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Exodus, Alternative Traditions

Israelites in Egypt: Slaves or Sojourners?

The earliest biblical traditions describe Israel as sojourners who dwelt in the land of Egypt, and focused on YHWH bringing them up to the land of Canaan. The depiction of Israel as slaves in Egypt, whom YHWH brought out with a strong hand, only developed later.

Prof. Rabbi

David Frankel

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YHWH Battles the Egyptians with a Fiery Cloud

When the Egyptians pursue Israel into the wilderness, Moses tells the Israelites to “stand by and witness the deliverance which YHWH will work for you today” (Exodus 14:13). YHWH brings panic upon the enemy, as he does in the battle of Gibeon and the war against Sisera. This is J’s story of Israel’s escape, hidden in the biblical accounts of the escape by the sea.

Dr.

David Ben-Gad HaCohen

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Behind the Iron Curtain in Egypt: Oppressed but not Enslaved

The earliest story of Israel’s experience in Egypt.

Dr. Rabbi

Tzemah Yoreh

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Encouraging Babylonian Jews to Return, Psalm 114 Tells a Unique Exodus Story

Psalm 114, a late psalm, is exceptional in its structure and content.  These tightly structured eight verses, which reflect several non-Torah traditions, use Egypt symbolically, to encourage the exiles to return from Babylonia.

Prof.

Marc Zvi Brettler

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Exodus Through Deception: Asking for a Three-Day Festival

From God’s first command to Moses, through the story of Israel’s escape, the demand for a three-day festival in the wilderness plays a prominent role in the exodus narrative. Part of this ruse was Israel’s request to “borrow” Egyptian finery for the festival. Why does God want the Israelites to use deception?

Dr. Rabbi

Zev Farber

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Exodus: Not the Only Tradition About Israel’s Past

The Torah implores us to remember and teach the exodus, yet surprisingly, some biblical passages seem unaware of this event and describe an alternative tradition: God found Israel in the wilderness.

Prof. Rabbi

David Frankel

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The Book of Chronicles and the Ephraimites that Never Went to Egypt

Prof. Rabbi

David Frankel

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Israel’s Departure from Egypt: A Liberation or an Escape?

The oldest layer of the exodus story has the Egyptian people, panicked by the plague of darkness, force the Israelites out under the king of Egypt’s nose. The story is later revised to credit the exodus to God's smiting the firstborn sons, and then drowning Pharaoh and his army in the sea. The final, Priestly editor added his signature theological innovation: God forces Pharaoh to give chase by hardening his heart.

Dr. Rabbi

Tzemah Yoreh

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The Song of the Sea and the History of Ancient Israel and Judah

Ten observations about the Song of the Sea and what it is really about.

Prof. Rabbi

David Frankel

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Freedom from the Egyptian Empire

Exodus as cultural memory of the demise of Egypt’s 400-year rule over Canaan.

Prof.

Ronald Hendel

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The Northern Tribal Tradition of Settling the Land

Dr. Rabbi

Tzemah Yoreh

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