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Wilderness Material in Exodus (Exodus 15–18)

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Chapter Summary

The wilderness material constitutes an important part of the book of Exodus. Compositionally, it connects the two centers of the book: the liberation from Egypt (Exod 1-14) and the divine revelation at Mount Sinai (19-40). With regard to content, it reflects the difficulties of Israel's way to freedom. The long Song of Moses (15:1-18) accompanied by the short Song of Miriam (15:21) together, at the beginning of the unit, constitute a heavy compositional marker that interrupts the narrative flow and seems to conclude the entire process of Israel's liberation from Egypt in the first part of the book (Exod 1:1-14:31). The unit of Exod 15:22-18:27 not only shows blurred limits, it also has no clear structure. The uncertain limits and the inconsistent structure of the present form of Exod 15:22-18:27 point to a long formation of the wilderness material, which included divergent editions.

Keywords: Egypt; Exodus; Israel; Mount Sinai; song of Miriam; song of Moses



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