It is clear that Joseph, believed that Jacob’s family ‘Israel’ would depart from Egypt and inhabit the land of Canaan: Genesis 50:24-25 Joseph said unto his brethren, I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence.
Genesis 15:13-14 states that God promised Abraham that his seed would be delivered from servitude:- he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. In fulfilment of this prophecy, it is stated in Exodus 12:40 Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years. From the time periods and genealogies given, the period of 430 years would appear to commence from the time the promise was made to Abram.
The book of Exodus, describes Israel’s release from slavery, events that occur during their journey through the wilderness (the Sinai Desert) to the land of Canaan, and details of the Law of Moses. Further details of the Law of Moses are given in the book of Leviticus. Events of the journey given in Exodus are corroborated and enhanced by; the record in the book of Numbers, and Moses’ exhortation, detailed in the book of Deuteronomy. The contents of Deuteronomy was verbally delivered by Moses to Israel at the end of his life in the plains of Moab, on the East side of Jordan, just before they entered the land of Canaan. It provides a summary of their journey and the lessons they should learn and take forward into Canaan.
For the purposes of this period of the Bible narrative, the contents of these four books, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy are taken together and the subject matter subdivided in the following sections:-
- Israel’s escape from Egyptian slavery
- Events of the wilderness journey
- The Law of Moses
- The tabernacle construction
- The Priesthood
- The Ecclesiastical & Social Law