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Exodus - Week 6

May 13, 2020: Chapters 21-25

Image Credit: El Greco, View of Mount Sinai (1572)

Read and Discuss Chapter 21:1-35.

  1. Chapter 21 begins with laws concerning slaves. Do the laws imply an encouragement of slavery or a regulation of existing practices? Does "slavery" in ancient Israel mean the same thing as slavery in early America? Consider closely verse 16.
  2. Lex Talionis. Is there value to the principle of "eye for eye and tooth for tooth?" How does this contrast with later Christian teaching? How does it contrast with popular sentiment about justice today?
  3. Overall, does the law of Moses seem more concerned with inner thought or outward behavior?

Other Things to Discuss, Time Permitting

  • The Elohim as Judges in 22:8-9, and foreign antecedents
  • Prohibition against sorcery (keshaph - whisperer)
  • Ethical and legal principles for court cases in Chapter 23 (and against democracy)
  • Signing the Contract in Blood (chapter 24) .

Questions to consider for Week 7 (chapters 26-30)

  1. To make the Holy furnishings described in chapter 26 would have required several hundred pounds worth of gold, silver, bronze; several thousand feet of embroidered cloth, leather, and dolphin skins! Also, several thousand lengths of blue, purple, and crimson yarn, and a small acacia wood forest. Where did all these materials come from? Egypt? The Desert? Heaven?
  2. Compare the description of the Priestly Vestments (clothes) in Chapter 28 with modern day clergy attire (or ceremonial outfits for musicians, military, scholars). Why such attention to ornamentation? What does it accomplish or mean?
  3. In chapter 28, there is mention of the Urim and Thumim stones, and also twelve stones bearing the names of the twelve tribes of Israel--all of which were carried in the "breastpiece of judgment." Extra Research: What were these stones for?
  4. Chapter 29 describes the process of sacrificial offerings, which were widespread in many early cultures and religions. What is it about the destruction/burning of certain things (and the smearing of blood) that appealed to God in the minds of ancient peoples? What sacrifices do we make today, and for what/whom? Lookup the Hebrew word for sacrifice, Korban, and its root word, karov.
  5. Chapter 30:11-16. Is God against progressive taxation (and in favor of the census)? Also see Chapter 30:17-21 for God's approach to hand sanitizing: Wash or Die!
  6. What's the value in setting something (or someone) apart as "holy?" What's the danger?