Major Themes in the Pentateuch

Following is an outline of three major themes within the Pentateuch:


There are three important covenants in the Pentateuch:

i.  Covenant with Noah: promise never to destroy the earth by flood again; sign is the rainbow.

ii. Covenant with Abraham: promise of land and descendants; sign is circumcision.

iii. Covenant with Moses or the Sinai Covenant: God promises to be God to the people and the people agree to obey His statutes; sign is obedience (some say Sabbath).


Promise of Land

As illustrated in the discussion above (see synchronic analysis of the Pentateuch), the theme of the PROMISE of land runs throughout the Pentateuch.

Theme of Abundance and Fruitfulness

Related to the theme of the promise of land is the theme of abundance, fruitfulness, and multiplication. God tells the first couple in the garden to “be fruitful and multiply.” God also promises Abraham his descendants will be as abundant as the stars in the sky, or the sand on the shore. The Hebrews become so abundant in Egypt that they become a threat to Pharaoh’s power and control. These examples illustrate the significance of this theme in the Pentateuch.


Law and the Sacrificial System

The giving of the Law at Sinai constitutes the main concern of Ex 19-Num 10. All of Leviticus is concerned with legal stipulations and instructions for the sacrificial system. Deuteronomy is cast as a speech from Moses serving as a review of the Law

4 thoughts on “Major Themes in the Pentateuch

  1. A covenant – 'is an agreement between two or more parties binding them mutually to undertakings on each others behalf' {Baker's DT, 142}
    A promise- 'is a declaration that something will or will not be done, given by one' {Dictionary}
    God enters into these covenants with men and it is the men who need to uphold there end of these agreement, so with that said God puts into place the Law and instruction on how {man} can stay on track and be obedient and worship God.
    God being the one who has made the promises is the one who has been faithful in keeping them, God always keeps His word as well as His promise. {And we are witnesses to the fact that He did keep His promise}

    • Good point Anthony. We are privileged enough to live in this time of history and be able to look back and see tons of God's word and work already fulfilled.

  2. The Promises of God. The one that can keep His word! I find it interesting that most if not all of these significant moments with God were repeated. He reminds them and us so not to miss it or forget. It is awesome how God provides us every opportunity to live with Him and in His blessings. Then He makes it very clear how to stay in the blessings.

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