By Levi Clancy for לוי on
Exodus tells the story of the covenant.
Exodus 1-15 describe the delivery of the Israelites from Egypt, and the rise of Moses who will be God's prophet, with the parting of the Red Sea in Exodus 15. Exodus 16-18 describe the Israelites' entry into the wilderness and their arrival at Mount Sinai, the mountain of God, where Moses speaks divine revelations to these people. In Exodus 19-24, God makes a covenant with the Israelites and a series of commandments; if the Israelites promise to keep the covenant then God will come down to dwell with the people, just like he did with Adam and Eve in Genesis 1 and 2. The Israelites promise to keep the covenant, so God tells Moses to come to the top of Mount Sinai where he gives the Israelites a tabernacle.
The tabernacle is essentially a mobile tent temple, and at the far end from the entrance is the Ark of the Covenant, a throne that represents the presence of god in the tabernacle. Thus, the tabernacle implies that what happened at Mount Sinai was the occasion where the Israelites allowed god to be their king. However, the Israelites have no political king or ruler otherwise, except for God who communicates via a prophet. After Mount Sinai, after the tabernacle, the Israelites continue to travel through the wilderness.