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THE THEOCENTRIC METHOD
IN READING THE BOOK OF EXODUS 1–18:
THE DISCOVERY OF THE LITERARY STRUCTURE
OF THE TWO EXTERNAL PERICOPES

EXO 1,1–6,1 AND EXO 15,22–18,27

To understand the sacred text, and in it its composition given for it by the hagiographer–editor, one ought to read it theocentrically, with particular attention being paid to this places in the text where God is the subject of acts or where He says and reveals something (and, of course, what He says).

As a result of the theocentric persistent reading of the sacred Hebrew text of the Book of Exodus 1–18, both pericopes reveal the following literary structure:

The first pericope (1,1–6,1):

Part 1.:
1,1–2,22

Israel groans in the bondage of cruel Pharaoh “1”;
God does not punish the Pharaoh “1”.
God in a discreet manner ensures growth in numbers of Israel, despite the efforts of the Pharaoh “1” to annihilate Israel.

Part 2.:
2,23–4,26

God of Fathers appears to Moses three times. In the first revelation He bestows on him THE ROD OF GOD to perform signs–miracles, and successively shows him the plan to lead out the Israelites, its own People, of the Egyptian slavery.

Part 3.:
4,27–6,1

Israel groans in the bondage of cruel Pharaoh “2”;
God does not punish the Pharaoh “2”.
God in a discreet manner strengthens Israelites to accomplish the first two stages of His plan of their liberation from under the authority of Pharaoh “2” – this Pharaoh opposes Moses, oppresses Israel, and just by this accomplishes the second stage of the God's plan.

The last pericope (15,22–18,27):

Part 1.:
15,22–16,36

God leads His own People in the way of cognition of His mercy and His Law,

Part 2.:
17,1–15

God shows to the People that Moses is his chosen one, the leader of Israel, equipped by him with the attribute of the authority – THE ROD OF GOD: through Moses, equipped with the rod, God brings forth water from the rock, gives victory over a deadly enemy – the Amalekites.

Part 3.:
18,1–27

God leads His own People to be thankful to Him and to know His Law.

Both pericopes have a concentric structure: they consist of three parts, from which external ones express the analogous thought, mainly concerning mutual relation between God and People (God protects His own People in the situation of threat and their cry for help; God patiently educates his own People being too inclined to complaining); the central part in both pericopes shows a special divine revelation connected with the person of Moses equipped with the attribute of the authority and the sign of the God's care – with the rod of God.

This concentric structure of both pericopes shows the unquestionable central place of God in history, the meaning of His Person and His salvation plan for the exit of Israel from the bondage, the necessity of the obedience and trust to God and to His servant Moses, even in the situation of an ostensive absence of God or an ostensive destruction of His plans by the enemy.

The identical structure of both external pericopes also points out on the necessity of understanding them as parallel elements, as a clamp containing the other four elements of the literary structure of Exodus 1–18 – what is discussed in the next item of this presentation.

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