1 Corinthians
2 Corinthians
1 Thessalonians
2 Thessalonians
1 Timothy
2 Timothy

1 Peter
2 Peter

Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη

Who was Josephus?
Maps, Graphics

War, Volume 1
War, Volume 2
War, Volume 3
War, Volume 4
War, Volume 5
War, Volume 6
War, Volume 7

Ant. Jud., Bk 1
Ant. Jud., Bk 2
Ant. Jud., Bk 3
Ant. Jud., Bk 4
Ant. Jud., Bk 5
Ant. Jud., Bk 6
Ant. Jud., Bk 7
Ant. Jud., Bk 8
Ant. Jud., Bk 9
Ant. Jud., Bk 10
Ant. Jud., Bk 11
Ant. Jud., Bk 12
Ant. Jud., Bk 13
Ant. Jud., Bk 14
Ant. Jud., Bk 15
Ant. Jud., Bk 16
Ant. Jud., Bk 17
Ant. Jud., Bk 18
Ant. Jud., Bk 19
Ant. Jud., Bk 20

Apion, Bk 1
Apion, Bk 2


Gospel of--
-- Nicodemus
-- Peter
-- Ps-Matthew
-- James (Protevangelium)
-- Thomas (Infancy)
-- Thomas (Gnostic)
-- Joseph of Arimathea
-- Joseph_Carpenter
Pilate's Letter
Pilate's End

Apocalypse of --
-- Ezra
-- Moses
-- Paul
-- Pseudo-John
-- Moses
-- Enoch

Clementine Homilies
Clementine Letters
Clementine Recognitions
Dormition of Mary
Book of Jubilees
Life of Adam and Eve
Odes of Solomon
Pistis Sophia
Secrets of Enoch
Veronica's Veil
Vision of Paul
Vision of Shadrach

Acts of
Andrew & Matthias
Andrew & Peter
Paul & Perpetua
Paul & Thecla
Peter & Paul
Andrew and Peter
Thomas in India

Daily Word 2019


Sundays, 1-34, A
Sundays, 1-34, B
Sundays, 1-34, C

(Ordinary Time)
Weeks 1-11 (Year 1)
Weeks 1-11 (Year 2)

Wks 12-22 (Year 1)
Wks 12-22 (Year 2)

Wks 23-34 (Year 1)
Wks 23-34 (Year 2)

Saints Days


Clement of Rome

Ignatius of Antioch

Polycarp of Smyrna

Barnabas,(Epistle of)

Papias of Hierapolis

Justin, Martyr

The Didachë

Irenaeus of Lyons

Hermas (Pastor of)

Tatian of Syria

Theophilus of Antioch

Diognetus (letter)

Athenagoras of Alex.

Clement of Alexandria

Tertullian of Carthage

Origen of Alexandria


Notes on the Pentateuch

Title the Pentateuch

Meaning of Torah

Deuteronomist Narrative

Sources of the Pentateuch

Composition in Stages

What comes from Moses?

The Sources and editing

The title "Pentateuch"

The first five books of the Bible - Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy - together form a connected narrative known as the the Torah (Hebrew), or Pentateuch (Greek); the Greek terms Pente Teuchos allude to the five scrolls on which these treasured texts were written. They tell the story from the creation of the world up to the death of Moses, just before his people entered Canaan, the Promised Land.

Meaning of Torah

The Hebrew term "Torah" is usually translated as "Law," although its full significance could be better rendered as "guidance" or "instruction." The narratives of the ancestors in Genesis 12-50 are just as much understood as 'torah' as are the Ten Commandments of Exodus 20, since they too offer instruction about the nature of Israel's God, the relationship of Israel to Him, and the behaviour appropriate to life in relation to him.

Deuteronomist Narrative

In the last book of the Torah there is a strong tone of exhortation, as Moses urges his people to a heartfelt loyalty to their God. And yet, the historical underlay of the book keeps the reader aware that a particular generation in the nation's history was directly addressed by this message. The Pentateuch blends the particular with the timeless. Its story may refer to the past, yet its appeal and call is to the faithful Jew in every generation, and by extension, in some way also to every Christian reader. There is more on this, in the Introduction to the book of Deuteronomy.

Sources of the Pentateuch

Four distinct literary traditions can be identified side by side in the Pentateuch. For many scholars, these indicate the likelihood of pre-existing documents, from which it was composed. According to the four-source theory, the Yahwist document, so named because it uses the name Yahweh for God from the beginning, is the earliest of these source-texts, and have been written as early as the time of king Solomon, around 950 B.C.

Composition in Stages

The writing of the Pentateuch seems to have occurred in these four stages:

1. Underlying it is the personality of Moses and the events of the Exodus, as interpreted by him.

2. Subsequently, small units were composed and handed down, orally and then in writing: stories, laws, speeches, meditations on events, liturgical celebrations etc.

3. At different periods, scribes (prophets, priests, wise men) collected together these small units to make connected narratives: the four documents).

4. Finally, these four documents (called "Yahwist," "Elohist," "Deuteronomist" and "Priestly") were woven together into a single five-volume work.

The final editing of the material into the full Pentateuch was made by some priestly editor, probably in Jerusalem, some time after 500 BC.

What in the Pentateuch comes from Moses?

Each of these literary sources incorporates materials much older than the time of their being written down as we now have them. Something of the family spirit, the search for God's will and the deep religious trust which permeate the Books of the Torah may well have been taught by Moses to the Israelites, as the basis for their tribal cohesion - and in that sense he can still be regarded as its pre-author. As noted in the Jerusalem Bible, the Mosaic religion "set its enduring seal on the faith and practice of the nation, and the Mosaic law remained its standard; the modifications required by changing conditions over some seven centuries were presented as interpretations of the mind of Moses and invested themselves with his authority."

Date of the Sources, and Final Editing

A document containing the Yahwist stories may well have been written during the reign of Solomon, in the 10th century BC, when it appears that writing first came into use in Israel. The ability to write would have existed mainly, if not exclusively, within circles close to the royal court, which provided the possibility of a leisured, state-supported writing class.

The Elohist literary tradition, which prefers to name God as Elohim, is generally dated between 900-700 B.C. and was composed in the northern kingdom of Israel. The Priestly literary source, marked by a keen interest in cultic matters and regulations for priests, is usually dated in the 5th century B.C., during or after after the exile in Babylon. It may well have been the lawbook upon which Ezra and Nehemiah based their post-exilic reform.

Teachings of the Torah, according to Maimonides

In his commentary on the Mishnah (Sanhedrin, chap. 10), Moses Maimonides compiled what he called the Shloshah-Asar Ikkarim, the Thirteen Articles of Faith, drawn from Judaism's 613 commandments found in the Torah. He refers to these thirteen principles as "the fundamental truths of our religion and its very foundations." It is the practice in many Jewish congregations to recite the Thirteen Articles, in a more poetic form, beginning with the words Ani Maamin - "I believe" - every day after the morning prayers in the synagogue.

The Thirteen Articles are:

  • Belief in the existence of the Creator, be He Blessed, who is perfect in every manner of existence and is the Primary Cause of all that exists.
  • Belief in G-d's absolute and unparalleled unity.
  • Belief in G-d's noncorporeality, nor that He will be affected by any physical occurrences, such as movement, or rest, or dwelling.
  • Belief in G-d's eternity.
  • The duty to worship Him exclusively and no foreign false gods.
  • Belief that G-d communicates with man through prophecy.
  • Belief that the prophecy of Moses our teacher has priority.
  • Belief in the divine origin of the Torah.
  • Belief in the immutability of the Torah.
  • Belief in divine omniscience and providence.
  • Belief in divine reward and retribution.
  • Belief in the arrival of the Messiah and the messianic era.
  • Belief in the resurrection of the dead.

Notes on the Book of Genesis

Title and Theme

Genesis (Hebrew "Bereshith" = "In the Beginning") is the first section in a larger unit of five books, called the Torah (Hebrew), or Pentateuch (Greek). Appropriately, it begins the Old Testament with a colourful account of the origins or pre-history of the world (chapters 1-11) and the primitive beginnings of the Israelite people ("the patriarchal era," chapters 12-50). The pre-history section includes the stories of the Creation, the Garden of Eden, Cain and Abel, Noah and the Flood, and the Tower of Babel. The patriarchal stories tell of the direct and personal care that God took of a particular clan, the family of Abraham, destined to be his special, worshipful nation among all peoples of the earth.

Pre-Patriarchal Stories

These include the Creation of the World, told in two versions. Placed first is the soaring, almost liturgical (or priestly) account in Genesis 1; it is followed by the much more earthy Garden of Eden account in Genesis 2, where the first man is made from the clay, and the woman from the side of the man.

Soon there comes the story of mankind's fall from grace, in a sin inspired by a malicious serpent. After this, we read of the first act of murder, when Cain kills Abel (4:1-16); and then the growth towards art and civilisation among the descendants of Cain, with the first musicians, and making of bronze and iron tools (4:17-26).

There follows a long genealogy of names (5:1ff), to cover Adam's descendants in the period up to the great Flood. To blot out the rising weight of sin, the world is destroyed by flood (6:11ff), but God allows Noah's family to survive; and their descendants repopulate the earth (10:1ff). Renewed human pride builds the Tower of Babel ("Let us make a name for ourselves" 11:1ff), and is punished by the diversity of languages. Finally, there is a genealogy from Shem to Abraham's father, Terah, in Ur of the Chaldees (11:10-26)

Patriarchal Stories

The patriarchal stories begin with a strong sense of destiny for the Hebrew people. God promises to make of Abraham's descendants a great nation (12:2); the author proceeds to tell a series of significant examples of providential care shown to Abraham (chapters 12-25). Later, the same care is shown to Abraham's descendants: his son Isaac and grandsons Jacob and Esau (chapters 26-36). Finally, the story centers on Jacob's family, the principal figure being Joseph (chapters 37-50), whose rejection by his brothers explains how the Israelites came to migrate to Egypt. Their return to Canaan in a miraculous deliverance will mark their firm possession of the Promised Land.

Date and Authorship

The stories that constitute the Book of Genesis were told for centuries as part of the Hebrew folk-history, before reaching written form during the period of Israel's monarchy (i.e. after David's time, who gained the crown about 1000 BC.) Whatever part Moses may have played in shaping these stories, they existed before his time and were further refined and edited after his day. On this, see what is said of the date for the final editing of the Pentateuch as a whole.

Literary form: Folk-Tale or Myth

The question regarding literary form, and what kind of truth to seek in the text, arises for the Pentateuch generally, and with greatest urgency for Genesis. Late in the 19th century, Hermann Gunkel (1862-1932) began identifying in the Old Testament diverse "Gattungen" or forms of writing (taunts, dirges, folk-legends) intended to convey religious insight into the nature of things rather than strictly historical fact about facts of the past. Since then, most critical biblical scholars have regarded the main literary forms used in Genesis as something other than firm history.

Nowadays, the primeval section (Gen 1-11) is read as a series of didactic myths, or morally or doctrinally illuminating parables. The patriarchal stories (Gen 12-50), with their greater wealth of detail, appear as cherished folk-tales, long lodged in the tribal memory, but also embellished by the story-teller's art. While the stories are religiously and tribally evocative, we cannot draw from them exact conclusions regarding the religious views of the patriarchs, since the traditions of Genesis have been revised in light of Israel's later history, especially the Exodus and the Sinai covenant. Still, as Anderson carefully phrases it, "many statements of the book, when considered against the background of the culture of the Fertile Crescent, help us to understand the probable character of religious beliefs before Moses" (The Living World of the Old Testament, 28).

Major Sections

1. Primeval: Background to Humanity (1:1-11:26)

Creation of the World & of Man

Early Civilisation, up to the Flood

The Flood and the Survivors

The Tower of Babel

2. Patriarchal: Background to Israel (11:27-50:26)

Abraham and Sarah (Gn 11-25)

Isaac and Jacob (Gn 26-36)

Joseph and his brothers (Gn 37-50)


1. Primeval: Background to Humanity (1:1-11:26)

a. Creation of the World (1:1-2:3)

b. Creation of Man and woman (2:4-3:24)

c. Cain, Abel, Jubal, Civilisation (4:1-26)

d. Generations preceding the Flood (5:1-6:10)

e. The Flood and the Survivors (6:11-9:29)

f. Repopulating the earth (10:1-31)

g. Tower of Babel (11:1-9)

h. Genealogy: Shem to Abraham's father (11:10-26)

2. Patriarchal: Background to Israel (11:27-50:26)

a. Abraham and Sarah (Gn 11-25)

i. Abraham's family in Haran (11:27-32)

ii. Abraham's call and blessing (12:1-9)

iii. Abraham and Sarah in Egypt (12:10-20)

iv. Abraham parts from Lot (13:1-18)

v. Abraham rescues Lot (14:1-24)

vi. Abraham and the priest Melchisedek (14:17-21)

vii. Abraham longs for a son (15-1-21)

viii. Hagar bears a son: Ishmael (16:1-16)

ix. God renews the promise to Abraham (17:1-27)

x. Abraham at Mamre: the heavenly visitors (18:1-15)

xi. Abraham pleads for Sodom (18:16-33)

xii. Lot's rescue: and his descendants (19:1-38)

xiii. Abraham and king Abimelech (20:1-18; 21:25-34)

xiv. Birth of Isaac; expulsion of Hagar and Ishmael (21:1-24)

xv. Abraham tested by God (22:1-24)

xvi. Abraham buys a burial site (23:1-20)

xvii. Finding a wife for Isaac (24:1-67)

xviii. Abraham's end; his descendants (25:1-18)

b. Isaac and Jacob (Gn 26-36)

i. Birth of the twins: Esau and Jacob (25:19-34)

ii. Isaac's wanderings and encounters (26:1-35)

iii. Jacob wins the blessing (27:1-45)

iv. Jacob goes in search of a wife (28:1-21)

v. Jacob weds Laban's two daughters (29:1-35)

vi. Jacob's many children (29.31-30.24)

vii. Jacob's ruse; his flight from Laban (30:25-31:54)

viii. Jacob's reconciliation with Esau (32:1-33:20)

ix. Jacob's wrestling with God (32:24-33)

x. The rape of Dinah (34:1-21)

xi. Jacob at Bethel: Rachel and Isaac die (35:1-29)

xii. Esau's wives and descendants (36:1-43)

c. Joseph and his brothers (Gn 37-50)

i. Joseph sold into slavery (37:1-36)

ii. Judah avenges the rape of Tamar (38:1-30)

iii. The temptation of Joseph (39:1-23)

iv. Joseph interprets in prison (40:1-23)

v. Joseph interprets Pharao's Dreams (41:1-57)

vi. Jacob's sons meet Joseph again (42:1-46:30)

vii. Jacob moves down the Egypt (46:1-47:28)

viii. Jacob adopts Joseph's sons (47:29-48:22)

ix. Jacob's Testament and Death (49:1-50:26)

Dictionary article on Genesis

This first book of the Pentateuch is called by the Jews Bereshith, i.e., "in the beginning," because this is the opening word of the book, in Hebrew. It is generally known among Christians by the more thematic name of Genesis, i.e., "creation" or "generation," being the name given to it in the Septuagint, because it gives an account of the origin of all things.

Genesis is divided into two principal parts. Part one (chs. 1-11) gives a general story of mankind down to the time of the Dispersion of the Nations. Part two (chs. 12-50) presents the early story of Israel down to the death and burial of Joseph.

Around five principal persons the story of the successive periods is grouped, viz., Adam (1-3), Noah (4-9), Abraham (10-25:18), Isaac (25:19-35:29), and Jacob (36-50).

Like the other books of the Pentateuch, the book of Genesis came into being in several stages. Many of its elements had a place in the folk-history of Israel for centuries before being written down in their final form, during or soon after the Babylonian exile. Three strands of tradition, or even three separate documents, have been identified as sources for Genesis:

1. The Yahwist Source (J), where God is designated by the title "Yahweh" even though Ex. 3:14ff positively situates the revelation of that title in the time of Moses. The Yahwist document may have been written in Solomon's time, around 950 BC.

2. The Elohist Source (E) which prefers to call God by the more generic title "Elohim." This source, much influenced by prophets like Elijah and Hosea, may be dated about 750 BC.

3. The Priestly Source (P) probably was composed by some of the priestly class, during the Babylonian exile (586-536 BC), to strengthen the people's faith and their hope of returning to the Promised Land of Israel, with their worship traditions intact.

The final redaction of Genesis, as we know it, was probably the work of the erudite priestly class in Jerusalem, after the return from Babylon.

Notes on Exodus


The English name Exodus derives from the Septuagint (Greek) thematic title, ex-hodos ("Going Out";) the book's Hebrew title consists simply of its opening words, Va-elleh Shemot: "And these are the Names" [of the sons of Israel who came to Egypt with Jacob).


Exodus tells the epic story of the liberation of the people of Israel from virtual slavery in Egypt in the 13th century B.C., under the leadership of Moses. The language and the episodes are dramatic, apt to stir the heart and the devotion of later generations. This book is calculated to confirm the believer in his/her sense of identity, as a priveleged member of God's Chosen People. It describes in graphic, visual terms the people's special relationship with God, in the covenant made at Sinai. This narrative of liberation and covenant transmits a strong, redemptive flavour to all the rest of the Old Testament. When to it is added the narrative of the conquest of Canaan, under Joshue, and the life-or-death struggle for survival under the judges, we have the main "epic" content of the Hebrew Scriptures.

Major Sections

First half - (Chapters 1-18) Exodus from Egypt

1. The Israelites under oppression (1:1-2:22)

2. God sends his servant, Moses (2:23-7:7)

3. The Plagues of Egypt (7:8-13:16)

4. Departure of Israel from Egypt (12:3-15:21)

5. The Journey to Sinai (15:22-18:27)

Second half - (Chapters 19-40). Covenant with God at Mount Sinai

1. Establishing the Covenant (19-24)

2. Rules for the Lord's Dwelling (25-31)

3. The People's Apostasy and Repentance (32-34)

4. The Lord's Dwelling is built (35-40)

Authorship and date

Elements in the story were no doubt deeply ingrained in the people's memory and suggest that there is some historical content in the exodus from Egypt, though so far, no attestation of it has been found in Egyptian records. But the fact that it offers detailed prescriptions for the ordering of worship in the Jerusalem Temple, which was built about three centuries after the events at Sinai, suggests that at least the full text of Exodus was not written until well into the monarchy period, and possibly as late as the Babylonian Exile in the 6th century B.C., or in the period shortly after the end of the Exile. See above, on sources and composition of the Pentateuch as a whole.

Importance of the Book

This story expressed for the Jewish people their fundamental sense of identity, as a people chosen by God, set free from slavery, and led by their God into their Promised Land - with the purpose that they should worship this God faithfully in a Covenant of mutual relationship. The narrative of their deliverance is interwoven with the giving of the commandments and laws by which they should live, and the cultic ritual in which their God must be worshipped. Exodus also describes in some detail the annual Passover ritual whereby this deliverance and its associated covenant obligations will be indelibly imprinted in the people's memory. For Christians, too, the Exodus story is a powerful texture within which to understand the saving work of Jesus Christ, whose Passion-Resurrection opened up a new Exodus-route into the eternal presence of God.


A. Israel freed from Egyptian slavery (1-18)

1. The Israelites under oppression (1:1-2:22)

a. Growth in their numbers (1:1-7)

b. Oppression by hard labour (1:8-14)

c. Murder of male children (1:15-22)

d. Birth of Moses (2:1-10)

e. Moses flees to Midian (2:11-22)

2. God sends his servant, Moses (2:23-7:7)

a. God hears the people's cry (2:23-25)

b. Moses' call, at Mt Horeb (3:1-4:17)

c. Moses returns to Egypt (4:18-31)

d. Moses' first meets Pharaoh (5:1-6:1)

e. God's command to Moses (6:2-7:7)

3. The Plagues of Egypt (7:8-13:16)

a. Introduction to the plagues (7:8-13)

b. First three plagues (7:14-8:19)

c. Second three plagues (8:20-9:12)

d. Third three plagues (9:13-10:19)

e. Tenth plague: death of the first-born (11:1-12:32)

4. Departure of Israel from Egypt (12:3-15:21)

a. Instructions about Passover (12:3-13:22)

b. Pursued by the Egyptian army (14:1-14)

c. Crossing the Red Sea (14:15-31)

d. Egyptian army drowned in the sea (14:19-25)

e. Moses' and Miriam's songs of victory (15:1-21)

5. The Journey to Sinai (15:22-18:27)

a. The Bitter Waters of Marah (15:22-27)

b. Quails and Manna (16:1-36)

c. Water at Meribah (17:1-7)

d. The Amalekites defeated (17:8-16)

e. Jethro's advice to Moses (18:1-27)

B. Israel at Mount Sinai (19-40)

1. Establishing the Covenant (19-24)

a. Meeting God at the mountain (19:1-25)

b. The Ten Commandments (20:1-21)

c. Code of the Covenant (21:1-23:33)

i. Rules on Moral and Social Issues (21:1-23:19)

ii. Blessings for keeping the covenant (23:20-33)

d. Covenant ratified with Sacrifice (24:1-18)

2. Rules for the Lord's Dwelling (25-31)

a. Material for building the Ark (25:1-22)

b. The Table and the Lampstand (25:23-40)

c. The inner Sanctum (26:1-37)

d. The Altar (27:1-8)

e. The Inner Courtyard (27:9-19)

f. The Lamp and its Oil (27:20-21)

g. Priestly Vestments (28:1-43)

h. Priestly Consecration (29:1-46)

i. Other furnishing regulations (30:1-31:17)

3. The People's Apostasy and Repentance (32-34)

a. Making the golden calf (32:1-6)

b. God's fierce anger (32:7-14)

c. Moses punishes the people (32:15-35)

d. The people's lament (33:1-6)

e. Moses intercedes with God (33:7-23)

f. Covenant is restored (34:1-35)

4. The Lord's Dwelling is built (35-40)

a. Moses leads the process (35:1-35)

b. The people build God's Dwelling (36:1-39:43)

c. Ceremony of dedication (40:1-38)

Dictionary article on Exodus

Exodos is the name given in the LXX. to the second book of the Pentateuch. This Greek name means "departure" or "going-out." This name was adopted in the Latin translation, and passed from there into other languages. The Hebrews called it by the first words, according to their custom, Ve-eleh shemoth (i.e., "and these are the names"). It contains:

(1.) The increase and growth of the Israelites in Egypt (ch. 1)

(2.) Preparations for their departure out of Egypt (2:1 - 12:36).

(3.) Their journey from Egypt to Sinai (12:37 - 19:2).

(4.) The giving of the law and the institutions of the theocracy, to make them "a kingdom of priest and an holy nation" (19:3 - 40:38).

The first half (Chapters 1 - 18) describes the Egyptian bondage, the call of Moses, the plagues, the people's departure from Egypt and their journey to Mount Sinai under the divine protection. The second half (Chapters 19 - 40) tells how their Covenant with God was established at Mount Sinai and how God, through Moses, gave detailed laws for the ordering of Israel's life, when they would settle in the Land of Promise.

Its minute prescriptions for the ordering of worship in the Jerusalem Temple, not built until three centuries after the events at Sinai, suggests that Exodus was not written until well into the monarchy period, and possibly as late as the Babylonian Exile in the 6th century BC.

Notes on Leviticus

Title and Theme

Leviticus (Hebrew title "Wayyiqra" from its opening word: "And He Called"), is presented as Moses' regulation of Levitical and cultic matters: the temple attendants, rituals and feasts. It details the laws for purity and hygiene within Israel's society, the treatment of lepers and other sick people. Clearly it is the work of many hands adapting Israel's legislation to the needs of successive eras. Perhaps its best-known section is the Holiness Code (chaps. 17-26) expounding the practices that must distinguish the devout Israelite, dedicated to God. This was almost certainly written during or after the exile.

The laws of legal and ritual purity are concerned with the many ways in which a state of "uncleanness" could arise, and the means of regaining the state of purity. These laws, although edited in postexilic Israel "have a distinctly archaic ring" (NJBC). How far they should apply to Gentile converts was a major question within the early Christian church.

Date and Authorship

The book belongs to the Priestly source of the Pentateuch. One cannot be sure how far back in Israel's history the cultic material is to be dated. According to one theory it was written during the 7th century B.C. reform of king Josiah, but it may equally well be as late as the great re-think of Israel's future that was required by the ending of the Babylonian Exile and the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem (late 6th century). At any rate, Leviticus is probably part of the documentary law on which Ezra and Nehemiah based their post-exilic reform of Israel's worship. But the "Legal Purity" (chs 11-16) and "Code of Holiness" sections (chs 17-26), may go back further.

Major Divisions

A. Laws for Sacrifices (chapters 1-7)

B. Priestly Investiture and Behaviour (chapters 8-10)

C. Laws for Legal Purity (chapters 11-16)

D. Code of Holiness (chapters 17-25)

E. Fidelity to Religious Obligations (chapters 26-27)


A. Laws for Sacrifices (chapters 1-7)

1. Holocausts (1,1-17)

2. Oblations (2,1-16)

3. Communion Sacrifices (3,1-17)

4. Sacrifices for Sin (4,1-5,13)

5. Reparations (5,14-26)

6. Priestly rituals for these Sacrifices (6,1-7,27)

7. The Priest's portion in the offerings (7,28-38)

B. Priestly Investiture and Behaviour (chapters 8-10)

1. Ordination Rites (8,1-36)

2. The Priests Assume their Functions (9,1-24)

3. Further Legislation for Priests (10,1-20)

C. Laws for Legal Purity (chapters 11-16)

1. Clean and Unclean Animals [11,1-47]

2. childbirth [12,1-8]

3. Leprosy [13,1-14,57]

4. Sexual Uncleanness [15,1-33]

5. The Day of Atonement [16,1-34]

D. Code of Holiness (chapters 17-26)

1. Sacredness of Blood [17,1-16]

2. Sacredness of Sex [18,1-30]

3. Rules of Honest Conduct [19,1-37]

4. Various Penalties [20,1-27]

5. Priestly Holiness [21,1-24]

6. Liturgical Rules [22,1-33]

7. Liturgical Feasts [23,1-24,9]

Passover; Pentecost; New Year; Atonement; Booths

8. Brawlers and Blasphemers [24,10-23]

9. Sabbatical and Jubilee Years [25,1-55]

E. Fidelity to Religious Obligations (26,1-27,34)

1. Blessings for Fidelity to the Laws (26,1-13)

2. Curses for Infidelity to the Laws (26,14-46)

3. Vows, and their Redemption (27,1-34)

Dictionary article on Leviticus

Leviticus - the third book of the Pentateuch; so called in the Vulgate, after the LXX., because it treats chiefly of the Levitical service. In the first section of the book (1-17), which exhibits the worship itself, there is,

(1.) A series of laws (1-7) regarding sacrifices, burnt-offerings, meat-offerings, and thank-offerings (1-3), sin-offerings and trespass-offerings (4; 5), followed by the law of the priestly duties in connection with the offering of sacrifices (6; 7).

(2.) An historical section (8-10), giving an account of the consecration of Aaron and his sons (8); Aaron's first offering for himself and the people (9); Nadab and Abihu's presumption in offering "strange fire before Yahweh," and their punishment (10).

(3.) Laws concerning purity, and the sacrifices and ordinances for putting away impurity (11-16). An interesting fact may be noted here. Canon Tristram, speaking of the remarkable discoveries regarding the flora and fauna of the Holy Land by the Palestine Exploration officers, makes the following statement:, "Take these two catalogues of the clean and unclean animals in the books of Leviticus [11] and Deuteronomy [14]. There are eleven in Deuteronomy which do not occur in Leviticus, and these are nearly all animals and birds which are not found in Egypt or the Holy Land, but which are numerous in the Arabian desert. They are not named in Leviticus a few weeks after the departure from Egypt; but after the people were thirty-nine years in the desert they are named, a strong proof that the list in Deuteronomy was written at the end of the journey, and the list in Leviticus at the beginning. It fixes the writing of that catalogue to one time and period only, viz., that when the children of Israel were familiar wih the fauna and the flora of the desert" (Palest. Expl. Quart., Jan. 1887).

(4.) Laws marking the separation between Israel and the heathen (17-20).

(5.) Laws about the personal purity of the priests, and their eating of the holy things (20; 21); about the offerings of Israel, that they were to be without blemish (22:17-33); and about the due celebration of the great festivals (23; 25).

(6.) Then follow promises and warnings to the people regarding obedience to these commandments, closing with a section on vows.

The various ordinances contained in this book were all delivered in the space of a month (See Ex. 40:17; Num. 1:1), the first month of the second year after the Exodus. It is the third book of Moses.

The principles on which it is to be interpreted are laid down in the Epistle to the Hebrews. It contains in its complicated ceremonial the gospel of the grace of God.

Notes on the Book of Numbers

Title and Theme

(Hebrew title: Be-midbar = "In The Wilderness"), has as its English title a translation of its Septuagint-Greek title (Arithmoi = "Numbers") referring to the counting of the tribes of Israel in chapters 1-4.

It describes how the Israelites wandered in the wilderness following the departure from Sinai and before their occupation of Canaan. They are depicted as faithless and rebellious, and God is shown as patiently sustaining them. Numbers shows that interweaving of narrative and laws that is so typical of the Pentateuch.

Major Sections in the Book of Numbers

1. Organisation Before Leaving Sinai (1:1-9:23): Numbering the people and preparing to resume their march. Some cultic regulations

2. The March, from Sinai to the Plains of Moab (10:11-21:35): Sending out of the spies and the report they brought back, and the murmurings (eight times) of the people at the hardships by the way (10:11-21:20).

3. On the Plains of Moab: Preparing to Enter the Land (22:1-36:13): Events in the plains of Moab, before the people could cross the Jordan

Authorship and Date

The book belongs to the priestly source, or strand, of the Pentateuch. Typical priestly concerns are reflected in the genealogies, the detailed regulations, the formula for priestly blessing, the episode of Aaron's Staff: Sign of Precedence. The final edition of this book must be dated post-exilic period.

Theological Interests

The author has provided an impressive validation for Israel's later cultic organisation and practices, by tracing their institution back to the foundational period, under Moses, in the desert wanderings. Its story would be of immense help to the priestly leadership, in the restoration period following the return from Babylon.

At a deeper level, it affirms the constant presence of God among the people, with an assurance of blessing and of the forgiveness of sin. Because of their revealed system of cultic atonement, they can live in close proximity to this all-holy God, who dwells in a mysterious sanctuary among them.

The most universally relevant teaching of Numbers is that God's people are one the march, and not yet at their final home. "Whether one thinks of the life journey of each person or the the corporate experience of the community of believers, the place where Israel stands in Numbers is the place where all believers find themselves. Liberated from slavery, they journey toward the land of promise... The example of ancient Israel can motivate them to fidelity as they continue moving on to the land to which they are called." (C. L'Heureux, "Numbers," NJBC)

Notable Passages

The law of ordeal, for a suspected wife (5:11ff),

The Nazirite vow (6:13ff)

The formula for priestly blessing (6:22ff),

Israel's ceremonial trumpets (10:1ff)

The rebellion of Korah, Dathan and Abiram (chs. 16-17),

Appointment of Joshua as Moses' successor (27:12ff)

Instructions for dividing up the Land (34:1ff).


1. Organisation Before Leaving Sinai

a. Census and Organisation of the Community (1:1-4:49)

i. First Census (1:1-47)

ii. Distinctive Role of the Levites (1:48-54)

iii. Layout of the Camp and Order of the March (2:1-34)

iv. Organisation of the Priestly Hierarchy (3:1-51)

v. Census and Responsibilities of the Levites (4:1-49)

b. Purity of the Camp and the Community (5:1-6:27)

i. Exclusion of the Impure (5:1-4)

ii. Restitution for Offenses against Neighbour (5:5-10)

iii. Ordeal for a Woman Suspected of Adultery (5:11-31)

iv. The Nazirite Vow (6:1-21)

v. The Priestly Blessing (6:22-27)

c. Cultic Preparations for Leaving Sinai (7:1-10:10)

i. Offerings Made by Tribal Representatives (7:1-89)

ii. The Lampstand (8:1-4)

iii. Purification of the Levites (8:5-26)

iv. Concerning Passover (9:1-14)

v. The Cloud (9:15-23)

vi. The Trumpets (10:1-10)

2. The March, from Sinai to the Plains of Moab (10:11-21:35)

a. From Sinai to the desert of Paran (10:11-12:16)

i. Departure From Sinai (10:11-28)

ii. Hobab and the Ark (10:29-36)

iii. Taberah (11:1-3)

iv. The Quail, the Seven Elders, Eldad and Medad (11:4-35)

v. Miriam and Aaron Rebel against Moses (12:1-16)

b. At the Threshold of the Promised Land (13:1-15:41)

i. Exploration of the Promised Land, and Setback (13:1-14:45)

ii. Various Cultic Ordinances (15:1-41)

c. Revolt of Korah, Dathan, & Abiram; Role of Priests (16:1-19:22)

i. Revolt of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram (16:1-35)

ii. The Covering for the Altar (16:36-40)

iii. The Intercession of Aaron (16:41-50)

iv. Aaron's Staff (17:1-13)

v. The Dues of Priests and Levites (18:1-32)

vi. The Red Heifer and the Water of Purification (19:1-22)

d. From Kadesh to the Plains of Moab (20:1-21:35)

i. The Waters of Meribah (20:1-13)

ii. Negotiations with the King of Edom (20:14-21)

iii. Death of Aaron (20:22-29)

iv. Battle with the Canaanites at Hormah (21:1-3)

v. The Bronze Serpent (21:4-9)

vi. By Stages through Transjordan (21:10-20)

vii. The Defeat of Sihon and Og (21:21-35)

3. On the Plains of Moab: Preparing to Enter the Land (22:1-36:13)

a. The Story of Balaam (22:1-24:25)

i. Balaq Sends for Balaam (22:1-21)

ii. Balaam's Ass (22:22-35)

iii. Meeting of Balaam and Balaq (22:36-40)

iv. First Oracle, at Bamoth Baal (22:41-23:12)

v. Second Oracle, at Mt. Pisgah (23:13-26)

vi. Third Oracle, at Peor (23:27-22:9)

vii. Fourth Oracle of Balaam (24:10-19)

viii. Concluding Oracles (24:20-25)

b. Apostasy at Baal Peor (25:1-18)

i. The people worship a false god (25:1-5)

ii. The violent zeal of Phinehas (25:6-18)

c. Preparing to Conquer and Divide the Land (26:1-36:13)

i. The Second Census (26:1-65)

ii. The daughters of Zelophehad (27:1-11)

iii. Commissioning of Joshua (27:12-23)

iv. The Ritual Calendar (28:1-30:1)

v. Vows by Men and Women (30:1-17)

vi. The Holy War against Midian (31:1-54)

vii. Settlement of Gad and Reuban (32:1-42)

viii. Overview of the desert Itinerary (33:1-49)

ix. Command to Seize Canaan (33:50-56)

x. Boundaries and Means of Division (34:1-29)

xi. Levites' Inheritance; Cities of Refuge (35:1-34)

x. Daughters of Zelophehad (36:1-13)

Dictionary article on Numbers

Fourth of the books of the Pentateuch, called in the Hebrew be-midbar, i.e., "in the wilderness." In the LXX. version it is called "Numbers," and this name is now the usual title of the book, so called because it contains a record of the numbering of the people in the wilderness of Sinai (1-4), and of their numbering afterwards on the plain of Moab (26). This book is of special interest as furnishing details about the route of the Israelites in the wilderness and their principal encampments.

It may be divided into three parts:

1. The numbering of the people at Sinai, and preparations for their resuming their march (1-10:10). The sixth chapter gives an account of the vow of a Nazarite.

2. An account of the journey from Sinai to Moab, the sending out of the spies and the report they brought back, and the murmurings (eight times) of the people at the hardships by the way (10:11-21:20).

3. The transactions in the plain of Moab before crossing the Jordan (21:21-ch. 36).

The period included in the history extends from the second month of the second year after the Exodus to the beginning of the eleventh month of the fortieth year, in all about thirty-eight years and ten months; a dreary period of wanderings, during which that disobedient generation all died in the wilderness. They were fewer in number at the end of their wanderings than when they left the land of Egypt. We see in this history, on the one hand, the unceasing care of the Almighty over his chosen people during their wanderings; and, on the other hand, the murmurings and rebellions by which they offended their heavenly Protector, drew down repeated marks of his displeasure, and provoked him to say that they should "not enter into his rest" because of their unbelief (Hb 3:19).

Notes on the Book of Deuteronomy

Title and Theme

Deuteronomy, the fifth book of the Pentateuch (Hebrew title: "Elleh Haddebarim" = "These are the Words"), is in the form of a farewell address by Moses to his people before they entered Canaan, the cherished end-point of their exodus. The various speeches woven into his 34-chapter "farewell" are intended to synthesize his legacy to them. They recall Israel's past, reiterate laws that Moses had communicated at Horeb (Sinai), and constantly repeat that observance of these laws is essential for the well-being of the people in the land they are about to enter. The Greek title Deutero-Nomos should be read as "repetition," of the law rather than literally as a "second law." Chapter 34 tells of Moses' death on Mount Nebo, within sight of the Promised Land.

Authorship and Date

Although presented as spoken by Moses in person, it is generally agreed that the actual text of Deuteronomy dates from a much later period of Israelite history. An early edition of part of it (mainly chapters 5-26) may well have been the "Book of the Law" discovered in the Temple of Jerusalem about 622 B.C. (2 Kings 22:8), and which formed the basis for King Josiah's religious reform.

This book may somehow reflect the Covenant renewal festivals celebrated in Israel's premonarchic period. However, many interests promoted later by the kings and priests in Jerusalem also find place in this book. Yahweh can be worshiped in only one sacred place (Jerusalem) by all of Israel. Everyone, including priests, prophets, and kings is subject to Yahweh's law granted through Moses.

Notable Passages

  1. Exact Keeping of the Torah (4:1ff)
  2. Babylonian Exile predicted (4:21ff)
  3. The Ten Commandments (5:6ff)
  4. The Great Commandment (Shema Yisrael, 6:4-9)
  5. Explain to your children (6:20ff)
  6. Destroy the Previous Inhabitants (7:1ff)
  7. Why Israel is A Chosen People (7:7ff)
  8. Blessings and Curses (28:1ff)

"Deuteronomist history"

Deuteronomy proposes a distinctive analysis of Israel's history - that faithfulness to their covenant with Yahweh and obedience to his commands will surely bring blessings but the worship of foreign gods and neglect of Yahweh's statutes bring a curse. These principles, plus the clarity with which chapter 4 predicts the people's downfall, suggest that the final editing took place after they had gone through the purifying experience of the Babylonian Exile.

The books of Joshue, Judges, Samuel and Kings are all stamped with this view of history; each king's reign is assessed on the criterion of fidelity to the covenant. Since they are clearly influenced by Deuteronomy, their final editing, too, should be dated in the post-exile period.

Major Divisions

  • Moses' First Address = Chapters 1-4: Reminding them of their past, and pointing to their future.
  • Introduction to the Law Book= Chapters 5-11: Ten Commandments, and exhortations parallelled later (in chs 12 to 26)
  • The Book of the Law = Chapters 12-26: laws to maintain their status as God's covenanted people.
  • Ceremonial Acceptance of the Law = Chapters 27-28: blessings and curses; Covenant Ritual at Shechem.
  • Third Address of Moses = Chapters 29-30: Lessons from history, etc.
  • Last Testament of Moses = Chapters 31-34: final exhortations, prayers and death of Moses.


1. Moses' First Address (1:1-4:49)

a. Introduction: Time and Place (1:1-5)

b. Command to Occupy the Land (1:6-8)

c. Tribal and Judicial Organization (1:9-18)

d. The Stay at Kadesh (1:19-46)

e. Passage Through Edom, Moab, Ammon (2:1-25)

f. Conquest of Heshbon and Bashan (2:26-3:11)

g. Settlement of Transjordanian Tribes (3:12-22)

h. Moses' Unanswered Prayer (3:23-29)

i. Prologue to Instruction in the Law (4:1-14)

j. On the danger of Idolatry (4:15-20)

k. Babylonian Exile Predicted (4:21-31)

l. The Unique Vocation of Israed (4:32-40)

m. Appendix,Cities of Refuge (4:41-43)

n. Conclusion to the First Address (4:44-49)

2. Second Address: Introduction to the Law Book (5:1-11:32)

a. Summons (5:1-5)

b. The Decalogue (5:6-21)

c. Sequel to the Decalogue (5:22-6:3)

d. a Law for Life in the Land (6:4-25)

e. Command to Destroy the Peoples of Canaan and Their Cults (7:1-11)

f. Prosperity in the Land Assured by Fidelity to the Law (7:12-26)

g. Historical Recollection, to Counter the temptations of the Land (8:1-20)

h. Occupation of the Land is by the Grace of God (9:1-5)

i. Reminder of the Apostasy at Horeb (9:6-24)

j. Reminder of of Moses' Intercession; the Second Tablets (9:25-10:11)

k. Election and its Consequences (10:12-11:1)

l. Remember your Past (11:2-25)

m. The Two Ways, Blessing and Curse (11:26-32)

3. The Book of the Law (12:1-26:15)

a. One Central Sanctuary (12:1-27)

b. Dealing with Apostasy (12:28-13:18)

c. Purity Laws (14:1-21)

d. Tithes to the Levites (14:22-29)

e. Sabbatical Remission of Debts (15:1-18)

f. Consecration of the firstling male (15:19-23)

g. Periodic Festivals: Passover, Weeks, Booths (16:1-17)

h. Judges, Law-Cases and Officials (16:18-18:22)

i. Homicide and Related Matters (19:1-21)

j. Rules for the Conduct of War (20:1-21:14)

k. Miscellaneous Laws (21:15-23:1)

Non-favoured Wife (21:15-17)

Stubborn Son (21:18-21)

Executed felons (21:22-23)

Neighbour's Animals etc. (22:1-12)

Evidence of Virginity etc. (22:13-30)

l. Humanitarian and Cultic Laws (23:1-25:19)

m. Offering of the First-fruits (26:1-15)

4. Ceremonial Acceptance of the Law (26:16-28:69)

a. Reciprocal Commitment (26:16-19)

b. Covenant Ritual at Mount Ebal (27:1-26)

c. Blessings and Curses (28:1-69)

5. Third Address of Moses (29:1-30:20)

a. Lessons to be Learned from History (29:1-8)

b. Duties of the Covenanting Community (29:9-28)

c. Reversal of Fortune (30:1-14)

d. The Two Ways (30:15-20)

6. Last Testament, and Death of Moses (31:1-34:12)

a. Commissioning Joshua (31:1-8)

b. Dispositions about the Law (31:9-15)

c. Warning about future Apostasy (31:16-22)

d. Joshua Commissioned as Successor (31:23)

e. The Law Deposited in the Sanctuary (31:24-29)

f. Thanksgiving Song of Moses (32:1-43)

g. Exhortation to Observe the Law (32:44-47)

h. Moses prepares for Death (32:48-52)

i. Final Blessings of Moses (33:1-29)

j. Death of Moses; End of the Pentateuch (34:1-12)

Dictionary article on Deuteronomy

In all the Hebrew manuscripts the Pentateuch forms just one roll or volume divided into larger and smaller sections called parshioth and sedarim. It is uncertain when it was divided into five books but this may have been by the Greek translators who produced the LXX (Septuagint).

The fifth of these books was called by the Greeks Deuteronomion, i.e., the second law, hence our name Deuteronomy, or a second statement of the laws already promulgated. The Jews designate the book by its two first Hebrew words 'Elle haddebharim, "These are the words" and divide it into eleven parshioth. In the English Bible it contains thirty-four chapters. It consists chiefly of three discourses delivered by Moses in the plains of Moab, just east of Jericho and overlooking the land of Israel, a short time before his death.

Discourse 1. (1:1 - 4:40) is introductory, recapitulating the events of the forty years in the wilderness, with earnest exhortations to obedience to the divine laws and warnings against the danger of forsaking the God of their fathers.

Discourse 2. (5:1 - 26:19) is in effect the core of the whole book. It contains practically a recapitulation of the law already given by God at Mount Sinai, together with many admonitions and injunctions as to the course of conduct they were to follow when they were settled in Canaan.

Discourse 3. (ch. 27-30) is devoted to the solemn sanctions of the law, the blessings to the obedient, and the curse that would fall on the rebellious. He solemnly adjures them to adhere faithfully to the covenant God had made with them, and so secure for themselves and their posterity the promised blessings.

The conclusion of Deuteronomy is in three appendices, namely

(1) the Song of Moses (32:1-47);

(2) his blessings on the separate tribes (ch. 33);

(3) the story of his death (32:48-52) and burial (ch. 34).

These farewell addresses of Moses to the tribes of Israel glow with the emotions of a great leader recounting to his contemporaries the marvellous story of their common experience. Confidence for their future is evoked by remembrance of their past. The same God who had done mighty works for the tribes since the Exodus will protect them in the day of battle in Palestine, soon to be invaded, and throughout their long future in the land.

It is an idealised portrayal of their great lawgiver. In this book he stands before us, still vigorous in his old age, stern against evil, earnest in zeal for God, yet repentant of his own faults, and compassionate for the weakness of his people. Deuteronomy is frequently quoted (under the phrase the law of Moses) in the later books of the O.T. canon (Josh. 8:31; 1 Kings 2:3; 2 Kings 14:6; 2 Chr. 23:18; 25:4; 34:14; Ezra 3:2; 7:6; Neh. 8:1; Dan. 9:11, 13) and is an important background for the New Testament; particularly the temptation Stories in Matthew and Luke (Mt 4:1-11; Lk 4:1-13), where Jesus answers each temptation with a citation from Deuteronomy, and in John's protracted Last Supper Narrative (Jn 13-17), where the long farewell of Jesus to his followers breathes something of the spirt of this final book of the Torah.

Deuteronomy also offers its distinctive analysis of Israel's history - how faithfulness to their covenant with Yahweh and obedience to his commands bring blessings; but the worship of foreign gods and negligence of Yahweh's statutes bring a curse. This is dramatised in the great antiphonal chanting of the Blessings and Curses across the valley between Mt. Gerizim and Mt Ebal, (Dt 27:11--28:69). All of the above, plus the clarity with which the people's downfall is predicted in 4:25ff suggests that the final editing took place after they had gone through the purifying experience of the Babylonian Exile.