“Lesson 43: Exodus 5–6,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual (2014)
“Lesson 43,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual
Moses and Aaron obeyed the Lord by commanding Pharaoh to let the children of Israel go into the wilderness to worship the Lord. Pharaoh refused and increased the burdens of the Israelites. The Israelites were angry that their burdens had been increased and complained. As Moses prayed for help, the Lord reaffirmed that He would fulfill His covenants and deliver the children of Israel from bondage.
Ask students if they or someone they know has ever experienced opposition when trying to obey the Lord. Invite a few students to share their experiences.
Explain that Moses had a similar experience when he followed the Lord’s command to ask Pharaoh to free the Israelites from slavery. Invite a student to read Exodus 5:1–2 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for what happened when Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh.
What was the result of their visit with Pharaoh?
What does Pharaoh’s response tell us about him?
Invite several students to take turns reading aloud from Exodus 5:3–9. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what happened after Moses and Aaron obeyed the Lord’s command to tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go.
What happened after Moses and Aaron asked Pharaoh to let the Israelites go?
According to these verses, what may we experience even when we are following the Lord’s commands? (Summarize students’ answers by writing the following truth on the board: Even when we are following the Lord’s commands, we may experience opposition.)
Why do you think we may experience opposition even when we are following the Lord’s commands?
Explain that although our opposition will not be like the opposition Moses and Aaron faced from Pharaoh, we all face possible resistance. Read the following scenarios aloud. Ask the class to describe the opposition they may face in each situation. (You may want to substitute scenarios that are more relevant to your students.)
You choose to use clean language and ask others not to swear when they are around you.
You choose to support traditional marriage.
You choose to support the roles of men and women as given in the proclamation on the family.
What reasons do we have for being obedient even though we may experience opposition as a result?
Summarize Exodus 5:10–19 by explaining that Pharaoh’s taskmasters told the Israelite slaves that in addition to making the same number of bricks each day, they would now have to collect the straw needed to make the bricks. When the Israelites failed to make the same amount of bricks as before, the taskmasters beat them. The Israelite officers complained to Pharaoh about their plight, but he was unsympathetic and rebuked them for being idle.
Invite a student to read Exodus 5:20–21 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for what happened as the Israelite officers were leaving Pharaoh. (To help students understand these verses, it might help to explain that when the Israelites told Moses “ye have made our savour to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh,” they were likely saying that their lives were now harder because of what Moses and Aaron had done.)
How did the Israelite officers respond to Moses? (They blamed Moses for Pharaoh’s actions.)
If you had been in Moses’s position, how might you feel at this moment? What questions might you have for the Lord?
Invite students to read Exodus 5:22–23 silently, looking for what Moses did after the Israelite leaders complained.
What did Moses ask the Lord? (He asked why the Lord had allowed the Israelites to be treated so badly and why the Lord had commanded him to ask Pharaoh to let them leave.)
Invite students to ponder why the Lord didn’t immediately intervene to deliver Israel and why He allowed them to continue to suffer.
Why do you think the Lord doesn’t immediately solve all of our difficulties, even when we are being obedient?
Invite students to consider, as they study Exodus 6, reasons why the Lord does not immediately solve all of our difficulties.
Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Exodus 6:1–5. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how the Lord responded to Moses’s prayer. (You might want to point out the Joseph Smith Translation in Exodus 6:3, footnote c).
What did the Lord say in verse 1 that might have been reassuring to Moses?
What do you think it means that the Lord would use a “strong hand”? (As students respond, you might need to clarify that it means that Israel would be delivered from Egypt by the power of the Lord [see footnote a].)
According to verses 4–5, why would the Lord deliver Israel? (One reason the Lord would deliver Israel was to fulfill the covenant He had made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob for their posterity to inherit the land of Canaan.)
Invite students to identify a doctrine we learn about the Lord from verses 4–5. (Write the following doctrine on the board: The Lord remembers and fulfills His covenants.)
How might having faith that the Lord remembers and fulfills His covenants have helped Moses and the Israelites at this difficult time?
On the board, write the words I will …
Invite a student to read Exodus 6:6–8 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the message the Lord wanted Moses to deliver to the discouraged Israelites. You may want to suggest that students mark the phrase “I will” each time they find it in the text.
What did the Lord say He would do for the children of Israel?
If you had been in the Israelites’ position, which “I will” statement might have been most meaningful to you?
What truth do you see in verse 6 that can apply to us as well as the ancient Israelites? (Students may identify a variety of doctrines and principles, but be sure they understand the following: The Lord has power to redeem us from our bondage and to lighten or remove our burdens.)
To help students understand this truth, you might explain that in this context the word redeem means to free from bondage by paying a ransom.
What are some things that can put us in bondage? (Examples might include ignorance, sin, illegal drugs, alcohol, tobacco, pornography, eating disorders, guilt, or doubt.)
In addition to freeing us from bondage, what types of burdens can the Savior lighten or remove from our lives?
Invite students to share experiences they have had when they have felt the Lord redeem them from bondage or lighten or remove burdens from their lives. (Remind them that they should not share experiences that are sacred or private.) You might also want to share an experience.
Invite students to reread Exodus 6:7 silently, looking for what the Lord said the Israelites would come to know when He delivered them.
What would the children of Israel come to know as the Lord delivered them from their difficulties?
What truth can we learn from the Lord’s promise in verse 7? (Students may give various responses, but emphasize the the following truth: As we experience the Lord’s help during our difficulties, we can come to know Him.)
How can being delivered by the Lord help us come to know Him?
Invite students to think about any bondage or burdens they have been delivered from (or have seen others delivered from) and how that experience helped them come to know the Lord. Ask a few students to share their thoughts with the class.
Encourage students, as they continue to study Exodus, to look for how the Lord delivered Israel from their bondage and how this helped the Israelites come to know Him. Testify that the Lord will deliver us from bondage or lighten or remove our burdens in His own way and time, according to His will. As we endure challenges and rely on the Lord in faith, we can come to know Him.
Invite a student to read Exodus 6:9 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how the children of Israel responded to Moses’s message.
How did the children of Israel respond to Moses’s message?
Why do you think they reacted that way? What might have caused them to have “anguish of spirit”?
Remind students that the Israelites had been in bondage for approximately 400 years (see Acts 7:6). During that time, they were influenced by idol worship and beliefs about Egyptian gods. The Israelites responded negatively to Moses because they did not know the Lord and had been in bondage and suffering for a long time. It was one thing to take the Israelites out of Egypt but quite another to get Egypt out of the Israelites.
Invite a student to read Exodus 6:10–12 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord told Moses and how Moses responded. (To help students understand these verses, direct them to look at Exodus 6:12, footnote a, to discover what the phrase “uncircumcised lips” means [see also Exodus 6:30, footnote a].)
Why do you think Moses was concerned about doing what the Lord asked?
Invite a student to read Exodus 6:13 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how the Lord responded to Moses’s concern.
How did the Lord respond?
Point out that the Lord’s response required Moses to exercise faith in the promises the Lord had just made to him. As he followed the Lord’s commands, Moses would receive the Lord’s help. Testify about why we need to exercise faith in the Lord and be willing to do difficult, even seemingly impossible, things.
Summarize Exodus 6:14–30 by explaining that these verses present the genealogy of Reuben, Simeon, and Levi.
So far this year students have learned six scripture mastery passages from the Pearl of Great Price and the Old Testament. To help students remember and locate these passages, you could read aloud the key phrase for one of the passages from the Old Testament bookmark or the Old Testament scripture mastery cards. (If you do not have the bookmark or the cards, refer to the scripture mastery list in the appendix of this manual and prepare key phrases of your own.) Challenge students to find the related passage in their scriptures after you read the phrase. Continue this activity as time allows, until you have reviewed the first six scripture mastery passages.