The word Pentateuch comes from the Greek word used in Septuagint Version meaning "five volumes."
Genesis to Deuteronomy.
a. Though each book of the Pentateuch does not bear the signature of Moses, nevertheless several important parts are definitely ascribed to him (Exod. 24:4; Deut. 31:9, 24-26).
b. Later books of the Old Testament often speak of Moses as the author of the Pentateuch. Remember that the Jews spoke of all five of these books as "the Law." (For Mosaic authorship see Josh. 1:7, 8; I Kings 2:3; II Chron. 34:14; Neh. 8:1, 14; 13:1).
c. The New Testament likewise ascribes the Pentateuch to Moses (Luke 24:27, 44; John 1:45; 5:45-47; Acts 28:23). Against these references the claims of destructive critics of the Bible, which state that Moses did not write the Pentateuch but that it was written by various writers some long time after the time of Moses, are of no importance.
Written by Moses (see Introductory notes on Pentateuch).
Not specifically stated but presented originally to the people of Israel.
About 1440 B.C. Of events covered; about 2400 years (from the creation of man to the death of Joseph.) Chapters 1-11 cover about 2000 years; 12-50 about 400 years.
IV. Purpose of the Book
1. To furnish an account of the beginning of all things—of the universe (1:1); of man (1:26, 27); of the Sabbath (2:2, 3); marriage (2:21-24); sin (3:1-7); sacrifice (3:21; 4:1-7); nations (10:32); governments (9:6)
2. Especially to show the origin of the nation of Israel as God's peculiar people from whom the Redeemer would come.
The title is a Greek word meaning "origin"; so this is the book of origins or beginnings. Here we find the revelation of the one Almighty God who is all-powerful and all-wise, and of His relationship to the origin of the world, to man, to sin, to salvation. Genesis provides us, so to speak, the first chapter in the history of redemption and lays the groundwork for the rest of the Bible. It shows us that "God has to do with man; man has to do with God" (G. Campbell Morgan).
VI. Key Verse: Genesis 12:1-3
Key Word: generations—19 times; traces the chosen line of the woman's Seed (Genesis 3:15).
Outline of Genesis
After the Creation record in the first chapter, the book largely revolves around the biographies of six men. Though there is some overlapping, the lives of these men make a convenient way of dividing the book.
I. Creation (Ch. 1)
1:1–The original creation
1:2–Earth in chaotic state
1:3-31–Earth brought into its present condition in six creative days
II. Adam (Chs. 2-5)
Ch. 2–Adam and Eve created, placed in Garden of Eden and given a commandment about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil
Ch. 3–The temptation and Fall
Ch. 4–Cain murders Abel; descendants of the godless Cain; Seth is born
Ch. 5–From Adam and Seth to Noah
III. Noah (Chs. 6-11)
Ch. 6-8–The Flood
Ch. 9–The Covenant with Noah and his sons; Noah's prophetic blessing of his sons
Ch. 10–Beginning of the nations
Ch. 11–Men dispersed; the beginning of languages; the family of Shem to Abraham
IV. Abraham (Chs. 12-23)
Ch. 12–The call of Abraham
Ch. 13–Abraham separates from Lot
Ch. 14–Abraham delivers Lot and is blessed by Melchizedek
Ch. 15–God renews and enlarges the covenant with Abraham
Ch. 16–A misstep, the birth of Ishmael
Ch. 17–Covenant confirmed and circumcision established as "a token of the covenant"
Ch. 18–Abraham pleads for Sodom
Ch. 19–Sodom destroyed but Lot rescued
Ch. 20–Abraham's faith falters at Gerar (as at Egypt 12:10-20)
Ch. 21–Birth of Isaac
Ch. 22–Offering of Isaac (Type of Christ)
Ch. 23–Death of Sarah
V. Isaac (Chs. 24-27)
Ch. 24–A bride secured for Isaac. (An illustration of Christ and the Church)
Ch. 25–Abraham's closing days and the birth of Isaac's twin sons, Esau and Jacob
Ch. 26–The covenant confirmed to Isaac
Ch. 27–Isaac gives the blessing intended for Esau to Jacob
VI. Jacob (Chs. 28-36)
Ch. 28–God speaks to Jacob at Bethel renewing the covenant
Ch. 29–Jacob marries Leah and Rachel, working seven years for each. Four sons born of Leah
Ch. 30–Seven sons and a daughter born to Jacob by his two wives and two concubines
Ch. 31–Jacob, commanded by God to return home, flees from Laban
Ch. 32–God wrestles with Jacob and he is changed to Israel
Ch. 33–Jacob and Esau reconciled
Ch. 34–Jacob's daughter seduced and two sons become murderers to avenge her
Ch. 35–Jacob returns to Bethel and has communion with God there; Rachel dies at time of Benjamin's birth; Isaac dies
Ch. 36–Esau's family—the Edomites
VII. Joseph (Chs. 37-50)
Ch. 37–Sold into slavery by his wicked brothers
Ch. 38–lJudah's immorality; his sons
Ch. 39–Joseph becomes Potiphar's slave and is cast into prison because of the false accusation of Potiphar's wife
Ch. 40–Joseph interprets the dreams of Pharaoh's butler and baker
Ch. 41–Joseph interprets Pharaoh's prophetic dream and is exalted to high position
Ch. 42–Joseph's brethren buy grain but do not recognize him; he arrests Simeon but allows the others to go back home
Ch. 43–They return the second time with Benjamin
Ch. 44–Joseph threatens to enslave Benjamin, and Judah pleads for him
Ch. 45–Joseph reveals himself to his brethren and sends them for Jacob
Ch. 46–Jacob and family move to Egypt
Ch. 47–The Israelites prosper in Egypt
Ch. 48–Jacob blesses Ephraim and Manasseh, Joseph's sons
Ch. 49–Jacob's prophetic blessing of his twelve sons
Ch. 50–Jacob's burial and Joseph's death
Moses. (See notes on Pentateuch; also Exod. 17:14; 24:3-7; 34:27, 28.) Writer evidently an eyewitness of events described.
Presented originally to Israel but to be preserved by them for our admonition.
Written during wilderness wanderings: 1440-1400 B.C. Covers about 215 years—from the going of Jacob's family to Egypt to the giving of the law at Mount Sinai. Note: From covenant with Abraham (Gen. 12:1-3) to journey to Egypt, 215 years; from then to Exodus 215-more years (Gal. 3:17). Sir Charles Marston in The New Knowledge about the Old Testament identifies Thotmes III as the Pharaoah of the Oppression (1501-1447) and Amenhotep II as the Pharaoh of the Exodus (1447-1423). The exodus took place about 1440 B.C.
IV. Purpose of the Book
To show how God's promise to Abraham (Gen. 15:12-16) was fulfilled in the triumphant delivery of the children of Israel from their bondage in Egypt. Also to record the origin of the Passover and the giving of the law on Mount Sinai.
Title of the book used by Jews "these are the names" after 1:1. But in the Septuagint called "Exodus." This Greek word used in Hebrews 11:22 of this event. Also in Luke 9:31 of the death of Christ and in II Peter 1:15 of Peter's death. So the book tells of the bondage of the children of Israel in Egypt, their redemption and subsequent instruction in holy life and worship. There is a spiritual parallel in the life of each child of God: in bondage of sin, redeemed from this bondage, then instruction in holy life and worship.
VI. Key Verses: 3:8—God's purpose
12:23, 29-31—Accomplishment of that purpose
19:4-6—Instruction of those redeemed
Key Word: redeem—10 times
Outline of Exodus
Possible outline: Historical Section (Chs. 1-18); Legislative Section (Chs. 1940). The following is a longer outline based on events in the book. (Same number of chapters in book as there were years of wandering—forty!)
I. Israel in Bondage (Ch. 1)
II. Israel Delivered (Chs. 2-14)
Ch. 2 A deliverer raised up but rejected when he first appears; Moses goes to Midian
Ch. 3 Moses is called to be Israel's deliverer but hesitates
Ch. 4 Moses raises two objections which are answered by Jehovah; he then returns to Egypt
Ch. 5 Pharaoh refuses to let Israel go but instead lays heavier burdens on them
Ch. 6 God renews His promise to Moses; the family of Moses
Ch. 7 Signs are shown to Pharaoh but he refuses to let the Israelites go. The First Judgment—river turned to blood
Ch. 8 Three more judgments placed on the land; two compromises offered
Ch. 9 Three more judgments
Ch. 10 Two more judgments
Ch. 11 The final judgment predicted
Ch. 12 The final judgment announced—death of the firstborn; way of deliverance provided for Israel—the Passover
Ch. 13 The firstborn set apart for the Lord; the journey begins under divine guidance
Ch. 14 Israel led through the Red Sea and the pursuing Egyptian army destroyed
III. The journey to Mt. Sinai (Chs. 15-18)
Ch. 15 The Song of Moses; bitter water made sweet at Marah
Ch. 16 Hunger satisfied with quail and manna
Ch. 17 Water from the rock; victory over Amalek
Ch. 18 Moses' father-in-law gives advice
IV. THE LAW GIVEN AT SINAI (Chs. 19-24)
Ch. 19 The Law offered and accepted by the people
Ch. 20 The Ten Commandments
Note the three divisions of the Law:
The Commandments—express the will of God with regard to some all-important matters concerning the individual's relationship to God and man (Exod. 20)
The Judgments—social regulations (Exod. 21-23)
The Ordinances—religious ceremonials (Exod. 24-31)
Chs. 21-24 The Judgments
Concerning masters and servants, offenses punishable by death, compensation for injury to life and limb, property rights, penalty for theft, and many miscellaneous laws
V. The Tabernacle and the Priesthood (Chs. 25-40)
Chs. 25-27 Instructions given for building the Tabernacle Observe its limited size (hardly larger than a room in some homes); its unusual purpose (not where fellow-worshipers could meet as in a modern church building, but where representatives of the people could meet with God); its wealth of typical teaching. These chapters give minute instructions for the materials, furniture, and arrangement
Chs. 28-29 Instructions regarding the priesthood: garments, consecration, methods of offering sacrifices, etc.
Chs. 30-31 Further details about the Tabernacle
Chs. 32-34 Parenthetical—the people worship the golden calf; Moses intercedes for them
Chs. 35-40 Tabernacle constructed from the plans previously given
Moses (see notes on Pentateuch. Also see 1:1, "The Lord called unto Moses." These or similar words are used about thirty-six times in the 27 chapters. Moses referred to by name fifty-five times in the book. (Also Cf. Matt. 8:4 with Lev. 14; Rom. 10:5 with Lev. 18:5.)
1. Israel (see 1:2; 4:1-2; 7:23, 29; 11:2; etc.)
2. Especially Aaron and his descendents (the priests) (see 6:9; 6:25; 16:2; 21:1, 17; 22:2)
Passover took place on the fourteenth day of the first month (Exod. 12:2-3, 6). Tabernacle set up one year later—first day of first month of second year (Exod. 40:17). Numbers begins first day of second month of second year (Num. 1:1). Leviticus therefore given during the first month of the second year after leaving Egypt. This was about 1439 B.C.
IV. Purpose of the Book
1. It was written to show how God would fulfill His promise of Exodus 25:22
2. It was written to instruct Israel in the holy life which God expects of those who are His worshipers (11:45; 19:2)
3. It was written to provide instruction for the Levitical priesthood as to the proper conduct of their office. (See II-2)
4. It was written to provide prophetic illustrations (types) of the coming Saviour and the work He would accomplish (Heb. 10:1).
Observe the title: Leviticus—from Septuagint, means "the Levitical book." Of course the priests were from the tribe of Levi (Heb. 7:11), but the Levites as such are mentioned only in 25:32, 33. Numbers deals more fully with the Levites; Leviticus with the priests. In the Hebrew Old Testament it is called by the equivalent of the first three words: "And he called." These opening words are significant with regard to this particular book, as it contains God's call to worship and to holiness.
Note also the connection between the books already studied:
Genesis—man's creation and fall into sin; God's promise of a Redeemer and His choice of Israel as the nation through whom that Redeemer should come.
Exodus—Israel's deliverance from bondage; closes with the place of worship set up.
Leviticus—The proper method of worship given in detail.
A holy people worshiping a holy God "in the beauty of holiness" (I Chron. 16:29).
VI. Key Verse: Leviticus 19:2
Key Words: holy (plus sanctify, sanctified,sanctuary, hallow, hallowed—all from same Hebrew root) used one hundred thirty-one times. Key idea of this word is "set apart"
Sacrifice (with offering and oblation) about three hundred times
Clean and unclean—about two hundred times
Outline of Leviticus
I. The Proper Way of Approach to a Holy God Chs. 1-10)
1. Through Sacrifice (Chs. 1-7)
Here is a detailed statement concerning the five different offerings which were to be made by Israel. These offerings are a type of Christ; they contain a typical description of what Christ has accomplished for us.
Sweet savor offerings—
Ch. 1 The Burnt Offering
Ch. 2 The Meal Offering; the only unbloody offering. Consisted of meal and oil, or of green ears of corn dried, and oil
Ch. 3 The Peace Offering
Non-sweet savor offerings—
Ch. 4 The Sin Offering
Ch. 5 The Trespass Offering
Chs. 6-7 The Laws of the Offerings—Further instructions as to how the priests shall handle each offering
2. Through the Priesthood (Chs. 8-10)
Ch. 8 The consecration of the priests (cf. Exod. 28, 29)
Ch. 9 The ministry of the priests begins
Ch. 10 Nadab and Abihu smitten because of offering "strange fire"
II. The People of God to be Holy (Chs. 11-24)
Ch. 11 Their food
Ch. 12 Ceremonial purification in motherhood
Chs. 13-14 Purification in leprosy
Ch. 13—Rules for judging whether person is clean or unclean, how to detect and diagnose leprosy
Ch. 14 —"The law of the leper in the day of his cleansing"
Ch. 15 Various rules of cleansing in private life
Ch. 16 The Day of Atonement—an annual time of national purification
Ch. 17 Their place of worship and their solemn prohibition—"eat no blood"
Chs. 18-20 The relationship of the people with one another to be holy
Chs. 21-22 Regulations for the priests (priests—holy; offerings –unblemished)
Ch. 23 The seven special seasons of worship (the annual feasts):
1. Passover—first month, fourteenth day (approx. April); speaks of the cross
2. Unleavened Bread—first month, fifteenth to twenty-first days; speaks of holy life after conversion
3. First fruits—at the beginning of the barley harvest; type of resurrection of Christ
4. Wave loaves—fifty days after first fruits. Speaks of Pentecost, beginning of Church
5. Trumpets—First day of the seventh month (about our October); typical of the coming of the Lord and the regathering of Israel
6. Day of Atonement—tenth day of the seventh month (see ch. 16); speaks of atonement for Israel (Zech. 13:1; Rom. 11:26)
7. Tabernacles—fifteenth to twenty-first days of the seventh month; refers to millennial blessing; Israel restored to separated place
Ch. 24 Instructions for oil and showbread; penalty for blasphemy
III. The Law of The Land of God (Chs. 25-26)
Ch. 25 The Sabbatic year; the year of Jubilee; provision for the poor
Ch. 26 General promises and warnings
IV. Vows to god (Ch. 27)
Moses (see introductory notes on Pentateuch cf. also 33:1, 2)
Mostly history and thus recipients not named. Sometimes Israel is mentioned (6:2; 15:2); or Aaron, the High Priest (8:2).
This book covers most of the wilderness wanderings of Israel—about 38 years, 9 months. (Num. 1:1; 33:38; 36:13; Deut. 1:3). Evidently written or at least completed at the close of this period, about 1401 B.C.