Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » How We Taught This Lesson in the Past: Lesson 13: Bondage, Passover, and Exodus
 


How We Taught This Lesson in the Past: Lesson 13: Bondage, Passover, and Exodus

By: Ardis E. Parshall - March 21, 2010

Other than its emphasis of the Passover as a type and foreshadowing of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, this year’s manual covers the events from Joseph’s death through the Israelites’ crossing of the Red Sea in a single chapter. Likewise, the 1937 seminary manual addresses four lessons to that material in a straightforward narration of events. Both manuals offer occasional slight commentary and request class members to apply lessons to their lives, but basically both lessons are stories.

Moses, the Prince of Egypt

Introduction to the Book of Exodus.

We now have finished our story of the book of Genesis. According to Abraham’s statement four hundred years passed between the close of Genesis and the beginning of the book of Exodus. “Exodus” means “departure,” “going out.” The book is so named because it tells of the departure (exodus) of the Israelites from Egypt and their return to Canaan.

In Lesson Twenty-Eight we learned about the Israelites migrating to Egypt, their rapid increase, and how they finally were reduced to bondage. But the period of bondage was about ended and they were now soon to return to their old home in the land of Canaan. The book of Exodus begins with an Egyptian national problem.

How the Egyptians Tried to Control the Israelites (Ex. 1:6-15; 22).

a. By Afflicting Them with Heavy Burdens. And Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation. And the children of Israel were fruitful, an increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceedingly mighty; and the land was filled with them. Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph. And he said unto his people: Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we: come on, let us deal wisely with them lest they multiply, and it come to pass that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land. Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses. But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel. And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigor: And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in mortar, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigor.

b. Baby Boys Killed. When heavy burdens failed to control Israelite increase, the Egyptians adopted a more severe method – they attempted to kill all the baby boys. “And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying: ‘Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive’.”

Moses Introduced.

a. Birth and Childhood (Ex. 2:1-10). And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took to wife a daughter of Levi, and the woman … bare a son; and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months. and when she could not longer hide him, she took (made) for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river’s brink. And his sister stood afar off, to wit (to see) what would be done to him.

And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river; and her maidens walked along by the river’s side; and when she saw the ark among the flags, she sent her maid to fetch it. And when she had opened it, she saw the child: and behold, the babe wept. And she had compassion on him, and said, This is one of the Hebrews’ children. Then said his sister to Pharaoh’s daughter: Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee? And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, Go. And the maid went and called to the child’s mother. And Pharaoh’s daughter said unto her, Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages. And the woman took the child, and nursed it. And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses; and she said, – Because I drew him out of the water.

b. From Child to Man of Forty (Ex. 2:11-15). And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens; and he spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren. And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand. And when he went out the second day, behold, two men of the Hebrews strove together; and he said to him that did the wrong, “Wherefore smitest thou thy fellow?” And he said: Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? Intendest thou to kill me, as thou killest the Egyptian? And Moses feared, and said, Surely this thing is known. Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian.

Comments and Sidelights.

1. (a) It means little to us to read of the vigorous work required by the Egyptian task-masters. One historian says that 120,000 men lost their lives while constructing a canal connecting the Nile River and the Red Sea. “In modern times Mohammed Ali’s canal from the Nile to Alexandria cost 20,000 human lives.” [Dummelow: The One Volume Commentary.]

2. Israelites believed in rearing large families. They, therefore, increased more rapidly than the Egyptians and threatened the overthrow of the Egyptian power. How to control Israelite increase ha become a real national problem.

3. Ruins of Pithom and Raamses, Pharaoh’s “treasure cities,” have now been discovered. Amelia B. Edwards makes this interesting comment about the walls of Pithom. In the lower courses she says that chopped straw was mixed in the bricks, higher up, with chopped reeds, and finally, at the top, neither straw nor reeds were used.

4. (b) The boy babies were killed because they could become soldiers. Women did not go tow war.

5. There are a thousand unexpressed heartaches in this short story. Imagine ways which parents would invent to smuggle little fellows into the world. How puny and helpless even kings and nations are when they fight against the Lord. He had promised the Patriarchs that their children should become a great nation and return again to Canaan. All the Pharaohs could do did not prevent the fulfillment of this promise.

6. (2) Moses was born under a lucky star as we say. According to Pharaoh’s decree he should have been drowned in the Nile River, but he was not. he was an unusual baby. His mother called him a “goodly child.” Josephus says he was “large and beautiful,” while St. Luke says he was “exceedingly fair.” Naturally the princess was much impressed and wanted to save him.

7. Have you ever known a home where lingering illness threatened the life of one of its members? Under such conditions we find the most sacred devotion, sympathy, and love. Compare such a home with Moses’ home during the first three months of his life. Try to see the picture – the sleepless nights and anxious days – the praying, planning, and scheming, to save a little boy so dear. And what of Moses himself? With no concern, no worries, he laughed while others wept, and cried out when safety demanded silence.

8. Can you see the banks of the Nile overgrown with reeds and rushes? And there is Miriam, Moses’ thirteen-year-old sister eagerly watching the princess as she approaches. His mother too is not far away, while perhaps the father some distance below watches the river to see that the little boat with its precious cargo does not drift too far away. The plan was well worked out and succeeded. But we will not give Moses’ parents all the honor, for the Lord protected his life.

9. (b) The child grew, and the princess took him as her own son. “In the great college of the Priest, in the city of the Sun (On) the boy was put to his schooling, and he grew and became wise in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was a mighty man, both in word and in deed.” He was educated with great care, says Josephus. He was indeed a prince and had every possible opportunity the entire kingdom afforded. his education would include military and athletic training.

In all of this we can see the directing hand of the Lord preparing Moses for the great work of delivering Israel. In this first period of his training he learned the language and customs of the kings and people of Egypt. He developed a strong, healthy body and mind and was drilled in military organization and tactics, all of which he used in his great life’s work.

10. At last he had to choose between Egyptians, his adopted people, and Hebrews, his own flesh and blood. Their paths lay far apart. Paul says he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, “choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God.” He never forgot the early training of his mother. He loved his own people best.

A Navajo Indian as a boy was taken to the Indian school at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and educated. After graduating he returned to his tribe as interpreter for the Indian agent. He was efficient and accomplished, but regularly he made pilgrimages from the agent’s home to the Indian tepees where he mingled freely and was happy with his own people. The early training of his mother and his tribe often lured him away from civilized haunts. This must also have been true of Moses.

11. Moses could not have been a murderer. he was physically well developed and unintentionally killed the Egyptian. Men have been killed in boxing contests (three in Utah within comparatively recent years). The ones who caused the deaths were not held for murder.

Questions and Exercises.

1. Compare Moses among the Israelite slaves with Lincoln at the auction when he said, “If I ever get a chance to hit this thing, I’ll hit it hard.”
2. “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6) Apply this to Moses.
3. To what tribe of Israel did Moses belong?
4. Appoint someone in class to report on the ruins of Egypt.
5. Moses’ little boat was lined with “pitch” (bitumen). We have an abundance in some of our western states. it was used in building the Tower of Babel and in preserving mummies. How/ Name some uses we make of it. (Special report.) (Bring a sample to the class.)

References. (See end of Lessons Thirty-Three and Thirty-Four, Old Testament Outlines.)

Moses, A Shepherd of Midian

Lord, let me take this rule
To think of life as a school,
And try my best to stand each test,
And do my work, and nothing shirk.
This lesson thou dost give
To teach me how to live,
To do, to bear, to get and share,
To work and play, and trust alway.

M.B. Babcock.

Moses’ Second Forty Years of Training – The University of the Desert.

We have now followed Moses through the first forty years of his life. Like Joseph he was educated in the University of Egypt, but in quite a different way. The second forty years of his training was in what Mr. Sell calls “the School of the Desert.” This period was equally as valuable in preparing him to free the Israelites and lead them back to Canaan. While here he traveled over the road, found the best pasture and water, and learned the dangers and moods of the desert. He became intimately acquainted with the country and peoples where later he led Israel. Most important of all, Moses found and met God who was his companion and helper during the exodus from Egypt to Canaan. When Moses killed the Egyptian, he had to flee from Pharaoh.

Moses Flees to the Land of Midian (Ex. 2:15-21).

Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian. And he sat down by a well. Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters: and they came and drew water, and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock. And the shepherds came and drove them away; but Moses stood up and helped them, and watered their flock. And when they came to Ruel their father, he said, how is it that ye are come so soon today? And they said, An Egyptian delivered us out of the hand of the shepherds, and also drew water enough for us, and watered the flock. And he said unto his daughters: And where is he? … Call him, that he may eat bread. And Moses was content to dwell with the man, and he gave Moses Zipporah his daughter. …

The Unhappy Hebrews in Egypt. Their Prayers for Deliverance (Ex. 2:23-25).

And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died; and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God, by reason of the bondage. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them.

Moses’ Call to Deliver Israel (Ex. 3:1-11; 4:1-14; 6-8; 10-17).

a. The Voice of the Lord from the Burning Bush. Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb (Sinai). And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said: I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. And he said, Draw not nigh hither; put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. Moreover he said: I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.

And the Lord said: I have surely seen the affliction of my people, which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; and I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey … Come now, therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of israel out of Egypt.

b. Moses Makes Excuses. And Moses said unto God: Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?

And Moses answered and said: But behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The Lord hath not appeared unto thee. And the Lord said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod. And He said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it. And the Lord said, take it by the tail, and he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand.

And the Lord said furthermore unto him, Put now thine hand into thy bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow. And he said, Put thine hand into thy bosom again. And he put his hand into his bosom again; and plucked it out of his bosom, and behold, it was turned again as his other flesh. And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign that they will believe the voice of the latter sign. …

And Moses said unto the Lord: O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou has spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. And the Lord said unto him. Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say. And he said: O my Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses, and he said: Is not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I know that he can speak well. And also, behold, he cometh forth to meet thee: and when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart … And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God. And thou shalt take this rod in thine hand, wherewith thou shalt do signs.

Moses Returns to Egypt (Ex. 4:13-19; 27-31).

And Moses went and returned to Jethro his father-in-law, and said unto him: Let me go, I pray thee, and return unto my brethren which are in Egypt, and see whether they be yet alive. And Jethro said to Moses Go in peace. And the Lord said unto Moses in Midian: Go, return into Egypt; for all the men are dead which sought thy life.

And the Lord said to Aaron: Go into the wilderness to meet Moses. And he went, and met him in the mount of God, and kissed him. And Moses told Aaron all the words of the Lord who had sent him, and all the signs which he had commanded him. And Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel: and Aaron spake all the words which the Lord had spoken unto Moses, and did the signs in the sight of the people. And the people believed; and when they heard that the Lord had visited the children of Israel, and that he had looked upon their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshiped.

Thus ended the second and began the third and last forty years of Moses’ life.

Comments and Sidelights.

1. Note on the map the probable route Moses would travel. Naturally he would take the road not frequently traveled and go to a place where he would be safest. “He went away privately,” Josephus says, “and because the public roads were watched, he took his flight through the deserts, and where his enemies would not suspect he would travel.” [Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Bk. 11, Ch. 2.]

2. The Midianites were descended from Midian (son of Abraham and Keturah). They lived in ancient times in northern Arabia, … and roamed about Mt. Sinai (Horeb). They caused the Israelites trouble during the reign of the judges. Moses’ father-in-law, Ruel, was a priest of the Midianites. He is also called Jethro and Hobab. [Master Bible, p. 1232, Hastings, or any other Bible Dictionary, Doctrine and Covenants, Sec. 84:6.] Moses found shelter among friends who were distant relatives.

3. All the time that Moses was in Midian his people in Egypt were suffering under their terrible bondage. But they were doing something else – they were praying, crying to the Lord for deliverance. And he heard their prayers and remembered the covenant he had made with the patriarchs to return Israel to Canaan. It was now time for them to go. For eighty years he had been training and preparing Moses to lead them back.

4. It was a long jump from prince to desert shepherd. But Moses was more than shepherd. He had always been a student. At the age of eighty he was a college graduate. He knew well the language, wisdom, and divinings of Egypt. He had lived in the king’s palace and was acquainted with the manners and customs of the royalty. He had hardened to the heat and desolation of the desert and knew all the oases and watering places.

5. All during these forty years Moses had remembered the suffering of his people. His efforts alone to help them had failed – he had killed only one Egyptian. A proud, selfish king and his entire nation had to be overcome. Year after year, alone in the desert, Moses had time to think and pray. And then he met the Lord in the burning bush just as Jacob had found him at Bethel, and Abraham, on the plains of Mamre.

6. Josephus says that Mt. Sinai was already sacred to the Bedouin tribes. They never went onto it nor herded their flocks near it. The sacred surroundings, together with Moses’ memories and thoughts of his suffering people, formed a fitting background for the glorious vision and revelation which he received.

7. Moses’ excuses were not indications of weakness or lack of willingness to rescue his suffering nation. They were real problems unsolved in his mind. (a) His own unfitness. “Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh?” He was not afraid but knew well what it meant. he had had experience already. “I will be with you,” was the Lord’s answer. (b) The Israelites will not believe. How could a whole nation be converted to follow him into the desert? Signs and miracles were provided to convince them. (c) Moses was not eloquent. He could not make a favorable appeal to Pharaoh. Aaron was to be his attorney, his spokesman.

8. “And they (the people) bowed their heads and worshiped.” It was enough – God had heard their prayers, and Moses had been sent to deliver them from bondage.

Questions and Exercises.

1. On the map carefully note Moses’ travels from Egypt to Midian. What other routes could he have taken?
2. Locate Sinai (Horeb) and the lands of Midian, Edom, and Moab.
3. Apply the principle of the radio to this situation. The Israelites were crying and praying in Egypt. Moses heard the results from the burning bush in the desert of Sinai.
4. Tell of the “Wall of Wailing” in Jerusalem. Compare the Jews at this wall with the Israelites praying for deliverance in Egypt. (Special report.)
5. While in Egypt, Moses tried fighting to relieve his kinsmen’s suffering. Why didn’t it work?
6. What was the Lord’s way? Tell in detail.
7. Some boys think high school is too long a period to spend preparing for life’s work. What do you think about it?
8. It had been forty years since Moses used the Egyptian language. Was this probably the reason he said, “I am not eloquent”?

References:

See Author’s Lesson 29 of this volume.

Moses, the Deliverer

Note: A number of difficulties arise in the organization of this lesson. The material is selected and condensed from Exodus 4 to 12 inclusive. The story is here retold and interspersed with brief quotations. Go to the Bible itself if a more detailed account is desired.

Conditions in Egypt when Moses and Aaron Arrived.

In recent lessons we were told how the Israelites were brought into slavery by the Egyptians. They became Pharaoh’s greatest source of wealth. They were the builders and artisans. They dug his canals and drained his swamps, tilled his fields and harvested his crops. If we think of each of his 600,000 men slaves valued as a Negro slave in early American times, we can well understand why the king so vigorously refused to let them go.

Moses Demands Freedom for the Israelites.

The Israelites believed Moses had been sent to deliver them and immediately ceased their work. When Moses said to Pharaoh, “Thus saith the Lord let my people go,” the king replied, “Who is the Lord that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go.” Pharaoh knew only the powerless gods of Egypt.

The People’s Burdens Increased.

“Get ye back to your burdens,” the king demanded of the people, and to the taskmasters he said, “Ye shall no more give the people straw to make bricks, … let them go and gather straw for themselves. And the number of bricks, which they did make heretofore, ye shall not diminish.”

So instead of freedom, their burdens were doubled. They blamed Moses for their added troubles, and he took the matter to the Lord saying, “Wherefore hast thou so evil entreated this people? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in thy name, he hath done evil to this people: neither hast thou delivered thy people at all.” Moses and the people had much to learn about the Lord and his power.

The Ten Plagues.

Then began a series of ten miraculous events (plagues, they are called), by which the Lord afflicted the Egyptians until they were willing to set Israel free. By these wonders the God of Israel showed both Israelites and Egyptians that his power was greater than that of all the idol gods of Egypt. Moses and Aaron performed the miracles Moses had been shown in the desert of Sinai. But the magicians did in like manner with their enchantments. The king’s heart was hardened and he would not let Israel go.

First Plague: The Water turned to Blood (Ex. 7:20-25). And Moses lifted up the rod, and smote the waters that were in the river, … and all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood. … And the magicians did so with their enchantments and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened. … And the Egyptians digged round about the river for water to drink; for they could not drink the water of the river.

Second Plague: Frogs. (Ex. 8:5-15). And Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt; and frogs came up, and covered the land of Egypt. They hopped into the beds, ovens and kneading troughs. Then Pharaoh called Moses and said, Entreat the Lord that he may take away the frogs … and I will let the people go that they may do sacrifice unto the Lord. But when the frogs were gone, the king would not let Israel go.

Third Plague: Lice (Ex. 8:16-19). Aaron stretched out his rod and smote the dust of the earth and it became lice in man and beast. The magicians said, This is from the Lord, but Pharaoh would not let Israel go.

Fourth Plague: Flies (Ex. 8;20-24). And there came a grievous swarm of flies into the house of Pharaoh … and into all the land of Egypt: and the land was corrupted by reason of the swarm of flies. But in the land of Goshen there were no flies. Go ye, sacrifice to your God in the land, cried the king. But Moses demanded that they go a three day’s journey, and Pharaoh changed his mind. Neither would he let the people go.

Fifth Plague: Murrain, a Disease of the Cattle (Ex. 9:6-7). Then came a disease upon the animals, “and all the cattle of Egypt died; but of the cattle of the children of Israel died not one. … And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go.”

Sixth Plague: Boils (Ex. 9:10). And they took ashes of the furnace, … and Moses sprinkled it up toward heaven; and it became a boil breaking forth … upon man, and upon beast. But Pharaoh’s heart was still hardened.

Seventh Plague: Hail (Ex. 9:23, 26-27). And Moses stretched forth his rod toward heaven: and the Lord sent thunder and hail, and the fire (lightning) ran along upon the ground; and the Lord rained hail upon the land of Egypt. It destroyed all that was in the fields, vegetation, animals, and man. Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, was there no hail. It is enough, Pharaoh cried. I have sinned, the Lord is righteous, and I and my people are wicked. But when he saw that the storm had ceased, “he sinned yet more, and would not let them go.”

Eighth Plague: Locusts (Ex. 10:4-15). And Moses stretched forth his rod over the land of Egypt, and the Lord brought an east wind upon the land all that day, and all that night; and when it was morning the east wind brought the locusts. They covered the whole land and destroyed everything the hail had left. Again Pharaoh promised freedom to the Israelites, but again he changed his mind.

Ninth Plague: Darkness (Ex. 10:21-29). And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days: … but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings. Go ye, serve the Lord, Pharaoh cried. Only let your flocks and your herds be stayed. Out cattle also shall go with us; answered Moses. There shall not an hoof be left behind.

But Pharaoh was angry and commanded, “Get thee from me. Take heed to thyself, see my face no more; for in that day thou seest my face, thou shalt die.” And Moses said, “Thou hast spoken well. I will see thy face again no more.” So ended the contest between Pharaoh and Moses and the Lord. The king had sinned one too many times, his doom was sealed. He never saw Moses again.

Beginning of the Feast of the Passover.

Tenth Plague: Death (Ex. 11:1-36; 12:11-24). And the Lord said, Yet will I bring one plague more upon Pharaoh, and upon Egypt; afterward he will let you go hence. The Lord instructed Moses how to direct the people in their preparation for the great event. This is what they were to do. On the tenth day of the first month (Abib-April) each family was to select a lamb without spot or blemish. In the evening of the fourteenth day it was to be killed. This was the beginning of the feast, and it was to continue seven days. The lamb was to be roasted and eaten with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. No bones were to be broken in killing the lamb, and nothing was to be left until morning. With a bunch of hyssop the people were to sprinkle the blood on the lintel and two side door posts.

“Thus shall ye eat it,” the Lord said, “with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s passover. For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the first born, … both man and beast … and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the Lord will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come unto your houses to smite you.” And the children of Israel did as they were commanded.

Israel’s Escape from the Egyptians. (Ex. 12;29-39).

And it came to pass, that at midnight the Lord smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle. And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead.

And he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said: Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the Lord, as ye have said. Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also. And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said, We be all dead men. And the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneading troughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders. And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: and the Lord gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians.

And the children of Israel journeyed from Raamses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children. And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle. And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they brought forth out of Egypt, for it was not leavened; because they were thrust out of Egypt, and could not tarry, neither had they prepared for themselves any victuals.

Comments and Sidelights.

1. So Abraham’s prophecy was fulfilled. (Gen. 15:13-14). His children had been strangers in a strange land. They had served the Egyptians and had been afflicted by them. They were now leaving with great substance, for they had “spoiled the Egyptians.” At last they were on their way to return to Canaan.

2. “And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him: for he had straitly sworn the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you; and ye shall carry up y bones away hence with you.”

3. The Bible says there were 600,000 on foot that were men. Josephus asserts that there were ‘besides children 600,000 of an age that were fit for war.[Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Bk. 11, Ch. 15.] Mr. Dummelow estimates the number of 3,000,000. [Dummelow, The One Volume Bible Commentary; Kent, Heroes and Crises, p. 181.] Some commentators believe that the number was comparatively small. It will be easier for us to understand if we say that a great multitude were with Moses. In any event it was a tremendous increase over the seventy souls who first moved into Egypt.

4. The Passover Feast was begun in April. From that tie on April (Abib) was the first month of the Israelite year, and all seasons were reckoned from it. Jesus was crucified at the beginning of the Passover.

Questions and Exercises.

1. Find what you can about the date of Christ’s birth. (Special report).
2. Some writers believe that the feast of the Passover symbolized the death of Christ. Try to pick out the similarities in this lesson.
3. The Bible puts God into everything. What about this statement, “And God hardened Pharaoh’s heart?” Or did God allow Pharaoh to harden his own heart?
4. In all the plagues whom was Pharaoh fighting against?
5. What important lesson should the Israelites have learned from the Plagues?
6. Moses led a large multitude a short distance; Brigham Young took a smaller number a long distance. Which had the greater problem? Why?
7. The Israelites were told to put blood on the door posts and they would be saved. How is “obedience’ related to the saving of their lives?
8. Jesus gave his life that we also might live. What must we obey?

From Egypt to Sinai

Israel’s Great Deliverance (Ex. 13:17-18 21; 14:5-7, 0, 10-14, 19-28, 30-31; 15:1-2, 20-21).

a. In Anger Pharaoh Pursues Israel. And it came to pass when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said: Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt. But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red Sea. … And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night.

And it was told the king of Egypt that the people fled: and the heart of Pharaoh and of his servants was turned against the people, and they said: Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us? And he made ready his chariot, and took his people with him, and he took six hundred chosen chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt, and captains over every one of them. But the Egyptians pursued after them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen, and his army, and overtook them encamping by the sea.

b. Fear and Complaint of the People. And when Pharaoh drew nigh the children of Israel lifted up their eyes and behold, the Egyptians marched after the; and they were sore afraid; and the children of Israel cried out unto the Lord. and they said unto Moses; Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? Wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.

And Moses said unto the people: Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the lord, which he will shew you today; for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more for ever. the lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.

c. Crossing the Red Sea. And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them; and it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these; so that the one came not near the other all the night. And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. and the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.

And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the Lord looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians. And he took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily; so that the Egyptians said: let us flee from the face of Israel; for the Lord fighteth for them against the Egyptians. And the Lord said unto Moses: Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen. And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. and the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them.

d. A Song of Praise and Thanksgiving. Thus the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the seashore. and Israel saw that great work which the Lord did upon the Egyptians; and the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord, and his servant Moses.

Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the Lord, and spake, saying: … I will sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously: The horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare Him an habitation. My father’s God, and I will exalt him.

And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrel and with dances. And Miriam answered them: Sing ye to the Lord for he hath triumphed gloriously; The horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.

Israel’s Lack of Gratitude and Thankfulness.

a. The Way Through the Desert was Hard. If the Israelites thought of their deliverance as freedom from all trouble and hardship, they were sadly disappointed. In Goshen they had grass, and trees, and shade, but the desert was hot and desolate. Water was scarce which caused great suffering to man and beast. Twice on the journey to Sinai they complained about thirst. At Marah the water was bitter, and the people complained. But the Lord showed Moses a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet.

b. Complain about Food – the Manna – the Sabbath. (Ex. 16:2-3, 11-18, 22, 26-31, 33-35). And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. … Would to God we had died by the hand of the lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger. And the Lord spake unto Moses saying, I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel: speak unto them, saying, At even ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread; and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God.

And it came to pass, that at even the quails came up, and covered the camp; and in the morning the dew lay round about the host. and when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground. And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, it is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat. This is the thing which the >ord hath commanded, Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man according to the number of your persons; take ye every man for them which are in his tents. And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less. And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating.

And it came to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one man; and all the rulers of the congregation cam and told Moses. Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the Sabbath, in it there shall be none.

And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none. And the Lord said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws? See, for that the Lord hath given you the Sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day. So the people rested on the seventh day.

And the house of Israel called the name thereof Manna; and it was like coriander seed white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey. … And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a pot, and put an omer full of manna therein, and lay it up before the Lord, to be kept for your generations. … And the children of Israel did eat manna forty years, until they came to a land inhabited; they did eat manna, until they came unto the borders of the land of Canaan.

Comments and Sidelights.

1. The Israelites’ first battle was with the Amalekites, just before they reached Sinai. It is important because here for the first time we meet Joshua, who was captain over the Israelite army. Joshua succeeded Moses and led Israel into the land of Canaan.

2. Three months after they left Egypt they pitched their tents at the foot of Mt. Sinai. The Lord had delivered his people as he had agreed with Moses and had brought them to the very mountain where the promise was made. Here they remained one year.

3. (a) We must admire Pharaoh’s determination in trying to hold the Israelites, but we condemn his judgment. His motive was purely selfish. The sacredness of life and liberty meant nothing to him.

4. (b) In this scene the faith and courage of Moses are grand. He stands alone with the Lord. The Egyptian horde was in sight. The sea prevented escape to the north, and deserts hedged the way east and west. The 600,000 men whom he had led out of slavery rebelled – only the Lord stood by Moses. But the Lord and one man who trusts in him are stronger than a whole nation of doubters.

5. One would think the people would never again doubt the power of the Lord and the authority of Moses. But they did; they never ceased to grumble and complain.

6. The route taken by the Israelites “led them across an arm of the Red Sea which was quite narrow. The sea extended in ancient times farther north than it does today. Just north of where the sea ends now there is a sandy valley which even today is sometimes at high tide flooded. In earlier times it was probably an extension of the sea. What happened was that a strong wind drove back the water at low tide and laid the passage bare.” [Rae, How to Teach the Old Testament, p. 82.]

7. (a) The manna was God’s free gift to the Israelites. It never failed them during their long march in the wilderness, and it stopped only after they reached Canaan. The great multitude could never have crossed the desert without it. Wild game was scarce, agriculture was almost impossible, and to eat their flocks and herds would have left them without animals to stock the new home. In a way the manna becomes the greatest miracle of the Old Testament. It was a daily reminder God was leading them. And still they complained.

8. This is the second time the Sabbath has been mentioned in the Old Testament. It is not to be inferred that the Sabbath was not observed between the time of the creation and Moses. It must have been taught and lived by the patriarchs.

9. “There went out some of the people on the Sabbath Day for to gather, and they found none.” How like many modern folk they were. Many of us still gather manna on the Sabbath Day.

Questions and Exercises.

1. “Revenge is sweet” is a common saying. Does revenge ever settle a grievance? Find the story, “Heaping Coals of Fire,” and read or tell it to the class.
2. What did Moses say when the people complained just before crossing the sea? Read it aloud in class. How does it suggest perfect confidence in the Lord?
3. Contrast the faith of Moses with the doubts of the people.
4. What are some values in keeping the Sabbath Day?
5. Manna was a free gift. Are air, sunlight, and water free gifts also? Suppose any of them were taken away, what would happen?
6. Is our food a free gift? How does it compare with manna?
7. Is thankfulness in any way related to happiness? How?
8. Exodus 16:20 says that manna, which was a perfectly good food, decayed when greedily hoarded. Does this same principle apply to wealth hoarded for the same purpose?
9. In what way were the forty years in the wilderness a school to the Israelites?
10. The Israelites were guided by the cloud and the pillar of fire. By what may our lives also be guided?
11. Slavery was common in ancient times. Are we free from it now? What about habits that enslave us? Name some.

References:

Baikie, Living Stories of the Bible, Ch. 5, 6.
Fosdick, A Pilgrimage to Palestine, Ch. 3.
Kent, heroes and Crises, ch. 25.
McKibbin, Old Testament History, pp. 112-120.
Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Bk. 3, chs. 1-2.
Peritz, Old Testament history.
Prescott, The Spade and the Bible, chs. 8-9, 12.
Rae, How to Teach the Old Testament, chs. 17-18.
Soares, Heroes of Israel, Hand book, ch 11.



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