Exodus: This book records the redemption of the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt and their establishment as a nation governed by terms of Yahweh's covenant and the instructions of Yahweh. During the roughly four hundred years in Egypt, the family of Jacob grew from seventy people to between two and three million.

Hebrew-speaking Jews have always used the initial Hebrew words of the book of Exodus as its title, calling it ve'elleh shemot, which means "Now these are the names." The Greek title is Exodus, a word meaning "exit," "departure," or "going out."

Author: Together with the rest of the Pentateuch (Genesis—Deuteronomy), Exodus is ascribed by Scripture to Moses. Portions of Exodus specifically name Moses as the author (Exo 17:14LEB; Exo 24:3LEB; Exo 24:4LEB; Exo 34:27LEB), and writers throughout the Old and New Testaments unite in recognizing Mosaic authorship (Mal 4:4; John 1:45LEB; Rom 10:5LEB). Furthermore, Yashua himself recognizes the Mosaic origin of the book (Mark 7:10LEB; Mark 12:26LEB; Luk 20:37LEB; John 5:46-47LEB; John 7:19-23LEB).

Since the eighteenth century, some scholars have challenged the Mosaic authorship of Exodus in favor of a series of oral and written sources that were woven together by editors late in Israel's history. Such arguments are far from conclusive, particularly since little lasting agreement has emerged as to the precise character and extent of the documents which are alleged to lie behind the text of Exodus as we now have it.

Date: Like the remainder of the Pentateuch, Exodus was written during the wilderness wandering of Israel between the time of the Exodus and the death of Moses. Moses probably kept a record of Yahweh's work, which he then edited in the Plains of Moab shortly before his death (c. 1406 B.C.).

The question of the date of the book of Exodus is related to the date of the Exodus event. 1Ki 6:1LEB states that the Exodus occurred 480 years before the founding of the temple (966 B.C.), which implies a 1446 B.C. date for the Exodus from Egypt. Some scholars argue that archeological evidence points to a date of about 1275 B.C., and they contend that the 480 years of 1Ki 6:1LEB should be seen as a symbolic number (one forty-year generation times the twelve tribes equals 480). The archeological evidence is ambiguous, however, and the 1446 B.C. date is adopted here.

Themes and Literary Structure: The book of Exodus is easily divided into two main sections: the redemption from slavery in Egypt (chs. 1-18) and the revelation from Yahweh at Mt. Sinai (chs. 19-40).

Central to the book of Exodus is the concept of redemption. Because of his faithfulness to the covenant promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Yahweh delivers His people from slavery, preserves them during the wilderness wandering, and prepares them to enter the Land of Promise.

Israel was redeemed from bondage in Egypt into a covenant relationship with Yahweh. Now that the people had experienced Yahweh's deliverance, guidance, and protection, they were ready to be taught what Yahweh expected of them. On Mt. Sinai, Moses received Yahweh's moral instructions.