Exodus is a Hebrew word which means “to go out”. It has been used Biblically to mean the period when the Israelites left Egypt through the wilderness into the Promised Land. Exodus is also one of the books in the Old Testament which gives a detailed description of the journey of the Israelites from Egypt to Canaan. This discussion takes an overview of the major events in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy and the teachings contained therein (Meyers, 2005).
Pharaoh who was the king of Egypt at the time, fearing that the population of Israelites would outnumber that of the Egyptians ordered the killing of all newborns. The mother of Moses instead of killing her son Moses who was a newborn decided to hide him at River Nile where he was later to be found by the daughter of Pharaoh. Pharaoh’s daughter took Moses to the palace where he grew up. Though he was brought up in the palace Moses did not forget his real identity and hated the manner in which the Egyptians treated the Israelites. One day he killed an Egyptian after witnessing cruelty against a fellow Israelite by the Egyptian. It is after this incident that Moses sought refuge in Midian. While in Midian God revealed himself to Moses and instructed him to go to back to Egypt so that he could free the children of Israel from bondage (Bertagna, 2008).
Moses went to Egypt and approached Pharaoh so that he could release the Israelites but Pharaoh refused. As a result God caused plagues which were ten in number. These plagues did not change Pharaoh’s heart until the last one which involved the killing of all first born sons in Egypt. This included even those of the household of the King. This is what is commonly referred to as the Passover (Meyers, 2005). This frightened Pharaoh and he gave the Israelites the permission to leave while taking what they wished to carry with them.
The Israelites were now free and they set out for their journey to the land that was promised to their forefathers. They went through the wilderness where they faced many challenges. Upon reaching the Red Sea God asked Moses to spread his rod and the sea was divided creating a way through which the children of Israel passed.
While in the wilderness the children of Israel faced many challenges including hunger and thirst. It is then that God gave them food from heaven which was known as manna. The water that was available in the desert was bitter. God instructed Moses to strike a rock from which clean water came from. While still in the wilderness God provided the Israelites with manna in the morning and quail in the evening so that they did not suffer anymore from hunger (Carroll, R. & Prickett, S. 2007).
The Israelites went on with their journey in the wilderness and they came to the mountain of God. It is at this mountain that Moses was given the Ten Commandments also known as the Decalogue. They were to act as a guide to the children of Israel in their journey to the Promised Land. The commandments were given to Moses in form of two tablets. Upon descending Moses was shocked to see the Israelites worshiping a golden calf, and with anger he dropped the two tablets that contained the commandments. Moses was later instructed by God to make new tablets on which the commandments were to be written (Bertagna, 2008).
There were various challenges and successes as well in the wilderness for the Israelites. One of the major challenges that was evident was the suffering in form of hunger, thirst, diseases and being worn out as result of the journey. The journey at one point became too tough that the Israelites asked Moses to take them back to Egypt. There was a lot of desperation during the journey but God always came in time to rescue them from their misery (Carroll, R. & Prickett, S. 2007). One success though during their journey in the wilderness is that their relationship with God was strengthened and God assured them that they were His people.
Other books include Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. Each of these books contains some important events that are related to the Israelites. The book of Leviticus contains laws and codes which prescribes the manner in which rituals are to be carried out (Bertagna, 2008). The book of Numbers on the other hand which is the fourth book among the Torah Books addresses the event that took place in the wilderness where Moses was asked by God to count the Israelites. It is from this event that this book derives its name. The book of Deuteronomy which is the fifth book in the Torah books contains various laws on the manner in which the Children of Israel were supposed to carry themselves.
In conclusion the journey of the Israelites was a long one and one that was full of challenges. However eventually they made it to Canaan the land that had been promised to their forefathers.
Bertagna, J. (2008). Exodus: Washington: Walker & Company
Carroll, R. & Prickett, S. (2007). Authorized King James Version: London: SAGE
Meyers, C. (2005). Exodus: New York: Cambridge University Press.