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Literary structure (chiasmus, chiasm) of Book of Exodus

Chiasmus and Concentric Structure of divided by 3

When the whole text is divided in three equivalent pericopes, three concentric structures appear. The three centers are "Moses Returns to Egypt" (no. 9, Ex. 4:18-31), "The Pursuers Drowned" (no. 25, Ex. 14:19-31), and "The Golden Calf " (no. 41, Ex. 32:1-33:6). Those three pericopes have common theme about the death caused by the fury of the LORD. The divisional points of those three structures are "The Tenth Plague" (no. 17, Ex. 12:29-32) and "The Israelites Reach Mount Sinai" (no. 33, Ex. 19:1-9). The first concentric structure (nos. 1 to 17) is about Hebrew people at Egypt, the second concentric structure (nos. 17 to 33) is about Hebrew people at desert, and the third concentric structure is about Hebrew people at mount Sinai. The difference of structure corresponds to the difference of places.


3-1

1 Introduction (1:1-7)
  2 Construction of Cities (1:8-14)
    3 Command to Kill Boys (1:15-22)
      4 Birth and Youth of Moses (2:1-10)
        5 Moses flees to Midian (2:11-15)
          6 Marriage of Moses (2:16-22)
            7 The LORD's Mercy for Israel (2:23-25)
              8 Moses at the Burning Bush (3:1-4:17)
                9 Moses Returns to Egypt (4:18-31)
              10 Bricks without Straw (5:1-23)
            11 Israel's Deliverance Assured (6:1-12)
          12 The Genealogy of Moses and Aaron (6:13-27)
        13 Moses and Aaron obey Commands of God (6:28-7:7)
      14 Ten Miracles (7:8-10:29)
    15 Warning of the Final Plague (11:1-10)
  16 The First Passover Instituted (12:1-28)
17 The Tenth Plague (12:29-32)
Former halfRelationLatter half
1 Introduction (1:1-7)
1:7But the Israelites were fruitful and prolific. They became so numerous and strong that the land was filled with them.
Birth of children / death of children17 The Tenth Plague (12:29-32)
12:29At midnight the LORD slew every first-born in the land of Egypt, from the first-born of Pharaoh on the throne to the first-born of the prisoner in the dungeon, as well as all the first-born of the animals. 12:30Pharaoh arose in the night, he and all his servants and all the Egyptians;
2 Construction of Cities (1:8-14)
1:14making life bitter for them with hard work in mortar and brick and all kinds of field work--the whole cruel fate of slaves.
Labor / ritual (obd)16 The First Passover Instituted (12:1-28)
12:25Thus, you must also observe this rite when you have entered the land which the LORD will give you as he promised. 12:26When your children ask you, 'What does this rite of yours mean?' 12:27you shall reply, 'This is the Passover sacrifice of the LORD, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt; when he struck down the Egyptians, he spared our houses.'" Then the people bowed down in worship,
3 Command to Kill Boys (1:15-22)
1:16When you act as midwives for the Hebrew women and see them giving birth, if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, she may live.
To kill children15 Warning of the Final Plague (11:1-10)
11:5Every first-born in this land shall die, from the first-born of Pharaoh on the throne to the first-born of the slave-girl at the handmill, as well as all the first-born of the animals.
4 Birth and Youth of Moses (2:1-10)
2:10 When the child grew, she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter, who adopted him as her son and called him Moses; for she said, "I drew him out of the water."
Miracle for salvation14 Ten Miracles (7:8-10:29)
The ten miracles
5 Moses flees to Midian (2:11-15)
2:14 But he replied, "Who has appointed you ruler and judge over us? Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian?" Then Moses became afraid and thought, "The affair must certainly be known."
Judgment13 Moses and Aaron obey Commands of God (6:28-7:7)
7:4 he will not listen to you. Therefore I will lay my hand on Egypt and by great acts of judgment I will bring the hosts of my people, the Israelites, out of the land of Egypt,
6 Marriage of Moses (2:16-22)
2:22 She bore him a son, whom he named Gershom; for he said, "I am a stranger in a foreign land."(2:22)
Son of Moses / Sons of Aron12 The Genealogy of Moses and Aaron (6:13-27)
6:23 Aaron married Amminadab's daughter, Elisheba, the sister of Nahshon; she bore him Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. (6:23)
7 The LORD's Mercy for Israel (2:23-25)
2:24 he heard their groaning and was mindful of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. (2:24)
The covenant with ancestors11 Israel's Deliverance Assured (6:1-12)
6:3 As God the Almighty I appeared to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but my name, LORD, I did not make known to them. 6:4 I also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land in which they were living as aliens. (6:3-4)
8 Moses at the Burning Bush (3:1-4:17)
4:1 "But," objected Moses, "suppose they will not believe me, nor listen to my plea? For they may say, 'The LORD did not appear to you.'"
Pharaoh doesn't believe10 Bricks without Straw (5:1-23)
5:2 Pharaoh answered, "Who is the LORD, that I should heed his plea to let Israel go? I do not know the LORD; even if I did, I would not let Israel go."

3-1-1

1 Introduction (1:1-7)
  2 Construction of Cities (1:8-14)
    3 Command to Kill Boys (1:15-22)
      4 Birth and Youth of Moses (2:1-10)
        5 Moses flees to Midian (2:11-15)
      6 Marriage of Moses (2:16-22)
    7 The LORD's Mercy for Israel (2:23-25)
  8 Moses at the Burning Bush (3:1-4:17)
9 Moses Returns to Egypt (4:18-31)
Former halfRelationLatter half
1 Introduction (1:1-7)
1:1These are the names of the sons of Israel who, accompanied by their households, migrated with Jacob into Egypt:
Going to Egypt9 Moses Returns to Egypt (4:18-31)
4:20So Moses took his wife and his sons, and started back to the land of Egypt, with them riding the ass. The staff of God he carried with him.
2 Construction of Cities (1:8-14)
1:11 Accordingly, taskmasters were set over the Israelites to oppress them with forced labor. Thus they had to build for Pharaoh the supply cities of Pithom and Raamses.(1:11)
Heavy burden8 Moses at the Burning Bush (3:1-4:17)
3:7 But the LORD said, "I have witnessed the affliction of my people in Egypt and have heard their cry of complaint against their slave drivers, so I know well what they are suffering.(3:7)
3 Command to Kill Boys (1:15-22)
1:20 Therefore God dealt well with the midwives. The people, too, increased and grew strong.(1:20)
The LORD's mercy for Israel7 The LORD's Mercy for Israel (2:23-25)
2:25 He saw the Israelites and knew. . . .(2:25)
4 Birth and Youth of Moses (2:1-10)
2:10 When the child grew, she brought him to Pharaohs daughter, who adopted him as her son and called him Moses; for she said, "I drew him out of the water."(2:10)
Naming, stranger6 Marriage of Moses (2:16-22)
2:22 She bore him a son, whom he named Gershom; for he said, "I am a stranger in a foreign land."(2:22)

3-1-2

9 Moses Returns to Egypt (4:18-31)
  10 Bricks without Straw (5:1-23)
    11 Israel's Deliverance Assured (6:1-12)
      12 The Genealogy of Moses and Aaron (6:13-27)
        13 Moses and Aaron obey Commands of God (6:28-7:7)
      14 Ten Miracles (7:8-10:29)
    15 Warning of the Final Plague (11:1-10)
  16 The First Passover Instituted (12:1-28)
17 The Tenth Plague (12:29-32)
Former halfRelationLatter half
9 Moses Returns to Egypt (4:18-31)
see 2-1
see 2-117 The Tenth Plague (12:29-32)
see 2-1
10 Bricks without Straw (5:1-23)
see 2-1
see 2-116 The First Passover Instituted (12:1-28)
see 2-1
11 Israel's Deliverance Assured (6:1-12)
see 2-1
see 2-115 Warning of the Final Plague (11:1-10)
see 2-1
12 The Genealogy of Moses and Aaron (6:13-27)
see 2-1
see 2-114 Ten Miracles (7:8-10:29)
see 2-1

3-2

17 The Tenth Plague (12:29-32)
  18 The Exodus (12:33-41)
    19 Directions for the Passover (12:42-51)
      20 The Consecration of the First-born (13:1-2)
        21 The Festival of Unleavened Bread (13:3-10)
          22 The Consecration of the First-born (13:11-16)
            23 The Pillars of Cloud and Fire (13:17-22)
              24 Crossing the Red Sea (14:1-18)
                25 The Pursuers Drowned (14:19-31)
              26 The Song of Moses (15:1-19)
            27 The Song of Miriam (15:20-21)
          28 Bitter Water Made Sweet (15:22-27)
        29 Bread from Heaven (16:1-36)
      30 Water from the Rock (17:1-7)
    31 Amalek Attacks Israel and Is Defeated (17:8-16)
  32 Jethro's Advice (18:1-27)
33 The Israelites Reach Mount Sinai (19:1-9)
Former halfRelationLatter half
17 The Tenth Plague (12:29-32)
see 1-1
see 1-133 The Israelites Reach Mount Sinai (19:1-9)
see 1-1
18 The Exodus (12:33-41)
see 1-1
see 1-132 Jethro's Advice (18:1-27)
see 1-1
19 Directions for the Passover (12:42-51)
see 1-1
see 1-131 Amalek Attacks Israel and Is Defeated (17:8-16)
see 1-1
20 The Consecration of the First-born (13:1-2)
see 1-1
see 1-130 Water from the Rock (17:1-7)
see 1-1
21 The Festival of Unleavened Bread (13:3-10)
see 1-1
see 1-129 Bread from Heaven (16:1-36)
see 1-1
22 The Consecration of the First-born (13:11-16)
see 1-1
see 1-128 Bitter Water Made Sweet (15:22-27)
see 1-1
23 The Pillars of Cloud and Fire (13:17-22)
see 1-1
see 1-127 The Song of Miriam (15:20-21)
see 1-1
24 Crossing the Red Sea (14:1-18)
see 1-1
see 1-126 The Song of Moses (15:1-19)
see 1-1

3-2-1

17 The Tenth Plague (12:29-32)
  18 The Exodus (12:33-41)
    19 Directions for the Passover (12:42-51)
      20 The Consecration of the First-born (13:1-2)
        21 The Festival of Unleavened Bread (13:3-10)
      22 The Consecration of the First-born (13:11-16)
    23 The Pillars of Cloud and Fire (13:17-22)
  24 Crossing the Red Sea (14:1-18)
25 The Pursuers Drowned (14:19-31)
Former halfRelationLatter half
17 The Tenth Plague (12:29-32)
12:29At midnight the LORD slew every first-born in the land of Egypt, from the first-born of Pharaoh on the throne to the first-born of the prisoner in the dungeon, as well as all the first-born of the animals.
Miracles of the LORD25 The Pursuers Drowned (14:19-31)
14:27So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at dawn the sea flowed back to its normal depth. The Egyptians were fleeing head on toward the sea, when the LORD hurled them into its midst.
18 The Exodus (12:33-41)
12:41At the end of four hundred and thirty years, all the hosts of the LORD left the land of Egypt on this very date.
Leaving Egypt24 Crossing the Red Sea (14:1-18)
14:6So Pharaoh made his chariots ready and mustered his soldiers-- 14:7six hundred first-class chariots and all the other chariots of Egypt, with warriors on them all. 14:8So obstinate had the LORD made Pharaoh that he pursued the Israelites even while they were marching away in triumph.
19 Directions for the Passover (12:42-51)
12:46you may not take any of its flesh outside the house. You shall not break any of its bones.
Preserving bones23 The Pillars of Cloud and Fire (13:17-22)
13:19Moses also took Joseph's bones along, for Joseph had made the Israelites swear solemnly that, when God should come to them, they would carry his bones away with them.
20 The Consecration of the First-born (13:1-2)
13:2Consecrate to me every first-born
Dedication of the first-born22 The Consecration of the First-born (13:11-16)
13:12you shall dedicate to the LORD every son that opens the womb;

3-2-2

25 The Pursuers Drowned (14:19-31)
  26 The Song of Moses (15:1-19)
    27 The Song of Miriam (15:20-21)
      28 Bitter Water Made Sweet (15:22-27)
        29 Bread from Heaven (16:1-36)
      30 Water from the Rock (17:1-7)
    31 Amalek Attacks Israel and Is Defeated (17:8-16)
  32 Jethro's Advice (18:1-27)
33 The Israelites Reach Mount Sinai (19:1-9)
Former halfRelationLatter half
25 The Pursuers Drowned (14:19-31)
14:31they feared the LORD and believed in him and in his servant Moses.
To believe33 The Israelites Reach Mount Sinai (19:1-9)
19:9so that when the people hear me speaking with you, they may always have faith in you also
26 The Song of Moses (15:1-19)
The song of Moses
Songs of blessing32 Jethro's Advice (18:1-27)
Jethro's blessing (18:10-11)
27 The Song of Miriam (15:20-21)
15:21Sing to the LORD, for he is gloriously triumphant; horse and chariot he has cast into the sea.
The LORD fights for Israelites31 Amalek Attacks Israel and Is Defeated (17:8-16)
17:16The LORD takes in hand his banner; the LORD will war against Amalek through the centuries
28 Bitter Water Made Sweet (15:22-27)
Marah
Miracles about water30 Water from the Rock (17:1-7)
Massah and Meribah

3-3

33 The Israelites Reach Mount Sinai (19:1-9)
  34 The LORD Comes Down upon Mount Sinai (19:10-19)
    35 Moses goes up to Mount Sinai (19:20-25)
      36 The Ten Commandments (20:1-21)
        37 The Book of the Covenant (20:22-23:33)
          38 The Blood of the Covenant (24:1-18)
            39 The Command to Make the Tabernacle (25:1-31:12)
              40 Sabbath Regulations (31:12-18)
                41 The Golden Calf (32:1-33:6)
              42 The Tent Outside the Camp (33:7-11)
            43 The LORD goes with Israelites (33:12-17)
          44 The Glory of God (33:18-23)
        45 The Covenant Renewed (34:1-28)
      46 The shining face of Moses (34:29-35)
    47 Preparation for Constructing the Tabernacle (35:1-39:43)
  48 Construction of the Tabernacle (40:1-33)
49 The Cloud and the Glory (40:34-38)
Former halfRelationLatter half
33 The Israelites Reach Mount Sinai (19:1-9)
19:9I am coming to you in a dense cloud,
Cloud and the LORD49 The Cloud and the Glory (40:34-38)
40:34Then the cloud covered the meeting tent, and the glory of the LORD filled the Dwelling.
34 The LORD Comes Down upon Mount Sinai (19:10-19)
19:18for the LORD came down upon it in fire.
The LORD comes down48 Construction of the Tabernacle (40:1-33)
Construction of the Tabernacle
34 The LORD Comes Down upon Mount Sinai (19:10-19)
19:10 the LORD added, "Go to the people and have them sanctify themselves today and tomorrow. Make them wash their garments (19:10)
Garments and consecration48 Construction of the Tabernacle (40:1-33)
40:13 Clothe Aaron with the sacred vestments and anoint him, thus consecrating him as my priest.(40:13)
35 Moses goes up to Mount Sinai (19:20-25)
19:22 The priests, too, who approach the LORD must sanctify themselves; else he will vent his anger upon them." (19:22)
Consecration of priests47 Preparation for Constructing the Tabernacle (35:1-39:43)
39:30 The plate of the sacred diadem was made of pure gold and inscribed, as on a seal engraving: "Sacred to the LORD." (39:30)
36 The Ten Commandments (20:1-21)
The ten commandments
Ten commandments46 The shining face of Moses (34:29-35)
As Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the commandments in his hands (34:29)
37 The Book of the Covenant (20:22-23:33)
The book of the covenant
Commandments and covenants45 The Covenant Renewed (34:1-28)
The second book of covenant
38 The Blood of the Covenant (24:1-18)
24:10 they beheld the God of Israel
To see the LORD44 The Glory of God (33:18-23)
33:23 I will remove my hand, so that you may see my back; but my face is not to be seen
39 The Command to Make the Tabernacle (25:1-31:12)
25:8 "They shall make a sanctuary for me, that I may dwell in their midst.(25:8)
The LORD is together with Israel43 The LORD goes with Israelites (33:12-17)
33:14 "I myself," the LORD answered, "will go along, to give you rest."(33:14)
40 Sabbath Regulations (31:12-18)
31:18 When the LORD had finished speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two tablets of the commandments, the stone tablets inscribed by God's own finger.(31:18)
The place where Moses meets with the LORD42 The Tent Outside the Camp (33:7-11)
33:9 As Moses entered the tent, the column of cloud would come down and stand at its entrance while the LORD spoke with Moses. (33:9)

3-3-1

33 The Israelites Reach Mount Sinai (19:1-9)
  34 The LORD Comes Down upon Mount Sinai (19:10-19)
    35 Moses goes up to Mount Sinai (19:20-25)
      36 The Ten Commandments (20:1-21)
        37 The Book of the Covenant (20:22-23:33)
      38 The Blood of the Covenant (24:1-18)
    39 The Command to Make the Tabernacle (25:1-31:12)
  40 Sabbath Regulations (31:12-18)
41 The Golden Calf (32:1-33:6)
Former halfRelationLatter half
33 The Israelites Reach Mount Sinai (19:1-9)
see 2-2
see 2-241 The Golden Calf (32:1-33:6)
see 2-2
34 The LORD Comes Down upon Mount Sinai (19:10-19)
see 2-2
see 2-240 Sabbath Regulations (31:12-18)
see 2-2
35 Moses goes up to Mount Sinai (19:20-25)
see 2-2
see 2-239 The Command to Make the Tabernacle (25:1-31:12)
see 2-2
36 The Ten Commandments (20:1-21)
see 2-2
see 2-238 The Blood of the Covenant (24:1-18)
see 2-2

3-3-2

41 The Golden Calf (32:1-33:6)
  42 The Tent Outside the Camp (33:7-11)
    43 The LORD goes with Israelites (33:12-17)
      44 The Glory of God (33:18-23)
        45 The Covenant Renewed (34:1-28)
      46 The shining face of Moses (34:29-35)
    47 Preparation for Constructing the Tabernacle (35:1-39:43)
  48 Construction of the Tabernacle (40:1-33)
49 The Cloud and the Glory (40:34-38)
Former halfRelationLatter half
41 The Golden Calf (32:1-33:6)
33:3But I myself will not go up in your company,
Is the LORD in our midst or not?49 The Cloud and the Glory (40:34-38)
40:36Whenever the cloud rose from the Dwelling, the Israelites would set out on their journey. 40:37But if the cloud did not lift, they would not go forward; only when it lifted did they go forward.
42 The Tent Outside the Camp (33:7-11)
33:7The tent, which was called the meeting tent, Moses used to pitch at some distance away, outside the camp.
The Tabernacle48 Construction of the Tabernacle (40:1-33)
Construction of the Tabernacle
43 The LORD goes with Israelites (33:12-17)
33:14 "I myself," the LORD answered, "will go along, to give you rest."(33:14)
The LORD is together with Israel47 Preparation for Constructing the Tabernacle (35:1-39:43)
Preparation for constructing the Tabernacle
44 The Glory of God (33:18-23)
33:20But my face you cannot see, for no man sees me and still lives.
Meeting with the LORD, face46 The shining face of Moses (34:29-35)
34:29 As Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the commandments in his hands, he did not know that the skin of his face had become radiant while he conversed with the LORD.

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