Books of Pentateuch
Analysis of the Books of Pentateuch
Genesis: The covenant between God and Abraham
In the book of Genesis 15: 1-19, God appeared to Abraham in a vision and
made a promise of protection and give him a son that would inherit his property. Upon
request for a sign, God took Abraham outside and showed him the stars in the sky as a
sign that his son would be his heir. He also asked him to count the stars in the sky and
told him that they resembled his descendants. God asked Abraham to bring a heifer, a
she-goat, and a ram all three years old. He was also asked to bring a turtle and a young
pigeon. He cut the animals into halves and let the birds fly away. He guided the
sacrifice and chased away the birds of prey that would come to eat the carcasses.
When Abraham fell into a deep asleep at sunset, thick darkness came over him. God
made other promises to Abraham on the slavery of the Israelites and liberation by
God. God promised to make Abraham the father of nations, bless those that bless him
and curse those that curse him; he promised the descendants of Abraham the Promised
Land. God also sealed the circumcision of the male descendants as a sign of the
covenant that is everlasting between Him and Abraham.
Exodus: The call of Moses and the Burning bush.
In the book of Exodus 3:1-22, an angel in the form of a burning bush that was
not being consumed appeared to Moses as he was looking after his father-in-law’s
flock near Mt. Horeb. When he moved closer to the bush to see what was happening,
he heard a voice calling upon him by his name from the middle of the burning bush.
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He was given instructions to remove his shoes and not to move any closer to the
burning bush as it was holy ground. Moses hid his face as he was afraid of looking at
God. God made a command to Moses to go to Egypt and free the Israelites as he had
seen their suffering. Moses was reluctant as he wondered who he was that God could
send him. God made a promise that he would be by his side. Moses asked who God
was, and God replied that “I AM WHO I AM.” God told Moses that the elders of
Israel would listen to him, but Pharaoh would be reluctant to release the Israelites.
However, he promised to strike the Egyptians, and the Israelites would be released.
The Israelites would not go empty-handed as they would be freely given riches of the
Leviticus: The Code of Holiness
In the book of Leviticus, there is the code of Holiness. This code made a
statement that God had chosen the people of Israel, and they were to separate
themselves from the others. They were to continue with their religious purity and not
to associate with impurities from other rituals. The code had the inclusion of animals
that were needed to be sacrificed, the duties that the priests had been given, the
cleanliness of the people, and what they should eat. Aaron and his sons are ordained
by Moses, and they perform various sacrifices under the instructions of Moses. Two
sons of Aaron are burnt to death, for they offered “unholy fire,” and this was the price
they had to pay to act as an example to others. Women were required to be purified
after giving birth, in case they had genital discharges and skin diseases—the roles of
the priests during the Day of Atonement and rituals for the cleansing of the Israelites.
The holiness code calls upon the people of Israel to be holy to God and avoid
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impurities from neighboring communities. They were also warned against sexual
practices that included incest and homosexuality.
Numbers: Visions of the Promised Land
When the people of Israel moved from Sinai, they began complaining about the
hardships, food scarcity, the Promised Land and the leadership style that Moses was
using to guide them. Whenever they would make a complaint, God would show them
His judgment. When they complained about the hardships that they were going
through, God used fire to consume the outskirts of their camps. A week of leprosy
struck Miriam upon jealously critiquing the leadership of Moses. When they refused
to enter into the Promised Land, they were cursed to wander in the wilderness for
forty years. When Moses misrepresented God by striking the rock twice, God kept
him out of the Promised Land. However, the Israelites and not even Moses knew that
the faithfulness of God was being proclaimed to king Balak through prophet Balaam.
God did not want the Israelites to suffer and experience the disasters that they were
experiencing. He was only punishing them for not being obedient. He had the
intention of bringing a King from among them that would be successful in all nations.
He was going to fulfill the promise that he made to Abraham in the book of Genesis
that He would make the nation of Abraham a great one and make his name great.
In the book of Deuteronomy, we encounter the journey from Sinai to Kadesh
then to Moab. There is a recalling of the giving of the Ten Commandments. Israelites
are warned not to serve any other god but Yahweh. People are reminded to be
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obedient if they want to enter the Promised Land. There is the provision of the
Deuteronomic code, which are the laws that govern the worshiping of the Israelites.
Those that break and keep the code are cursed and blessed, respectively. Joshua is
named the successor of Moses. Before Moses dies and is buried by God, he delivers
all the laws to the Levites and goes to Mount Nebo, where he dies. The greatest
prophets made a seal that the one and only God that was to be worshiped is the
Hebrew God, and the places of worship of all the other Canaanite gods were to be
destroyed. The Israelites were only to worship the Hebrew God. All the sacrifices that
were to be made to God were to be brought at the central sanctuary. They were
forbidden from consuming animals that have already died. The code also dictated that
when a sacrifice is made, the animals used should be without blemish.