As she did previously with the Book of Genesis, author Veda Duff Tohline has created a marvelous collection of character studies of the personalities in the Book of Exodus. Citizens of Time in the Exodus provides a detailed account of each character’s involvement, not only within the book but throughout the entire Bible, making this a valuable companion piece for anyone currently engaged in study of Biblical text and for avid readers in general.
Tohline, a retired teacher and Methodist minister’s wife, claims that of the 179 characters included in the books she analyzed, the largest of which is Exodus, she highlights the thirty-five main players who helped carve out the story of the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt. Tohline begins with the first character in the stories, the Pharaoh at the time of Moses’ youth, and lists the entries where he appears throughout the text. This may seem like a rather simple addition, but it allows readers to follow along in the Bible quite easily. This is fitting since Tohline claims her books are not meant to replace Bible study, but further enhance it.
In her introduction, Tohline claims that the purpose of this book is “to encourage individuals to think more deeply about life and how it can be enhanced by recognizing the power and blessings available through obedience to God’s prescribed way of life.” She concludes each chapter with important notes and thoughts that she calls “Reflections.” These are simple ideas and notions that lend themselves to the goal of the book, often in an effort to engage her audience in further discussion beyond the limits of the text. For example, at the conclusion of the book’s most engaging chapter, dedicated solely to the Israelites, Tohline reflects, “Humans have a strong tendency to whimper and complain when expected results are not readily forthcoming.” This comment refers to the Israelites’ restlessness during their Exodus through the desert, yet it has wide-ranging significance far beyond the limits of religious belief. This is the real advantage of Tohline’s work; it lifts the veil of religion and invites in all manner of readers with an eye for bettering their lives.