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This page will also discuss Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy and Joshua for convenience.Exodus: 400 years after the Israelites' migration to Egypt at the end of Genesis, a new pharaoh subjects them to slavery and has all their newborn children killed. One baby escapes and is found by pharaoh's daughter and named Moses. As an adult, he kills an overseer for beating an Israelite and flees to the desert. He settles down into the life of a shepherd when he is called by God to liberate his brethren.Leviticus: The guide book about how the Israelites are to properly worship God.Numbers: The Israelites are on their way to The Promised Land while battling hostile nomadic peoples and internal dissension. Things do not go entirely to plan.Deuteronomy: Moses' last instructions to the new generation of Israelites about to enter Canaan.Joshua: Moses and the previous generation of Israelites are dead and its up to Joshua to lead the new generation in conquering the Promised Land.Joshua is followed by the Book of Judges.
These books contain the following tropes:
After Action Report: According to tradition, these books were written near the end of Moses' and Joshua's lifetimes.
Moses was 120 when he died. Joshua finally became leader, at 80.
Caleb, the other faithful spy along with Joshua, carries this Up to Eleven in Joshua chapter 14. He states outright that he's 85 years old but doesn't feel a day over 40 and asks that his inheritance be a mountain fortress filled with Anakim, and confidently expresses his belief that God will give him victory over them. The name Anakim means giant and many bible scholars think Goliath was one of the last Anakim. Eighty-Five year old Caleb was asking to go fight an entire fortress full of giants.
Big Blackout: One of God's plagues upon Egypt was to plunge it into thick darkness.
Bittersweet Ending: The Israelites conquer Canaan but it's foretold the next generation will be unfaithful to God.
Bury Your Gays: The infamous Leviticus 20:13... Two men having sex with each other must be put to death (assuming that's the correct English translation).
Church Militant: Contrary to what you see in The Ten Commandments, the worshipers of the golden calf were not swallowed up by the earth. God had Moses command the Levite priests to slaughter them. The swallowed up by the earth vent happened later, in an unrelated incident.
Disproportionate Retribution: God's punishments for those who have broken one of His laws seem like this, probably to illustrate that His standards of morality are utterly unlike any human being's. (On the other hand, reparations for sins committed against other people are not to be more severe than the harm done.)
Geo Effects: Taken advantage of by the Israelite army (and occasionally it also gets the better of them because they weren't right with God).
God Was My Copilot: God (or a messenger thereof) shows up to help Joshua take town the city of Jericho.
Good Is Not Nice: God didn't have any qualms in killing Egypt's firstborn in order for Pharaoh to free the Israelites from slavery, and he doesn't have any compunctions in being heavy with His severe punishments on the Israelites if they sinned against Him.
Hero of Another Story: While these books focus on the history of Israel, in one passage from Deuteronomy, the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites and Caphtorim (Philistines) could qualify. In Deuteronomy 2, Moses mentions in passing these nations driving out the Emims, Zamzummims, Horims, and Avims, other tribes or names for giants that were found in Caanan.
Lyrical Dissonance: The song of Moses (Deut. 32:1-43) which was sung as the Israelites finally entered the Promised Land. In the passages beforehand, God had flat out told Moses that his people were going to mess up badly in the end, and gave the song to Moses as a reminder of what they needed to do once that day came to repent. Nevertheless, it's about as uplifting as a kick in the balls.
Meaningful Echo: The generation after Moses crosses the Jordan river in a manner similar to how their parents crossed the Red Sea.
Aaron's two sons, Nadab and Abihu, were burned to death by God because they were offering "strange fire". After this, God invokes this trope by warning Aaron not to mourn their deaths or He will kill him along with the rest of the Israelites.
Sacred Hospitality: Various clans get cursed for not extending it, Israel gets in trouble for being stupid about it (they made a promise they shouldn't have because they didn't consult God), and the laws of the new nation codify being kind to strangers, extending sanctuary for escaped slaves, etc.
Take a Third Option: Joshua meets a stranger after prayer. He demands to know whether the stranger is an enemy or an ally. The stranger replies: "Neither, I'm here to command you." Joshua realizes Who he's talking to.