The book of Exodus is one of the most important historical narratives in Scripture. It includes adventure, rescue, supernatural confrontations between good and evil, and the mass liberation of a people from slavery. In these pages, you’ll meet a hero (Moses) and a villain (Pharaoh). You’ll see God work miracles and wonders as we witness the birth of a nation. Key themes of Exodus include God’s love and faithfulness, the Law and covenant, obedience, holiness, redemption, and worship.
Exodus is the second book in the Old Testament, following Genesis where a dying Joseph made this prophetic promise: “God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this land to the land he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” (Gen. 50:24; see also Gen. 15:13–14). Here we see that promise fulfilled! The book’s author was probably Moses (see Ex. 24:4). While the exact date of writing is uncertain, the date of the Exodus itself is often placed at 1446 b.c.
Between Joseph’s death and the first chapter of Exodus, much had changed. When Jacob and his extended family first arrived, the group numbered just 70 people (Ex. 1:5). Four centuries later, the Israelites had exploded in population to about two million people—603,550 men counted in a later census (Ex. 38:26), plus women and children. Their status had also changed. They had come at Pharaoh’s invitation, now they were in slavery (vv. 12–14).
But God was present, even in this hard situation. When a fearful Egyptian king ordered newborn Israelite males to be killed, the Lord raised up two women of faith, Shiphrah and Puah. Knowledge of the promises to Abraham had clearly been passed down, for these women “feared God” and saved lives (v. 17). And the Lord blessed them (vv. 20–21).
As we begin this month’s study, ask God to prepare your heart and mind. Be open to the many lessons and insights He has for you from this rich book! And, since the Exodus is the historical event referred to most often throughout the entire Old Testament, this study will be foundational for your ongoing study of the rest of Scripture.