How exciting it is to open the bible to the book of Exodus and read the narrative of the fulfillment of God’s promise in the rescue of the Israelites from captivity in Egypt—the call of Moses, the plagues, and the dramatic manifestation of God on Mt. Sinai. Though the book of Exodus is most famous for the revelation of the Ten Commandments contained in Chapter 20, it remains vague in terms of where the biblical account actually occurred, and yet we cannot begin to fully understand the Old Testament if we look at it as merely a piece of great literature, or as some have suggested nothing more than interesting legend, or the elaboration of superior ideals.
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Traditionally, the starting place for Israel’s understanding of God’s sovereignty occurred during the Exodus. Everything that happened prior to the Exodus was understood in the realm of each event. In the third or second century BC, the Septuagint translation into Greek was made by Alexandrian Jews. This is an important manuscript tradition, due to its identity as an archeological find, but it should be remembered that translation to another language is an informative process, especially between two languages as different as Greek and Hebrew. The Septuagint is said to be useful in that it helps us understand the state of the Hebrew text 200 years before Christ, and it also tells us how Jews then translated certain passages.
Migration to Egypt
Bible commentary describes seventy descendants of Jacob entering into Egypt. This figure includes Joseph, who was already in Egypt, (having been sold into slavery by his brothers) and his sons. In Genesis 46, the descendants of Jacob are listed, including Joseph and eight of his heirs. The bible also counts Jacob's daughter Dinah and wife Aseneth, who also bore children to him. The firstborn son of Jacob was Reuben, who yielded an alternative number of seventy-five. The descendants of Jacob include off-spring born later in Egypt, after the migration. From Jacob’s family of seventy, an entire nation would develop in the fulfillment of God's promise to Abraham.
In a cross-reference of the Exodus narrative, I found the Book of Genesis concludes with the life of Joseph, who, as the last verse of Genesis reveals; died at the age of 110. By the end of the final chapter of Genesis, the people, possibly descendants of Israel were in Egypt, living in bondage. In the meantime there arose a new king over Egypt, that did not know of Joseph, and he said to his people, "Behold, the people of the children of Israel are numerous and stronger than we" (Exodus 1:8-9).
The Israelites found themselves serving a pharaoh who didn’t care about their well-being or their prosperity. In fact, they were viewed as a potential threat. Because he feared that the Israelites had become much too numerous, he established a plan of extermination, or at least partial extermination. The king of Egypt told the Hebrew midwives to kill every boy child who was born. However, the midwives did not comply with the King’s wishes—at least not initially. which increased the anger of Pharaoh and he became more intense with his determination to destroy Hebrew male infants.
The first major section of the book of Exodus, chapters 1-2, focuses on the bondage experience; the scene is dire, there is a plan to exterminate part of the Hebrew people. There’s a pharaoh who didn’t know about Joseph and didn’t care for the people of God. In addition, there is a large number of Hebrews who pose a threat to the nation of Egypt. The narrative unfolds with the introduction of a couple who like Abraham and Sarah will provide an heir for...