The Book of Exodus, 2 in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE

II. Structure of the Book According to the Scriptures and According to Modern Analyses. In the following section (a) serves for the understanding of the Biblical text; (b) is devoted to the discussion and criticism of the separation into sources. 1. In General: (a) The conviction must have been awakened already by the general account of the contents given in I, 2 above, that in the Book of Exodus we are dealing with a rounded-off structure, since in seven mutually separated yet intimately connected sections, one uniform fundamental thought is progressively carried through. This conviction will only be confirmed when the details of these sections are studied, the sections being themselves again organically connected by one leading thought. Since, in addition, the Book of Genesis is clearly divided into ten parts by the ten toledhoth ("generations") (compare also the division made by typical numbers in articles LEVITICUS and DAY OF ATONEMENT), thus too the number seven, as itself dividing the Book of Exodus into seven parts, is probably not accidental; and this all the less, as in the subordinate parts too, a division is to be found according to typical numbers, this in many cases appearing as a matter of course, and in other cases traced without difficulty, and sometimes lying on the surface (compare 10 plagues, 10 commandments). Yet in all of the following investigations, as is the case in the articles GENESIS, LEVITICUS and DAY OF ATONEMENT, the demonstration of the fundamental thought must be the main thing for us. The division according to typical numbers is to be regarded merely as an additional confirmation of the literary unity of the book. We refer here first of all to a number of cases, where certain numbers independently of the separate chief parts combine the Biblical text into a unity. In Nu 14:22 R, Yahweh states that Israel had now tempted Him and been disobedient to Him ten times: compare Ex 14:11 ff JE(?) (Red Sea); 15:23 f JE (Marah); 16:2,3 P; 16:20 JE; 16:27,28 R (Manna); 17:1 ff JE (Massah and Meribah); 32:1 ff JE (Golden Calf); Nu 11:1 ff JE (Tuberah); 11:4 ff JE (Graves of Lust); 14:2 ff P and JE (Spies). Most of these cases are accordingly reported in the Book of Exodus, but in such manner that in this particular a clearly marked progress can be noticed, as Yahweh does not begin to punish until Ex 32; but from here on He does so with constantly increasing severity, while down to Ex 32 grace alone prevails, and in this particular, previous to Ex 32, there is found nothing but a warning (16:27). Ten times it is further stated of Pharaoh, in a great variety of forms of expression, that he hardened his own heart (7:13 P; 7:14 JE; 7:22 P; 8:15 P; 8:32 JE; 9:7,34,35 JE; 13:15 D); ten times the hardening is ascribed to God (4:21 JE; 7:3 P; 9:12 P; 10:1 R; 10:20 JE; 10:27 E; 11:10 R; 14:4,8 P; 17 P ?). Here already we must note that within the narrative of the miracles and the plagues at first there is mention made only of the hardening by Pharaoh himself (7:13 P; 7:14 JE; 7:22 P; 8:11 ff; 8:15 P; 8:28 JE; 9:7 JE, i.e. seven times) before a single word is said that God begins the hardening; and this latter kind of hardening thereupon alone concludes the whole tragedy (14:4,8 P; 17 P?). Ten months cover the time from the arrival at Sinai (19:1 P) to the erection of the sacred dwelling-place of God (40:17 P). Since, further, exactly three months of this time are employed in 19:10,16 JE; 24:3 ff JE; 24:16 P (ten days); 24:18 P (40 days); 34:28 J (40 days), there remain for the building of the tabernacle exactly seven months...

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