The second book of the Pentateuch is called Exodus from the Greek word for «departure,» because the central event narrated in it is the departure of the Israelites from Egypt. It continues the history of the chosen people from the point where the Book of Genesis leaves off. It recounts the oppression by the Egyptians of the ever-increasing descendants of Jacob and their miraculous deliverance by God through Moses, who led them across the Red Sea to Mount Sinai where they entered into a special covenant with the Lord.
These events were of prime importance to the chosen people, for they became thereby an independent nation and enjoyed a unique relationship with God. Through Moses God gave to the Israelites at Mount Sinai the «law»: the moral, civil and ritual legislation by which they were to become a holy people, in whom the promise of a Savior for all mankind would be fulfilled.
The principal divisions of Exodus are:
I. The Israelites in Egypt (⇒ Exodus 1:1-⇒ 12:36)
II. The Exodus from Egypt and the Journey to Sinai (⇒ Exodus 12:37-⇒ 18:27)
III. The Covenant at Mount Sinai (⇒ Exodus 19:1-⇒ 24:18)
IV. The Dwelling and Its Furnishings (⇒ Exodus 25:1-⇒ 40:38)