Lesson 6

Exodus 20–24, 31–34


The following assignments include various learning activities, such as questions, lists, essays, charts, comparisons, contrasts, and surveys. To receive credit for this lesson, you must complete the number of assignments indicated below and submit them to your institute instructor or administrator. You may submit your work either electronically or on paper, handwritten or typed.

Each lesson should take approximately 60–90 minutes to complete, the same amount of time you would typically spend in a weekly institute class. Since reading the scripture block listed in the lesson heading is expected of all institute students prior to class, the estimated time for each assignment does not include the time you need to spend reading the scripture block.

Complete assignments 1, 3, 4, and any one of the other assignments:

1.  Exodus 20:3–17. The Ten Commandments

Read Exodus 20:3–17 and make a list of the Ten Commandments. Read Matthew 22:36–40 and identify what the Lord said were the two “great” commandments. Verse 40 states that “all” other commandments are part of these two great commandments. Place each of the Ten Commandments within one of these two great commandments by writing “love God” or “love neighbor” next to each of the commandments on your list.

List three of the commandments from Exodus 20:3–17 that you feel are most commonly neglected by the world. Read the institute student manual commentary for those three commandments (pp. 127–34). Write a paragraph about what a difference it would make in the world if all of God’s children kept these commandments.

2.  Exodus 21–23. Justice and Mercy in the Law of Moses

Exodus 21–23 provides some specific, case-by-case applications of God’s laws. The punishments listed are the maximum penalty and are not absolutely automatic. Some people have mistakenly concluded that the statements in these chapters are in opposition to the loving nature of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ. Demonstrate how these case studies represent God’s mercy as well as His justice by selecting five of the following examples and writing a short paragraph on each. Your paragraphs should explain how the underlying purpose of the laws given to Moses was to prepare the children of Israel to receive God’s higher laws and the gospel of Jesus Christ. (It may be helpful to consult the student manual commentary pp. 138–40.)

Write one or two sentences describing how JST, Galatians 3:24 applies to these chapters of Exodus.

3.  Exodus 24:1–11. The Blessings of Making and Keeping Covenants

Exodus 20–23 contains explanations of God’s laws to the children of Israel. For them to progress any further, they first needed to commit themselves to live those laws. Exodus 24 tells of the commitment the Israelites made that prepared them to receive the higher laws. Consequently, the Lord again called Moses up to Sinai to receive further information about ordinances that would allow the people to enter His presence. For additional information, read in the student manual commentary for Exodus 24:1–8, “Before Moses Ever Went into the Mount, Israel Was Instructed in the Law and Covenanted to Obey It” (p. 141). Read Exodus 24 and write answers to the following questions:

  • After Moses gave the people God’s laws, what did they covenant to do? What was the significance of the animal sacrifices?
  • What connection do you see between what the children of Israel did in chapter 24 and what the Lord asked them to do in chapter 25? (see Exodus 25 chapter summary).
  • How do the events recorded in this chapter help you understand the Lord’s anger in chapter 32 when the children of Israel made and worshipped the golden calf?
  • According to Mosiah 18:8–10; Doctrine and Covenants 20:77, 79, what are some of the promises the Lord has made to those who make and keep covenants with Him?
  • According to Doctrine and Covenants 108:3, what has the Lord specifically said to us regarding our covenants?

4.  Exodus 32. Moses’s Actions Teach about the Savior

Study Exodus 32 and describe Moses’ interactions with the Lord and with the children of Israel. You may also want to read the student manual commentary for Exodus 32:15–35, “Moses, the Mediator” (p. 142). Write an essay that demon­strates how Moses’s actions in this chapter—both with the Lord and with the children of Israel— are similar to what Jesus Christ does for us.

5.  Exodus 32. How Does the Joseph Smith Translation Affect the Meaning of This Chapter?

As you study Exodus 32, make note of each of the Joseph Smith Translation passages that are identified in the footnotes and the appendix. Write a paragraph that lists the JST corrections and how they help us understand the response of the Lord to the Israelites’ wickedness and His command for the Levites to go throughout the camp and “slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour” (Exodus 32:27).

6.  Exodus 33:11. Prophets Talk to God Face to Face

Although Exodus 33:11 clearly states that Moses spoke with the Lord face to face, some people doubt that Joseph Smith could have seen God because of Exodus 33:20; John 1:18. Read JST, John 1:19; JST, Exodus 33:20; John 6:46; Doctrine and Covenants 67:11–12 and the student manual commentary for Exodus 33:19–23, “Is It Possible for Anyone to See the Face of God and Live?” (pp. 142–43). Then write a paragraph explaining how man can see God.

7.  Exodus 34. The Second Set of Stone Tablets

Read JST, Exodus 34:1–2; Doctrine and Covenants 84:18–27 and the student manual commentary for Exodus 34:1–4, “Did Both Sets of Tablets Contain the Same Material?” (p. 143). Imagine that you have been assigned to give a brief presentation that explains the difference between the first and second sets of stone tablets that Moses brought down off the mountain. Prepare an outline to help you describe the differences between the two tablets.