Bible Reading

Bible Study: Exodus – Summary of the Book

Summary of the Book of Exodus

Exodus is the second book of the Bible and the second book of the five books of the Law, or the Pentateuch. This book covers the exodus of the nation of Israel out of Egypt through their journey to the Promised Land.


Within the book of Exodus there is language that suggests the author is an eye witness to the events contained within the book. Exodus 17:14; 24:3-7 and 34:27, 28 each talk about God asking or telling Moses to write the current events in a book. This is the book we read today called Exodus.

Both the Old and New Testaments refer to Moses as the author of the Law, and therefore the book of Exodus, just as it does for Genesis. There is no reason to suspect that Moses was not the author.

Date Written

Like Genesis and the rest of the Pentateuch it was written between 1440 to 1400 B.C. There are indications that it was earlier in the period. The exodus itself took place around 1440 B.C.

Purpose of Exodus

To provide a history of how God preserved the nation of Israel, thus fulfilling His promise to Abraham to make of him a great nation. It chronicles the exodus of Israel out of the land of Egypt. Events such as the Passover and the giving of the Law are important elements in the book of Exodus.


An actual history that teaches a spiritual truth. Humanity is in bondage to sin (Israel in Egypt). Yet they can have redemption (the exodus) and instruction to spiritual life and growth (the Law).

Key Verses

Exodus 3:8 “And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites.” God had promised the land of the Canaanites to Abraham. He is now prepared to give it to them.

Exodus 12:23, 29-31 “For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you. And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle. And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead. And he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the LORD, as ye have said.” A critical teaching in the Bible is the event of the Passover where God punishes those who choose to ignore His authority. In the end the Epygtians not only gave the Israelites the ability to leave, but begged them to go away while giving up their gold and silver so that the Israelites would have no reason to return.

Exodus 19:4-6 “Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.” God reinforces His promise to bless Abraham’s family and make them into a great and mighty nation.

Main Characters

Moses, Pharaoh, Aaron, Joshua

Main Stories

Moses is born to an Israelite slave family, but is adopted by the Pharaoh’s daughter. He flees Egypt and works as a shepherd before being called to lead the Israelites from Egypt to the Promised land. He demands the release of the Children of Israel. The story of the 10 plagues of Egypt and the ultimate release of Israel. The Israeli wandering in the wilderness and the 10 Commandments are main stories in the book of Exodus.

Outline of Exodus

Like Genesis, Exodus can easily be divided in at least two ways. The first is a simple two-theme division and another is based on the main events.

Two main themes:

  1. Historical (chapters 1-18)
  2. Legal (chapters 19-40)

A second division is through main events:

  1. Israel in Slavery (chapter 1)
  2. Exodus (chapters 2-14)
  3. Journey to Mt. Sinai (chapters 15-18)
  4. Giving of the Law (chapters 19-24)
  5. Establishment of the Tabernacle and Priesthood (chapters 25-40)

Summary of Exodus

Moses was born to an Israelite slave family. He was then adopted by the Pharaoh’s daughter and brought up to have great power in Egypt. He fled Egypt, after being discovered killing an Egyptian, and worked as a shepherd for 40 years. During his time as a shepherd God visited him at a burning bush to send him back to Egypt and lead the Israelites to the land promised to Abraham. Pharaoh would not release the Israelites, but instead made them work harder as slaves. Nine of the ten plagues effected the Egyptians, but did not touch the Israelites living next door. The final plague, from which comes the Passover celebration, was when God killed the firstborn of each family who did not show faith in Him and His promised salvation.

The Israelites were allowed to leave Egypt, but Pharaoh immediately followed them. The Children of Israel crossed the Red Sea on dry land, but the Egyptians were drowned during their attempt to cross.

They approached the land promised by God, but because of giants in the land, they were scared to enter. They did not trust God to help them conquer the land “flowing with milk and honey.” As a result they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. During that time God gave the Law. Most people are familiar with only the 10 Commandments; however, there were several books of the Law that was given during this time. The Tabernacle and the Priesthood were established at the end of the book of Exodus.


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