The 400 Years in Egypt
The Going Out of Egypt
The Ten Commandments
Moses had written Genesis out of previously existing documents. With Exodus begins the story of Moses himself. His own life and work comprise the subject matter of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. He himself wrote these books. The story of Moses constitutes about one-seventh of the whole Bible, and is about two-thirds as large as the New Testament.
Chapter 1 . Israel in Egypt
There is a gap between Genesis and Exodus of nearly 300 years, from the death of Joseph to the birth of Moses; or a total of 430 years from Jacob's migration to Egypt till the Exodus (12:40, 41) . In this time the Israelites had increased exceedingly (1:7) . After the death of Joseph a change of dynasty made them a race of slaves. At the time of the Exodus there were 600,000 men above 20, besides women and children (Numbers 1:46). This would total about 3,000,000. For 70 persons to reach this number in 410 years it would be necessary to double about every 25 years, which would be easily possible. The growth of the population in the United States, in 400
years, from nothing to more than e hundred million, not altogether by immigration, makes credible the statement about the growth of the Israelites
The family records of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, no doubt, had been carried to Egypt, and through the long years of bondage there was steadfastly cherished the Promise that Canaan would one day be their national home.
Egypt and the Bible
In the first place, Egypt was settled by the descendants of Ham. Abraham spent some time in Egypt. So did Jacob. Joseph was ruler of Egypt. The Hebrew nation, in its childhood, was 400 years in Egypt. Moses was the adopted son of a Queen of Egypt, and, in his preparation to be Israel's Law-Giver, he was instructed in all the wisdom and learning of Egypt. The religion of Egypt, Calf-Worship, became the religion of the
Northern Kingdom of Israel. Jeremiah died in Egypt. From the Captivity till the time of Christ there was e considerable Jewish population in Egypt. The Septuagint Translation of the Old Testament was made in Egypt. Jesus spent part of his childhood in Egypt. Egypt became an important early center of Christianity.
A valley, 2 to 30 miles wide, with an average width of about l0 miles; and 750 miles long;-cut by the Nile; through the east end of Sahara Desert, from Aswan, to the Mediterranean; with a desert plateau on either side about 1000 feet high.
The floor of the valley is covered with black alluvial deposit of rich soil from
Abyssinian highlands, of unparalleled fertility, ever renewed by annual overflow of
Irrigated from the dawn of history, with a vast system of canals and reservoirs. The
Aswan Dam, recently built by the British, now controls the overflow of the Nile, and
famines are a thing of the past.
"Surrounded, and protected, by the desert, here developed the First Great Empire
in history, and nowhere else have witnesses of ancient civilization been so well preserved"
The population now is about 24,000,000; in Roman times, 7,000,000; probably about that, or less, in the days of Israel's sojourn.
The Delta, a triangle, the spread-out mouth of the Nile, is about 100 miles north and south; and about 150 miles east and west, from Port Said to Alexandria. It of is the most fertile prat of Egypt. The land of Goshen, main center of Israelite habitation,
was the east part of the Delta.
The Religion of Egypt
Sir Flinders Petrie, famous Egyptian archaeologist, says that the Original religion of Egypt was Monotheistic. But before the dawn of the historic period a religion had developed in which each tribe had its own god, represented by an animal.
Ptah (Apis) was god of Memphis, rePresented by a Bull
Amon, d"d of T[ebes, wls rePle-se.nted by a Cow.
Mut, thE wife of Amon, by a Vulture'
Horus, sky god, by a Falcon. Ra, sun .god, [l a Hawk.
Set (Satan), god of the east frontier, by Crocodile.
Osiris, god of the dead, by., Goat. Isis, his wife, by a Cow.
Troth, god of intelligence by an Ape. Heka, a goddess, by a Frog.
Nechebt, goddess of the South, by -' Serpent.
Nile was sacred.
Bast, a goddess, by a Cat.
There were many other gods. The Pharaohs were deified.
Chapter 1. Israel in Egypt
Contemporary Egyptian History
During Israel's Sojourn in Egypt, about 1800-1400 B.C. Egypt grew to be a World-Empire. With Israel's departure, Egypt declined, and became, and remained a second-rate Power.
PERIOD Between JOSEPH and EXODUS, about 1800-1400 B.C.
13rh, 14th, 17th Dynasties: 25 kings: Ruled in the South.
15th; l6th Dynasties: 11 kings: Ruled in the North. These were the Hyksos, or Shepherd kings, a Semitic line of conquerors from Asia, kin to the Jews, who pressed in from Syria, and unified the rule of North Egypt and Syria. Apepi II, about 1800 B.C. of the l6th Dynasty, is thought to have been the Pharaoh who received Joseph. Under the Hyksos Israelites were favored. But when the Hyksos were driven out by the 18th Dynasty, Israelites were reduced to Slavery.
PERIOD of MOSES and the EXODUS
18th Dynasty, 13 kings; 19th Dynasty, 8 kings; 1500-1200 B.C. These made Egypt a World-Empire. Their Names are as follows:
Amosis (Ahmes, Ahmose) I. 1580 B.C. Drove out Hyksos. Made Palestine and Syria tributary to Egypt.
Amenhotep (Amenophis) I. (About 1560 B.C.)
Thotmes (Thothmes, Thutmose) I. (1540 B.C.) Ruled to the Euphrates. First Royal Rock-cut Tomb.
Thotmes II. 1510 B.C. Hatshepsut, his half sister and wife, was real ruler. Made frequent raids to Euphrates.
Thotmes III ( 1500 B.C.) Queen Hatshepsut, his half sister, was the first 20 years of his reign; and, though he despised her, she completely dominated him. After her death he ruled alone for 30 years. He was the greatest conqueror in Egyptian history. Subdued Ethiopia, and ruled to the Euphrates, first Great Empire in history. Raided Palestine and Syria 17 times. Built a Navy. Accumulated great wealth. Engaged in vast building enterprises. Recorded his achievements in detail on walls and monuments. His tomb is at Thebes. His mummy is at Cairo. Thought to have been the Oppressor of Israel. If so, then Famous Queen Hatshepsut may have been the Pharaoh's Daughter who rescued and brought up Moises.
Hatshepsut. Daughter of Thotmes I. Regent for Thotmes II and Thotmes III. First Great Queen in history. A most remarkable woman, and one of Egypt's greatest and most vigorous rulers. Had many of her statues represent her as a man. Extended the Empire. Built many monuments; two great obelisks at Karnak, the great Temple at Deir el Bahri, furnished with many statues of herself. Thotmes III hated her, and on her death, one of his first acts was take her name off all monuments and destroy all her statues. Those at Bahri were broken to pieces, flung in a quarry, covered by drifting sands, and recently found by the Metropolitan Museum.
Amenhorep II. (1450-1420 B.c.) Many scholars think he was the Pharaoh of the Exodus. He maintained the empire founded by Thothmes III. His mummy is in his tomb at Thebes.
Thothmes IV. (1420 B.C.) Chariot in which he rode has been found. His mummy is now at Cairo.
Amenhotep II. (l415 B.C.) Greatest splendor of Empire. Repeatedly raided Palestine. Built vast temples. Mummy at Cairo.
Amenhotep IV. (Akhenaten ). (1380 B.C.) Under him Egypt lost her Asiatic Empire. He attempted to establish Monotheistic Sun-Worship. If the Exodus occurred under Amenhotep II, some years previous, then this Monotheistic move may have been an indirect influence of Moses' Miracles.
Semenka. (1362 u.c.). A weak ruler.
Tutankhamen. (1360- 1350, B.C.) Son-in-raw of Amenhotep IV. Restored the old religion. Was one of the lesser rulers of Egypt, at the close of the most brilliant period of Egyptian history; but famous now for the amazing riches and magnificence of his tomb, which was discovered by Howard Carter (A.D. 192). His mummy is still in the tomb. The inner coffin which contain the mummy is of solid gold. His chariot and throne were there. First unrobbed tomb of a pharaoh to be discovered.
Ay (Eye), Setymeramen. (1350 B.C.). Two weak rulers.
Harmhab (Horembeb) (1340 B.C) Restored Amon worship.
Rameses I. (1320 B.C.)
Seti ( Sethos) I. ( 1319 B.C.) Palestine recovered. Began the Great Hall at Karnak. Mummy now at Cairo.
Rameses II. (1300 B.C.) Ruled for 65 years. One of the greatest of the Pharaohs, though inferior to Thothmes III and Amenhotep III, but a great builder, a great advertiser, and something of a plagiarist, claiming credit, in some cases, for accomplishments of his predecessors. He re-established the Empire from Ethiopia to the Euphrates. Raided and pillaged Palestine repeatedly. Completed the great Karnak Hall, and other vast works, fortifications, canals and temples, built by slaves taken in war, or throngs of captives from the far South, along with the native working class, toiling in gangs in the quarry or brick fields, or dragging great stone blocks over soft earth. Married his own daughters. Mummy at Cairo.
Merneptah. (1235 B.C.) Thought by some to have been the Pharaoh of the Exodus. His mummy is at Cairo. His throne room in Memphis has been uncovered by the University Museum of Pennsylvania.
Amenmeses, Siptah, Seti II. (1220-1200 s.c.) 3 weak rulers.
Chapter 1. Israel in Egypt
Who was the Pharaoh of the Exodus?
There are two leading opinions: Amenhotep II (1450-1420 B.C.), or Merneptah (1235-1220 B.C.)
If the Exodus was under Amenhotep II, then Thothmes III was the great oppressor of Israel, whose sister brought up Moses. This sister was the famous Queen Hatshepsut. How wonderfully do the facts of her reign fit in with the Bible story. She was interested in the mines of Sinai, and restored the temple at Serabit, of which Moses may have had the oversight, with opportunity to familiarize himself with the Sinai region. Then too, when Moses was born Thothmes III would have been an infant, and Hatshepsut regent; and on her death the oppression of Israel grew more bitter, and Moses fled. It would also explain, in part, Moses' prestige in Egypt.
If the Exodus was under Merneptah, then Rameses II was the great oppressor of Israel, whose daughter brought up Moses.
Thus, Moses was brought up either under Thothmes III, or under Rameses II, both of whom were among Egypt's most famous kings.
And Moses led Israel out of Egypt either under Amenhotep II, or- under Merneptah.
Whichever it was, the MUMMIES of ALL FOUR have been found. So, we may now see the actual face of the Pharaoh of Moses' day, with whom Moses himself had very intimate dealings.
Discovery of the Mummies
In 1871 an Arab discovered, in a rocky inaccessible cliff, back of Thebes, a tomb filled with the treasures and the coffins of 40 of the Mummies of the kings and queens of Egypt. He kept his secret for 10 years, selling the treasures to tourists. Car-touches and scarabs of the greatest of the ancient kings began to appear in circulation. The Cairo Museum authorities went to Thebes to investigate. They found the Arab, and by bribery, threats and torture, made him reveal the place. The Mummies were not in their original tombs. They had been removed ages before to a secret hiding place, on account of the early appearance of professional tomb robbers. These Mummies were removed to Cairo.
Chapter 1. Israel in Egypt
Pharaoh of the Exodus: Amenhotep II? or Merneptah?
Indications for Amenhotep II. The Amarna Letters, written to Amenhotep III and Amenhotep IV, urging help from Pharaoh, indicate that at that time (the earlier date), Palestine was being lost to the "Habiri,"
Hall at Karnak
Here are some excerpts: "The Habiri are capturing our fortresses; they are taking our cities; they are destroying our rulers. They are plundering all the country of the king. May the king send soldiers quickly. If no troops come this year the whole country is lost to the king." The "Habiri" are taken by many scholars to mean "Hebrews," and, accordingly, that these letters contain a Canaanite description of Joshua's Conquest of Canaan. Those scholars who hold to the later date for the Exodus think that the "Habiri" may have been an earlier invasion or emigration (1 Chronicles 4:21-22, 7:21).
Archaeological evidence that Jericho fell about 1400 B.C. Dr. John Garstang, who made thorough excavations at Jericho, is very confident on this point.
Mummy of Amenophis II in the Royal Tomb of Thebes
Indications for Mermeptah.
Merneptah's "Israel" Tablet. In 1906 Sir Flinders Petrie found a slab of black syenite containing a record of Merneptah's victories, made in the 5th year of his
reign. It is 10 feet high, 5 feet wide; now in the Cairo Museum. The word "Israel" occurs in the middle of the second line from the bottom. It says: "Plundered is Canaan. Israel is desolated; his seed is not. Palestine is become a widow for Egypt." This seems like a reference to the Exodus . "His seed is not" may be a reference to the destruction of the boy babies. Inasmuch as ancient kings never recorded anything but their victories, it may be that, although he did all he could to prevent the departure of Israel, yet recorded their departure from Egypt as a victory over them. Those scholars who hold to the earlier date for the Exodus consider this a reference to a raid of Merneptah's into Palestine some 200 years after Israel had settled in the land.
Rameses II's claim that he Built Pithom and Remeses, with Israelite labor (Exodus 1:11).
Merneptah's "Israel" Tablet
Naville (1883) identified the site of Pithom. He found an inscription of Rameses II, "I built Pithom at the mouth of the East."
He found a long rectangular building with unusually thick walls, whose bricks were stamped with the name of Rameses II.
Petrie (1905) identified the site of Raamses. Fisher, of the University Museum of Pennsylvania (1922), found, at Bethshan in Palestine, a stele of Remeses II, 8 feet high 2 1/2 feet wide, on which he says he "built Raamses with Asiatic Semitic (Hebrew) slaves.
These two inscriptions thus specify Rameses II as the Pharaoh for whom these cities were built, and the oppressor of Israel; and so point to his successor, Merneptah, as the Pharaoh of the Exodus. It is, however, known that Rameses II was a great plagiarist, taking to himself credit for some of the monuments of his predecessors, having his own name carved on their monuments. Those scholars who hold to the earlier date for the Exodus and Thothmes III as the builder of these cities take these inscriptions to mean that Rameses II rebuilt or repaired them with Hebrews who did not go out with Moses.
On the whole, we think that the evidence is more conclusive that Amenhotep II was the Pharaoh of the Exodus.
Rameses II, Temple of Luxor
Chapter 1. Israel in Egypt
Ruins of Thebes
The Ruins of Thebes which Israelites helped to build, are among the grandest in the world. Thebes was situated on both sides of the Nile, in an amphitheater-like plain between the east and west cliffs. Its ruins cover an area about 5 miles wide east and west, and 3 miles north and south. No city had so many temples, palaces, and monuments of stone, inscribed in the most gorgeous and brilliant colors, and gleaming in gold. It become a great city in the 12th dynasty 2000 B.C., time of Abraham. Was in its glory, 1600 to 1300 B.C., the period of Israel's sojourn in Egypt; and many of its magnificent monuments, no doubt, represent the toil and sweat and blood of unnumbered thousands of Israelite slaves. It was destroyed by the Assyrians 661 B.C. Rebuilt. Destroyed by Persians 525 B.C.
At Karnak, in the east section of Thebes, was one of the largest buildings ever erected. Its central section was called Hypostyle Hall, a model of which, as it is thought to have appeared in its glory, is in Metropolitan Museum. Over the main entrance is one stone, 40 feet long, weighting 150 tons. These are 134 gigantic columns, the 12 central ones being, each 78 feet high, and 11 1/2 feet in diameter. On the top of one column a hundred men could stand.
Temple of Ammon at Karnak
Two Obelisks of Queen Hatshepsut, one still standing, 97 feet high, weighing 150 tons, carry an inscription that they were towed on a barge of 30 galleys, by 960 oarsmen, from quarries 150 miles away.
Chapter 2. Moses
His critics come and go. But Moses still stands our as the foremost man of the pre-Christian world. He took a race of slaves, and, under inconceivably trying circumstances, molded them into a powerful nation which has altered the whole course of history.
He was a Levite (1). The sister who engineered his rescue was Miriam (15 :20). His
father's name was Amram; his mother, Jochebed (6:20) . And what a mother! She so thoroughly imbued him in childhood with the traditions of his people, that all the allurements of the heathen palace never eradicated those early impressions. He had the finest education Egypt afforded, but it did not turn his head, nor cause him to lose his simple childhood faith.
His 40 Years in the Palace
The "Pharaoh's Daughter" who adopted Moses is generally thought to have been the famous Queen Hatshepsut. This may have made possible heir to the throne, so that, had he renounced his mother's training, he might have been king on the proudest throne on earth.
Portal of Euergetes II in Karnak.
Temple of Rameses III in Karnak
Moses, as he grew to manhood, is thought to have been appointed to high office in the government of Egypt. Josephus says he commanded an army in the South. He must have attained considerable power and reputation; else he would scarcely have undertaken so gigantic a task as the deliverance of Israel, which, it is said, in Acts
7:25, he had in mind in intervening in the fight (11-15). But, though conscious of his power, he failed, because the people were not ready for his leadership.
His 4O Years in the Wilderness
This, in God's Providence, was part of Moses' training. The loneliness and roughness of the wilderness developed sturdy qualities hardly possible in the softness of the palace. It familiarized him with the region in which he was to lead Israel for 40 years.
Midian (15) . The center of the Midianite country, where Moses sojourned, was on the east shore of the Gulf of Akaba, though they roamed far to the north and west. In Moses' day they controlled the rich pasture lands around Sinai.
Moses married a Midianite woman, named Zipporah (21), daughter of Jethro, also called Reuel (18; 3:1) . Jethro, as priest of Midian, must have been a ruler. Midianites were descended from Abraham, through Keturah (Genesis 25:2); and must have had traditions of Abraham's God. Moses had two sons, Gershom and Eliezer (l8:3, 4). Some traditions have it that Moses wrote the Book of Job during this 40 years in Midian.
Chapters 3,4. The Burning Bush
After life of brooding over the sufferings of his people, and the age-old promises of God, at last, when Moses was 80, the call to deliver Israel came clear direct from God. But Moses was no longer self-confident, as in his younger years. He was reluctant to go, and made all manner of excuses. But assured of Divine Aid, and armed with Power to work Miracles, he went.
Chapter 5. Moses' First Demand on Pharaoh
Pharaoh was insolent; and ordered the taskmasters to lay heavier burdens on the Israelites, requiring them to make the same number of bricks, and yet gather their own straw (10-19)
ARCHAEOLOGICAL NOTE: Bricks of Pithom. Naville (1883) and Kyle ( 1908) found, at Pithom, the lower courses of brick filled with good chopped straw; the middle courses, with less straw, and that was stubble plucked up by the root; and the upper courses of brick were of pure clay, having no straw whatever. What an amazing
confirmation of the Exodus account!
Chapter 6. The Genealogy of Moses
This must be an abbreviated genealogy, mentioning only the more prominent ancestor. Apparently, Moses was grandson of Kohath, yet in his day there were 8,600 Kohathites (Numbers 3:28)
Chapter 7. First of the Ten Plagues
Waters of the Nile turned to Blood. The magicians imitated the miracle on a small scale. Their names were Jannes and Jambres (2 Timothy 3:8). Whatever the nature of the Miracle, the fish died, and people could not drink the water.
The Nile was a god. The Ten Plagues were aimed at the gods of Egypt, and were designed to give proof of the power of the God of Israel over the gods of Egypt. Over and over it is repeated that by these Miracles both Israel and Egyptians would come to "know the the Lord is God" (6:7; 7:5, 17; 8:22; 10:2; 14:4, 18); as later Manna and the Quails were designed to show (16:6, 12).
The Religion of Egypt
In the temples the sacred animals were fed, groomed and cared for, in the must luxurious way, by great collages of priests. Of all the animals, the Bull was the most sacred. Incense and sacrifice were offered before the sacred Bull. The animal, on its death, was embalmed, and with pomp and ceremony befitting a king, buried in a magnificent sarcophagus. The Crocodile also was greatly honored: waited on, in his Temple at Tanis, by 50 or more priests. This was the religion of the people among whom the Hebrew nation was nurtured for 400 years.
Chapter 8. Plagues of Frogs, Lice, and Flies
The Frog was one of Egypt's gods. At the comma of Moses frogs swarmed out of the Nile and filled houses. The magicians imitated the miracle, but Pharaoh was convince, and promised to let Israel go. However, he changed his mind.
Lice. Moses smote the dust, and it became lice, on both man and beast. The magicians tried to imitate this miracle, but failed; and they were convinced that it was of God. They ceased their efforts to withstand Moses, and advised the Pharaoh to yield.
Flies. Swarms of flies covered the people, and filled the houses of the Egyptians. But there were none on the Israelites.
Hardening of Pharaoh,s Heart (15, 32) . Pharaoh hardened his heart. God hardened Pharaoh,s heart ( 10:20) . Both did. God's purpose was to make Pharaoh Repent. But when a man sets himself against God, even God's mercies result in further hardening.
Chapter 9. Plagues of Murrain, Boils, Hail
Murrain, a pestilence among cattle. A terrible blow at Egyptian gods. The Bull was their chief god. Again a distinction between Egyptians and Israelites: Egyptians' cattle died in vast quantities, but not one of those belonging to Israelites. "All" in verse 6 was not meant to be taken literally. Some cattle were left (19-21)
Boils. This plague was upon both man and beast, even on the magicians, from ashes which Moses sprinkled into the air.
Hail. Before the hail fell a merciful warning was extended to believing Egyptians to drive their cattle to cover. Again a distinction between Egyptian and Israelites: no hail in Goshen.
By this time the people of Egypt had become convinced (10:7). The sudden appearance and disappearance of the Plagues, on such a vast scale, at the word of Moses, were accepted as evident Miracles from God. But Pharaoh hesitated, because of the immense loss it would be to him in slave labor. Israelite labor had contributed greatly to Egypt's rise to power, and, with Israel's departure, Egypt's decline began.
It is not know how long a period the Ten Plagues covered. Some think, nearly a year. Pharaoh, no doubt, would have killed Moses, if he had dared. But, whit the passing Plagues, Moses' prestige went up and up (11:3).
Chapter 10. Plagues of Locusts, Darkness
Locusts were one of the worst of the Plagues. They came in vast clouds, and would eat every green thing. Would repose at night on the ground in layers to a depth of 4 or 5 inches. When mashed, the smell would be unbearable. The mere threat of it caused Pharaoh's officials to beg him to yield (7).
Darkness. This was a direct blow at Ra, Egypt's sun-god. There was midnight darkness over Egypt for 3 days; but light where Israelites dwelt. Pharaoh yielded; but again changed his mind.
Chapters 11,12. Death of Egypt's First-Born
Nearly a year had passed. At last the crisis was at hand. The blow fell. Pharaoh yielded and Israel departed.
Except for the Ten Plagues, Israel would never have been delivered,
and there would have been no Hebrew nation.
"Borrowed" Jewels (12:35). RV says "asked." They were not loans, but outright Gifts: payment of debts for accumulated generations of slave labor. God himself had commanded the people to ask these gifts (3:21, 22; 11:2,3). Egyptians were glad to comply, for they feared the God of Moses (12:33). A large part of Egypt's wealth was thus transferred to Israel. Some of it was used in construction of the Tabernacle.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL NOTE: Death of Pharaoh's First-Born (12:29). Inscriptions have been found indicating that Thothmes IV, successor of Amenhotep II, was not his first-born nor heir apparent.
Also that Merneptah's first-born met death in peculiar circumstances, and his successor was not his first-born nor heir apparent.
So, whichever the Pharaoh, the Biblical statement is confirmed.
The Beginning of Passover
The Lamb, Blood on the doorpost, Death of the First-Born, Deliverance out of a Hostile Country, and the continuance of this Feast throughout Israel's history, all seem to have been intended of God to be a grand Historical Picture of Christ the Passover Lamb, and our Deliverance out of a Hostile World by His Blood.
Chapter 13. Unleavened Bread. Consecration of First-Born
Unleavened Bread was to be eaten in the Passover Feast as a perpetual reminder of the haste of their night of deliverance (12:34).
Their First-Born were to be consecrated to God perpetually, as a reminder of their redemption by the death of Egypt's First-Born.
The Route to Canaan (17). The direct route, by the Sea Coast, through the Philistine country, was garrisoned with Egyptian armies. And it that time there was a great wall from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean. The most feasible route was the roundabout way through the Wilderness.
The Pillar of Cloud by Day and Pillar of Fire by Night (21,22). As they left Egypt, now to journey through hostile lands, GOD took them under His Own Care, with this visible sign of His Guidance and Protection. It never forsook them, till they reached the Promised Land, 40 years later (14:19, 24; 33:9, 10; 40:34-38; Numbers 9:15, 23;
Chapter 14. They Cross the Red Sea
The place is thought to have been near the location of modern Suez. God used a "strong east wind" to dry up the sea (21). The waters "stood up as e heap," making a perpendicular "wall on either side" (15:8; 14:22). This, and the timing of the waters' return, so as to save Israelites and destroy Egyptians, could have been done Only by a Direct Miraculous Act of God. It alarmed neighbor nations (15:14-16).
ARCHAEOLOGICAL NOTE (EMB)
The language of the record is preserved without irreverence or violence to the story, by the theory that the heavy wind "divided" the sea. The tongue of the Suez gulf may have reached further north than it does today. "Raised beaches" in the area indicate the possibility of such variations of land and water levels. If such were the case, the sea would flow north into the depressions known today as the
Bitter Lakes. If a steady wind (verse 21) lowered the level of the water, and that is a commonly observed phenomenon, a land bridge would appear, defended by waters on the north and south. The waters were a "wall" and that means no more than a "defense." There is no need to assume a perpendicular heap of water defying gravity.
The "heap" was a vast tide driven down the gulf. The Egyptian pursuit implies that the enemy saw no more than a strange, but not completely unnatural phenomenon. They could not attack from either flank. The waters in the depression to the north and the gulf to the south, were a "wall." They followed through the exposed sea mud and were caught and tangled by the returning tide (verse 25) following the relaxed pressure of the wind.
Chapter 15. The Song of Moses
This deliverance out of Egypt was so similar to what the deliverance of the Church out of the world will be, at the time of the end, that one of the triumphant Songs of the Redeemed is called the "Song of Moses and the Lamb" (Revelation 15:3). This song seems to prefigure the mightier works for which the Redeemed will Sing Praises to God though Endless Ages of Eternity.
Chapter 16. Manna and Quails
One month out, and the hardships of wilderness life began to affect their dispositions. They began complaining, their eyes on the fleshpots of Egypt, rather than the Promised Land (2, 3).
Manna was a small round flake, used for bread, tasting, it is said, like wafers made with honey (31). It was either a direct creation, or a natural product miraculously multiplied. It fell with the dew each night, looked like coriander seed. They ground it in mills, or beat it in mortars, and boiled it in pots, and make cakes of it. Each person was allowed an omer (7 pints) daily. There was enough on the 6th day to last over the Sabbath. It began one month after they left Egypt, and was given daily throughout the 40 years, till they crossed the Jordan, when it ceased as suddenly as it began (Numbers 11:6-9, Joshua 5:12). Jesus regarded Manna as a shadow of himself (John 6:31-58).
Quails (13) were sent, not continuously, as Manna was. Only twice are they mentioned, here and a year later after Israel had left Mt. Sinai (Numbers 11:31-34). The people had great herds of cattle (12:38), but had to be sparing in their use as food. Their flesh-food in Egypt had been mostly fish.
Also called Horeb. The Peninsula of Sinai is triangular in shape, situated between two arms of the Red Sea. The west shore is about 180 miles long; the east shore about 130; and the north border line about 150. The north part of the peninsula is desert; the south part is a "great cluster of rugged chaotic mountains."
The region was named, probably, for the Babylonian moon god, Sin. It was early known for its mines of copper, iron, ocher and precious. stones. Long before the days of Abraham, the kings of the East had made a road around the north and west fringes of the Arabian Desert to the Sinai region.
Mount Sinai, where Israel received the Law, is located toward the south point of the Peninsula. It is an "isolated mass of rock, rising abruptly, from the plain in awful grandeur." On the northwest side is a plain, 2 miles long, 1/2 mile wide, where Israel could have encamped.
40 miles to the northwest of Mt. Sinai, in the Valley of the Caves, there is a sculpture, 400 feet above the mines, which king Semerkhet, of the 1st Dyiasty of Egyptian Pharaohs, had made of himself slaying the king of Sinai. There are 250 inscriptions of later kings. 10 miles north of the Valley of the Caves is Serabit-el-Khadem, where Sir Flinders Petrie found the Oldest Known Alphabetic Writing.
Chapter 17. Water from the Rock
Shortly before this, Moses had made the Waters of Marah sweet (15:25). Here, in Rephidim, he produces Water out of a Rock. Later, he, performs a similar Miracle, at Meribah (Numbers 20:1-13).
Battle with Amalek (8-15). First attempt, outside of Egypt, to interfere with Israel's march to Canaan. As a result, God commanded the Amalekites be exterminated (14; Deuteronomy 25:.17-19).
Chapter 18. Jethro's Advice
Through the counsel of this friendly Midianite prince, Moses' father-in-law, Moses, though inspired in a degree given to few men, was led to form a more efficient organization of the people.
Chapter 19. God's Voice on Mt. Sinai
They were at Mt. Sinai about 11 months (1; Numbers 10:11). In a terrific thunderstorm, accompanied by earthquakes and supernatural trumpet blasts, the mountain capped with terrifying flames, God Spoke out the Ten Commandments, and gave the Law.
500 years later, Elijah, at same mountain, was given a hint that God's Work would be accomplished, Not by Fire and Earthquake methods, but by the Still Small Voice of a Later Prophet (I Kings 19).
Chapter 2O. The Ten Commandments
Thou shalt have No Other Gods besides Me.
Thou shalt not worship any Graven Image.
Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain.
Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy.
Honor thy Father and thy Mother,
Thou shalt not Kill.
Thou shalt not Commit Adultery.
Thou shalt not Steal.
Thou shalt not bear False Witness.
Thou shalt not Covet anything that is thy neighbor's.
These Commandments were afterward engraved on both sides of two tables of stone, "written with the finger of God." "The tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God" (31:18; 32:15, 16). They were kept for centuries in the Ark. It is thought that possibly they were destroyed in the Captivity. What if some day they should be found?
The Ten Commandments were the basis of Hebrew Law. Four of them have to do with our attitude toward God; six, with our attitude toward our fellowman. Jesus condensed them into two: "Thou Shalt Love the Lord thy God with All thy Heart and Soul and Strength and Mind; and thy Neighbor as Thyself."
Reverence for God is the basis of the Ten Commandments. Jesus indicated that he considered it the elemental quality in man's approach to God, and made it the first petition in the Lord's Prayer. "Hallowed be Thy Name." It is surprising how many people, in their ordinary conversation, continually Blaspheme the Name of Cod, and use it in such a light and trivial'way. Idolatry is Absolutely Forbidden.
Chapters 21 ,22, 23, 24. "The Book of the Covenant"
After the Ten Commandments, this was the first installment of Laws for the Hebrew Nation. They were written in a Book. Then the Covenant to Obey was sealed with blood (24:4, 7, 8).
Laws about: Slavery. Death for Murder, Kidnapping, or Cursing Parents. "Eve for Eye" Compensation. Stealing. Damage to Crops, Restitution. Seduction. Sorcery. Cohabitation with an Animal. Idolatry. Kindness to Widows and Orphans. Lending. Pledges. Curse not a Ruler. First-fruits and First-born, False Reports. Mobs. Justice. Consideration for Animals. Bribes. Strangers. Sabbath. Sabbatical Year. Passover. Feast of Harvest. Feast of Ingathering. A Kid not to be boiled in its mother's milk. No Covenant with Canaanites, Obedience to be Rewarded.
Chapters 25 to 31. Directions for the Tabernacle
God himself gave the pattern in detail (25:9). It is doubly recorded: here, "thus it shall be"; and in chapters 35 to 40, where the details are repeated verbatim, "thus it was built."
The Tabeinacle was a "likeness" of something, a "copy and shadow" of heavenly things (Hebrews 8:5).
It had special meaning to the Hebrew nation; yet it was a "pattern of things to come" (Hebrews 9 and 10).
The Tabernacle, and Temple, which was later built after the pattern of the Tabernacle, were center of Jewish national life.
Of direct Divine Origin, it was an immensely important representation of certain Ideas which God wished to impress on mankind, foreshadowing many teachings of the Christian Faith.
Chapters 32, 33. The Golden Calf
The Bull was principal god of Egypt. Later became god of the Ten Tribes (I Kings 12:28). This pitiful apostasy, so soon after God had thundered out from the mountain, "Thou shalt have No Other gods besides Me," and after the Marvelous Miracles in Egypt, indicates the depths to which Israelites had sunk in Egyptian Idolatry. It was a crisis, calling for immediate discipline, and punishment was swift and severe.
Moses'willingness to be "blotted out of God's book" (32:31, 32), for the people's sake, shows the grandeur of his character.
Chapter 34. Moses Again in the Mount
He had been in the Mount 40 days and nights, the first time (24: 18). He now returned, for another 40 days and nights (34:2, 28). The first time, he had received the Two Tables and Specifications for the Tabernacle. Now the Two Tables are remade.
Moses' "face shone" (29-35): God was in him: as the face of Jesus "did shine as the sun," when he was Transfigured (Matthew 17:2).
Chapters 35 to 40. The Tabernacle Built
The Tabernacle and all its Furnishings, are now built, exactly according to the specifications already given in chapters 25 to 31.
45 feet long, 15 feet wide, 15 feet high. Made of Perpendicular Boards, covered with Curtains. It faced the East.
The Boards, 20 each for north and south sides, 6 for west end, were each 15 feet long, 2 feet 3 inches wide, were made of hard, acacia wood, and overlaid with gold. Each had 2 tenons at one end, to be stood upright on 2 sockets of silver; and held together with 5 bars run through golden rings on the boards.
The Curtains, l0 in number, each 42 feet long and 6 feet wide, were made of finest linen, blue, purple and scarlet, with cherubs exquisitely worked thereon; and were coupled together with clasps of gold in loops of blue, to make one whole. This One Whole Curtain, thus formed of the t0 Curtains, was 60 feet east and west, 42 feet north and south, the extra 15 feet to hang over the west end. This Curtain was spread over the enclosure made by the golden boards, forming the Tabernacle proper.
The gold and silver, used in the construction of the Tabernacle and its furniture, is estimated at about $ 1,250,000. This was supplied out of the treasures given by Egyptians (12:35).
This covered the Tabernacle. It was made of goat's hair cloth: 11 curtains, each 45 feet long, 6 feet wide: coupled together with clasps of brass, the whole being 66 feet east and west, 45 feet north and south. Over it a covering of Red Leather made of ram's skins.
And over it a, covering made of Badger (seal? or porpoise?) skins. This Threefold Tent, of Goat's Hair Cloth, Red Leather, Badger Skin, was probably supported by a ridge-pole at the top.
The Mosl Holy Ploce, or Holy of Holies
West 15 feet of the Tabernacle, a perfect cube. Represented God's Dwelling Place. It contained only the Ark. Was entered by the High-Priest once a year. A "shadow of heaven" (Hebrews 9:24).
A Chest, 3 3/4 feet long, 2 1/2 feet wide, 2 1/2 feet high. Made of acacia wood, overlaid with pure gold. It contained the Two Tables of the Ten Commandments, a Pot of Manna and Aaron,s Rod.
The. Mercy-Seat was the top of the Ark, a lid of solid gold. A Cherub at each end, of one piece with the lid, facing each other, their wings spread. out, looking down toward the Mercy-Seat. The Mercy-Seat being just above the Two Tables of the Ten Commandments, represented the meeting place of Law and Mercy: thus, a "shadow" of Christ. The Cherubs presented a very vivid picture of the Interest of Heavenly, Beings in Human Redemption. This seems to be what Peter had in mind when he said, "which things the Angels desire to look into" (1 Peter 1:12).
The Ark was probably lost in the Babylonian Captivity. In Revelation 11:19, John saw the Ark "in the temple." But that was in a vision, certainly not meaning that the actual material Ark was there; for in heaven 'there will be" "no temple" (Revelation 21:22).
The Holy Place
The east 30 feet of the Tabernacle. It contained the Table of Shewbread, on north side; the Candlestick, on south side; the Altar of Incense, just before the Veil. Perhaps a "shadow" of the Church.
Made of the finest linen, blue, purple and scarlet, exquisitely embroidered with Cherubs. It separated the Holy from the Most Holy: or so to speak, God's Throne Room from Man's Waiting Room. The Veil was rent in twain, at Christ's Death (Matthew 27:51), signifying that, at that moment, the door to God's presence was open to men.
There was another Veil, called the Screen, for the entrance at the east end of the Tabernacle: of fine linen, blue, purple, scarlet.
Made of pure gold. A central shaft, with 3 branches on each side. Thought to have been about 5 feet high, end 3 1/2 feet across the top. Fed with olive oil; and trimmed and lighted daily (30:7,8).
The Candlesticks of Solomon's Temple, patterned after this, and may have included it, were, no doubt among the treasures taken to Babylon, and afterward returned (Ezekiel 1:7).
The Candlestick as sculptured in the Arch of Titus
The Candlestick in Herod's Temple, in Jesus' day, may have been one of these. It was taken to Rome, A.D. 70; sculptured on the Arch of Titus; afterward "respectfully deposited in the Christian Church at Jerusalem" A.D. 533. Nothing further is known of it. The sculpture on -the Arch of Titus may be a fair representation of the appearance of the original.
The Candlestick may have been a "shadow" of God's Word; though in Revelation 1:12, 20, Candlesticks represent Churches.
Table of Shewbread
3 feet log, 1 1/2 feet wide, 2 1/4 feet high. Made of acacia wood; overlaid with pure gold. Was to hold 12 loaves of bread replaced each Sabbath with new loaves. On north side of Holy plate. A symbol of gratitude to God for daily bread (Luke 11:3).
A Great Brass Bowl to hold water, for priests to wash their hands and feet, before ministering at Altar, or in Tent. Signified Cleanliness, literally, and from Sin. A "shadow" of Cleansing by the Blood of Christ, and perhaps of Christian Baptism.
Fence around the Tabernacle. 150 feet long,75 feet wide: facing the east. Hangings of fine twined linen, 7 1/2, feet high, on pillars of "brass 7 1/2 feet apart, with fillets and hooks of silver, sit in sockets of brass. The Gate, in east end, 30 feet wide, of linen, blue and scarlet.
Altar of Incense
3 feet high, 1 1/2 feet square. Made of acacia wood; overlaid with pure gold. In front of Veil. Incense to be burned thereon, morning and evening (30:8). Signifying perpetual Prayer (Revelation 8:1-5).
Altar of Burnt Offering
The Great Altar for the Sacrifice of Animals, 7 1/2 feet square, 4 1/2 feet high. Built of acacia boards, covered with brass; hollow, to be filled with earth. A ledge around it, about halfway up, for priests to stand on. It stood east of the Tabernacle, near the entrance to the Court. The Fire on it was miraculously kindled and never went our
(Leviticus 9:24;6:9). A symbol that man has no access to God, except as a Sinner atoned for by Blood. A "shadow" of the Death of Christ.
(Halley Bible Handbook. p.109)