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Genesis began with a prologue and then consisted of ten books.  The larger structure was one of prologue, narrative, poetry, epilogue.  Exodus is not nearly as elaborate in structure.  The organizational strategy is best understood thematically: salvation, law, and worship.  The section on the salvation of the Israelites from the land of Egypt, the house of slavery is Exodus 1:1-15:21.  The section on the law begins with 15:22 and continues through the end of chapter 24.  The rest of the book is the section on tabernacle worship.

Exodus begins with a conjunction.  The purpose of a conjunction (usually translated “and” in English even when a more specific relationship between the clauses is obvious) is to connect what follows with what came before.  Exodus is continuing the story of Book Ten of Genesis.  It is not continuing the poetry or the epilogue as much as it is continuing the narrative of Book Ten.  Thus the first six Hebrew words of the book are a direct quote from the narrative.  More specifically they quote the second telling of the move of Jacob and his family to Egypt in Genesis 46:1-27.  The second telling begins with 46:8.  “And these are the names of the sons of Israel, the ones who came toward Egypt” (my rough translation).  Exodus begins with these identical words and summarizes the rest.  Exodus, for example, lists the sons rather than giving the exhaustive list of the sons and their descendants.  Both mention that the descendants numbered seventy (seven times ten) and that Joseph was already in Egypt.  This is a clear case of recapitulation.  Here it serves to tie the entire book of Exodus as a continuation of the narrative of Book Ten of Genesis.

Even though Exodus reports that Joseph and all his brothers and their generation had died, it does not give us another heading like each of the books in Genesis, “These are the generations of…”  Instead, the new thing God would do begins with the New Testament Torah: “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham” (Matt 1:1).  This is the title of the Book of Matthew, not just the genealogy that follows.  “The book of the genealogy of” is just another way of translating the Genesis book titles.  The gospels are the same kind of genre as the Old Testament Torah books and there are many connections between Exodus and Matthew.  Future posts will mention some of them.  This difference between the two is very instructive as well.  Exodus is highlighting continuity between the story of Genesis and the present circumstances.

Furthermore, the prologue of Genesis (Genesis 1:1-2:3)is the prologue of the entire Torah.  So it should not surprise us, especially given how Exodus is a continuation of the Genesis narrative, that there are multiple connections between Exodus and Genesis 1.  The first such connection is in Exodus 1:7, which Peter Enns translates, “The Israelites became fruitful and swarmed; they increased in number and became exceedingly strong” (NIVAC on Exodus, 41).  The word choice of swarmed is instructive because it can be found in Gen 1:21 and 8:17 for animals to fulfill their creation mandates.  The creation mandate for humanity in the image of God (1:28) is being fulfilled by the Israelites.  Creation and salvation (new creation) are interrelated in Exodus.  Future posts will mention many of these connections to Genesis 1.

Looking backwards to creation points us forwards to the new creation Jesus inaugurates with His resurrection.  Looking forward to the Gospel of Matthew, points us forward to the way Jesus brings about a greater salvation than the exodus.  It is instructive then that the transfiguration is a discussion with Moses (representing the Torah) and Elijah (representing the prophets).  Moses was there at the first exodus.  The prophets pointed us forward to a second exodus.  And the content of their discussion with Jesus is “his exodus, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem” (Luke 9:31).  Thus we will be looking at how the Book of Exodus points to the climax of salvation through Jesus Christ.  Once you see how to do this with Exodus you should go back and do this with Genesis too.

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