J. G. Bellett.
BT vol. 7 p. 241.
This book, like others in the Old Testament history, differs from Genesis, in that it has one or more leading topics, instead of giving the comprehensive circle which has been shown to be characteristic of that which so fittingly opens the revelations of God. It is the account of God's deliverance of His people, who are first seen under the dealings of grace, then voluntarily put under law, and lastly under His government with provisions of mercy and mediation.
Exodus 1 shows us Israel multiplied in the strange land but persecuted, yet kept of God; Exodus 2, the deliverer is born, providentially saved, brought up by Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather the reproach of Christ, escaping to Midian till God hearkens to the groans of afflicted Israel. In Exodus 3 Moses sees Him that dwelt in the bush, and is sent to Pharoah, not without signs (Ex. 4) for the people, nor without the token of the mortification of the flesh of his son by her hand who had hindered it. In Exodus 5 we see how God's summons and testimony increase the trial of His people at first; but (Ex. 6.) His name Jehovah is revealed. The I AM, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, is the unchanging God of Israel, who will make good in government what He promised in grace, however He may delay during the process of putting the people to the test. In Exodus 7 we see wonders begun to be wrought in the land of Ham; but the magicians imitate the plagues till that of lice extorted from them the confession of God's finger. (Ex. 8.) The judgments fall more heavily in Exodus 9, 10 till Moses in Exodus 11 threatens the death of the firstborn, which accordingly comes in Exodus 12 with the institutes of the Passover for Israel, which is commanded in Exodus 13 as a memorial, whilst the people go forth with a pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night. Then Exodus 14 describes the passage of the Red Sea — death and resurrection, as Exodus 12 gave us the sprinkled blood of the Lamb. Exodus 15 is the song of Moses grounded on redemption accomplished in type. Then follows the experience of the wilderness, but of grace there. The manna comes down from heaven, type of the incarnate Word, bringing in rest (the Sabbath) for the people; then follows the smitten rock with its flowing waters (the Spirit given), conflict with Amalek, and the power of intercession. Exodus 18 completes the series with a picture of the kingdom in order and righteous rule, the Gentile joining the elders of Israel in sacrifice and eating bread before God.
Exodus 19 is the transition from grace to law, under which the people — forgetful of the promises, heedless of God's ways up to this point, and ignorant of themselves — put themselves. Exodus 20 gives the ten words, followed thence to Exodus 23 by laws and regulations for Israel, who (in Ex. 24.) are sprinkled with blood, as is the book of the law, as the sign and sanction of their legal obligations under penalty of death. Then are found the patterns of things heavenly and earthly in the vessels of the sanctuary and of its court, as well as the tabernacle itself, in Exodus 25 - 31. The call to consecrate the priests intervenes in Exodus 28, 29 which separates part of these types displaying God to man from the latter portion which concerns man's access to God, and therefore properly follows the priestly institution.
Exodus 32 describes the ruin of the people through idolatry; the high priest led away by their wickedness instead of standing in the gap; the tables of stone broken by the indignant lawgiver, who executes vengeance for God on the people, but intercedes for them with God. Nevertheless Moses enjoys unexampled familiarity with God, who shows to the mediator of Israel, not His face (Ex. 33) but His passing by in goodness, as the terms of a covenant of mingled law and grace, so as to dwell in their midst while leading them into the place destined for His people. (Ex. 34.)
Exodus 35 - 40, after bringing in the sabbath again, show us the liberality of the people, the fitted workmen, the tabernacle and its furniture made, reared, and anointed, with the cloud covering and the glory of Jehovah filling it.