The Exodus of the Psalms and Prophets

February 29, 2016 | Brian Britt
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The story of Israel’s deliverance from Egyptian slavery, in addition to being the main theme of the book of Exodus, is frequently mentioned in the subsequent three books of the Pentateuch and crops up in many other biblical books as well. Scholars term these internal references the “exodus tradition.” Brian Britt writes:

The prophets (for example, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Hosea) frequently cite the divine redemption of the exodus [not only] to rebuke Israel for being faithless and ungrateful but also to encourage Israel during the exile with a promise of deliverance even greater than the exodus (Isaiah 43). In Isaiah 19, divine justice against Egypt takes the form of civil strife, oppression by a tyrant, and drought, leading the Egyptians to worship the God of Israel. In the Psalms, the exodus also serves to remind Israel of divine rescue, often in terms of the cosmos and nature as well as history: “He divided the sea and let them pass through it, and made the waters stand like a heap” (Psalms 78:13). . . .

The prevalence of the exodus tradition in the Bible demonstrates its importance as a foundational collective memory from ancient Israel that predates the [Davidic] monarchy and survives into the time of the early rabbis.

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