Guest Author - Preena Deepak
The Pentateuch often referred to as ‘The Book of Moses’ or ‘The Book of the Law’ is a collective name for the first five Books of the Bible. Though each of these books contains detailed instructions from God to the Israelites on worship, sacrifice, justice and order, there are also accounts of God’s creation, God’s plan of redemption, miracles, wars, Israel’s rebellion and God’s covenant with His chosen people.
Here are brief introductions to each of the Books that make the Pentateuch.
•Genesis – The first Book of the Bible begins with the story of creation. The first sin is committed at the Garden of Eden and as a consequence man is banished from the garden. However it is here that God makes a covenant to redeem lost mankind. Genesis goes on to record the birth and growth of civilization. The life stories of Enoch, Noah Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph among others are highlights of Genesis.
•Exodus – Though the Book of Genesis ends on a brighter note with Israel settling down in Egypt and growing in numbers, Exodus begins with a change of fortune for the Israelites who are made slaves by Pharaoh. Moses emerges as the star of Exodus. After his regal upbringing in Pharaoh’s court, Moses receives God’s call to deliver the Israelites out of Egypt. Miracles and wonders adorn the pages of Exodus as God brings His people out of bondage from Egypt under the leadership of Moses and Aaron. Exodus also records God’s detailed instructions, rules and laws to Moses on worship.
•Leviticus - After a brief set back recorded in Exodus where the people of Israel resorted to idol worship, Moses pleads for wayward Israel and God relents from destroying the Israelites in the wilderness. In the Book of Leviticus, God lays down the rules for worship, the feasts to be observed, the manner in which sacrifices are to be observed and the consecration of Aaron and his descendants, the Levites to priesthood. In so doing Leviticus stands out as a call for holiness that echoed from God to the people He chose for Himself.
•Numbers – The Book of Numbers was so named as it begins recording the first census of Israel. Also recorded in this Book are the miracles of Moses, the spies sent to Canaan, the rebellion of Israel, Moses’ hardships in leading the Israelites and war accounts. In the backdrop of these events, God continues to direct the attention of the Israelites towards His norms for worship and proper living through His commands to Moses.
•Deuteronomy – The last book penned by Moses is more of a wake-up call and a reminder to Israel who had made rebellion a way of life. Moses reviews God’s commands for right living and warns them against following the ways of the people in the land the Israelites were to inherit. War accounts, laws, blessings and curses are noted down for Israel before Moses passes the mantle to Joshua, God’s appointed servant who led the Israelites into the promised land of Canaan.
Here are two useful books to pick up from Amazon for further reading
Buy "Handbook on the Pentateuch: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy" from Amazon.com
Buy "Exploring the Old Testament, Volume 1: A Guide to the Pentateuch" from Amazon.com