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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

Exodus - Introduction

The migration of Jacob's family to Egypt, undertaken with high expectation and understood as an act of God's grace (Gen. chs. 37–50 ), becomes the occasion for bondage to the Pharaoh. The promise (Gen. 12.1–3; 15.1–21; 17.1–8 ) now seemed but a delusion. Yet, the day arrived when Israel escaped and survived in the wilderness. At a sacred mountain the people reflected upon the meaning of God's past redemption, and pledged to become a community obedient only to the LORD's will. (The account was handed down in several versions, which were then combined into the present form; see Introduction to the Pentateuch ). When subsequent generations heard the stirring story, they found parallels to the disappointments of their times, and also hope for the future.

The book has two major parts: chs. 1–18 , relating the oppression, the manner of deliverance and the arrival at the sacred mountain under the leadership of Moses; and chs. 19–40 , giving various accounts of the covenant regulations by means of which the community was to govern its life and worship.

Literary and archaeological evidence points to the period of the Nineteenth Egyptian Dynasty (about 1300 B.C.E.) as the most likely setting for the events.

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