The name Exodus comes from the Greek "ex" meaning "out", and "hodos" meaning "way" or "road". It is the account of how God led the Israelites out of their slavery in Egypt, led them through the Red Sea to freedom, and gave them their laws at Mt. Sinai. Jews regard this as their beginning as a nation.
The Book can be divided into two sections. Chapters 1-18 deal with the early life of Moses, God's call for him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, the first Passover, and the journey through the Red Sea. Chapters 19-40 deal with the giving of the Covenant at Sinai.
Exodus 1:11 - "Pharaoh" was the Egyptian title meaning "King" used for all native Egyptian kings, rather than a personal name. "Raamses" became one of the royal residential cities for Pharaohs of the Ramesside dynasty ( ca. 1293 - 1070 BC ). Ramesses II ( ca. 1290 - 1224 BC ) is the most probable candidate for being the "Pharaoh of the Exodus". His mummy has been found, and is on view at the Cairo Museum.
Exodus 2:15-16 - Midian was a son of Abraham by his second wife Keturah (Genesis 25:1-6), and would have learned from Abraham to worship God. The Midianites were the descendants of Midian, and settled in Arabia, which at that time included the Sinai peninsular.
Exodus 3:14 - the "Name" which God reveals to Moses and the children of Israel is written with 4 Hebrew letters, corresponding to JHWH (or YHWH), and is never pronounced by Jews; it is referred to by scholars as the Tetragrammaton. It is very closely related to the Hebrew verb "to be", and can be taken to mean "I AM WHATEVER I AM", "I WILL BE WHATEVER I WILL BE", or "I AM BEING".
Exodus 16:15 - "Manna" comes from Hebrew "Mah ?", "what", and "Nah", "please" - what the people were saying was "What is this, please ?"
Exodus 23:19b - the prohibition against cooking a kid in its mother's milk is the rationale behind the rule kept by Jews to this day, of not mixing meat and dairy products in a meal. Breakfast consists of dairy products ( milk, cheese, yoghurt ) and fruit and possibly fish or eggs. Only after mid-day, when breakfast has cleared the stomach, may meat products be ingested.
Exodus 25:10 - "Shittim wood" or Acacia - the Acacia is incredibly hardy, and survives the climate of the Sinai and the Negev (southern Israel) where few other trees grow naturally.
Exodus 25:18 - Cherub (singular), Cherubim (plural), were composite creatures believed to be servants of God. They were usually represented as having wings, often with a human face and an animal's body (ox, lion)
Exodus 26 - the "Tabernacle" (Tent) - this was a portable place for worship, and is to be distinguished from the "Temple" which was built several hundred years later in Jerusalem by Solomon
Exodus 28:30 - the "Urim" and the "Thummim" were instruments for casting lots to decide "yes" or "no" to questions asked of God. God was regarded as being in ultimate control of everything that happened, so could control the fall of dice or rods for the "casting of lots" to tell the Israelites what to do.
Exodus 32:14 - "repented" does not mean "felt sorry about", but "re-thought"
Copyright © 1999 Shirley J. Rollinson, all Rights Reserved
Department of Religion
Portales, NM 88130
Last Updated: May 23, 2008