict chronological sequence of the preceding history; for a very considerable interval is passed over in silence, saving only the remark, "And the children of Israel were fruitful and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and eaxed exceedingly mighty; and the land was filled with them" ( Exodus 1:7). The pretermission of all that, concerned Israel during this period and their intercourse with the Egyptians, instead of being an indication, as Rationalists allege, of the fragmentary character of the Pentateuch, only shows the sacred purpose of the history, and that, in the plan of the writer, considerations of a merely political interest were entirely subordinate to the divine intentions already partially unfolded in Genesis, and to be still farther developed in the course of the present narrative regarding the national constitution of the seed of Abraham.
II. Unity. — According to Von Lengerke ( Kenaan , 88, 90), the following portions of the book belong to the original or Elohistic document: Exodus 1:1-14; Exodus 2:23-25; Exodus 6:2 to Exodus 7:7; Exodus 12:1-28; Exodus 12:37-38; Exodus 12:40-51 ( Exodus 13:1-2, perhaps); 16; Exodus 19:1; Exodus 20; Exodus 25-31; Exodus 35-40. Stihelin (Krit. Unterss.) and De Wette (Einleitung) agree in the main with this division. Knobel, the most recent writer on the subject, in the introduction to his commentary on Exodus and Leviticus, has sifted these books still muore carefully and with regard to many passages has formed a different judgment. He assigns to the Elohist: Exodus 1:1-7; Exodus 1:13-14; Exodus 2:23-25, front ויאנחו , Exodus 6:2 to Exodus 7:7; except Exodus 6:8; Exodus 7:8-13; Exodus 7:19-22; Exodus 8:1-3; Exodus 8:11 from ולא , and Exodus 8:12-15; Exodus 9:8-12; Exodus 9:35; Exodus 11:9-10; Exodus 12:1-23; Exodus 12:28; Exodus 12:37 a, Exodus 12:40-51; Exodus 13:1-2; Exodus 13:20; Exodus 14:1-4; Exodus 14:8-9; Exodus 14:15-18 (except מה תצעק אלי in Exodus 14:15, and מט ָונטה את in Exodus 14:16), Exodus 14:21-23, and Exodus 14:26-29 (except Exodus 14:27 from וישב ); Exodus 15:19; Exodus 15:22-23; Exodus 15:27; Exodus 16:1-2; Exodus 16:9-26; Exodus 16:31-36; Exodus 17:1; Exodus 19:2 a; Exodus 19:25 to Exodus 31:1; Exodus 31:12-17 in the main; Exo 35:50-40:38.
A mere comparison of the two lists of passages selected by these different writers as belongiuug to the original document is sufficient to show how very uncertain all such critical processes must be. The first, that of Lengerke, is open to many objections, which have been arged by Havernick (Einleit. in der Pent. § 117), Ranke, and others. Thus, for instance, 6:6, which all agree in regarding as Elohistic, speaks of great judgments ( מַשְׁפָּטַים גְּדֹלַים in the plural), wherewith God would redeem Israel, and yet not a word is said of these in the so-called original document. Again, Exodus 12:12; Exodus 12:23; Exodus 12:27 contains the announcement of the destruction of the first-born of Egypt, but the fulfillment of the threat is to be found, according to the critics, only in the later Jehovistic additions. Hupfeld has tried to escape this difficulty by supposing that the original documents did contain an account of the slaying of the first-born, as the institution of the Passover in 12:12, etc., has clearly a reference to it: only he will not allow that the story as it now stands is that account. But even then the difficulty is only partially removed, for thus one judgment only is mentioned, not many ( Exodus 6:6). Knobel has done his best to obviate this glaring inconsistency. Feeling no doubt that the ground taken by his predecessors was not tenable, he retains as a part of the originual work much which they had rejected. It is especially worthy of notice that he considers sonue at least of the miraculous portions of the story to belong to the older document, and so accounts for the expression in 6:6. The changing of Aaron's rod into a serpent, of the waters of the Nile into blood, the plague of frogs, of musquitoes (A.V. lice), and of boils, and the destruction of the first-born, are, according to Knobel, Elohistic. He points out what he considers here links of connection, and a regular sequence in the narrative. He bids us observe that Jehovah always addresses Moses, and that Moses directs Aaron howe to act. The miracles, then, are arranged in order of importance: first there is the sign which serves to accredit the mission of Aaron; next follow three plagues, which, however, do not touch men, sand these are sent through the instrumentality of Aaron; the fourth plague is a plague upon man, and here Moses takes the most prominent part; the fifth and last is accomplished by Jehovah himself. Thus the miracles increase in intensity as they go on. The agents likewise rise in dignity. If Aaron with his rod of might begins the work, he gives way afterwards to his greater brother, whilst for the last act of redemption Jehovah employs he human agency, but himself with a mighty hand and outstretched arm effects the deliverance of his people. The passages thus selected have no doubt a sort of connection, but it is in the highest degree arbitrary to conclude that because portions of a work may be omnitted without seriously disturbing the sense, these portions do not belong to the original Work, but must be regarded as subsequent embellishments and additions.
Again, all agree in assigning chapters 3 and 4 to the Jehovist. The call of Moses, as there described, is said to be merely the Jehovistic parallel to Exodus 6:2 to Exodus 7:7. Yet it seems improbable that the Elohist should introduce Moses with the bare words, "And God spake to Moses" ( Exodus 6:2), without a single word as to the previous history of so remarkable a man. So argues Havernick, and, as it appears to us, not without reason. It will be observed that none of these critics attempt to make the divine names a criterion whereby to distinguish the several documents. Thus, in the Jehovistic portion ( Exodus 1:15-22), De Wette is obliged to remark, with a sort of uneasy candor, "but Exodus 1:17; Exodus 1:20, Elohim (?)," and again ( Exodus 3:4; Exodus 3:6; Exodus 3:11-15), "here seven times Elohim." In other places there is the same difficulty as in Exodus 19:17; Exodus 19:19, which Stahelin, as well as Knobel, gives to the Jehovist. In the passages in chapters 7, 8, 9, which Knobel classes in the earlier record, the name Jehovah occurs throughout. It is obvious, then, that there must be other means of determining the relative antiquity of the different portions of the book, or the attempt to ascertain which are earlier and which are later must entirely fail.
Accordingly, certain peculiarities of style are supposed to be characteristic of the two documents. Thus, for instance, De Wette (Einl. § 151, S. 183) appeals to פרה ורבה , Exodus 1:7; בעצ Μ הי הזה Exodus 12:17; Exodus 12:41; ברית הסים , Exodus 6:4; the formula וירבר יי אל משה לאמר Exodus 25:1; Exodus 30:11, etc.; צבאות , Exodus 6:26; Exodus 7:4; Exodus 12:17; Exodus 12:41; Exodus 12:51; בין הערבים , Exodus 12:6; Exodus 29:41; Exodus 30:8, and other expressions, as decisive of the Elohist. Stahelin also proposes on very similar grounds to separate the first fr(om the second legislation. "Wherever," he says, "I find mention of a pillar of fire, or of a cloud ( Exodus 33:9-10), or an 'angel of Jehovah,' as Exodus 23, 24, or the phrase 'flowing with milk and honey,' as Exodus 13:5; Exodus 33:3 ... where nmention is made of a coming down of God, as Exodus 34:5, or where the Canaanitish nations are numbered, or the tabernacle supposed to be without the camp ( Exodus 33:7), I feel tolerably certain that I am reading the words of the author of the second legislation (i.e., the Jehovist)." But these nice critical distinctions are very precarious, especially in a stereoty-ped language like the Hebrew.
Unfortunately, too, dogmatical prepossessions have been allowed some share in the controversy. De Wette and his school chose to set down everything which savored of a miracle as proof of later authorship. The love of the marvelous, which is all they see in the stories of miracles, according to them could not have existed in an earlier and simpler age. But on their oen hypothesis this is a very extraordinary view; for the earlier traditions of a people are not generally the least wonderful, but the reverse; and one cannot thus acquit the second eriter of a design in embellishing his narrative. However, this is not the place to argue with those who deny the possibility of a miracle, or who make the narration of miracles proof sufficient of later authorship. Into this error Knobel, it is true, has not fallen. By admitting some of the plagues into his Elohistic catalogue, he shows that he is at least free from the dogmatic prejudices of critics like De Wette. But his own critical tests are not conclusime. And the way in which he cuts verses to pieces, as in Exodus 8:11, and Exodus 13:15-16, where it suits his purpose, is so completely arbitrary, and results so evidently from the stern constraint of a theory, that his labors in this direction are not more satisfactory than those of his predecessors.
On the whole, there seems mumch reason to doubt whether critical acumen will ever be able plausibly to distinguish between the original and the supplement in the book of Exodus. There is nothing indeed forced or improbable in the supposition either that Moses himself incorporated in his memoil a ancient tradition, whether oral or written, or that a writer later thant Moses made use of materials left by the great legislator in a somewhat fragmentary form. There is an occasional abruptness in the narrative, which suggests that this may possibly have been the case, as in the introduction of the genealogy, Exodus 6:13-27. The remarke in Exodus 11:3; Exodus 16:35-36, lead to the same conclusion. The apparent confusion at 11:1-3 may be explained by regarding these verses as parenthetical. Inasmuch, lowever, as there exists no definite proof or knowledge of any later editor, except it he Joshua or Ezra, to whom isolated and unimportant additions may be attributed, we are not warranted in attributing the book to any other author than Moses. (See Pentateuch).
III. Credibility. — Almost every historical fact mentioned in Exodus has at some time or other been called in question; but it is certain that all investigation has hitherto only tended to establish the veracity of the narrator. A comparison with other writers and an examination of the monuments confirm, or at least do not contradict, the most material statements of this book. Thus, for instance, Manetho's story of the Hyksos, questionable as much of it is, and differently as it has been interpreted by different writers, points at least to some early connection between the Israelites and the Egyptians, and is corroborative of the fact implied in the Pentateuch that, at the time of the Israelitish sojourn, Egypt was ruled by a foreign dynasty. (See Egypt). Manetho speaks, too, of strangers from the East who occupied the eastern part of Lower Egypt; and his account shows that the Israelites had become a numerous and formidable people. According to Exodus 12:37, the number of men, besides women and children, who left Egypt was 600,000. This would give for the whole nation about two millions and a half. There is no doubt some difficulty in accounting for this immense increase, if we suppose (as on many accounts seems probable) that the actual residence of the children of Israel was only 215 years. We must remember, indeed, that the number who went into Egypt with Jacob was considerably more than "threescore and ten souls" (See Chronology); we must also take into account the extraordinary fruitfulness of Egypt (concerning which all writers are agreed — Strabo, 15:478; Aristot. Hist. Anim. 7:4; Pliny, H. N. 7:3; Seneca, Qu. Nat. 3:25, quoted by Halvernick), and especially of that part of it in which the Israelites dwelt; and, finally, we must take into the account the "mixed multitude" that accompanied the Israelites ( Exodus 12:38).
According to De Wette, the story of Moses's birth is mythical, and arises from an attempt to account etymologically for his name. But the beautiful simplicity of the narrative places it far above the stories of Romulus, Cyrus, and Semiramis, with which it has been compared (Knobel, page 14). As regards the etymology of the name, there can be very little doubt that it is Egyptian (from the Copt. mo, "water," and si, "to take"), and if so, the author has merely played upon the name. But this does not prove that the whole story is nothing but a myth. Philology as a science is of very modern growth, and the truth of history does not stand or fail with the explanation of etymologies. The same remark applies to De Wette's objection to the etymology in 2:22.
Other objections are of a very arbitrary kind. Thus Knobel thinks the command to destroy the male children (1:15 sq.) extremely improbable, because the object of the king was not to destroy the people, but to make use of them as slaves. To require the midwives to act as the enemies of their own people, and to issue an injunction that every son born of Israelitish parents should be thrown into the Nile, was a piece of downright madness of which he thinks the king would not be guilty. But we do not know that the midwives were Hebrew; they may have been Egyptian; and kings, like other slave-owners, may act contrary to their interest in obedience to their fears or their passions; indeed, Knobel himself compares the story of king Bocchoris, who commanded all the unclean in his land to be cast into the sea (Lysim. ap. Josephus, c. Apion. 1:34), and the destruction of the Spartan helots (Plutarch, Lycnrg. 28). He objects further that it is not easy to reconcile such a command with the number of the Israelites at their exode. But we suppose that in very many instances the command of the king would be evaded, and probably it did not long continue in force.
Again, De Wette objects to the call of Moses that he could not have thus formed the resolve to become the savior of his people, which, as Havernick justly remarks, is a dogmatical, not a critical decision.
It has been alleged that the place, according to the original narrative, where God first appeared to Mosi was Egypt, God making himself known as Jehovah, that being the first intimation of the name ( Exodus 6:2). Another account, it is further alleged, places the scene at Horeb ( Exodus 3:2), God appearing as the God of the patriarchs ( Exodus 3:6), and declaring his name Jehovah ( Exodus 3:14); while a third makes Midian the scene of the interview ( Exodus 4:19). These assumptions require no refutation. It need only be remarked that the name Jehovah in Exodus 6:2 necessarily presupposes the explanation given of it in Exodus 3:14. Further, Moses's abode in Midian, and connection with Jethro, were matters, Knobel affirms, quite unknown to the older writer, while his statement that Moses was eighty years old when he appeared before Pharaoh ( Exodus 7:7), is declared irreconcilable with the supplementary narrative which represents him as a young man at the time of his flight from Egypt ( Exodus 2:11), and a son by Zipporah, whom he married probably on his arrival in Midian, is still young when he returned to Egypt ( Exodus 4:20; Exodus 4:25; Exodus 18:2). There can be no question that from Moses' leaving Egypt till his return thither a considerable time elapsed. It is stated in Exodus 2:23 as "many days," and by Stephen ( Acts 7:30) as forty years. But it is not necessary to suppose that his abode in Midian extended over the whole, of that period. The expression וִיֵּשֶׁב , "he sat down," or settled ( Exodus 2:15), may only point to Midian as the end of his wanderings; or if otherwise, his marriage need not have followed immediately on his arrival, or there may have been a considerable interval between the birth of his two sons. The silence, indeed, of this part of the narrative regarding the birth of the second son may possibly be referrible to this circumstance, more probably indicated, however, by the different feelings of the father as expressed in the names Gershom and Eliezer ( Exodus 2:22; Exodus 18:4). The order of these names is perplexing to expositors who conceive that the first thoughts of the fugitive would have been thankfulness for his safety, and that only afterwards would spring up the feelings of exile. But if the name Eliezer was bestowed in connection with the preparation to return to Egypt, and particularly with the intimation "all the men are dead which sought thy life" ( Exodus 4:19), the whole is strikingly consistent. Another instance of the alleged discrepancies is that, according to one account, Moses' reception from his brethren was very discouraging ( Exodus 6:9), whereas the other narrative describes it as quite the reverse ( Exodus 4:31). De Wette calls this a striking contradiction, but it is only such when the intermediate section ( Exodus 5:19-23), which shows the change that in the interval had occurred in the prospects of the Israelites, is violently ejected from the narrative — a process fitted to produce contradictions in any composition. (See Moses).
The only alleged anachronism of importance in this book is the remark relative to the continuance of the manna ( Exodus 16:35), which would seem to extend it beyond the time of Moses, particularly when compared with Joshua 5:11-12, according to which the manna ceased not until after the passage of the Jordan. But, as remarked by Hengstenberg, it is not of the cessation of the manna that the historian here writes, but of its continuance. Besides, "forty years" must be taken as a round number, for the manna, strictly speaking, lasted about one month less ( Exodus 16:1). (See Manna).
The ten plagues are physically, many of them, what might be expected in Egypt, although in their intensity and in their rapid succession they are clearly supernatural. Even the order in which they occur is an order in which physical causes are allowed to operate. The corruption of the river is followed by the plague of frogs. From the dead frogs are bred the gnats and flies; from these came the murrain among the cattle land the bolls on men; and so on. Most of the plagues, indeed, though of course in a much less aggravated form, and without such succession, are actually experienced at this day in Egypt. Of the plague of locusts it is expressly remarked that "before them were no such locusts, neither after them shall be such." And all travelers in Egypt have observed swarms of locusts, brought generally by a southwest wind (Denon, however, mentions their coming with an east wind), end in the winter or spring of the year. This last fact agrees also with our narrative. Lepsius speaks of being in a "regular snow-drift of locusts," which came from the desert in hundreds of thousands to the valley. "At the edge of the fruitful plain," he says, "they fell down in showers." This continued for six days, indeed in weaker flights much uonger. He also saw hail in Egypt. In January, 1843, he and his party were surprised by a storm. "Suddenly," he writes, "the storm grew to a tremendous hurricane, such as I have never seen in Europe, and hail fell upon us in such masses as almost to turn day into night." He notices, too, an extraordinary cattle murrain "which carried off 40,000 head of cattle" (Letters from AEgypt, Eng. transl. pages 49, 27, 14). (See Plagues (Of Egypt).)
The institution of the Passover (chapter 12) has been subjected to severe criticism. This has also been called a mythic fiction. The alleged circumstances are not historical, it is said, but arise out of a later attempt to explain the origin of the cememony and to refer it to the time of Moses. The critics rest mainly on the difference between the directions given for the observance of this the first, and those given for subsequent passovers. But there is no reason why, considering the very remarkable circumstances under which it was instituted, the first Passover should not have had its own peculiar solemnities, or why instructions should not then have been given for a somewhat different observance for the future. (See Passover).
In minor details the writer shows a remarkable acquaintance with Egypt. Thus, for instance, Pharaoh's daughter goes to the river to bathe. At the present day, it is true that only women of the lower orders bathe in the river. But Herodotus (2:35) tells us (what we learn also from the monuments) that in ancient Egypt the women were under no restraint, but apparently lived more in public than the men. To this must be added that the Egyptians supposed a sovereign virtue to exist in the Nile waters. The writer spaks of chariots and "chosen chariots" ( Exodus 14:7) as constituting an important element in the Egyptian army, and of the king as leading in person. The monuments amply confirm this representation. The Pharaohs lead their armies to battle, and the armies consist entirely of infantry and chariots. (See Chariot).
As the events of this history are laid in Egypt and Arabia, we have ample opportunity of testing the accuracv of the Mosaical accounts, and surely we find nowhere the least transgression against Egyptian institutions and customs; on the contrary, it is most evident that the author had a thorough knowledge of the Egyptian institutions and of the spirit that pervaded them. Exodus contains a mass of incidents and detailed descriptions which have gained new force from the modern discoveries and researches in the field of Egyptian antiquities (comp. Hengstenberg, Die Bucher Mosis und AEgypten, Berlin, 1841). The description of the passage of the Israelites through the desert also evinces such a thorough familiarity with the localities as to excite the utmost respect of scrupulous and salentific travelers of our own time for the authenticity of the Pentateuch (comp. ex. gr. Raumer, Der Zug der Israeliten aus Egypten nach Canaan, Leipz. 1837).
The arrangements of the tabernacle, described in the second part of Exodus, likewise throw a favorable light on the historical authenticity of the preceding events; and the least tenable of all the objections against it are, that the architectural arrangements of the tabernacle were too artificial, and the materialas and richness too costly and precious for the condition and position of the Jews at that early period, etc. But the critics seem to have overlooked the fact that the Israelites of that period were a people who had come out from Egypt, a people possessing wealth, Egyptian culture and arts, which we admire even nmow, in the works which have descended to us from ancient Egypt; so that it cannot seem strange to see the Hebrews in possession of the materials or artistic knowledge requisite for the construction of the tabernacle. Moreover, the establishment of a tent as a sanctuary for the Hebrews can only be explained from their abode in the desert, being in perfect unison with their then roving and nomadic life; and it is therefore a decided mistake in those critics who give to the sacred tent a later date than the Mosaical; while other critics (such as De Wette, Von Bohlen, Vatke) proceed much more consistently with their views by considering the narrative of the construction of a sacred tabernacle to be a mere fiction in Exodus, introduced for the purpose of ascribing to the Temple of Solomon a higher antiquity and authority. However, independently of the circumstance that the Temple necessarily presupposes the existence of a far older analogous sanctuary, the whole process of such a forced hypothesis is but calculated to strike out a portion from the Jewish history on purely arbitrary grounds.
The extremely simple and sober style and views throughout the whole narrative afford a sure guarantee for its authenticity and originality. Not a vestige of a poetical hand can b e discovered in Exodus 18; not even the most sceptical critics can deny that we tread here on purely historical ground. The same may fairly be maintained of chapter 20-23. How is it then possible that one and the same book should contain so strange a mixture of truth and fiction as its opponeemts assert to be found in it? The most striking proofs against such an assumption are, in particular, the accounts, such as in Exodus 32 sq., where the most vehement complaints are made against the Israelites, where the high-priest of the covenant- people participates most shamefully in the idolatry of his people. All these incidents are described in plaen and clear terms, without the least vestige of later embellishmemets and false extolling of former ages. The Pentatemmch, some critics assert, is written for the interest and in favor of the hierarchy; but can there be more anti-hierarchical details than are founed in that book? The whole representation indicates the strictest impartiality and truth.
IV. The Authorship and Date of the book will be discussed under PENTATEUCH.
V. (Commentaries, etc. — The following is a list of exegetical helps on the whole book, the most important being designated by an asterisk (*) prefixed: Origen, Commentarii (in Opp. 2:110); Selecta (Ib. 2:121); also Homiliae (Ib. 2:129); Ephraem Syrus, Explanatio (in his Opp. 4:194); Isidore, Commentaria (in his Opp.); Theodoret, Questiones (in his Opp. I, 1); Hugo a St. Victoire, Adnotationes (in his Opp. 1); Aben-Esra, Commentar. (Prague, 1840, 8vo); Bede, Explanatio (in his Opp. 4); Quastiones (ib. 8); Rupert, In Exodus (in his Opp. 1:150); Zuingle, Adnotationes (Tigurini, 1527); Brent, Commentatio (in his Opp. 1); Ziegler, Commentarii (Basil. 1540, fol.); Phrygio, Commentarius (Tub. 1543, 4to); Lippoman, Catena (Par. 1550; Leyd. 1657, fol.); Chytraeus, Enarrationes (Vitemb. 1556, 1563, 1579, 8vo); Galasius, Commentarias (Genev. 1560, fol.); Strigel, Commentarius (Lips. 1566, 1572; Brem. 1585, 8vo); Simler, Commentarius (Tigur. 1584, 1605, fol.); Ystella, Commentaria (Romans 1601, fol.); Pererius, Disputationes (Ingolst. 1601, 4to); *Mechilthea, Commentarius (in Ugolini Thesaurus, 14); Willet, Commentarie (London, 1608, 1622, 2 vols. fol.); Rung, Praelectiones (Vitemb. 1614, 8vgo); Babington, Notes (in Works, page 165); Reuter, Commentarius (Francf. 1616, 4to); *Rivetus, Commentarii (L.B. 1634, 4to); Jackson, Paraphrase (in Works, 9:384); De la Havy, Commentarii (Paris 1639, 1641, 2 volumes fol.); Lightfoot, Gleanings (Lond. 1643, 4to); Sylvius, Commentarius (Duac. 1644, 4to); Cartwright, Adnotationes (Lond. 1653, 8vo); Calixtus, Exposatio (Helmst. 1641, 1654, 4to); Cocceius, Observationes (in his Opp. 1:136); Hughes, Exposition (Lond. 1672, fol.); *Patrick, Commentary (Lond. 1697, 4to); Hagemann, Betrachtungen (Brunsw. 1738, 4to); Torellis, Animadversiones (Lips. 1746, 4to); Haitsma, Commentarii (Franc. 1771, 4to); Hopkins, Notes (London, 1784, 4to); *St. Cruce, Hermentia (Heidelb. 1787, 4to); *Horsley, Notes (in Bib. Criticism, 1:47); Cockburn, Credibility, etc. (Lond. 1809,8vo); *Rosenmuller, Scholia (Lips: 1822, 8vo); Newnham, Illustrations (Lond. n. d. 8vo); Vizard, Commentary (London, 1838, l2mo); Buddicom, Exodus (2d ed. Liverp. 1839, 2 volumes, 12mo); Trower, Sermone (Lond. 1843, 8vo); Kitto, Illustration (Daily Bible Illust. 2); *Bush, Notes (N.Y. 1852, 2 volumes, 12mo); Cumming, Readings (Lond. 1853, 8vo); *Kalisch, Commentary (London, 1855, 8vo); Osburn, Israel in Egypt (London, 1856, 12mo); *Knobel, Erkurung (Lpz. 1857, 8vo); Howard, Notes (Cambr. 1857, 8vo); *Keil and Delitzsch, Comment. (from their Bibelwerk, Edinb. 1861, 8vo); *Lanae, Comment. (in his Bibelwerk, 2, Lpz. 1864, 8vo); *Murphy, Comment. (Edinb. 1866, Andov. 1868, 8vo). (See Old Testament).
Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature 
Exo´dus. The intention of Jehovah to deliver the Israelites from Egyptian bondage was made known to Moses from the burning bush at Mount Horeb, while he kept the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law. Under the divine direction Moses, in conjunction with Aaron, assembled the elders of the nation, and acquainted them with the gracious design of Heaven. After this they had an interview with Pharaoh, and requested permission for the people to go, in order to hold a feast unto God in the wilderness. The result was, not only refusal, but the doubling of all the burdens which the Israelites had previously had to bear. Moses hereupon, suffering reproach from his people, consults Jehovah, who assures him that he would compel Pharaoh 'to drive them out of his land.' 'I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm and with great judgments' ( to ). Then ensue a series of miracles, commonly called the plagues of Egypt (Exodus 6-12) [PLAGUE]. At last, overcome by the calamities sent upon him, Pharaoh yielded all that was demanded, saying, 'Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go serve the Lord as ye have said; also take your flocks and your herds, and be gone.' Thus driven out, the Israelites, to the number of about 600,000 adults, besides children, left the land, attended by a mixed multitude, with their flocks and herds, even very much cattle (, sq.). Being 'thrust out' of the country, they had not time to prepare for themselves suitable provisions, and therefore they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they brought forth out of Egypt.
On the night of the self-same day which terminated a period of 430 years, during which they had been in Egypt, were they led forth from Rameses, or Goshen [GOSHEN]. They are not said to have crossed the river Nile, whence we may infer that Goshen lay on the eastern side of the river. Their first station was at Succoth . The nearest way into the Land of Promise was through the land of the Philistines. This route would have required them to keep on in a north-east direction. It pleased their divine conductor, however, not to take this path, lest, being opposed by the Philistines, the Israelites should turn back at the sight of war into Egypt. If, then, Philistia was to be avoided, the course would lie nearly direct east, or south-east. Pursuing this route, 'the armies' come to Etham, their next station, 'in the edge of the wilderness' (, sq.). Here they encamped. Dispatch, however, was desirable. They journey day and night, not without divine guidance, for 'the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night.' This special guidance could not well have been meant merely to show the way through the desert; for it can hardly be supposed that in so great a multitude no persons knew the road over a country lying near to that in which they and their ancestors had dwelt, and which did not extend more than some forty miles across. The divine guides were doubtless intended to conduct the Israelites in that way and to that spot where the hand of God would be most signally displayed in their rescue and in the destruction of Pharaoh. 'I will be honored upon Pharaoh and upon all his host, that the Egyptians may know that I am the Lord.' For this purpose Moses is directed of God to 'speak unto the children of Israel that they turn and encamp before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baal-zephon; before it shall ye encamp by the sea; and they did so' . We have already seen reason to think that the direction of the Israelites was to the east or south-east; this turning must have been in the latter direction, else they would have been carried down towards the land of the Philistines, which they were to avoid. Let the word 'turn' be marked; it is a strong term, and seems to imply that the line of the march was bent considerably towards the south, or the interior of the land. The children of Israel then are now encamped before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, also 'by the sea.' Their position was such that they were 'entangled in the land, the wilderness had shut them in.'
A new scene is now laid open. News is carried to Pharaoh which leads him to see that the reason assigned (namely, a sacrifice in the wilderness) is but a pretext; that the Israelites had really fled from his yoke; and also that, through some (to him) unaccountable error, they had gone towards the south-east, had reached the sea, and were hemmed in on all sides. He summons his troops and sets out in pursuit—'all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen and his army;' and he 'overtook them encamping by the sea, beside Pi-hahiroth, before Baal-zephon' . The Israelites see their pursuing enemy approach, and are alarmed. Moses assures them of divine aid. A promise was given as of God that the Israelites should go on dry ground through the midst of the sea; and that the Egyptians, attempting the same path, should be destroyed: 'and I will get Me honor upon Pharaoh and all his host, upon his chariots and his horsemen' . Here a very extraordinary event takes place: 'The angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face and stood behind them; and it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these; so that the one came not near the other all the night' . Then comes the division of the waters, which we give in the words of the sacred historian: 'And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand and on their left. And the Egyptians pursued and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.' Delays are now occasioned to the Egyptians; their chariot-wheels are supernaturally taken off, so that 'in the morning-watch they drave them heavily.' The Egyptians are troubled; they urge each other to fly from the face of Israel. 'Then Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. And the waters returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not as much as one of them. But 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. And Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea-shore; and the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord and his servant Moses' .
Such is the bearing and import of the sacred narrative. If any intelligent reader, knowing nothing of the theories of learned men, were to peruse the account given in Exodus with a map before him, he would, we doubt not, be led to conclude that the route of the Israelites lay towards the south-east, up the Red Sea, and that the spot where they crossed was at a place encircled by mountains on the side of the desert, and fronted by deep and impassable waters; he would equally conclude that the writer in Exodus intended to represent the rescue as from first to last the work of God. Had the Israelites been at a place which was fordable under any natural influences, Pharaoh's undertaking was absurd. He knew that they were entangled—mountain behind and on either hand, while the deep sea was before them. Therefore he felt sure of his prey, and set out in pursuit. Nothing but the divine interposition foiled and punished him, at the same time redeeming the Israelites. And this view, which the unlearned but intelligent reader would be led to take, involves, in fact, all that is important in the case. But a dislike of the miraculous has had an influence, and erudition has tried to fix the precise spot: whence have arisen views and theories which are more or less discordant with the Scripture, or are concerned with comparative trifles. So far as aversion to miracle has had an influence in the hypotheses which have been given, all we shall remark is, that in a case which is so evidently represented as the sphere of miracle, there is but one alternative—they who do not admit the miracle must reject the narrative; and far better would it be to do so frankly than to construct hypotheses which are for the most part, if not altogether, purely arbitrary. A narrative obviously miraculous (in the intention of the writer) can be explained satisfactorily on no rationalistic principles: this is not to expound but to 'wrest' the Scriptures; a position which, in our opinion, has been fully established, in relation to the Gospels, against the whole of the rationalistic school of interpretation.
The account now given must, as being derived immediately from the Scripture, be in the main correct. If the authority is denied, this can be done effectually by no other means than by disproving in general the authority of the books whence it is derived; and it may with truth be affirmed, that no view opposed to that given can possess greater claims on our credit, while any mere skeptical opinion must rest on its own intrinsic probability, contested, so far as it opposes the Scripture, by scriptural authority.
When, however, we descend from generals to particulars, and attempt to ascertain precise localities and determine details, diversity of opinion may easily arise, and varying degrees of probability only are likely to attend the investigation. For instance, the immediate spot which Moses proposed to reach was, we know, on the Red Sea; but the precise line which he took depended of course on the place whence he set out. With difference of opinion as to the spot where the Hebrews had their rendezvous, there cannot be agreement as to the route they followed.
The position of Goshen, where the Israelites were settled, we shall endeavor to fix in another article. It is enough here to say, that it was on the eastern side of the Nile, probably in the province of Esh-Shurkiyeh. Rameses was the place of rendezvous. The direct route thence to the Red Sea was along the valley of the ancient canal. By this way the distance was about thirty-five miles. From the vicinity of Cairo, however, there runs a range of hills eastward to the Red Sea, the western extremity of which, not far from Cairo, is named Jebel Mokattem; the eastern extremity is termed Jebel-Attaka, which, with its promontory Ras Attaka, runs into the Red Sea. Between the two extremes, somewhere about the middle of the range, is an opening which affords a road for caravans. Two routes offered themselves here. Supposing that the actual starting-point lay nearer Cairo, the Israelites might strike in from the north of the range of hills, at the opening just mentioned, and pursue the ordinary caravan road which leads from Cairo to Suez; or they might go southward from Mokattem, through the Wady el Tih, that is, the Valley of Wandering, through which also a road, though less used, runs to Suez. According to Niebuhr, they took the first; according to ancient tradition, they took the last. Sicard found traces of the Israelites in the valley. He held Rameses to be the starting-point, and Rameses he placed about six miles from ancient Cairo, where Bezatin is now found. Here is a capacious sandy plain, on which Sicard thinks the Israelites assembled on the morning when they began their journey. In this vicinity a plain is still found, which the Arabs call the Jews' Cemetery, and where, from an indefinite period, the Jews have buried their dead. In the Mokattem chain is a hill, a part of which is called Mejanat Musa, 'Moses' Station.' On another hill in the vicinity ruins are found, which the Arabs name Meravad Musa, 'Moses' Delight.' Thus several things seem to carry the mind back to the time of the Hebrew legislator. Through the valley which leads from Bezatin (the Valley of Wandering) to the Red Sea, Sicard traveled in three days. He reckons the length to be twenty-six hours, which, if we give two miles to each hour, would make the distance fifty-two miles. The valley running pretty much in a plain surface would afford a convenient passage to the mixed bands of Israelites. About eighteen miles from Bezatin you meet with Gendelhy, a plain with a fountain. The name signifies a military station, and in this Sicard finds the Succoth (tents) of Exodus, the first station of Moses. The haste with which they left (were driven out) would enable them to reach this place at nightfall of their first day's march. Sicard places their second station, Etham, in the plain Ramliyeh, eighteen miles from Gendelhy and sixteen from the sea. From this plain is a pass, four miles in length, so narrow that not more than twenty men can go abreast. To avoid this, which would have caused dangerous delay, the order was given to turn . Etham is said to be on the edge of the wilderness. Jablonski says the word means terminus maris, the termination or boundary of the sea. Now, in the plain where Sicard fixes Etham (not to be confounded with the Eastern Etham, through which afterwards the Israelites traveled three days , is the spot where the waters divide which run to the Nile and to the Gulf of Suez, and Etham is therefore truly the boundary of the sea. Here the Israelites received command to turn and encamp before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baal-zephon. Pi-hahiroth (the mouth of the hiding-places) Sicard identifies with Thuarek (small caves), which is the name still given to three or four salt springs of the plain Baideah, on the south side of mount Attaka, which last Sicard identifies with Baal-zephon, and which is the northern boundary of the plain Baideah, while Kuiabeh (Migdol) is its southern limit. The pass which leads to Suez, between Attaka and the sea, is very narrow, and could be easily stopped by the Egyptians. In this plain of Baideah, Pharaoh had the Israelites hemmed in on all sides. This then, according to all appearance, is the spot where the passage through the sea was effected. Such is the judgment of Sicard and of Raumer. It cannot be denied that this route satisfies all the conditions of the case. Equally does the spot correspond with the miraculous narrative furnished by holy writ.
It is no small corroboration of the view now given from Sicard and Raumer, that in substance it has the support of Josephus, of whose account we shall, from its importance, give an abridgment. The Hebrews, he says (Antiq. ii. 15), took their journey by Latopolis, where Babylon was built afterwards when Cambyses laid Egypt waste. As they went in haste, on the third day they came to a place called Baal-zephon, on the Red Sea. Moses led them this way in order that the Egyptians might be punished should they venture in pursuit, and also because the Hebrews had a quarrel with the Philistines. When the Egyptians had overtaken the Hebrews they prepared to fight them, and by their multitude drove them into a narrow place; for the number that went in pursuit was 600 chariots, 50,000 horsemen, and 200,000 infantry, all armed. They also seized the passages, shutting the Hebrews up between inaccessible precipices and the sea; for there was on each side a ridge of mountains that terminated at the sea, which were impassable, and obstructed their flight. Moses, however, prayed to God, and smote the sea with his rod, when the waters parted, and gave the Israelites free passage. The Egyptians at first supposed them distracted; but when they saw the Israelites proceed in safety, they followed. As soon as the entire Egyptian army was in the channel the sea closed, and the pursuers perished amid torrents of rain and the most terrific thunder and lightning.
The opposition to the scriptural account has been of two kinds. Some writers (Wolfenb. Fragm. p. 64, sq.) have at once declared the whole fabulous; a course which appears to have been taken as early as the time of Josephus (Antiq. ii. 16, 5). Others have striven to explain the facts by the aid of mere natural causes; for which see Winer, Handwörterbuch, in Meer Rothes. A third mode of explanation is pursued by those who do not deny miracles as such, and yet, with no small inconsistency, seek to reduce this particular miracle to the smallest dimensions. Writers who see in the deliverance of the Hebrews the hand of God and the fulfillment of the divine purposes, follow the account in Scripture implicitly, placing the passage at Ras Attaka, at the termination of the Valley of Wandering; others, who go on rationalistic principles, find the sea here too wide and too deep for their purpose, and endeavor to fix the passage a little to the south or the north of Suez. In answer to this opinion, we shall content ourselves with quoting the testimony of one or two travelers who have visited and carefully examined the spot.
The following are the remarks of Mr. Blumhardt, who passed through Suez (October, 1835), in his missionary visit to Abyssinia. 'The Red Sea at Suez is exceedingly narrow, and in my opinion it cannot be that the Israelites here experienced the power and love of God in their passage through the Red Sea. The breadth of the sea is at present scarcely a quarter of an hour by Suez. Now if this be the part which they crossed, how is it possible that all the army of Pharaoh, with his chariots, could have been drowned? I am rather inclined to believe that 'the Israelites experienced that wonderful deliverance about thirty miles lower down. This opinion is also strengthened by most of the Eastern churches, and the Arabs, who believe that the Israelites reached the opposite shore at a place called Gebel Pharaon, which on that account has received this name. If we accept this opinion, it agrees very well with the Scripture.' Still more important is the evidence of Dr. Olin (Travels in the East, New York, 1843). He agrees with Robinson in fixing Etham 'on the border of the wilderness which stretches along the eastern shore of the arm of the sea which runs up above Suez.' At this point he says the Hebrews were commanded to turn. They turned directly southward and marched to an exposed position, hemmed in completely by the sea, the desert, and Mount Attaka. A false confidence was thus excited in Pharaoh, and the deliverance was made the more signal and the more impressive alike to the Israelites and to Egypt. Admitting the possibility that the sea at Suez may have been wider and deeper than it is now, Olin remarks, 'it must still have been very difficult, if not impossible, for the army of Israel, encumbered with infants and aged people, as well as with flocks, to pass over (near Suez) in face of their enemies.' Besides, the peculiarities of the place must have had a tendency to disguise the character and impair the effect of the miracle. The passage made at the intervention of Moses was kept open all night. The Egyptians followed the Hebrews to the midst of the sea, when the sea engulfed them. 'The entire night seems to have been consumed in the passage. It is hardly credible that so much time should have been consumed in crossing near Suez, to accomplish which one or two hours would have been sufficient.' 'Nor is it conceivable that the large army of the Egyptians should have been at once within the banks of so narrow a channel. The more advanced troops would have reached the opposite shore before the rear had entered the sea; and yet we know that all Pharaoh's chariots and horsemen followed to the midst of the sea, and, together with all the host that came in after them, were covered with the returning waves' (i. 348). Preferring the position at Ras Attaka, Olin states that the gulf is here ten or twelve miles wide. 'The valley expands into a considerable plain, bounded by lofty precipitous mountains on the right and left, and by the sea in front, and is sufficiently ample to accommodate the vast number of human beings who composed the two armies.' 'An east wind would act almost directly across the gulf. It would be unable to cooperate with an ebb tide in removing the waters—no objection certainly if we admit the exercise of God's miraculous agency;' but a very great impediment in the way of any rationalistic hypothesis. 'The channel is wide enough to allow of the movements described by Moses, and the time, which embraced an entire night, was sufficient for the convenient march of a large army over such a distance.' 'The opinion which fixes the point of transit in the valley or wady south of Mount Attaka derives confirmation from the names still attached to the principal objects in this locality. Jebel Attaka means in the language of the Arabs “The Mount of Deliverance.” Badeah or Bedeah, the name this part of the valley, means “the Miraculous,” while Wady el Tih means “the Valley of Wanderings.” Pi-hahiroth, where Moses was commanded to encamp, is rendered by scholars “the mouth of Hahiroth,” which answers well to the deep gorge south of Attaka, but not at all to the broad plain about Suez.'
Other parts of the line of march pursued by the Israelites will be found treated of under the heads Manna Sinai Wandering.
The Nuttall Encyclopedia 
E . the Going out), the book of the Old Testament which records the deliverance of the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage, and the institution of the moral and ceremonial laws for the nation; consists partly of history and partly of legislation.
- Exodus from Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible
- Exodus from American Tract Society Bible Dictionary
- Exodus from Easton's Bible Dictionary
- Exodus from Holman Bible Dictionary
- Exodus from Bridgeway Bible Dictionary
- Exodus from People's Dictionary of the Bible
- Exodus from Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary
- Exodus from Webster's Dictionary
- Exodus from Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature
- Exodus from Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature
- Exodus from The Nuttall Encyclopedia