Hebrew-speaking Jews have always used the initial words of the Book of Exodus as its title, calling it ve˒elleh shemot (Heb.), translated “and these are the names.” Because of its subject matter, Greek-speaking Jews entitled it Exodus (Gk.) in the Septuagint, meaning “departure,” “exit,” or “outgoing.”
Throughout the Bible, the Torah, i.e., the Law (Genesis-Deuteronomy), is viewed as a unit authored by Moses (cf. Josh. 1:7, 8; 8:30–35; 24:1–27; 2 Chr. 17:9; 31:3; Ezra 6:18; 7:10; Neh. 13:1, 2; Dan. 9:11–13; Mal. 4:4; Mark 12:26; Luke 2:22–24; John 7:19–23). Evidently the division of the Law into five volumes was made because of the necessity for copying the Law on scrolls, and because of the natural divisions in the material. From earliest records until the end of the New Testament era, no other name is ever connected with the Torah except that of Moses (cf. Mark 7:10; John 5:46, 47). Moreover, Christ and the apostles consistently ascribed the Law to Moses, and the internal evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of Moses as the actual human author. Furthermore, portions of Exodus specifically name Moses as the author (cf. 17:14; 24:3, 4; 34:27).
DATE: 1445–1406 B.C.
Since the book is attributed to Moses, its date would be after the Exodus, which occurred c. 1445 B.C., and before the death of Moses in 1406 B.C.
THEME: Israel’s Redemption
There are five major themes in the Pentateuch: (1) God’s covenant promise to the patriarchs; (2) the redemption of Israel from Egyptian bondage; (3) the establishment of the great Mosaic covenant at Sinai, including moral, civil, and ceremonial law; (4) the years of judgment during the wandering in the wilderness; and (5) the final preparation for entering the Promised Land of Canaan. The call of Moses is a direct fulfillment of God’s promise to the patriarchs (3:6–10). Major treatment of Israel’s redemption from Egyptian bondage and God’s presentation of the Law at Sinai is found in Exodus. The book also looks toward the years spent in the wilderness and the final preparation for entering Canaan. Clearly the scarlet thread of redemption is woven into the fabric of this book.
W. A. Criswell et al., eds., Believer’s Study Bible, electronic ed. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1991), Ex 1:1.