Men’s Bible Study Handout – 2.5.22

The Scriptural Theme of the Exodus: The Exile and Return of God’s People


Think of a tapestry. Different threads, colors, patterns, all woven together into a unified, artistic whole. A scene or portrait made of thousands of threads. In the same way, only greater, Scripture is a divine tapestry of God’s holy word. Various themes are woven throughout; people places, events, history – it’s all woven together like threads of a tapestry to give us the overarching true and beautiful story of good news of God’s great love for us in Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. Scripture is full of themes such as death and resurrection, water, trees, mountains, redemption, new birth, God’s covenants, and so much more. Today we’re going to spend some time scratching the surface of one of Scripture’s major themes: exile and return.


Exile and return. In many ways, you can summarize the entire story of the Bible with those words. Exile and return is the story that we wind woven throughout Scripture from Genesis to Revelation. Let’s see how and where this central biblical theme is part of the fabric of God’s word and God’s saving work in Jesus.


  1. What is an exile? What does it mean to be in exile? Where in Scripture do we see stories of exile?


  1. How do we live in exile still today?


  1. Scripture’s first exile: Read Genesis 3. What kind of exile(s) are in Genesis 3?


  1. Read Genesis 12. What kind of exile or exodus is Abram called into or sent out to by God?


Abram and Sarai                    Israel

Famine                        Gen. 12:10                              Gen. 41:57-42:1-3

Good Looks                 Gen. 12:11 (Sarai)                   Gen. 39:6 (Joseph)

Plagues                        Gen. 12:17                              Ex. 7-12

Command to Go         Gen. 12:18-19                         Ex. 12:31-32[1]


  1. What other exiles can you think of in the OT?
    1. Jacob flees his brother, Esau. Genesis 28
    2. Israel under Moses
    3. Israel under Joshua
    4. Gideon, Naomi, David


  1. The Exodus: Scripture’s archetypical exile and return story. The Exodus is the defining moment for Israel. Read Exodus 12-14.
    1. How is the exodus an exile and return? When does the promised return happen?
    2. How is the exodus foundational for the rest of the OT? The NT?
    3. How is the exodus a preview of Jesus’ life and work? See Luke 9:28-36.


  1. Exile of Israel and Judah:
    1. 2 Kings 15-17. Destruction of Israel, Northern Kingdom, 733-722 BC
    2. 2 Kings 25 – exile of Judah, the southern kingdom in 587 BC



  1. How does the Psalms depict the theme of exile and return? Read Psalm 22. What other Psalms might have this theme of exile and return as a part or whole of the psalm?


  1. Exile and Return in the Prophets:
    1. Isaiah 11, 51-52
    2. Jeremiah 16 & 23
    3. The future exile and return of God’s people in the Messiah. Notice how the prophets reach back to the Exodus and also look forward using the same language of creation and exodus that will be fulfilled in the coming Messiah.


  1. Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, the Grand Exile and Return. Read Matthew 27:45-56 and 28:1-10


  1. Read Hebrews 12:1-3, 18-29 and Revelation 7:9-17; 21:1-7. Where does the Grand Exile of Jesus’ death and resurrection lead us to?





[1] This chart is from The Christ Key: Unlocking the Centrality of Christ in the Old Testament by Chad Bird. New Reformation Publications, 2021. P. 89.

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