1.2 Understanding the Pentateuch

The creation story is the best known part of the Pentateuch, but not the most important. 

The center of the whole Pentateuch is namely as a “DOUBLE-PITCH”:

  1. The rejoicing over the salvation at the Dead Sea in the song of Miriam (Ex.15,21) and Moses song:

   “Let us sing to the Lord, for he is exalted; horse and rider he has cast into the sea!” 


  1. The covenant with God at Sinai and its laws (Ex.19ff)


Therefore the following order in the biblical treatment:

Exodus Part 1
14The core of the entire Pentateuch is first the salvation at the Red Sea. The center and end are the praise of God after experiencing salvation, probably the creation stories originated from praise, see Ps. 104! (and not from the discussion of scientific theories), Thus, at the beginning, the center, and the end of the books of Moses is the praise of God! (20 and then the conclusion of the covenant at Sinai with the Decalogue, see below).
1(Preceding this) DOUBT: The oppression in Egypt
7The plagues in Egypt
12The institution of the Passover
12This in turn is preceded by the fathers’ stories:

As the story of God’s promises to the fathers, to be read more as a story of blessing than a family chronicle and of course also as an answer to the question: how does Israel come to Egypt?

1This in turn is preceded by the prehistory: 

The creation stories have not grown out of the dispute with the natural sciences and are not particularly suitable for this, but out of the praise of God and wonder

Adam: the human being: individual and typos at the same time, also Eve. Important: Rom. 5: The Adam – Christ – Typology:

  • in Adam all men sinned
  • in Christ we are all redeemed
1The first creation story

The beauty, perfection and order of creation the Sabbath is the crown of creation, not man the image of God as an axiom set by God as “human dignity” until today the highest value of our Basic Law.

2The second creation story: 

Answers the question: how did evil come into the world? Serpent fight: to be interpreted messianically as the promise of Christ.

5Brother Murder
9Covenant of God with Noah. Sign: The Rainbow
25-50Fathers’ Stories:
46-50Jacob stories: Biblical Realism and Honesty

Father – Son – Problem

22Sacrifice of Abraham: this story is only bearable through messianic interpretation

1. Archetype of mystical experience of God

2. God is not a teddy bear!

Include in it:
37-45Joseph story: is assumed to be known 

Brother – Problem

46-50Again Jacob’s story, now interwoven with Joseph’s story
Exodus Part 2
then the second part of the DOUBLEPIT with the conclusion of the covenant at Sinai and the Decalogue
20:2Commandments toward God 
20:12Commandments toward Man
20:17Stuff (!), that is:

4th commandment: intergenerational contract

5th commandment: only private law kill

6th commandment: no sexual immorality, but: protection of the wife

7th commandment: Prohibition of the taking of human beings

10th commandment: wife and staff subsumed under property offences

Landtag RPL: 10 commandments undisputed

32Golden calf: fertility god or greed for money or both
Works of law: probably (!) already previous collections: 

  1. Covenant Book: Original Cell
  2. Priests’ Law: Provisions on priests, worship and sacrifice
  3. Sanctity Law: predominantly cultic provisions
Source: nice compilation of the law works by Westermann, p. 78f!
Leviticus – Deuteronomy:
2nd source: Clear, but quite detailed content of these books at Westermann, 

S. 81-94.

Note: The 3rd through 5th books of Genesis cannot be thoroughly studied in this course. The list on p. 7 and the following notes will have to suffice. 

1-7The sacrificial laws. They are completed in Jesus for us: 

“For with one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.” (once for all, Hebr. 10,10)

no detailed treatment necessary, because: the law is done away: “But Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us. ” (Gal. 3,13) of course, the moral rules continue to apply to the Christian: so-called “tertius usus legis”, but now as “fruit of the spirit” (Gal. 5,22)
10-20Departure from Sinai to the East Bank

Compared to Ex. 16-18, the inner difficulties come out more frequently and more abruptly in Num. 10-20.” (Westermann z.St.), e.g.

16-17The “Rotte Korach”

Shockingly honest: The history of Israel is from the beginning a history of apostasy from God

22-24The Seer Balaam
The Dt. is considered by many scholars to be the book found during the cult reformation of Josiah in 621 (2.Kg.22,8ff)
5Repetition of the Decalogue
6:4Sh’ma Israel (hear, Israel,…) is the pivot of the Dt.
12-26The German law as the main part

In addition to the provision of the law, in German there is the parainesis (exhortation to right action), which in turn is linked to the memory of God’s saving deeds.