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Exodus (Shemot) Introduction

Exodus (Shemot)

Exodus is the second book of the English Bible and it’s base Hebrew text corresponds to the second book of Torah called Shemot שְׁמוֹת . I have found three different ways to spell or enunciate it – Shemot, Shemoth, Shemos. All of them are correct.

The first time “Exodus” is used to refer to this text was by the seventy-two Jewish translators of the Greek Septuagint (LXX). Later Jerome, using the Septuagint, used this name in his Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible.  William Tyndale and Miles Coverdale depended heavily upon the Latin Vulgate and Luther’s German translations; so, continued the tradition of calling this text “Exodus”.  I am sure you know Exodus means “to exit” or “The Departure.

Exodus ChaptersParshaiotCopyright
Shemot– Exodus 1:1 – 6:1
Halftorah: Isaiah 27:6 – 28:13; 29:22,23; Jer 1:1-2.3
Brit: 1 Cor. 14.13-15
Vaeira– Exodus 6:2 – 9.35
Halftorah: Ezk. 28:25-29:21
Brit: Rev. 16:1-21
Bo – Exodus 10:1 – 13:16
Halftorah: Jer. 46:13-28
Brit: Ro. 9:14-29
Beshalach – Exodus 13:17 – 17:16
Halftorah: Jud 4:4-5:31
Brit: Rev. 10:1-20:6
Yitro – Exodus 18.1-20:26 (23)
Halftora : Isa 6:1-7:6; 9:6-7 (5-6)
Brit: Mt. 5:8-20
Mishpatim – Exodus 21:1-24:18
Halftorah: Jer 34:8-22; 33:25-26
Brit: Mat. 17:1-11
Terumah – Exodus 25:1 – 27:19
Halftorah: 1 Ki 55:26-6:13
Brit: 1 Co. 9:1-15
Tetzaveh – Exodus 27:20 – 30:10
Halftorah: Ezk. 43:10-27
Brit: Heb. 13:10-16
Ki Tisa – Exodus 30.11 -34.35
Halftorah: 1 Ki 18:1-39
Brit: 2 Cor. 3.1-18
Vayakhel – Exodus 35.1 – 38.20
Halftorah: 1 Ki 7.13-26, 40, 50
Brit: Heb. 9.1-11
Pekudei– Exodus 38.21 – 40.38
Halftorah: 1 Ki 7.51 – 8.21
Brit: Heb. 8.1-12
KJV – Public Domain
1917 JPS – Public Domain

The Rabbis refer to the first book of Torah as “Shemot” שְׁמוֹת because its opening phrase, “and these are the names” Ve-elech shemoth. The earliest name for this book is “the Book of the Going out of Egypt”.

Understanding Exodus (Shemot):

The events recorded in Exodus (Shemot) are the foundation of the remainder of the Bible. Until the 1950’s these things were seen as absolute truth. Since then, theories abound about the Pharaoh, the location of Mount Sinai, and the ark of the covenant. We are not given enough details to know for sure without a shadow of doubt about these topics. However, the belief in these things have shaped the world we live in today.

The Pharaoh

I have found at least twelve different proposed Pharaohs named as the Pharaoh of the exodus. The most popular and most accepted by mainstream scholars is Ramses II. However, no evidence has been discovered to prove this claim. Due to this, most scholars call into question the validity of the exodus.

The other Pharaohs who have been named are listed below.

  1.  Pepi I
  2. Dedumose II
  3. Ahmose I
  4. Hatshepsut
  5. Thutmose II
  6. Akhenaten
  7. Ramesses I
  8. Ramesses III
  9. Memeptah
  10. Setnakhte
  11. Bakenranef

It must be concluded we are uncertain of the name of the Pharaoh of the exodus. This is difficult to accept as most names on this list has an agenda attached to them. Whither that agenda is to disprove the Bible text or to disprove those who disagree with the text.

In the Talmud, the Pharaoh is proposed to be Joseph’s Pharaoh. So the question remains who is the Pharaoh

Mount Sinai

The location of this mountain has been searched for by archaeologist, film makers, and curious people. The traditional site has been called into question.

The Ark of the Covenant

The ark is a great mystery many have sought to locate. Like mount Sinai, many have searched for it included are governments and world leaders. Although the Bible provide some details about it there remain many questions about its appearance. This includes its actual size and the angels on the top. Search any search engine and many drawings will appear. Most of these are very large and are impractical in their designs.

Exodus (Shemot) Themes, Content, and Keywords

There are two major themes in Exodus (Shemot) they are redemption and revelation.

The content of this book is the nation of Israel leaving Egypt and the Mount Sinai experience culminating to the construction of the Mishkan, the tabernacle. It is mostly a narrative with some legal components and some poetry.


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Tabs | Understanding Exodus | Stats | Outline | Scribal Practices | Resources | Next Steps

Exodus (Shemot) Stats:

Exodus (Shemot) is the second book of the Torah of Moses.

KJV English Stats 1

Chapters: 40
Letter Count: ?
Word Count: 32,692
Verse Count: 1,213

Additional English Stats:
Shortest Chapter: 11 (with 10 verses)
Longest Chapter: 12 (with 50 verses)
Commands: ?
Promises: ?
Predictions: ?
Distant Messages from God: 73
Prophecies: 131

Hebrew Stats 2

Parsha Count: 11
Letter Count: 63,527
Word Count: 16,714
Verse Count 3: 1209
Double Count 4: 14
Shortest Parsha: See Chart Below
Longest Parsha: See Chart Below

Unique Hebrew Stats:
Scribal Practices 5: 4

  • Enlarged: 0 (0)
  • Diminished: 0 (0)
  • Dotted: 0 (0)
  • Raised (erect): 0
  • Others: 0 (0)

Number of Mitzvot: 106 | 108

  • Positive: 45
  • Negative: 61 | 63
בְּרֵאשִׁית — Parashot Shemot
Exodus Torah Stats
#HebrewEnglish# of Letters# of Words# of P’sukim
# of Lines in
Torah Scroll
13 (1)שְׁמוֹתShemot6,7621,763124215
14 (2)וָאֵרָאVaeira6,7011,748121222
15 (3)בֹּאBo6,1491,655106207
16 (4)בְּשַׁלַּחBeshalach6,4231.681116216
17 (5)יִתְרוֹYitro4,0221,10575?
18 (6)מִּשְׁפָּטִיםMishpatim5,3131,462118185
19 (7)תְּצַוֶּהTerumah4,6921,14596155
20 (8)תְּצַוֶּהTetzaveh5,4031,412101179
21 (9)כִּי תִשָּׂאKi Tisa7,4242,002139245
22 (10)וַיַּקְהֵלVayakhel6,1811,558122211
23 (11)פְקוּדֵיPekudei4,4321,18292159

The source of these stats: Akhlah: The Jewish Children Learning Network

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Tabs | Understanding Exodus | Stats | Outline | Scribal Practices | Resources | Next Steps

Exodus (Shemot) Outline:

While studying the various outlines for Exodus (Shemot) I read the following quote from Everett Fox, in his The Schocken Bible: Volume I: The Five Books of Moses. I believe all students would be wise to keep this in mind.

“When we turn to a closer consideration of the structure of Exodus, we must proceed on the assumption that a work of art stems from both artful and unconscious design. Therefore, any structuring of such a book can only be hypothetical and must not limit itself to ironclad categories.”

The outline used on this website for Exodus (Shemot) comes from the greatest Jewish scholar of the 20th Century Rabbi/ Professor Umberto Cassuto. His work was translated by Professor Israel Abrahams from the University of Cape Town. The book A Commentary on the Book of Exodus is published by Varda Books in Skokie, Illinois.

Watch the video teaching on this topic and how to use it. An Exciting New Outline for Parsha Shemot | The Book of Exodus

Part 1: Bondage and Liberation (1.1 – 17.16)

See Detailed Sections for Bondage and Liberation

Section One: The bondage (1:1-22)

  1. First Paragraph: The children of Israel become a people (1.1-7)
  2. Second Paragraph: The first two stages of bondage (1.8-14)
  3. Third Paragraph: Pharaoh’s command to the midwives (1.15-21)
  4. Conclusion of the Section (1.22)

Section Two: The birth of the savior and his upbringing (2:1-22)

  1. First Paragraph: The birth and rescue of Moses (2.1-10)
  2. Second Paragraph: Moses and his brethren (2.11-15)
  3. Third Paragraph: Moses in Midian 2.16-22)

Section Three: Moses’ Mission (2:23-4.31)

  1.  The Exordium: “God’s in His Heaven” (2.23-25)
  2. First Paragraph: The theophany on Mount Horeb (3.1-15)
  3. Second Paragraph: The instructions (3.16-22)
  4. Third Paragraph: Moses’ doubts and how they were resolved (4.1-17)
  5. Fourth Paragraph: Moses’ journey (4.18-23)
  6.  Fifth Paragraph: The encounter at the lodging place (4.24-26)
  7. Sixth Paragraph: Moses and Aaron before the children of Israel (4.27-31)

Section Four: The first attempt and its failure (5:1-6.1)

  1. First Paragraph: Moses and Aaron before Pharoah (5.1-5)
  2. Second Paragraph: Edict upon edict (5.6-9)
  3. Third Paragraph: The new burden imposed on the people (5.10-14)
  4. Fourth Paragraph: The complaint of the foreman (5.15-19)
  5.  Fifth Paragraph: The encounter with Moses and Aaron (5.20-21)
  6. Sixth Paragraph: Moses’ remonstrance and the Lord’s reply (5.22-6.1)

Watch the video teaching on this topic and how to use it. Navigating Divine Messages in the Structure of Parsha Vaeira

Section Five: Prelude to successful action (6:2-7.7)

  1. First Paragraph: The Lord’s declaration (6.2-9)
  2. Second Paragraph: Moses and Aaron are commanded to go Pharaoh (6.10-13)
  3. Third Paragraph: The genealogy of Moses and Aaron (6.14-27)
  4. Fourth Paragraph: The narrative is resumed (6.28-30)
  5.  Fifth Paragraph: Detailed instructions to Moses and Aaron (7.1-5)
  6. Conclusion of the Section (7.6,7)

Section Six: The plagues (7:8-11.10)

  1. Prologue: The presentation of credentials (7.8-13)
  2. First Paragraph: Blood (7.14-25)
  3. Second Paragraph: Frogs (8.1-15 [Hebrew 7.26-8.11])
  4. Third Paragraph: Gnats (8.16-19 [Hebrew 8.12-15])
  5. Fourth Paragraph: Swarms of flies (8.20-32 [Hebrew 8.16-28])
  6. Fifth Paragraph: Pests (9.1-7)
  7. Sixth Paragraph: Boils (9.8-12)
  8. Seventh Paragraph: Hail (9.13-35)
  9. Eighth Paragraph: Locusts (10.1-20)
  10. Ninth Paragraph: Darkness (10. 21-29)
  11. Tenth Paragraph: The warning regarding the plague of the first-born (11.1-8)
  12. Epilogue (11.9-10)

Section Seven: The exodus from Egypt (12:1-42)

  1. First Paragraph: Instructions on the observance of Passover in Egypt (12.1-13)
  2. Second Paragraph: Directives for the observance of Passover in the future (12.14-20)
  3. Third Paragraph: The instructions are conveyed to the people and Passover is celebrated in Egypt (12.21-28)
  4. Fourth Paragraph: Plague of the first-born (12.29-32)
  5. Fifth Paragraph: Preparations for the exodus (12.33-36)
  6. Sixth Paragraph: The exodus (12.37-42)
  7. Appendixes to the Section (12.43 – 13.16)
    1. First Appendix: The ordinance of Passover (12.43-50)
    2. Second Appendix: The laws of the firstborn and a memorial to the exodus (12.51 – 13.16)

Section Eight: The division of the Sea of Reeds (13:17-15.21)

  1. First Paragraph: The journey in the wilderness (13.17-22)
  2. Second Paragraph: The encampment by the Sea of Reeds (14.1-4)
  3. Third Paragraph: The pursuit by the Egyptians (14.5-8)
  4. Fourth Paragraph: The meeting of the two hosts (14.9-14)
  5. Fifth Paragraph: The way of salvation (14.15-18)
  6. Sixth Paragraph: The Israelites pass through the midst of the sea (14.19-22)
  7. Seventh Paragraph: The discomfiture of the Egyptians (14.23-25)
  8. Eighth Paragraph: The punishment of the pursuers (14.26-29)
  9. Ninth Paragraph: The deliverance (14.30-31)
  10. Tenth Paragraph: The song of the sea (15.1-21)

Section Nine: The travails of the journey (15:22-17:16)

  1. First Paragraph: The waters of Mara (15.22-27)
  2. Second Paragraph: The manna and the quails (16.1-36)
  3. Third Paragraph: The waters of Meribah (17.1-7)
  4. Fourth Paragraph: War with the Amalekites (17.8-16)

Part 2: Torah and its Precepts (18.1 – 24.18)

See Detailed Sections for torah and its Precepts

Section One: Israel is welcomed as one of the nations of the world (18.1-27)

  1. First Paragraph: Jethro (Yitro) visits (18.1-12)
  2. Second Paragraph: The advice to appoint judges and its acceptance (18.13-26)
  3. Conclusion of the section (18.27)

Section Two: The revelation at Mount Sinai (19.1- 20.21)

  1. First Paragraph: The preparations (19.1-15)
  2. Second Paragraph: The elements of nature in commotion (19.16-19)
  3. Third Paragraph: The final instructions (19.20-25)
  4. Fourth Paragraph: The Decalogue (20.1-17)
  5. Conclusion of the section (20.18-21)

Section Three: Statutes and ordinances (20.22-23.33)

  1.  The Exordium: Introductory observations (20.22b-26)
  2.  The legal paragraphs (21.1)
  3. First Paragraph: The laws of the Hebrew slave (21.2-6)
  4. Second Paragraph: The laws of the bondwoman (21.7-11)
  5. Third Paragraph: Captial Offences (21.12-17)
  6. Fourth Paragraph: Laws appertaining to bodily injuries (21.18-27)
  7. Fifth Paragraph: The ox and the pit (21.28-36)
  8. Sixth Paragraph: Laws of theft (22.1-4 Heb 21.37-22.3)
  9. Seventh Paragraph: Damage by grazing and burning (22.5-6 Heb 22.4,5)
  10. Eighth Paragraph: Four classes of bailees (22.7-15 Heb 22.6-14)
  11. Ninth Paragraph: The law of the seducer (22.16-17 Heb 22.15,16)
  12. Tenth Paragraph: Statutes against idolatrous customs (22.18-20 Heb 22.17-19)
  13. Eleventh Paragraph: Love and fellowship towards the poor and needy (22.21-27 Heb 22.20-26)
  14. Twelfth Paragraph: Reverence towards God and the leaders of the community (22.28-31 Heb 22.27-30)
  15. Thirteenth Paragraph: Justice towards all men (23.1-9)
  16. Fourteenth Paragraph: The Sacred Seasons (23.10-19)
  17. Epilogue of the section (23.20-33)

Section Four: The making of the Covenant (24.1-18)

  1. First Paragraph: The instructions given to Moses (24.1,2)
  2. Second Paragraph: Details of the agreement relative to the making of the covenant (24.3-8)
  3. Third Paragraph: In audience with God (24.9-11)
  4. Fourth Paragraph: Moses’ ascent (24.12-18)

Part 3: The Mishkan and its Initiation (25.1 – 40.38)

See Detailed Sections about the Tabernacle and its Services

Section One: Directions for the construction of the Tabernacle (Mishkan) (25.1-31.18)

  1. First Paragraph: The contribution to the Mishkan (25.1-9)
  2. Second Paragraph: The ark and the kapporeth (25.10-22)
  3. Third Paragraph: The Table (25.23-30)
  4. Fourth Paragraph: The lampstand (25.31-40)
  5. Fifth Paragraph: The Mishkan and the Tent (26.1-14)
  6. Sixth Paragraph: The boards (26.15-30)
  7. Seventh Paragraph: The veil and the screen (26.31-37)
  8. Eighth Paragraph: The altar (27.1-8)
  9. Ninth Paragraph: The court of the Mishkan (27.9-19)
  10. Tenth Paragraph: First directions for the Priesthood (27.20-28.5)
  11. Eleventh Paragraph: The priestly garments (28.6-43)
  12. Twelfth Paragraph: The introduction (29.1-46)
  13. Thirteenth Paragraph: The altar of incense (30.1-10)
  14. Fourteenth Paragraph: The half shekel (30.11-16)
  15. Fifteenth Paragraph: The laver and its base (30.17-21)
  16. Sixteenth Paragraph: The oil of anointment (30.22-33)
  17. Seventeenth Paragraph: Incense of spices (30.34-38)
  18. Eighteenth Paragraph: Appointment of artisans (31.1-11)
  19. Nineteenth Paragraph: Abstention from work in the Sabbath day (31.12-17)
  20. Twentieth Paragraph: The handing over of the tables of the Covenant (31.18)

Section Two: The making of the calf (32.1-34.35)

  1. First Paragraph: At the foot of the mountain (32.1-6)
  2. Second Paragraph: On Mount Sinai (32.7-14)
  3. Third Paragraph: Moses’ action (3215-29)
  4. Fourth Paragraph: Moses is assured Israel with possess the land (32.30-35)
  5. Fifth Paragraph: The directives for the construction of the Tabernacle are annulled (33.1-4)
  6. Sixth Paragraph: A parallel passage to the previous theme (33.5, 6)
  7. Seventh Paragraph: The Tent of Meeting (33.7-11)
  8. Eighth Paragraph: A dialogue between Moses and the Lord (33.12-23)
  9. Ninth Paragraph: Preparation for the renewal of the Covenant and the Revelation of the Lord to Moses (34.1-10)
  10. Tenth Paragraph: Instructions for the observance of the Covenant (34.11-26)
  11. Eleventh Paragraph: The writing of the Covenant documents (34.27, 28)
  12. Twelfth Paragraph: The skin of Moses’ face becomes radiant (34.29-35)

Section Three: The execution of the work of the Tabernacle (Mishkan) (35.1-40.38)

  1. First Paragraph: Cessation of the work on the Sabbath (35.1-3)
  2. Second Paragraph: The contribution to the Tabernacle (Mishkan) (35.4-20)
  3. Third Paragraph: Tne bring of the contribution (35.21-29)
  4. Fourth Paragraph: The appointment of the craftsman and the commencement of the work (35.30-36.7)
  5. Fifth Paragraph: The Mishkan and the Tent (36.8-19)
  6. Sixth Paragraph: The boards (36.20-34)
  7. Seventh Paragraph: The veil and the screen (36.35-38)
  8. Eighth Paragraph: The ark and the kapporeth (37.1-9)
  9. Ninth Paragraph: The Table (37.10-16)
  10. Tenth Paragraph: The lampstand (37.17-24)
  11. Eleventh Paragraph: The altar of incense (37.25-29)
  12. Twelfth Paragraph: The altar and the burnt offering (38.1-7)
  13. Thirteenth Paragraph: The laver and its base (38.8)
  14. Fourteenth Paragraph: The court of the Tabernacle (Mishkan) (38.9-20)
  15. Fifteenth Paragraph: An inventory of the materials used for the Tabernacle (Mishkan)(38.21-39.1)
  16. Sixteenth Paragraph: The priestly garments (39.2-31)
  17. Seventeenth Paragraph: Completion of the work (39.32)
  18. Eighteenth Paragraph: The work is brought to Moses (39.33-43)
  19. Nineteenth Paragraph: The command to erect the Tabernacle (Mishkan) (40.1-16)
  20. Twentieth Paragraph: The erection of the Tabernacle (Mishkan) (40.17-33)
  21. Conclusion of the section of the Book (40.34-38)

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Exodus (Shemot) Scribal Practices:

This is a visual introduction to the scribal practices in the Hebrew text. The Hebrew language contains 22 letters plus 5 additional final forms. I have been able to confirm from a trained scribe that each of these letters are both enlarged and diminished throughout the TaNaK. In Genesis (Bereshit), we have three enlarged letters (two which are final forms) and three diminished letters.

Scribal Stats in Genesis
Enl – enlarged letters – 4 appearances in Genesis | 3 are final forms
Dim – diminished letters – 3 appearances in Genesis
11 Torah Portions – Only 5 Torah portions contain scribal markings

LetterNameEnlDim HebrewTransLocation Parsha
נ Nun10נֹצֵ֥רkeeping34.7Ki Tisa
ט Tet10ט֣וֹבgood2.2Shemot
צ Tsade100011.8Bo
ק Qof010032.25Ki Tisa
ר Resh10 אַחֵ֑ר other34.14Ki Tisa
שׂ Shin100034.11Ki Tisa
ץ Tsade Sofit100028.36Tetzavah

The source for this this is linked here. The italicized lines are not listed in the online Jewish Encyclopedia.

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Exodus Resources:

The Schocken Bible: Volume 1, The Five Books of Moses | Schocken Books | Everett Fox
The Pentateuch & Haftorahs | The Soncino Press | Dr. J.H. Hertz
The Living Torah | Maznaim Publishing | Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan
The Steinsaltz Humash | Koren Publishers | Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz

The Parsha with Rabbi Juravel: Sefer Shemos | MC Publications | Rabbi M. Feinzeig
Covenant & Conversation Commentary | Schocken Books | Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
Exploring Exodus: The Origins of Biblical Israel | Schocken Books | Nahum M. Sarna
A Commentary on the Book of Exodus | Varda Books | Umberto Cassuto

Hebrew Resources
The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon | Hendrickson Publishers | Francis Brown

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Next Steps:

Since you have finished reading all the background information about Exodus. Select a chapter and begin.


  1. KJV English Stats at taken from the Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible. Finnis Jennings Dake . © 1961 . Lawrenceville
  2. Hebrew Stats are pulled from various sources: Kefirah of the Week, Wikipedia, and other sources. Provided here are the total numbers. The specific numbers may be found on each parsha post. See the Parsha List for links to each post.
  3. Verses In the Hebrew text are called “pesukim”. Translated it means “sentences“.
  4. Hebrew Double Stats: “In the Hebrew, words are sometimes found duplicated. It is often the end of one sentence bumped up against the beginning of the next. E.g. “… was Noah. Noah began to…”.

    In any other language or philosophy, such doubling would go unnoticed. But Chabad philosophy seeks meaning in every detail, so they include this in their statistics,” says David Negley (member of a closed Messianic group on Facebook) Each double word instance has several teachings related to them. Listed here are the verses with the Double Counts in Exodus. (2.19; 3.4; 7.17; 8.10; 15.1,21,25; 16.5,21; 23.30;30.7; 34.6; 36.3,4)

  5. Scribal Practices: Are unique to the Hebrew language and are something that can’t be translated. They are enlarged letters, diminished letters, dotted letters, raised, and other unique features of the Hebrew language. Although they have practical applications additional meaning have been given to each of these instances. Much of the following information had been gathered from the Jewish Encyclopedia