Jehovah Gives Commandments
May 2010

“Jehovah Gives Commandments,” Friend, May 2010, 14–15

Jehovah Gives Commandments

The account of Moses and the children of Israel is found in Exodus 3–20; 24; Joshua 3.

The sheep and their lambs followed their shepherd, Moses, as he led them through the desert. When they reached the mountain called Horeb, Moses saw something unusual. A bush was on fire, but it did not burn up.

When Moses went closer, he heard the voice of Jehovah saying, “Moses, Moses.”

“Here am I,” Moses replied.

Jehovah commanded Moses to tell the Egyptian pharaoh to set free the children of Israel, who were slaves in Egypt. Moses was worried. How could he make the powerful pharaoh listen to him?

Jehovah told Moses to throw his shepherd’s staff to the ground. Moses threw the stick down, and it became a snake. Jehovah told Moses to pick up the snake. Moses picked it up, and it became a staff again! Moses saw the power of Jehovah. He knew that Jehovah would help him.

Moses went to Pharaoh’s court. He explained to Pharaoh that Jehovah commanded that the children of Israel be set free. But Pharaoh said he would not let them go. The children of Israel had been slaves to the Egyptians for 430 years. They built Pharaoh’s great buildings and worked in his fields.

Jehovah sent plagues to show Pharaoh His power. First, the river turned to blood. Next came swarms of frogs, gnats, and flies. Then came boils, hailstorms, and locusts. Still, Pharaoh refused to let the Israelites go.

Then came one final, awful plague. At midnight the firstborn sons of the Egyptians would die. The prophet Moses told the children of Israel to put the blood of a lamb on their doorposts. This was a symbol of the sacrifice Jesus Christ would make for them. Then the plague would pass over them, and their children would be safe.

That night when his firstborn son died, Pharaoh finally decided to let the children of Israel go. Quickly Moses led them out of Egypt into the wilderness of Sinai.

In the wilderness, the children of Israel soon became hungry and thirsty. Jehovah told Moses to strike a rock, and water gushed out for them to drink. Every morning, Jehovah sent a white, sweet food called manna for them to eat.

As slaves, the children of Israel had followed the orders of their masters. Now they needed to learn how to follow Jehovah.

Jehovah called Moses to the top of Mount Sinai. There He spoke to Moses and gave him ten commandments for the people to follow. The commandments were carved into large tablets of stone so the people could remember them.

The children of Israel were disobedient. They had to wander in the wilderness for 40 years until they were ready to obey Jehovah’s commandments. At last they were led to Canaan to make a home in the promised land.

Illustration by Sam Lawlor

Jehovah took good care of the children of Israel. How does He take care of you?