The Story of the Pentateuch

A simple way of seeing the story of the Pentateuch is by just looking at how each of the first five books of the Bible both begin and end. Here is a brief look at how each book starts and finishes…

The Bible opens by telling us that God created everything…

Genesis 1:1 (ESV)
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

As Genesis closes and Exodus begins, we see that God has now created a people for Himself…

Genesis 50:26 – Exodus 1:1-7 (ESV)
So Joseph died, being 110 years old. They embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt… These are the names of the sons of Israel who came to Egypt with Jacob, each with his household: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin, Dan and Naphtali, Gad and Asher. All the descendants of Jacob were seventy persons; Joseph was already in Egypt. Then Joseph died, and all his brothers and all that generation. But the people of Israel were fruitful and increased greatly; they multiplied and grew exceedingly strong, so that the land was filled with them.

Exodus ends by telling us that there is now a tabernacle where God lives among His people, yet no one can enter it…

Exodus 40:35-37 (ESV)
And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. Throughout all their journeys, whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the people of Israel would set out. But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out till the day that it was taken up.

As Leviticus begins, we find God speaking to Moses from that tabernacle, indicating that God desires to have intimacy with His people at His dwelling place here on earth…

Leviticus 1:1 (ESV)
The LORD called Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting…

By the end of Leviticus and the beginning of the book of Numbers, people (priests) can now be in God’s presence through the Levitical, sacrificial system. Moses is now found INSIDE that dwelling place, speaking to God; not outside (as was described at the beginning of Leviticus)…

Leviticus 27:34 – Numbers 1:1A (ESV)
These are the commandments that the LORD commanded Moses for the people of Israel on Mount Sinai… The LORD spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the tent of meeting…

By the end of Numbers and the beginning of Deuteronomy, Moses then passes on to the people what God wanted said directly to them…

Numbers 36:13 – Deuteronomy 1:1A (ESV)
These are the commandments and the rules that the LORD commanded through Moses to the people of Israel in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho… These are the words that Moses spoke to all Israel beyond the Jordan in the wilderness…

After fulfilling his role in the story of the Pentateuch, Moses now dies. But, what was shared through him to the people of God then carries them into the future…

Deuteronomy 34:7-12 (ESV)
Moses was 120 years old when he died. His eye was undimmed, and his vigor unabated. And the people of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days. Then the days of weeping and mourning for Moses were ended. And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him. So the people of Israel obeyed him and did as the LORD had commanded Moses. And there has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face, none like him for all the signs and the wonders that the LORD sent him to do in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land, and for all the mighty power and all the great deeds of terror that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.

When we understand the story of the Pentateuch, the Bible then becomes easier to understand…

Godspeed, to the brethren!