The lack of knowledge (Bar 3:20-3:23)

“Later generations

Have seen

The light of day.

They have lived

Upon this earth.

But they have

Not learned

The way to knowledge.

They have not

Understood her paths.

They have not

Laid hold of her.

Their descendants

Have strayed far

From her way.

She has not been heard of

In Canaan.

She has not been seen

In Teman.

The descendants of Hagar

Seek for understanding

On the earth.

The merchants of Merran,

With the merchants of Teman

Have not learned

The way to wisdom.

The story-tellers,

The seekers for understanding

Have not given thought

To her paths.”

The people living today on this earth have not learned the way to knowledge. They have not understood the various paths to get there. They are unable to grab knowledge. Their descendants have wandered far off the beaten path towards knowledge. Thus they cannot hear or see of knowledge in Canaan or Teman. Canaan was the old name for the land of Israel, while Teman was a city in Edom, south of Israel that was well known for its wisdom. The descendants of Hagar, the concubine of Abraham, or the Ishmaelites, were also seeking understanding. However, the merchants of Midian or Merran with the merchants of Teman in Edom have not learned the various paths to wisdom. The story-tellers and even those seeking understanding have not learned the way or path to wisdom. In fact, they have given little thought to this question.

The Rechabites (Jer 35:2-35:2)

“Go to the house

Of the Rechabites!

Speak with them!

Bring them

To the house of Yahweh,

Into one of the chambers!

Then offer them wine

To drink!’”

This short chapter is all about the Rechabites. They get their name from Rechab, who was mentioned in 1 Chronicles, chapter 2, listed under the descendants of Hur. They seem to be descendants of Hammath, a northern city, or Hemath, a Kenite, who was also called Hobab. The Rechabites were not descendants of Jacob, but Kenites, a people originally settled in that part of Arabia called the land of Midian. They may have been the descendants of Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses, who was a Kenite. Thus these Rechabites were not true Israelites, but were friendly to the Israelites. They were generally nomads in the desert, living in tents. The most prominent Rechabite may have been Jehonadab or Jonadab, the son of Rechab, in 2 Kings, chapter 10, where he joined with King Jehu of Israel (841-814 BCE) in helping wipe out the family of King Ahab of Israel (874-853 BCE). Yahweh told Jeremiah to go to their house, talk to them, and bring them back to the Temple in Jerusalem. There he was to find a chamber in the Temple and offer these Rechabites some wine. This seems like a simple task.

From darkness to light (Isa 9:2-9:5)

“The people who walked in darkness

Have seen a great light.

Those who lived

In a land of deep darkness,

Light has shined on them.

You have multiplied the nation.

You have increased its joy.

They rejoice before you,

As with joy

At the harvest,

As people exalt

When dividing plunder.

You have broken

The yoke of their burden,

The bar across their shoulders,

The rod of their oppressor,

As on the day of Midian.

All the boots

Of the tramping warriors,

With all the garments

Rolled in blood,

Will be burned

As fuel for the fire.”

Isaiah predicts that the time of darkness will turn to light. Light will shine on them. Their nation will increase with joy just like at harvest time or the splitting up of plunder. Their yoke and the bar across their shoulders will have been broken. The oppressor’s rod will have been laid aside just like at Midian. Could this be a reference to Midianites in Judges, chapter 7, when Gideon attacked them? Anyway, all the boots of the trampling warriors and their bloody garments will be used as fuel to be burned in a fire.

The descendents of Abraham by Keturah (1 Chr 1:32-1:33)

“These are the sons of Keturah, Abraham’s concubine. She bore Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah. The sons of Jokshan were Sheba and Dedan. The sons of Midian were Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida, and Eldaah. All these were the descendants of Keturah.”

This section is based on Genesis, chapter 25. Keturah is like the 3rd wife of Abraham, but she is only called a concubine. There is no indication of a time frame, after Sarah’s death or during her lifetime. If after her death he would have been over 137 years old when he had these 6 children. Somehow he was more fertile with Keturah. In fact, there may have been other concubines. Abraham gave everything to Isaac, who was lucky since he had a hard time with Ishmael. Abraham gave these children of Keturah gifts and sent them away from Isaac to the east country. We might call these people the wandering Arabs. This was an attempt to show how other Arab tribes can be traced to Abraham. Three of these children are only mentioned here and nowhere else except in the Genesis, (1) Zimran, (2) Medan, and (3) Ishbak. The name (4) Shuah appears elsewhere in biblical literature. However, only 2 of the 6 children are mentioned as having further children. (5) Jokshan was the father of Sheba and Dedan. Earlier Raamah, a descendent of Cush, had 2 sons with these exact names. There are at least 4 different people named Sheba in the biblical literature. Then Dedan’s sons are mentioned. Perhaps there is a link to Cush because 2 of his grandson sons were named Sheba and Dedan. However, Dedan’s 3 sons Asshurim, Letushim, and Leummim, are only mentioned here and nowhere else. The descendents of (6) Midian became important in the western territory between Canaan and Egypt. In fact, Moses went to their territory and married the daughter of a Midian priest. Of the 5 people mentioned as descendents of Midian, there are at least 3 people named Ephah and Epher in biblical literature, while this is the only mention of Abida and Eldaah. There was another Hanoch who was the first son of Reuben.

Return of Moses to Egypt and his departure from Midian (Ex 4:18-4:23)

Moses went back to his father-in-law Jethro and said to him, ‘Please let me go back to my kindred in Egypt and see whether they are still living.’ Jethro said to Moses, ‘Go in peace.’  Yahweh said to Moses in Midian, ‘Go back to Egypt.  All those who were seeking your life are dead.’  So Moses took his wife and his sons, put them on a donkey and went back to the land of Egypt.  Moses carried the staff of God in his hand.”

Moses went to his father-in-law Jethro, and told him he was going back to Egypt.  Jethro told Moses to go in peace.  Notice that he is called Jethro.  Yahweh had told Moses to go back to Egypt because he was no longer a wanted man.  It is not clear how many years that Moses was in Midian.  Anyway he took his Midian wife and children and left for Egypt with the staff of God in his hand.

“Yahweh said to Moses, ‘When you go back to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders or miracles that I have put in your power.   But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go.  Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says Yahweh, Israel is my first-born son.  I said to you, ‘Let my son go that he may worship me.’   But you refused to let him go.  Now, I will kill your first-born son.’”

Yahweh told Moses to go to Pharaoh and do his tricks to show his power.  However, he warned Moses that he was going to harden Pharaoh’s heart, so that he will not let the people go.  Israel was Yahweh’s first-born son so Yahweh was going to kill Pharaoh’s first-born son.  This is pretty tough language.  It seems that Yahweh knows the outcome but wants Moses to still try to change Pharaoh’s mind.

The flight of Moses to Midian (Ex 2:11-2:22)

“One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to his people and saw their forced labor.  He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his kinsfolk.  He looked this way and that, and seeing no one he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.  When he went out the next day, he saw two Hebrews fighting.   He said to the one who was in the wrong, ‘why do you strike your fellow Hebrew?  He answered, ‘Who made you a ruler and judge over us?  Do you mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?’ Then Moses was afraid, and thought, ‘Surely the thing is known.’”

Moses had to learn about the Egyptian oppression, having never suffered it himself since he grew up as a prince of the Nile.  However, the turning point was when he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew he decided to take things into his own hands.   He then killed the Egyptian and hid his body in the sand.  However, the next day when he confronted a Hebrew for fighting with his fellow Hebrew, the response frightened Moses since it seems that people must have known what had happened the day before.  So now he feared that Pharaoh would kill him if he found out about it.  It is not clear if the Pharaoh knew Moses as the child of his sister or not.

“When Pharaoh heard of it, he sought to kill Moses.  But Moses fled from Pharaoh.  He settled in the land of Midian, and he sat down by a well.  The priest of Midian had seven daughters.  They came and drew water, and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock.   But some shepherds came and drove them away.  Moses got up and came to their defense and watered their flock.  When they returned to their father Reuel, he said, ‘How is it that you have come back so soon today?’  They said, ‘An Egyptian helped us against the shepherds.  He even drew water for us and watered the flock.’  He said to his daughters, ‘Where is he? Why did you leave the man?  Invite him to break bread.’  Moses agreed to stay with the man.  He gave Moses his daughter Zipporah in marriage.  She bore a son, and he named him Gershom.   For he said, ‘I have been an alien residing in a foreign land.’”

Moses fled to the land of Midian. Midian had been the son of Abraham from his third wife Keturah, who had been sent away to the east country in Genesis, chapter 25.  There, 7 daughters of the priest of Midian brought their flock to a well, as was the custom.  Once again, here is the number 7.  However, shepherds drove them away, but Moses watered their animals anyway.  When the daughters got home, they told their father the story about the strange Egyptian.  He told them to invite him to break bread with them.  Moses stayed there and took Zipporah as his wife, the daughter of Reuel, the priest of Midian.  Reuel was also the name of one of Esau’s sons.  Reuel may have been the grandfather of Zipporah since Moses’ father-in-law is later referred to as Jethro.  They had a son named Gershom so that he is firstborn son of Moses.  So far, nothing outstanding, Moses was in exile from Egypt and started a family in Midian.


Outline of the Book of Exodus

Exodus General Structure (per Jerusalem Bible)


 I.    Deliverance from Egypt

a.      Israel in Egypt

The prosperity of the Israelites in Egypt (Ex 1:1-1:7)

The oppression of the Israelites (Ex 1:8-1:22)


b.      The youth of Moses

The birth of Moses (Ex 2:1-2:10)

The flight of Moses to Midian (Ex 2:11-2:22)


c.       The calling of Moses

God remembers Israel (Ex 2:23-2:25)

The burning bush (Ex 3:1-3:6)

The mission of Moses (Ex 3:7-3:12)

The revelation of God’s name (Ex 3:13-3:15)

The instructions about the mission of Moses (Ex 3:16-3:20)

The plunder of Egypt (Ex 3:21-3:22)

Moses’ first miracles (Ex 4:1-4:9)

Aaron as interpreter for Moses (Ex 4:10-4:17)

Return of Moses to Egypt and his departure from Midian (Ex 4:18-4:23)

The circumcision of Moses’ son (Ex 4:24-4:26)

The meeting with Aaron (Ex 4:27-4:31)

The first encounter with Pharaoh (Ex 5:1-5:5)

The instructions for the supervisors (Ex 5:6-5:14)

The complaints of the Israelite supervisors (Ex 5:15-5:18)

The recriminations against Moses (Ex 5:19-6:1)

Another passage about the vocation of Moses (Ex 6:2-6:13)

The genealogy of Moses and Aaron (Ex 6:14–6:27)

The continuation of the vocation and mission of Moses (Ex 6:28-7:7)


d.      The plagues in Egypt and the Passover

The staff changes into a snake (Ex 7:8-7:13)

The first plague – The Nile River pollution with blood (Ex 7:14-7:24)

The second plague – frogs (Ex 7:25-8:15)

The third plague – mosquito/gnats (Ex 8:16-8:19

The fourth plague – flies (Ex 8:20-8:32)

The fifth plague – the sick livestock (Ex 9:1-9:7)

The sixth plague – festering boils (Ex 9:8-9:12)

The seventh plague – hail and thunderstorm (Ex 9:13-9:35)

The eighth plague – locusts (Ex 10:1-10:20)

 The ninth plague – darkness in Egypt (Ex 10:21-10:29)

The tenth plague – death of the first-born (Ex 11:1-11:10)

The Feast of Passover (Ex 12:1-12:14)

The Feast of the Unleavened Bread (Ex 12:15-12:20)

The prescriptions for the actual Passover (Ex 12:21-12:28)

The death of the first-born (Ex 12:29-12:34)

The plunder of the Egytpians (Ex 12:35-12:36)

The departure of Israel (Ex 12:37-12:42)

Prescriptions about who can participate in the Passover (Ex 12:43-12:51)

The consecration of the first born (Ex 13:1-13:2)

The unleavened bread (Ex 13:3-13:10)

The first-born males (Ex 13:11-13:16)


e.       The passage of the Red Sea

The departure of the Israelites (Ex 13:17-13:22)

From Etham to the Red Sea (Ex 14:1-14:4)

The pursuit of the Egyptians (Ex 14:5-14:14)

The passage of the Red Sea (Ex 14:15-14:31)

The victory chant (Ex 15:1-15:21)


II.       The desert march

Marah (Ex 15:22-15:27)

Manna and quails (Ex 16:1-16:36)

Water from the rock (Ex 17:1-17:7)

The battle with Amalek (Ex 17:8-17:16)

The meeting of Jethro and Moses (Ex 18:1-18:12)

The institution of the judges (Ex 18:13-18:27)


III.     The covenant at Sinai

a.      The covenant and the Ten Commandments

Arrival at Sinai (Ex 19:1-19:2)

Promise of a covenant (Ex 19:3-19:8)

Preparation for the covenant (Ex 19:9-19:15)

The theophany (Ex 19:16-19:25)

The Decalogue (Ex 20:1-20:21)


b.      The code of the covenant

The law about altars (Ex 20:22-20:26)

The laws relative to slaves (Ex 21:1-21:11)

Homicide (Ex 21:12-21:17)

Fights and injuries (Ex 21:18-21:27)

Oxen and open pits (Ex 21:28-21:36)  

Stealing animals (Ex 22:1-22:3)

Dealing with your neighbor’s animals (Ex 22:4-22:15)

Seducing a virgin (Ex 22:16-22:17)

Religious and moral laws (Ex 22:18-22:28)

The first-born (Ex 22:29-22:31)

Justice and your enemy (Ex 23:1-23:9)

The Sabbath year (Ex 23:10-23:13)

The feasts of Israel (Ex 23:14-23:19)

The promise and the instructions for the entrance into Canaan (Ex 23:20-23:32)


c.       Conclusion of the covenant

The conclusion of the covenant (Ex 24:1-24:11)

Moses on the mountain forty days (Ex 24:12-24:18)


d.      Prescriptions about the construction of the sanctuary and their ministers

The contributions for the sanctuary (Ex 25:1-25:9)

The Ark of the Covenant (Ex 25:10-25:22)

The golden table (Ex 25:23-25:30)

The golden lamp stand (Ex 25:31-25:40)

Curtains covering the tabernacle (Ex 26:1-26:14)

The wood frame (Ex 26:15-26:30)

The curtain (Ex 26:31-26:37)

The holocaust altar (Ex 27:1-27:8)

The court of the tabernacle (Ex 27:9-27:19)

The oil for the lamps (Ex 27:20-27:21)

The priestly vestments (Ex 28:1-28:5)

The ephod (Ex 28:6-28:14)

The breastplate (Ex 28:15-28:30)

The blue robe (Ex 28:31-28:35)

The headpiece turban, tunic and sash (Ex 28:36-28:39)

The priestly clothing for Aaron and his sons (Ex 28:40-28:43)

Preparation for the consecration of Aaron and his sons (Ex 29:1-29:3)

Washing, clothing and anointing of Aaron and his sons (Ex 29:4-29:9)

Offering of the bull and rams (Ex 29:10-29:21)

Investiture of priests (Ex 29:22-29:30)

Sacred meal (Ex 29:31-29:34)

Consecration of the altar of holocausts (Ex 29:35-29:37)

Daily holocausts (Ex 29:38-29:46)

The golden incense altar (Ex 30:1-30:10)

The ransom fee (Ex 30:11-30:16)

The bronze basin (Ex 30:17-30:21)

The anointing oil (Ex 30:22-30:33)

The incense (Ex 30:34-30:38)

The skilful sanctuary workers (Ex 31:1-31:11)

The Sabbath rest (Ex 31:12-31:17)

The tablets of the law (Ex 31:18-31:19)


e.       The failure of the Israelites and the renewed covenant

The golden calf (Ex 32:1-32:6)

Yahweh sends Moses (Ex 32:7-32:10)

The intercession of Moses (Ex 32:11-32:14)

Moses breaks the stone tablets of the law (Ex 32:15-32:24)

The zeal of the Levites (Ex 32:25-32:29)

Another intercession of Moses (Ex 32:30-32:35)

The order to depart (Ex 33:1-33:6)

The meeting tent (Ex 33:7-33:11)

Conversation of Moses and Yahweh (Ex 33:12-33:17)

Moses and the glory of Yahweh (Ex 33:18-33:23)

The new stone tablets (Ex 34:1-34:5)

The Divine proclamation (Ex 34:6-34:9)

The renewed Covenant (Ex 34:10-34:28)

Moses descends the mountain (Ex 34:29-34:35)


f.        Construction of the sanctuary

The laws for the sabbatical rest (Ex 35:1-35:3)

Collection of materials (Ex 35:4-35:29)

The workers at the sanctuary (Ex 35:30-35:35)

Stopping the collection (Ex 36:1-36:7)

The curtains of the tabernacle (Ex 36:8-36:19)

The frames for the tabernacle (Ex 36:20-36:34)

The entrance curtain (Ex 36:35-36:38)

Making the Ark of the Covenant (Ex 37:1-37:9)

The golden table (Ex 37:10-37:16)

The golden lamp stand (Ex 37:17-37:24)

The incense altar (Ex 37:25-37:29)

The holocaust altar (Ex 38:1-38:7)

The bronze basin (Ex 38:8-38:8)

Construction of the court (Ex 38:9-38:20)

Counting the materials (Ex 38:21-38:31)

The ephod (Ex 39:1-39:7)

The breastplate (Ex 39:8-39:21)

The blue robe (Ex 39:22-39:26)

Priestly clothing (Ex 39:27-39:29)

The diadem turban (Ex 39:30-39:32)

The delivery to Moses of all that was done (Ex 39:33-39:43)

The erection and consecration of the sanctuary (Ex 40:1-40:15)

The execution of the divine orders (Ex 40:16-40:33)

Yahweh tales possession of the sanctuary (Ex 40:34-40:35)

The cloud guides the Israelites (Ex 40:36-40:38)


My understanding of Exodus