« PreviousContinue »
PROF. OF HEB. AND ORIENT. LIT. N. Y. CITY UNIVERSITY.
CORNER OF FULTON AND NASSAU STS.
According to act of Congress, in the year 1841, by
In the Clerk's office of the District Court of the Southern District of
FRANCIS F. RIPLET
appan Preshe, aos 3-7-1932
§ 1. Title, Author, Scope, &c.
3-2 4-32 dine
The designation given in our version to the second book of the Pentateuch, viz. 'Exodus,' is derived directly from the Greek e todos, exodos, varying only by the Latinised termination us for os. The import of the term is that of going forth, emigration, departure, and is significant of the principal event recorded in it, to wit, the departure of the children of Israel from Egypt. According to Hebrew usage, though no where in the text itself, it is called 6720 7387 ve. ëlleh shemoth, and these are the names, from the initial words of the book. This phrase, however, is sometimes abbreviated by the Jewish writers to the simple term 7nu shemoth, the names.
That the authorship of this book is rightly ascribed to Moses, is proved by the arguments which go to ascertain the entire Pentateuch as the production of his hand. These are so fully detailed in our Introduction to Genesis, that it will be unnecessary to repeat them here. But we have in addition still more explicit evidence on this point. Moses testifies of himself, Ex. 24. 4, that he 'wrote all the words of the Lord,' commanded hiin on a certain occasion, which words are contained in this book. Our Savior, also, when citing, Mark 12. 26, a certain passage from this book, calls it 'the book of Moses.' And again, Luke 20. 37, he says, 'Now that the dead are raised, even Moses showed at the bush.' It is moreover to be observed that the books of the Old Testament are spoken of in the New, Luke 15. 31, as divided into two grand classes, ‘Moses and the proph. ets,' and in v. 16, 'the law and the prophets ;' so that all the Scriptures, besides 'the prophets,' were written by Moses ; in other words, the four books of the ‘law were written by him. There remains, therefore, no room for doubt that Moses wrote the book of Exodus, ahd if any thing more were necessary to establish its canonical character, it would be found in the fact mentioned by Rivet, that twenty-five passages are quoted from it by Christ and his Apostles in express terms, and nineteen as to the sense.
As to the general scope of the book, it is plainly to preserve the memorial of the great facts of the national history of Israel in its earlier periods, to wit, their deliverance from Egypt, the kindness and faithfulness of God in their subsequent preservation in the wilderness, the delivery of the Law, and the establishment of a new and peculiar system of worship. All the particulars connected with these several events are given in the fullest and most interesting detail, and in such a manner as to compel in the reader the recognition of an overruling Providence at every step of the narration. There is perhaps no book in the Bible that records such an illustrious series of miracles, or that keeps the divine agency so con. stantly before the mind's eye. Nor are the moral lessons which it teaches less prominent and striking. We find the Apostle Paul, 1 Cor. 10. 11, after having adverted to the course of Israel's experience as a nation, immediately adding, "Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples; and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. No sooner had he adverted to their privileges than he describes their chastisements, as inflicted to the intent that we should not so imitate their sin, as to provoke a visitation of the same vengeance. Indeed their whole history forms one grand prediction and outline of human redemption, and of the lot of the church. In the servitude of Israel we behold a lively image of the bondage to sin and Satan in which the unregenerate are held captive. In the deliverance from Egypt is foreshown their redemption from this horrid thraldom; and the journey through the wilderness is a graphic program of a Christian's journey through life to his final inheritance in the heavenly Canaan. So also, without minute specification, the manna of which the Israelites ate, and the rock of which they drank, as well as the brazen serpent by which they were healed, were severally typical of corresponding particulars under the Christian economy. Add to this, that under the sacrifices, and ceremonial service of the Mosaic institute, were described the distinguishing features of the more spiritual worship of the Gospel.
It is necessary to bear in mind, if we would adequately understand the drift of the peculiar institutions which we find prescribed in the pages of this book, that the grand design of Heaven was to form the Israelites into a distinct and independent people, and to unite them in one great political and ecclesiastical body of whom Jehovah bimself was to be the ackowledged head, constituting what is familiarly known as the Jewish Theocracy. But upon this unique kind of polity, which never had a parallel in the case of any other nation on earth, we have reserved a more extended train of remark in the Introduction to the Second Volume of this work, where the reader will find the whole subject amply discussed.
§ 2. Time occupied by the History, Divisions, &c. The period embraced by the history will be seen from the following computation :
81 From departure from Egypt to Tabernacle erected,
142 Some make the period from the death of Joseph to the birth of Moses to be 63 years, which will increase the sum total to 145 years, but the difference is too slight to make it necessary to state the grounds of either calculation. It is to be observed, however, that nearly the whole book is occupied in the detail of the events which occurred in the last year of the period above mentioned.
According to the Jewish arrangement this book is divided into eleven heb parashoth, or larger divisions, and twenty 69 70 siderim, or smaller divisions.