“Lesson 51: Exodus 21–24,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual (2014)
“Lesson 51,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual
The Lord revealed additional laws to Moses. Israel agreed to obey God’s laws and formally entered into a covenant with Him.
Invite three students to come to the front of the class to act as a panel of judges. Invite other students to read the scenarios below one at a time. Ask the panel of judges to respond to the questions that follow each scenario.
Two men became angry at one another and began to fight. One of them was severely injured in the fight and will be confined to bed for several weeks. What responsibility does the other man have toward the injured man?
A boy borrowed a donkey, and then someone stole the donkey from him. Is the boy financially responsible for the donkey? Does the boy need to compensate the owner of the donkey for the loss?
A woman has been treated very poorly by her neighbors for several years. They often ridicule her and her family. One day she discovers a cow belonging to one of her neighbors wandering by itself in the road. What should the woman do?
Invite the judges to return to their seats. Explain that Exodus 21–23 includes the Lord’s laws for the children of Israel as they encountered scenarios such as the ones previously discussed. To provide a brief summary of these laws, you may want to ask three students to read aloud the chapter headings for Exodus 21–23. Point out that the laws recorded in these chapters would help the people keep the Ten Commandments and live peaceably with one another.
To help students understand the context in which these laws were given, invite them to refer to the handout “Moses’s and Israel’s Experiences with Jehovah at Mount Sinai” (see lesson 48). (A completed version of the handout is located in the appendix of this manual.) Explain that the Lord revealed these laws to Moses after Moses again ascended Mount Sinai (see Exodus 20:21). Invite students to write God gives Israel additional laws on line 6 of the handout.
Write the following scripture references on the board: (1) Exodus 21:18–19; (2) Exodus 22:7–12; (3) Exodus 23:4–5. Invite a few students to take turns reading these passages aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how the Lord’s instructions address the scenarios and questions you discussed earlier. (It may be helpful to ask students to read the scenarios aloud again.) Invite students to report what they find.
Invite a student to read Exodus 21:23–25 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for the punishments the Lord put in place for Israelites who injured one another. Invite students to report what they find.
How might knowing these punishments have been helpful to the children of Israel?
Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Exodus 22:1–6. Ask the class to follow along and look for what the Lord required of the children of Israel after they committed one of the sins listed in these verses.
According to these verses, what did the Lord require the children of Israel to do after they committed one of these sins? (Make restitution.)
What does it mean to “make restitution” (verse 5)? (To repair the problems caused by your actions.)
What principle can we learn from these verses about what we need to do when we violate the laws of God? (Students may identify a variety of principles, but be sure to emphasize that if we violate the laws of God, then He requires us to make restitution.)
What are some examples of situations in which it might be difficult to make restitution? What should a person do in these types of situations?
Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“Sometimes you cannot give back what you have taken because you don’t have it to give. If you have caused others to suffer unbearably—defiled someone’s virtue, for example—it is not within your power to give it back. … Perhaps the damage was so severe that you cannot fix it no matter how desperately you want to. … Fixing that which you broke and you cannot fix is the very purpose of the atonement of Christ.
“When your desire is firm and you are willing to pay the ‘uttermost farthing’ [Matthew 5:25–26], the law of restitution is suspended. Your obligation is transferred to the Lord. He will settle your accounts” (“The Brilliant Morning of Forgiveness,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 19–20).
Invite students to ponder whether there are any situations in their lives in which they feel they need to make restitution. Encourage them to seek the Lord’s help as they do so.
Divide students into small groups. Invite students to imagine they have a friend who has expressed a desire to be baptized as a member of the Church. Ask students to work with their groups and list on pieces of paper what they think their friend might need to do to prepare to enter into the covenant of baptism.
After sufficient time, ask students to report to the class what they wrote. (Students’ answers may include learning about and developing faith in Jesus Christ and His teachings, repenting of their sins, and making commitments to obey God’s commandments.) Invite students to explain why they think it is important to do these things before entering into the covenant of baptism.
Invite students to refer to the handout “Moses’s and Israel’s Experiences with Jehovah at Mount Sinai.” Explain that at Mount Sinai the Lord gave the Israelites the opportunity to enter into a covenant with Him that would prepare them to return to His presence and receive eternal life.
Ask students to review the handout and consider what they have learned about Israel’s experiences at Mount Sinai.
What had the Lord done to prepare Israel to enter into a covenant with Him? (He taught them about the covenant, instructed them to sanctify themselves, and provided them with laws and commandments.)
How was the Israelites’ preparation like the ways in which a person might prepare today to enter into the covenant of baptism?
Summarize Exodus 24:1–5 by explaining that Moses descended Mount Sinai and taught God’s law to the people, and they committed to obey it. Moses then recorded “all the words of the Lord” (Exodus 24:4). Before the people formally entered into the covenant with God, Moses built an altar and instructed some young men to make burnt offerings and sacrifice oxen on it.
Invite a student to read Exodus 24:6–8 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for what Moses did to help the children of Israel formally enter into a covenant with God.
What did Moses do to help the children of Israel formally enter into a covenant with God?
Remind students that God had commanded His children to participate in the ordinance of animal sacrifice, which taught them about the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
What may the blood sprinkled on the altar represent? (The blood of Jesus Christ, which He shed for us.)
What do you think the sprinkling of blood upon the people symbolized? (This act symbolized that the people could receive the blessings of the Atonement of Jesus Christ through the covenant they had made.)
What can we learn from this event about the blessings we receive as we make and keep covenants with the Lord? (Students may identify a variety of principles, but be sure to emphasize the following truth: Making and keeping covenants with the Lord helps us qualify to receive the blessings of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Using students’ words, write this principle on the board.)
What are the blessings of the Atonement of Jesus Christ?
Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Invite students to listen for how the Atonement can bless us:
“Most of us clearly understand that the Atonement is for sinners. I am not so sure, however, that we know and understand that the Atonement is also for saints—for good men and women who are obedient, worthy, and conscientious and who are striving to become better and serve more faithfully. We may mistakenly believe we must make the journey from good to better and become a saint all by ourselves. …
“The gospel of the Savior is not simply about avoiding bad in our lives; it also is essentially about doing and becoming good. And the Atonement provides help for us to overcome and avoid bad and to do and become good. …
“The enabling power of the Atonement of Christ strengthens us to do things we could never do on our own” (“The Atonement and the Journey of Mortality,” Ensign, Apr. 2012, 42, 46).
In addition to cleansing us from sin, how can the Atonement bless our lives?
How can making and keeping covenants with the Lord help us qualify to receive all of the blessings of the Atonement?
Invite students to again work with their groups. Ask them to list on their papers two or three blessings of the Atonement of Jesus Christ that their friend could receive by making and keeping covenants. (Their lists could include specific ways the Atonement can strengthen us to serve others and become better than we currently are.)
After students have created their lists, invite them to share what they wrote with the class. You might also invite students to share how making and keeping their covenants has given them strength to serve others and become better people. Invite students to write Israel enters into the covenant on line 7 of the handout.
Invite a student to read Exodus 24:9–11 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for what happened after the children of Israel formally made a covenant with God. Invite students to report what they find.
Summarize Exodus 24:12–18 by explaining that Moses then went farther up the mountain to receive the law of the covenant written on stone tables by God. Moses spent 40 days on Mount Sinai receiving additional instruction from the Lord. Students will learn more about this instruction as they study Exodus 25–31 in upcoming lessons.
Consider inviting a few students to share their testimonies about the principles you have discussed today. You may also want to share your testimony of these principles.