The Pentateuch is term used to describe the first five books of the Old Testament, also known as the Torah. These books are Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Traditionally, authorship of these books was attributed Moses, but scholars now understand that these books emerged out of a long tradition and include numerous writers and editors.
The “Pentateuch” means “five vessels” or “five containers.” These books are part history and part law, detailing the story of the Hebrews from Creation through their enslavement and wandering in the desert after the flight from Egypt. It was during the desert period where Moses was given the Ten Commandments and established the other laws, which are detailed in the later books of the Pentateuch.
Genesis is the story of the Hebrews from Adam and Eve, through the Flood and the establishment of Abraham as the First Patriarch. It ends with the children of Israel moving to Egypt. Exodus is the story of their enslavement and freedom at the hands of Moses.
Where Exodus showed what God did for men, Leviticus details the law, or what men must do for God. It is also known as the “Law of the Priests.” The Book of Numbers details the years spend wandering in the desert. Deuteronomy is another explication of the law, detailing three speeches given by Moses to his people in the final year before entering the Promised Land, and ends with his death.