I was talking to a friend and she requested for a summary of the books of the law. As I was rearranging and representing the data to her, I was thinking it would be worthwhile to put it on my blog.

What Is The Pentateuch Books?

They are simply the first 5 books of the old testament in the bible. They are usually referred by Christians as “The Law Of Moses” and to the Jews as “Torah”.

The books are made up of 5 scrolls, in the following table

No English Name Hebrew Name Hebrew Meaning
1 Genesis Bereshit “In The Begining”
2 Exodus Shemot “Names”
3 Leviticus Vayikra “And He Called”
4 Numbers Bamidbar “In The Desert”
5 Deuteronomy Devarim “Words”

Most people do not doubt that it is written by Moses during the last 40 years of his life leading the Israelites. though there are some who wonder how did he record his own death on Mount Nebo, so there are people who felt that perhaps Joshua completed the last chapter of Deuteronomy for him, and wrote it for him. But Some also felt that it is possible that God inspired Moses to write his own death, just like how Jesus is able to tell Simon Peter how he would die. (Jn 21:18-19)

Though there are many people who argued if the records is chronological, i will think they are, as they seems to be written one after the other, I personally feel that Gen-The early part of numbers should be written when the Israelites dwell in Sinai. Moses recorded the passage from Sinai to Kadesh in detailed, as well as the incident which the spies are sent across to Canaan. The incident turn the name of Kadesh (Meaning Holy) to Kadesh Barnea (Wandering People). then he went on to write the boo of numbers while they are travelling in the wilderness, recording only the first and the last 2 years of the travels.

Finally it ended with the book of Deuteronomy, when Moses spoke to the second generation of Israelites, to review with them the journey and to remind them to keep the word of God. This book must have been written when the Israelites were at the border of Canaan and are preparing to conquer the place. As it contains the last sermon of Moses.

Therefore listing out the books in chronological order, i will believe that they will look like this

A Time chart of Pentateuch books in Chronological Order

A Time chart of Pentateuch books in Chronological Order

Overview Of Genesis

The Synopsis of Genesis is as follows

Chapt 1-11 : Creation, fall, flood and the tower of Babel
Chapt 12-24 : The Life of Abraham
Chapt 25-26 : The Life of Issac
Chapt 26-35: The Life of Jacob
Chapt 35-50 : The Life Of Joseph

Generally, the most disputed part of the book lies from Gen 1-11 where it talks about a time which both science and religion cannot fully prove. As my purpose is only to give an overview, I would not be dwelling into the proofs of Genesis.

The book explained how the Patriarchs move to Egypt, and about the fact that God told Abraham that they will be in Egypt for 400 years. The book that talks about creation ironically ended with the verse
“So Joseph died, being one hundred and ten years old; and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.” – Moses (Gen 50:26).

Joseph left his coffin as a reminder to the Israelites that one day they will need to leave Egypt, he gave them specific instructions to carry his remains out from Egypt when God fulfilled his promise to bring them back to the land of Canaan. This is an act of faith because his coffin would have to be left untouched for 400 years. Finally the Israelites left Egypt, they followed his instruction (Ex 13:19)

Overview Of Exodus

The book Of Exodus talks about a new king of Egypt who did not know Joseph aroused. He enslaved and tortured the Israelites, they build cities for him and were his slaves. Later on, he decided to kill all the males of the Israelites to force them to assimilate into the Egyptian population. One of the child survived and is called Moses, he grew up as the sons of the Pharaohs daughter he had a burning desire to serve God, but he was not ready, so God sent him into the wilderness of Midian to be a shepherd boy. Using him to lead the Israelites at the age of 80.

The Synopsis of Exodus is as follows
Chap 1-2 : The birth and early life of Moses
Chapt 3-5: Moses called by God to go to the Pharaoh
Chapt 6-13: The 10 plagues to Egypt
Chapt 13-17 : Red sea and the first 3 months of the Journey
Chapt 20-24: The first laws, the 10 commandments
Chapt 25-40 : The detail plans of the Tabernacle.

I have written a 6th part article on the 10 plagues, you can access all the post here

Overview Of Leviticus

The book of Leviticus was Gods Revelations to Moses regarding the matters of the Law. Its synopsis are as follow

Chapt 1-8 : Laws about Sacrifice and Offering
Chapt 8-10 : Start of Priesthood, death of Nadab and Abihu
Chapt 11-16: The Hygiene Law. Discerning Clean and Unclean
Chap 17-26: Rules of Conduct

Only Chapt 8-10 contains stories while the rest contains instructions. People who learn from law will be able to draw many teachings from the laws.

Overview Of Numbers

The book of numbers records the travels of the Israelites 40 years in the wilderness. It only records the first 2 years and the last 2 years of the journey. Throughout the journey, God continue to reveal his Laws to them, especially when they encounter situation and events.

The Synopsis are as follows.
1. The first 2 years of the travel (Num 1-13)
a. Complaints about food, Gods sending Quail and Manna
b. Complaints about water, Moses exhausted, 70 Elders Appointed To Assist
c. Aaron and Miriam Dissension with Moses, Gods punishment
2. Spying Canaan and Gods Punishment (Num 13-14)
a. 12 Spies, 10 with bad news, 2 with good news
b. Rebellion against God, judged by God
3. Second half of the Journey (Num 15-26)
a. Rebellion of Levites
b. Moses Error at Kadesh
c. Battle against King Sihon and King Og
d. Balaam hired to curse Israel
e. Balaam advice to Moab to commit immorality with Israel
f. Second Census of Israel

The Wilderness Journey is mentioned by God from then all the way to the new testament, learning from the lives of the Israelites contains many valuable lessons to Christians in their daily walk with God.

Overview Of Deuteronomy

The book of Deuteronomy is a series of Sermon spoken by Moses to the second generations of Israelites. These Israelites are born in the wilderness and have not seen the miracles of God in Egypt.

Generally its Synopsis are like this
Chapt 1-4 : Review of the Wilderness Journey
Chapt 4:-11 : Recap of the Law, especially the 10 commandment
Chapt 12-26: Other Laws
Chapt 27-28 : Blessing and Curses
Chapt 29-30 : Conclusion
Chapt 31-34 : Joshua appointed as the next leader

In fact this book is one which God through Moses instructed the kings to hand copy these books and meditate on them. IT is meant as a guiding principle for him when he rules from his throne. ( Duet 17:18-20)