Torah
(Genesis - Deuteronomy)
FACTS ON GENESIS

Author  

While Genesis is an anonymous work, it has traditionally been attributed to
Moses.  His education in pharaoh's court (Acts 7:22, Exod. 24:4) and acquaintance
with the land of Egypt provided him with good background for writing the book.
Evidence for Mosaic authorship includes the testimony of New Testament writers (Jn.
1:17, Matt. 9:7, Mk. 1:44, 7:10, 10:3, 12:26, Lk. 5:14, Acts 3:22, and 1 Cor. 9:9) and
Jesus (compare Gen. 17:12 with Jn. 7:22-23).  Affirming Mosaic authorship does not
preclude the possibility that he drew from other ancient sources.

Date of Writing

Moses probably wrote Genesis early during the wilderness sojourn (1446-
1406 B.C.).

Historical Setting

The book includes events from creation to the death of Joseph in Egypt (1805
B.C.).  Geographically, the events of the narrative took place in the fertile crescent
which includes the valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in Mesopotamia, the land
of Canaan, and the fertile region along the Nile River.  

Taking 931 B.C. as the date of the division of the Monarchy, the birth of
Abraham took place about 2166 B.C. The following dates for the patriarchs may be
determined from the biblical data:

Abraham           2166-1991                        Lived 175 years
Isaac                 2066-1886                        Lived 180 years
Jacob                2006-1859                        Lived 147 years
Joseph              1915-1805                        Lived 110 years

Purpose

The purpose of Genesis is to preserve an accurate record of the beginnings of
the human race and the Hebrew nation.  In addition, the book tells of man's
initial rebellion against God and the beginnings of His redemptive program through
Israel.  

Theme

The sovereignty of God over His creation (Gen. 50:20).

Outline

I.  THE BEGINNINGS OF THE HUMAN RACE   1-11

    A.  The Creation  1-2
    B.  The Fall  3:1-6:4
    C.  The Flood  6:5-11:32
    D.  The New Beginning  8:15-11:32

II.  THE BEGINNINGS OF THE HEBREW NATION  12-50

    A.  The Life of Abraham  12:1-25:18
    B.  The Life of Isaac  25:19-26:35
    C.  The Life of Jacob  27-36
    D.  The Life of Joseph  37-50  



FACTS ON EXODUS

Authorship

Exodus has traditionally been attributed to Moses who names himself
several times in connection with the Lord's command to write (17:14, 24:4, 34:27). Mosaic
authorship
of Exodus is confirmed by the fact that Jesus ascribed texts from the book to Moses (Mark 7:10,
12:26).

Date of Writing

Exodus was probably written shortly after Genesis during Israel's sojourn in the
wilderness (1446-1406 B.C.).

Historical Setting

The date of the exodus is crucial to the historical setting of the book.  According
to 1 Kings 6:1 Solomon began to build the temple in the 4th year of his reign (966
B.C.), 480 years after the exodus.  Thus, the date of the exodus may be calculated at 1446 B.C.
(966 + 480).  Although greatly debated, this date has been confirmed by biblical and archaeological
evidence.  

The Hebrews sojourned in Egypt 430 years after Jacob's entrance into the
land in 1876 B.C. (Exod. 12:40).  For 200 years after Joseph's death (1805 B.C.) the
Israelites lived in relative peace and prosperity.  Then there arose a pharaoh who
"knew not Joseph" (Exod. 1:8).  Oppressive measures began to be carried out against
the Hebrews (Exod. 1:22).  

Purpose

The purpose of Exodus is to recount the birth of the nation of Israel which
resulted from the exodus from Egypt and the giving of the law at Mt. Sinai.

Theme

The salvation of Yahweh (Exod. 15:2).

Outline

I.  The Exodus  1-18
II.  The Law  19-24
III.  The Tabernacle  25-40


FACTS ON LEVITICUS

Author

The author of Leviticus is not named.  But the Lord repeatedly addresses
Moses (1:1, 4:1, 6:1,8,19,24, 7:22) and he is the most likely person to have
recorded these words.  Jesus affirms the Mosaic authorship of Leviticus when He refers
to the laws concerning cleansing from leprosy (Lev. 14:2-32) as that which "Moses
commanded" (Matt. 8:4, Mk. 1:44).

Date of Writing

Leviticus was probably written shortly after Exodus during Israel's
wilderness wanderings (1446-1406 B.C.)

Historical Setting

The events and legislation of Leviticus have their geographical setting in the
wilderness at the foot of Mount Sinai.  The time period extends from the setting
up of the Tabernacle (Nisan 1, 1445 B.C.) to the departure from Sinai (Iyyar 20, 1445
B.C.) about one month and twenty days later (Exod. 40:17, Num. 10:11).  

Purpose

The purpose of Leviticus is to show that the way of access to God is by
sacrifice, and that the way of fellowship with God is by separation.   

Theme

The holiness of Yahweh.  The theme actually takes two directions: (1)
the removal of defilement which separates people from a holy God, and (2) the
regulation of fellowship between God and man.           

Theology

The concept of holiness as derived from the Hebrew qodesh has the basic
meaning of "separation" (Lev. 20:26).  Holiness is the opposite of
hol
("profane"), meaning "not separate" or "common."  That which is holy is marked off,
separated, and withdrawn from ordinary use.  When holiness means separation to God,
a morally righteous being, the concept takes on the implication of moral purity--
conformity to God's righteous standards and statutes (Lev. 20:7-8).

Outline

I.  The Sacrificial Means of Approaching God  1-17
II.  The Separation of the People of God  18-27


FACTS ON NUMBERS

Author

Only in Numbers 33:2 is literary activity ascribed to Moses in relationship to the
material of this book.  There are, however, many references to that fact that God spoke
these words to Moses (1:1, 2:1, 3:5,14,40), and it is most likely that Moses himself
recorded this revelation.  Local color, authentic wilderness background, and antiquity of
the material lends support to the Mosaic authorship of Numbers.

Date of Writing

Numbers was written or at least completed after the death of Aaron (20:28)
which took place on the first of Ab (July-August) on the 40th year after the
exodus (33:38-39), 1407 B.C.

Historical Setting

At Sinai.  The book begins with the numbering of the people at Sinai just one
month after the completion of the Tabernacle (Num. 1:1, Exod. 40:17), Iyyar (April-
May) 1, 1445 B.C.

To Kadesh-barnea.  Twenty days later Israel broke camp (10:11) and began
following the pillar of cloud north in the direction of Canaan to Kadesh-barnea (13:26).

In the Wilderness.  The refusal of Israel to enter the land (13-14) resulted in the
judgment of 37 1/2 years of fruitless wandering in the Sinai desert (15-19).

To Transjordan.  After the old generation had died off, the children of Israel
journeyed to the plains of Moab near the Jordan River where they received the
final instruction from Moses before their entrance into the land.  

Purpose

The purpose of Numbers is twofold: (1) to give an account of the wilderness
experience of Israel, and (2) to demonstrate that Yahweh's love for His people did not
preclude severe wrath upon sin, apostasy, and rebellion.  

Theme      The wrath of Yahweh.  

Outline

I.   Israel's Preparation at Sinai  1-10
II.  Israel's Wandering in the Wilderness  11-20
III. Israel's Advance to the Land  21-36  


FACTS ON DEUTERONOMY

Author

The Mosaic authorship is affirmed by Deut. 31:9 which states, "Moses wrote this
law."  The Jews of Jesus' day held to the Mosaic authorship of Deuteronomy (Matt.
22:24, Mark 10:3-4, 12:19), and Jesus Himself refers to Deut. 24:1-4 as the teaching of
Moses (Matt. 19:7-8).  Chapter 34, the account of Moses' death, was probably written
by Joshua.

Date of Writing

Deuteronomy was written by Moses in the 40th year after the exodus from
Egypt.  The work was completed just before the entrance of the second generation into
the land and Moses' death on Mount Nebo (1406 B.C.)

Historical Setting

Deuteronomy contains a restatement of the law for the generation of Israelites
who were children at Mt. Sinai.  It was given by Moses in the plains of Moab across
the Jordan River from Jericho (Deut. 1:5, Num. 36:13).  The giving of the law by Moses
was followed by his death and thirty days of mourning for the great leader.  The book covers
the period from the first of Shebat (Jan.-Feb.; Deut. 1:3) to thirty days after Moses' death
(Deut. 34:8), a period of about sixty days (Josh. 4:19).

Purpose

Deuteronomy is intended to (1) remind the second generation of their
redemption out of Egypt and of God's discipline in the wilderness, (2) restate the
Sinaitic law for the benefit of the new generation, and (3) call God's people to
obedience to the covenant, emphasizing the blessings of obedience and cursings for
disobedience.

Theme

The theme of Deuteronomy is the restatement of the law.  Its theological
emphasis is the love of Yahweh for Israel.  

Outline   

I.  The Preamble  1:1-5
II.  The Historical Prologue  1:6-4:49
III.  The Stipulations of the Covenant  5-26
IV.  The Ratification of the Covenant  27-30
V.  The Perpetuation of the Covenant Relationship  31-34