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Unformatted text preview: II. Exodus and a Home for Exiles: The most formative experiences for Israel's faith, basic to her understanding of herself, her God, and her moral-religious practices, occurred in that vagabond period typically called the exodus from Egypt. The exodus-event, of course, included more than a saving crossing of the Sea of Reeds ( Yom Sup ) -- though it certainly meant that -- it was a contest between YHWH and the gods of Egypt (since Pharaoh himself was considered divine). Certainly some of the tension an ANE person would have felt in the rising crescendo of Moses' requests, God's plagues, Pharaoh's refusals, and Egypt's inability to stop the Israelites from leaving Egypt was the recognition that YHWH was besting "the gods of the land." 1 In the exodus the Jews came to understand themselves as a nation . The bene Israel ("sons of Israel"), a mixed multitude of uprooted people was galvanized into a theocratic nation. But the freedom from bondage, soon seemed meaningless in the "grim waste-land," and the midbar ("desert") was ingrained in their recollection of the exodus-event as a "great and frightening wilderness," or "a terrible land." 2 Certainly it was the context Egyptian oppression and landlessness during the years of wandering that caused the Land too take on such powerful theological significance in the faith of Israel. It was a powerful theme both in looking back upon YHWH's promise, and in anticipating Israel's possession (conquest) or restoration (exile) to the land. 1 See Exodus chapters 7-12 for this series of requests, refusals, and plagues. Notice how the narrative takes on an almost rhythmical tone through the use and repetition of several key phrases, and how it moves towards an climax through the ever escalating series of ten plagues. The Passover narrative, in Exodus 12-15, culminates the tension generated in the salvation narrative with a series of liturgical reenactments. Exodus 12: 14-20 establishes the Feasts of Passover and Unleavened Bread and holy ordinances for the people of Israel "forever." Exodus 12: 43-51 provides the core for the Feast of Passover ("This is the ordinance of the Passover....). Exodus 13:3-10 gives the basis for the Feast of Unleavened Bread ("..seven days you shall eat unleavened, and on the seventh day there shall be a feast unto the LORD.") And Exodus 13:11-16 describes the practice of dedicating the First Born unto the LORD ("And when the LORD brings you into the land of the Canaanites ... you shall set apart to the LORD all that first opens the womb"). In these significant, holy days and holy practices the Exodus-event lived on, through liturgical reenactment, as a significant part of the life of every devout Israelite....
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This note was uploaded on 04/17/2008 for the course REL THEL 353 taught by Professor Tyson during the Spring '08 term at Houghton College.
- Spring '08