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Exodus - Week 1

April 8th, 2020: Introduction & Chapter 1

Image Credit: Pharaoh and the Midwives. James Tissot (1902). The Jewish Museum.


Read and Discuss Chapter 1 together.

• Is this history? Myth? Origin story? Indoctrination?

• Identity as family, nation, practice and belief.

• The role of memory, remembering in the above.

• Shiphrah and Puah – honesty and courage in the face of cruelty and injustice.

Questions to consider for Week 2 (chapters 2-5)

  1. Compare the origin story of Moses to other “superheroes” in literature. How is it similar? Different? What is the author of the story trying to convey?
  2. Three times in chapter 2, young Moses confronts injustice. What does each response convey about him, and his characteristics as a “future leader?”
  3. Research: What is name of God in Hebrew tradition? What does/can it mean? What do we learn about God from his first encounter with Moses?
  4. In chapter 4, Moses negotiates with God, and God (surprisingly) accommodates him. Arguing with God is a key feature of Hebrew spirituality. When and how have you bargained with God? How did it turn out? Also, what characteristics does God seem interested in/not interested in when it comes to a leader?
  5. There is an odd, seemingly out-of-place story in chapter 4, verses 24-26. What’s this about? Hint: Look up the word ETIOLOGY. We’ll talk about it (often) in discussion.
  6. Just for fun: Find and listen to (try YouTube) a recording of the classic spiritual song “Let My People Go.” Why (and to whom) has this interchange between Moses and Pharaoh been so powerful to readers through the centuries?
  7. Chapter 5 seems to end in failure. Reflect on times in your own life when your actions (or what God asked of you) seemed futile. How did things turn out in the end?