FACTS ON GENESIS
While Genesis is an anonymous work, it has traditionally been attributed to
Moses. Evidence for Mosaic authorship includes the testimony of New Testament writers (Jn. 1:17, Matt. 9:7, Mk. 1:44, 7:10, 10:3, 12:26, Lk. 5:14, Acts 3:22, and 1 Cor. 9:9) and Jesus (compare Gen. 17:12 with Jn. 7:22-23). Affirming Mosaic authorship does not preclude the possibility that he drew from other ancient sources.
Date of Writing
Moses probably wrote Genesis early during the wilderness sojourn (1446-
The book includes events from creation to the death of Joseph in Egypt (1805 B.C.). Geographically, the events of the narrative took place in the fertile crescent which includes the valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in Mesopotamia, the land of Canaan, and the fertile region along the Nile River.
Taking 931 B.C. as the date of the division of the Monarchy, the birth of
Abraham took place about 2166 B.C. The following dates for the patriarchs may be determined from the biblical data:
Abraham 2166-1991 Lived 175 years
Isaac 2066-1886 Lived 180 years
Jacob 2006-1859 Lived 147 years
Joseph 1915-1805 Lived 110 years
The purpose of Genesis is to preserve an accurate record of the beginnings of the human race and the Hebrew nation. In addition, the book tells of man’s initial rebellion against God and the beginnings of His redemptive program through
The sovereignty of God over His creation (Gen. 50:20).
I. THE BEGINNINGS OF THE HUMAN RACE 1-11
A. The Creation 1-2
B. The Fall 3:1-6:4
C. The Flood 6:5-11:32
D. The New Beginning 8:15-11:32
II. THE BEGINNINGS OF THE HEBREW NATION 12-50
A. The Life of Abraham 12:1-25:18
B. The Life of Isaac 25:19-26:35
C. The Life of Jacob 27-36
D. The Life of Joseph 37-50
FACTS ON EXODUS
Exodus has traditionally been attributed to Moses who names himself
several times in connection with the Lord’s command to write (17:14, 24:4, 34:27). Mosaic authorship of Exodus is confirmed by the fact that Jesus ascribed texts from the book to Moses (Mark 7:10, 12:26).
Date of Writing
Exodus was probably written shortly after Genesis during Israel’s sojourn in the wilderness (1446-1406 B.C.).
The date of the exodus is crucial to the historical setting of the book. According to 1 Kings 6:1 Solomon began to build the temple in the 4th year of his reign (966 B.C.), 480 years after the exodus. Thus, the date of the exodus may be calculated at 1446 B.C. (966 + 480). Although greatly debated, this date has been confirmed by biblical and archaeological
The Hebrews sojourned in Egypt 430 years after Jacob’s entrance into the
land in 1876 B.C. (Exod. 12:40). For 200 years after Joseph’s death (1805 B.C.) the Israelites lived in relative peace and prosperity. Then there arose a pharaoh who “knew not Joseph” (Exod. 1:8). Oppressive measures began to be carried out againstthe Hebrews (Exod. 1:22).
The purpose of Exodus is to recount the birth of the nation of Israel which
resulted from the exodus from Egypt and the giving of the law at Mt. Sinai.
The salvation of Yahweh (Exod. 15:2).
I. The Exodus 1-18
II. The Law 19-24
III. The Tabernacle 25-40
FACTS ON LEVITICUS
The author of Leviticus is not named. But the Lord repeatedly addresses
Moses (1:1, 4:1, 6:1,8,19,24, 7:22) and he is the most likely person to have
recorded these words. Jesus affirms the Mosaic authorship of Leviticus when He refers to the laws concerning cleansing from leprosy (Lev. 14:2-32) as that which “Moses commanded” (Matt. 8:4, Mk. 1:44).
Date of Writing
Leviticus was probably written shortly after Exodus during Israel’s
wilderness wanderings (1446-1406 B.C.)
The events and legislation of Leviticus have their geographical setting in the wilderness at the foot of Mount Sinai. The time period extends from the setting up of the Tabernacle (Nisan 1, 1445 B.C.) to the departure from Sinai (Iyyar 20, 1445 B.C.) about one month and twenty days later (Exod. 40:17, Num. 10:11).
The purpose of Leviticus is to show that the way of access to God is by
sacrifice, and that the way of fellowship with God is by separation.
The holiness of Yahweh. The theme actually takes two directions: (1)
the removal of defilement which separates people from a holy God, and (2) the regulation of fellowship between God and man.
The concept of holiness as derived from the Hebrew qodesh has the basic
meaning of “separation” (Lev. 20:26). Holiness is the opposite of hol
(“profane”), meaning “not separate” or “common.” That which is holy is marked off, separated, and withdrawn from ordinary use. When holiness means separation to God, a morally righteous being, the concept takes on the implication of moral purity–conformity to God’s righteous standards and statutes (Lev. 20:7-8).
I. The Sacrificial Means of Approaching God 1-17
II. The Separation of the People of God 18-27
FACTS ON NUMBERS
Only in Numbers 33:2 is literary activity ascribed to Moses in relationship to the material of this book. There are, however, many references to that fact that God spoke these words to Moses (1:1, 2:1, 3:5,14,40), and it is most likely that Moses himself recorded this revelation. Local color, authentic wilderness background, and antiquity of the material lends support to the Mosaic authorship of Numbers.
Date of Writing
Numbers was written or at least completed after the death of Aaron (20:28)
which took place on the first of Ab (July-August) on the 40th year after the
exodus (33:38-39), 1407 B.C.
At Sinai. The book begins with the numbering of the people at Sinai just one
month after the completion of the Tabernacle (Num. 1:1, Exod. 40:17), Iyyar (April-May) 1, 1445 B.C.
To Kadesh-barnea. Twenty days later Israel broke camp (10:11) and began
following the pillar of cloud north in the direction of Canaan to Kadesh-barnea (13:26).
In the Wilderness. The refusal of Israel to enter the land (13-14) resulted in the judgment of 37 1/2 years of fruitless wandering in the Sinai desert (15-19).
To Transjordan. After the old generation had died off, the children of Israel
journeyed to the plains of Moab near the Jordan River where they received the final instruction from Moses before their entrance into the land.
The purpose of Numbers is twofold: (1) to give an account of the wilderness
experience of Israel, and (2) to demonstrate that Yahweh’s love for His people did not preclude severe wrath upon sin, apostasy, and rebellion.
Theme The wrath of Yahweh.
I. Israel’s Preparation at Sinai 1-10
II. Israel’s Wandering in the Wilderness 11-20
III. Israel’s Advance to the Land 21-36
FACTS ON DEUTERONOMY
The Mosaic authorship is affirmed by Deut. 31:9 which states, “Moses wrote this law.” The Jews of Jesus’ day held to the Mosaic authorship of Deuteronomy (Matt. 22:24, Mark 10:3-4, 12:19), and Jesus Himself refers to Deut. 24:1-4 as the teaching of Moses (Matt. 19:7-8). Chapter 34, the account of Moses’ death, was probably written by Joshua.
Date of Writing
Deuteronomy was written by Moses in the 40th year after the exodus from
Egypt. The work was completed just before the entrance of the second generation into the land and Moses’ death on Mount Nebo (1406 B.C.)
Deuteronomy contains a restatement of the law for the generation of Israelites who were children at Mt. Sinai. It was given by Moses in the plains of Moab across the Jordan River from Jericho (Deut. 1:5, Num. 36:13). The giving of the law by Moses was followed by his death and thirty days of mourning for the great leader. The book covers the period from the first of Shebat (Jan.-Feb.; Deut. 1:3) to thirty days after Moses’ death (Deut. 34:8), a period of about sixty days (Josh. 4:19).
Deuteronomy is intended to (1) remind the second generation of their
redemption out of Egypt and of God’s discipline in the wilderness, (2) restate the law for the benefit of the new generation, and (3) call God’s people to obedience to the covenant, emphasizing the blessings of obedience and cursings for disobedience.
The theme of Deuteronomy is the restatement of the law. Its theological
emphasis is the love of Yahweh for Israel.
I. The Preamble 1:1-5
II. The Historical Prologue 1:6-4:49
III. The Stipulations of the Covenant 5-26
IV. The Ratification of the Covenant 27-30
V. The Perpetuation of the Covenant Relationship 31-34