The book of Exodus is the second book of the Torah (“law”). It continues the story of Genesis concerning the migration of the family of Jacob (the Israelites) to Egypt (Genesis 50). It describes the commissioning of Moses and Aaron as God’s representatives on earth to accomplish God’s deliverance of His people from slavery in Egypt and lead them to the Promised Land (the land of Canaan). It also relates the miraculous deliverance from Egypt beginning with the plagues on Egypt and the crossing of the Red Sea. It then describes the journey to Mount Sinai and the establishment of the Mosaic covenant with the Israelites. The last part of the book involves the specifications and building of the tabernacle – the place where the Lord Himself dwelt amongst His people.
In the book of Exodus, the focus shifts to the deliverance of God’s people.
Chapter 5 begins a new major section of the book of Exodus. In the previous section (1:1 – 4:31), the LORD prepared both His deliverer and those to be delivered from bondage. Now that Moses and Aaron are back in Egypt, the deliverance can take place.
This section (5:1 – 12:36) is characterized by numerous confrontations between Moses and Pharaoh, the LORD’s continual encouragement of Moses, Pharaoh’s obstinacy, and finally the plagues on Egypt that convinced Pharaoh to let the Israelites go. It can be outlined as follows:
- The confrontation with Pharaoh (5:1 – 7:13)
- The plagues on Egypt (7:14 – 12:36)
Chapter 5 is an account of the first confrontation between Moses and Pharaoh and its results. Chapter 5 has the following structure:
- Moses’ First Confrontation with Pharaoh (1 – 5)
- Pharaoh’s Opposition and Reaction with Oppressive Labor (6 – 14)
- Effects of Pharaoh’s Opposition (15 – 21)
- Moses’ Prayer (22 – 23)