JPS Torah Commentary: Exodus Page 12...

Masterly commentary on the second book of the Bible by eminent Jewish scholar.

xi INTRODUCTION The Title The commonly known Hebrew title for the second book of the Torah is Shemot, shortened from the opening words ve’elleh shemot. This follows an ancient and widespread Near Eastern practice of naming a literary work by its initial word or words. In Genesis Rabba1 we find the full title: Sefer ’ Elleh Shemot, “ The Book  of ‘ These are the Names.’” The Hebrew name was transliterated in Greek as oualesmoth2  and was used in Latin Bibles in the form of Hebraica veelle semoth. Another ancient Hebrew name was sefer yetsi’at mitsrayim, “ The Book of the Depar-ture from Egypt,” expressing its central theme. The Jews of Alexandria, Egypt, in pre- Christian times, rendered this title in Greek as Exodos Aigyptou, abbreviated simply as Exodos, which is how it appears in the Septuagint, the Jewish translation of the Torah into Greek. This was adopted for use in the Old Latin version of the Bible ( pre- fourth century C. E.) in the form of Exodus and so passed into the Vulgate and through it into numerous European languages. Another Greek rendering of the Hebrew title was Exagoge, “ The Leading Out/ The Departure [ from Egypt].” The Hellenistic Jewish philosopher Philo of Alexandria ( ca. 20 B. C. E. to 50 C. E.) used this  name and offered his belief that Moses himself had designated the Hebrew title behind it. 3  Exagoge must have been quite well known in Egypt, for the Hellenistic Jewish tragedian Ezekiel ( latest date, mid first century B. C. E.) composed a drama by that name. The Hebrew title sefer yetsi’at mitsrayim was still current in Palestine in the tenth century C. E., for it is cited in  the Dikdukei Ha- Te‘ amim ( § 70) by the Masoretic scholar Aaron ben Moses ben Asher. 4 Still a third Hebrew name for the book is mentioned in the Talmud: 5  Homesh Sheni, “ The Second Fifth [ of the Torah].” The Torah Readings Present- day editions divide the Book of Exodus into forty chapters. This practice is not rooted in Jewish tradition but was borrowed from Christian Bibles. In the late Middle Ages, the Church forced Jews to engage in disputations, which usually focused upon the interpre-tation of scriptural passages. This necessitated a common, standardized system of reference, and so the Christian chapter and verse numberings were introduced  into the Hebrew manu-script Bibles by Rabbi Solomon ben Ishmael ( ca. 1330). 6 This innovation displaced an earlier Jewish system based upon the weekly Torah readings. In Palestine and Egypt, the entire Pentateuch was originally completed in trien-   C h a p t e r Home  | T O C

JPS Torah Commentary: Exodus


About Book JPS Torah Commentary: Exodus

FRONT MATTERTitle PagePatrons PageDedication PageCopyright PageAcknowledgmentsContentsIntroductionGlossaryAbbreviationsWEEKLY READINGSShemot Ch. 1:1Va-'Era' Ch. 6:2Bo' Ch. 10:1Beshallah Ch. 13:17Yitro Ch. 18:1 Mishpatim Ch. 21:1Terumah Ch. 25:1Tetsavveh Ch. 27:20Ki Tissa ' Ch. 30:11Va-Yakhel Ch. 35:1Pekudei Ch. 38: 21THE COMMENTARY TO EXODUSReversal of Fortune (1:1-22)An Introductory Summary (vv.1-7)The Oppression (vv. 8-14)The Midwives (vv. 15-22)The Birth and Youth of Moses (2:1-25)The Abandonment and Salvation of Moses (vv. 1-10)The Character of Moses (vv. 11-15)Moses in Midian (vv. 16-22)A Transitional Postscript (vv. 23-25)The Commissioning of Moses (3:1-4:17)The Theophany at the Burning Bush (vv. 1-6)The Divine Call (vv. 7-10)Moses' Dialogue with God (3:11-4:17)The Challenge of Leadership: Initial Failure (4:18-6:1)Leave-taking and Departure (vv. 18-23)The Night Encounter and Circumcision (vv. 24-26)Moses' Leadership is Accepted (vv. 27-31)The First Audience with Pharaon (5:1-6:1)Divine Reaffirmation (6:2-7:13)Moses Transmits the Divine Message (v. 9)A Renewed Call to Action (vv. 10-13)A Genealogy (vv. 14-25)A Recapitulation (vv. 26-30)Reaffirmation and Renewal of Moses' Mission (vv. 1-7)Signs before Pharaon (vv. 8-13)The Plagues (7:14-11:10)The First Plague: the Waters become Bloody (dam) (7:14-25)The Second Plague: Frogs (tsefardea') (7:26-8:11)The Third Plague: Vermin (kinnim) (vv. 12-15)The Fourth Plague ('arov) (vv. 16-28)The Fifth Plague: Prestilence (dever) (vv. 1-7)The Sixth Plague: Boils (shehin) (vv. 8-12)The Seventh Plague: Hail (barad) (vv. 13-35)The Eigth Plague: Locusts ('arbeh) (vv. 1-20)The Ninth Plague: Darkness (hoshekh) (vv. 21-29)The Announcement of the Tenth Plague (vv. 1-10)The Last Act (12:1-51)The Reform of the Calendar (v. 2)The Paschal Offering ( vv. 3-13)The Festival of Matsot (vv. 14-20)Instructions for the Pesah are Relayed (vv. 21-28)The Tenth Plague (vv. 29-36) The Exodus (vv. 37-42)Exclusionary Regulations (vv. 43-49)Commemorative Rituals (13:1-16)The Installation of the First-born (vv. 1-2)The Law of Matsot and Tefillin (vv. 3-10)The Redemption of the First-born (vv. 11-16)The Exodus (13:17-14:31)Into the Wilderness (vv. 17-22)The Miracle at the Sea (vv. 1-31)Instructions to Change Course (vv. 1-4)The Song at the Sea: Shirat ha-Yam (15:1-19)The Defeat of the Egyptians (vv. 1-10)The Incomparability of YHVH (vv. 11-13)The Impact on the Neighboring Peoples (vv. 14-16)The Grand Finale (vv. 17-18)A Coda (v. 19)The Song of Miriam (vv. 20-21)Crises in the Wilderness (15:22-17:16)The Bitter Waters at Marah (vv. 22-27)The Shortage of Food - Manna and Quail (vv. 1-20)The People are Informed (vv. 6-10)The Quail and Manna Arrive (vv. 11-20)The Law of the Sabbath (vv. 21-30)An Appendix on the Manna (vv. 31-36)Massah and Meribah (vv. 1-7)The Battle with Amalek (vv. 8-16)Jethro's Visit and the Organization of the Judiciary (18:1-27)The Arrival of Jethro (vv. 1-12)The Organization of the Judiciary (vv. 13-27)The Covenant at Sinai (19:1-20-21)Narrative Introduction (vv. 1-3)Israel's Destiny Defined (vv. 3c-6)The Popular Responce (vv. 7-8)Preparations for the Theophany (vv. 9-25)The Decalogue (vv. 1-14(17))The People's Reaction (vv. 15-18(18-21))The Regulation of Worship (vv. 19-23(22-26))The Book of the Covenant: The Laws (21:1-24:18)Judicial Rulings (21:2-22:16)Categorical Commands (22:17-23:19)The Agricultural Prescriptions (vv. 10-13)Renewal of the Divine Promises (vv. 20-33)Ratification of the Covenant (vv. 1-18)Instructions for the Tabernacle (25:1-31:18)The Materials (vv 1-9)The Ark (vv. 10-16)The Kapporet and the Cherubim (vv. 17-22)The Table and Its Appurtenances (vv. 23-30)The Menorah (vv. 31-40)The Tabernacle Coverings (vv. 1-14)The Wooden Structure (vv. 15-30)The Inner Curtain (parokhet) (vv. 31-35)The Outer Curtain (vv. 36-37)The Outer Altar of Sacrifices and Its Accessories (vv. 1-8)The Enclosure (vv. 9-19)A Summation (vv. 18-19)The Oil for Lighting (vv. 20-21)The Priesthood and the Priestly Vestments (vv. 1-43)The Vestments of Ordinary Priests (vv. 40-43)The Installation of the Priests (29:1-46)The Materials (vv. 1-3)The Washing (v. 4)The Robing and Anointing of Aaron Alone (vv. 5-7)The Robing of Aaron and His Sons (vv. 8-9)The Animal Sacrifices (vv. 10-26, 31-42)The Installation of Future Priests (vv. 27-30)The Sacrificial Meal (vv. 31-34)A Week-long Observance (vv. 35-37)The Regular Burnt Offering (vv. 38-42)A Summation (vv. 43-46)An Appendix to the Instruction (30:1-38)The Incense Altar (vv. 1-10)The Census and the Poll Tax (vv. 11-16)The Bronze Laver (vv. 17-21)The Aromatic Anointing Oil (vv. 22-33)The Ingredients of the Incense (vv. 34-38)Appointment of Construction Personnel (vv. 1-11)The Observance of the Sabbath (vv. 12-17)A Coda (v. 18)The Violation of the Covenant: The Golden Calf (32:1-33:23) The Making of a Golden Calf (vv. 1-6)God's Anger and Moses' Intercession (vv. 7-14)Moses Smashes the Tablets and Destroys the Calf (vv. 15-20)Aaron's Apologia (vv. 21-24)Selection of the Levites (vv. 25-29)Moses' Second Intercession (vv. 30-34)Withdrawal of the Divine Presence (vv. 1-6)Moses' Exceptional Status (vv. 7-11)Dialogue with God (vv. 12-23)Renewal of the Covenant (34:1-35)Preparatory Measures (vv. 1-3)God's Self-disclosure (vv. 4-9)Inauthentic and Authentic Worship (vv. 10-26)Epilogue: Moses Reaches the Pinnacle of Eminence (vv. 27-35)The Construction of the Tabernacle (35:1-40:38)The Convening of the People (35:1-19)The Work of Construction (36:8-38:20)The Making of the Priestly Vestments (vv. 1-31)Complection and Inspection (vv. 32-43)Erecting the Tabernacle (vv. 1-8)Anointing the Tabernacle and Furnishings (vv. 9-11)Installing the Priests (vv. 12-15)Fulfilling the Instructions (vv. 16-33)The Appearance of the Divine Presence (vv. 34-38)NOTES TO THE COMMENTARYEXCURSUSExcursus 1. The Hebrews 1:15Excursus 2. The Abandoned Hero Motif 2:3Excursus 3. God of the Father 3:6Excursus 4. 'El Shaddai 6:3Excursus 5. Tefillin 13:9, 16Excursus 6. Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Law (21:1-22:10)NOTES TO THE EXCURSUSESExcursus 1Excursus 2Excursus 3Excursus 4Excursus 5Excursus 6
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