Understanding The Bible
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Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr.
Philadelphia College of Bible
I. THE PERIOD OF THE OPPRESSION IN EGYPT, THE EXODUS, AND THE WILDERNESS WANDERINGS: To the Arrival on the Plains of Moab (1580-1400 B.C.) Exodus 1 - Deuteronomy 34
The whole period of Israel's history which we now consider begins with the death of Joseph and continues until the death of Moses, a period of some 400 years, about *1785~1400 B.C., or from the oppression to the death of Moses, about 1580-1400 B.C. The story of this period is told in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
Study the outlines of these books in this syllabus below and the introductory note to each in SRB. It will be noted that the latter half of Exodus, and all of Leviticus contain very little history. These set forth the law of Moses and so will not play a great part in our historical study. Deuteronomy also, since it is largely a repetition of history and law given in previous books, will be sketched briefly. The student should read these books and the major notes on them in SRB. The first half of Exodus and the book of Numbers are then our major sources of information about the history of this period. The purpose of the book of Exodus is to tell how the Israelites came to leave Egypt and were constituted a nation when receiving the law at Sinai.
B. THE MAJOR DIVISIONS OF THIS PERIOD
1. Israel in Egypt, Exodus 1-12
We are not told how soon after Joseph's death the Israelites began to be oppressed, nor how long the oppression lasted.
2. The Exodus, Exodus 13-18
The "outgoing" from Egypt occurs after the tenth plague; includes the crossing of the Red Sea and the arrival at Sinai.
*It should be noted that dates before David's time are only approximate. The Bible does not give us information to date the 0. T. story very exactly; indeed, the ancients seldom thought in terms of numbered years. Among orthodox Bible teachers there is disagreement about the dates of the descent into Egypt, length of Israel's stay there, and the exodus. The dates given in this syllabus are, in the authors' opinion, as good a solution as is obtainable at our present state of knowledge.
3. The Sojourn at Sinai, Exodus 19:1 - Numbers 10:10
For nearly a year Israel stayed at Sinai; there the people were constituted a nation, entered into covenant relationship with God, and received the law.
4. The Wilderness Wanderings, Numbers 10:11 - Deuteronomy 34:12
After leaving Sinai the people disobeyed God's command to enter the land of Canaan and so were condemned to wander In the wilderness 40 years. When these years are at an end, Moses died, and a new era of Israel's history began under the leadership of Joshua.
THE BOOKS OF MOSES COMPARED AS TO CONTENTS:
|Book||Type of Literature||Material Covered|
|Genesis||History||Adam to Joseph|
|Oppression, Exodus, Law of Moses|
|Leviticus||Handbook for the priests||Tabernacle Ritual|
|Deuteronomy||Sermons||Review of law for new generation and last messages of Moses|
At this point the student will please refer to the rectangular chart by Whitcomb entitled "Old Testament Kings and Prophets." Note carefully the diagramed material on various historical persons and events.
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