Book of Exodus

The Book of Exodus (from Ancient Greek: Ἔξοδος, romanized: Éxodos; Biblical Hebrew: שְׁמוֹת Šəmōṯ, 'Names') is the second religious book of the Bible. It is a narrative of the Exodus, the origin myth of the Israelites leaving slavery in Biblical Egypt through the strength of their deity named Yahweh, who according to the story chose them as his people. The Israelites then journey with the legendary prophet Moses to Mount Sinai, where Yahweh gives the 10 commandments and they enter into a covenant with Yahweh, who promises to make them a "holy nation, and a kingdom of priests" on condition of their faithfulness. He gives them their laws and instructions to build the Tabernacle, the means by which he will come from heaven and dwell with them and lead them in a holy war to conquer Canaan (the "Promised Land"), which has earlier, according to the myth of Genesis, been promised to the "seed" of Abraham, the legendary patriarch of the Israelites. Traditionally ascribed to Moses himself, modern scholars see its initial composition as a product of the Babylonian exile (6th century BCE), based on earlier written sources and oral traditions, with final revisions in the Persian post-exilic period (5th century BCE). American biblical scholar Carol Meyers, in her commentary on Exodus, suggests that it is arguably the most important book in the Bible, as it presents the defining features of Israel's identity—memories of a past marked by hardship and escape, a binding covenant with their God, who chooses Israel, and the establishment of the life of the community and the guidelines for sustaining it. The consensus among modern scholars is that the story in the Book of Exodus is best understood as a myth.

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