Fr. Tim Peters Catholic Bible Study - The Book of Exodus
Fr. Tim Peters is a Catholic diocesan priest in Orange County, CA. One of the 12 Peters children, he received his doctorate from the Angelicum University in Rome.
He teaches Biblical Theology as well as the biblical languages at St. John's Seminary in California and assists at St. Joachim's Church in Costa Mesa, CA.
We are proud to present his free video biblical study on the Book of Exodus. Please feel free to use this bible study in your home, with a church group, or in any type of church setting. This is free for everyone. We'd like as many people to join in with this bible study as possible, so please link back to it if you have a website, or share it via facebook, twitter, instagram and other social media.
Fr. Tim uses the RSV Bible in his study and recommends you have a copy handy while you follow along this free bible study.
Exodus, Chapter 1 (24 Minute Video)
- Exodus 1:4–6––The total number of Jacob’s descendants was 70.
- Why did the sons of Jacob go down into Egypt (see Gen 50:15–26)?
- The Israelites were fruitful and multiplied; why was this significant?
- What was the first commandment and blessing given to humans in Genesis 1?
- Exodus 1:8 A New king arose who did not know Joseph. How will the Pharaoh come to ‘know’ the Lord (see Exod 5 and Exod 14)?
- The new king (title=Pharaoh) enslaved the Israelites and commanded the midwives to kill the male children. Why did the midwives disobey the Pharaoh?
- How did the Lord bless the midwives?
- Why is the slavery of the Israelites described as being ‘bitter’ and how does this description of ‘bitter’ recall other events in the Exodus?
Exodus, Chapter 2 (25 Minute Video)
- Exodus 2:1–10––Moses is born; he is hidden for three months and then placed in a floatable papyrus basket in the Nile River.
- What king was hidden after being anointed as King (1 Sam 16–22)?
- How were the events after Jesus’ birth similar?
- Was the floatable basket similar to anything else in biblical history (Gen 6–9)?
- Pharaoh’s daughter discovers the child and takes him into the king’s palace. Where was Moses’ sister standing when all these events took place and why?
- Moses’ sister offered to find a Hebrew woman that could nurse the child? She told Moses’ mother (though the Egyptians had no idea) and Pharaoh offered to pay her for nursing her own child. What is the irony in this story?
- Where did Moses grow up and why is this significant?
- Exodus 2:11–24–– Moses sees an Egyptian striking a Hebrew. Incensed by this oppression Moses strikes the Egyptian and kills him.
- Can you think of any other biblical heroes who may have committed a similar sin? (see for example 1 Sam 11–12).
- When this event becomes known Moses fled to the land of Midian and sat down at a well. When did Jesus sit down at a well? (see John 4)
- What often occurred near wells and springs in the book of Genesis?
- While at the well, Moses met his wife, Zipporah the daughter of Jethro. Where was Moses’ wife from?
- Exodus 2:23–24––However, God heard (Hebr. Shama) the groaning of his people and God remembered (Hebr. Zachar) his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
- Why is it important for God to ‘remember’ His covenant?
- What was the significance of God ‘hearing’ the groaning of His people and the command that was later given in Deut 6:4 ‘Hear O Israel?’
Exodus, Chapter 3 (34 Minute Video)
- Exodus 3:1–6––The Lord called Moses while he was shepherding his father-in-law’s (Jethro’s) flock.
- What other important biblical figures were called when working and what is the significance?
- Moses saw a marvelous sight––a bush burning but it was not consumed by the fire. Why was the Burning Buch a marvel?
- Exodus 3:7–10––The Lord tells Moses that He has seen (ra-ah) his peoples affliction, heard (shama) their cries and that He knowns (yada) their suffering.
- Why are these words important in the overall narrative of the Exodus?
- Exodus 3:10–22––God reveals the divine name to Moses: “I am who am.” The name could also be translated as “I will be that which I will be.”
- What are some important characteristics about the divine name?
- The ancient Israelites understood the Divine Name in a very personal manner indicating that God desired to always be with His people, i.e. Thus, one could better understand it as –– “I will be that which I will be [with you].”
- Why is the concept of ‘God with us’ one of the fundamental theological truths in Christianity and how does this truth reach fulfillment in Christ?
Exodus, Chapter 4 (34 Minute Video)
- Exodus 4:1–10 Moses questions his calling and God gives him three signs (1) a staff that can turn into a serpent, (2) a leprous hand which God will heal and (3) the ability to turn water into blood.
- What is the significance of the three signs? Do signs bring faith and conversion? Why not?
- Why does God appoint Aaron as Moses’ spokesperson?
- How many times does Moses present questions to the Lord?
- What does Moses’ conversation with God in Exod 4–5 tell us about the Lord’s patience?
- Do people often question their calling, their vocation in life?
- What three cultures/peoples had influenced Moses’ self-identity and how does this seem to make Moses the most unlikely candidate for the calling that he receives?
- How does God refer to Israel in Exod 4:22–23, and why is this important in the overall narrative?
- Exodus 4:27–31––Moses meets Aaron at Sinai and recounts to him all that the Lord has done. Moses and Aaron perform signs in the sight of the people and told them what God has done.
- Why did God give Aaron to Moses as his spokesperson?
The people believed and worshipped God—they initially reacted with faithfulness before the trials were introduced.
- What does the reaction of the people tell you about faith and trials?
Exodus, Chapter 5 (14 Minute Video)
-Exodus 5:1–14––MOSES APPROACHES THE PHARAOH and recounts that God has called his people to leave Egypt for three days.
- Why did Israel need to leave for three days?
- However, the PHARAOH HARDENED HIS HEART and embittered Israel’s situation by giving them more labor. Did Pharaoh harden his heart initially on his own? What does this tell us about freewill?
- Why didn’t the Pharaoh listen to Moses?
- Who were the people serving and who did the Lord want them to serve? What does Israel’s situation under Pharaoh tells us about true freedom?
- Exodus 5:15–23––The people were outraged by their suffering and complained to Moses and Aaron. How did the people react when their situation became more difficult and what does this tell us about faith and trials?
- Moses petitioned God to do something, how does Moses’ prayer set the stage for the ten plagues?
Exodus, Chapter 6 (22 Minute Video)
- Exodus 6:1–13––God reaffirm his promise to deliver His people on behalf of His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. How does this response help Moses?
- Are the covenant promises important for God?
- Was Moses worried or frustrated in Exodus 6? Explain.
- God also gives Israel the covenant formula (which was possibly similar to words expressed at ancient marriage ceremonies). Thus, in v. 7 the Lord says “I will take you as my own people (Hebr. Am) and I will be your God and you will know that I brought you out from your sufferings in Egypt.” How does the covenant formula (‘I will be you God and you will be my people’) help us to understand the covenant relationship?
- How is ‘knowing’ God closely related to the divine revelation or God’s salvific works throughout history? (See for example John 17:1–3).
Exodus, Chapter 7 (17 Minute Video)
- Chapter 7:1–24–God sends Moses and also warns him that the Pharaoh will not listen to him. Were other prophets rejected, can you name some? (See 1 Kgs 18–19; Jer 20; Amos 7).
- Moses does the first sign and Aaron cast his staff to the ground which turned into a serpent/reptile (Hebr.-tannin). What does the serpent recall (see Gen 3)?
-The Egyptians are able to imitate this sign but Aaron’s staff swallowed their staffs (demonstrating superiority), nonetheless Pharaoh’s heart was hardened. Why were the magicians able to imitate this sign?
- How does the narrative imply that the so-called gods of the Egyptians are inferior?
- Exodus 7:14––The First Plague—The waters of the Nile became as blood, but Pharaoh’s magicians imitate this miracle and Pharaoh again hardens his heart. How is the first miracle in John’s Gospel similar, but also different from the 1st plague in Exodus?
- Why would God make the Nile undrinkable?
- Exod 7:25–8:11––The Second Plague––The multiplication of Frogs. Frogs come forth from the Nile and fill the land, however Pharaoh’s magicians, through their magical arts, are able to imitate this plague and Pharaoh again hardened his heart.
Exodus, Chapter 8 (26 Minute Video)
Exodus 8:12–15––The Third Plague––The gnats. Egypt is filled with gnats. Pharaoh’s magicians are unable to imitate this plague, thus they tell Pharaoh: ‘this is the finger of God.’ What does the reference to the ‘finger of God’ prepare for (hint: see the end of Exod 24 and 34)?
Exodus 8–––MOSES SPEAKS TO PHARAOH BUT PHARAOH HARDENS HIS HEART (Exod 8) – How did the Pharaoh commit the sin of pride?
- Exodus 8:16–28––The Fourth Plague–The multiplication of flies.
- The plagues come in sets of three and what usually occurs after each of the three plagues?
Exodus, Chapter 9 (22 Minute Video)
- Exodus 9:1–7–The Fifth Plague––Pestilence.
- What were the three common chastisements for disobedience in the Old Testament?
- What was the name of the place where Israel dwelt while in Egypt?
- Why did God make a distinction between His people and the Egyptians?
- Exodus 9:8–12–The Sixth Plague––Boils on the skin of man and beast.
- Can you name a common skin problem that we read about in the Bible? (Hint: see Lev 13–14).
–––MOSES SPEAKS TO PHARAOH BUT HE HARDENS HIS HEART (Exod 9:13–21).
- Why does the Pharaoh usually harden His heart, before or after the plagues and for what reason?
Exodus 9:22–35––The Seventh Plague–Hail with burning fire. Some refer to this miracle as a double sign/miracle, the 7th sign, with fire and ice falling at the same time. Does this miracle occur again in the Bible, in what book?
Exodus, Chapter 10 (26 Minute Video)
Exodus 10:1–20––The Eighth Plague––The multiplication of Locus.
Exodus 10:21–29––The Ninth Plague––Thick Darkness. Goshen, the place where the Israelites dwelt was spared by this plague, light shown upon Israel while darkness fell on Egypt for three days.
- What other scripture verses speak of light and darkness? What is the importance of this distinction between light and darkness? How does Jesus use this distinction between light and darkness during his ministry? (See for example John 1; John 3:17–21; John 8:12; John 9).
Exodus, Chapter 11 (8 Minute Video)
–––MOSES SPEAKS TO PHARAOH BUT HE HARDENS HIS HEART (Exod 11:1–10).
- What does the Pharaoh tell Moses at the end of their conversation?
Exodus, Chapter 12 (34 Minute Video)
Exodus 12:29–30––The Tenth Plague––THE DEATH OF THE FIRSTBORN AND THE PASSOVER and Liberation of Israel!
- List (as many as possible), what was necessary in order to celebrate the Passover. Why was the Lamb unblemished?
- Why did they eat the Passover in haste?
- Why bitter herbs and what did they represent?
- Why couldn’t they leave any part of the Passover Lamb behind as they left?
- How long was the feast of Unleavened Bread?
- How were the Israelites saved?
- How does the Passover prepare for the coming of Christ?
Exodus, Chapter 13 (28 Minute Video)
- Exodus 13––The consecration of the firstborn.
- How does this sacrifice recall the importance of the Passover and the Exodus?
Exodus, Chapter 14 (28 Minute Video)
- Exodus 14––The Lord’s victory over Pharaoh’s Army––Exodus 13:17–14:31—Crossing the Sea on Dry Ground (Exod 14:10–22).
- Why did they cross on dry ground?
- What did the people say to Moses?
- What is the importance of Moses’ response to the people?
- How did the Lord protect His people?
- When did God lead the way and when did God protect them from the Pharaoh?
- The destruction of Pharaoh’s army (Exod 14:23–30). Did the fact that God was doing a miracle cause the Pharaoh to reconsider his actions?
- What did the Egyptians say as they neared Israel and how many escaped? What did the Lord do to the Egyptians?
Exodus, Chapter 15 (34 Minute Video)
Exod 15:1–21––The Song of Moses–
- What are some of the most significant verses in the Song of Moses?
- How did Miriam also lead the women in praise?
- How is the Exodus a story of salvation and freedom?
- What type of freedom or liberation do we speak about and why is this distinction important?
–Exod 15:22–27––Bitter water made sweet.
- What does the first miracle recall (hint: look at the first plague).
- What did the people do and how did Moses react?
- What did God mean when He said ‘I am Your Healer?’
- How did God call His people to be obedient?
Exodus, Chapter 16 (24 Minute Video)
Exod 16:1–36––The Wilderness of Sin––Quale and Manna.
- What does the word Manna derive from?
- How many days a week did they receive Manna?
- Did the Israelites obey the commandment related to the Manna?
- Why did the Manna appear with the dew?
- When did the glory of the Lord appear in Exod 16 and why?
Exodus, Chapter 17 (22 Minute Video)
Exod 17:1–7––Water from the Rock: Moses is commanded to ‘strike the Rock.’
- Where did God station Himself during this miracle and why is this important?
- How many times did God tell Moses to strike the Rock while they were in the desert?
- Where did this miracle take place?
- How many times have the people grumbled up to this point?
Exod 17:8–16––The battle with Amalek: Moses interceded for the people.
- Who held up Moses hands?
- Why were raised hands important?
- How does this event demonstrate the importance of prayer and especially intercessory prayer?
Exodus, Chapter 18 (14 Minute Video)
Exod 18––Jethro advises Moses to appoint assistant judges to help him.
- What is the difference between a macro-manager and a micro-manager?
- How does this narrative show us that leadership requires cooperation?
- What was Moses attempting to do before receiving this advice from Jethro?
- How can the story of Moses and Jethro help inspire greater collaboration within parishes?
Exodus, Chapter 19 (23 Minute Video)
Exod 19:1–15––Israel arrives at Sinai and pledges obedience to YHWH. Looking at chapter 19:7–8 and at Chapter 24:3–8; how many times did Israel pledge to be obedient?
- How did the Lord describe His people in 19:3–6 and why is this description Important?
- What is the connection between Sinai in Exodus 19 and Moses’ encounter with the Lord in Exodus 3?
- What are some of the ways that the Lord’s manifested His presence at the foot of Sinai? What command was given to man and beast?
Exod 19:16–25––The Theophany at Sinai––––what is a theophany? How did the people react to the theophany at Sinai?
Exodus, Chapter 20 (27 Minute Video)
Exod 20:1–17—The Ten Commandments-
- Name the Ten Commandments?
- Are the commandments numbered in the original text and does this explains why there are some slight differences in numbering the commandments?
- What commandments speak about our relationship with God and what commandments speak about our relationship with our neighbor?
- Exod 20:18–21––The people were afraid and petitioned Moses to be their mediator.
- What did the people ask Moses and why? How does this prepare for the incarnation?
Exodus, Chapters 21-25 Summary (29 Minute Video)
Exodus 21–23- The Covenant Code:
Exod 21:1–23:19––The Covenant Code is a group of other commandments that the Lord gave to Israel so that they would have a just society. Exod 23:20–God sent and Angel to guide Israel.
- What does the Covenant Code tell us about those who are marginalized, poor, widows orphans, strangers, immigrant and why are these protections important (Exod 22:21–27?
- What was the price for the life of a slave (Exod 21:32) and what does this tell us about the price that Judas of Iscariot receive for betraying Christ?
- Why was it important to honor parents and why is it still important for us to honor our parents (Exod 21:15, 17)?
- What does the Covenant Code tell us about Justice (Exod 22:22–24)?
- Why did God promise to guide His people with an angel (Exod 23:20)?
- How were sorcery and false worship punished and why these sins still wrong today (Exod 22:18, 20)?
- Why was it important to treat immigrants and strangers with compassion (see Exod 22:21 and 23:9)?
Exod 25––The Ark of the Covenant––made of pure gold with Cherubim on the Mercy Seat facing each other. The construction of the Table for the Bread of the Presence and the seven-branched Menorah.
- What was placed upon the Ark?
- What were Cherubim and where were they in the Tabernacle?
- What was placed in the Holy of Holies?
- What was placed in the Holy Place?
- What was the Menorah?
- What was the Bread of the Presence and where was it placed?
Exodus, Chapter 24 (18 Minute Video)
Exod 24:1–11–The covenant is ratified with the blood of sacrifices on both altar and people.
- What is the significance of blood in the covenant ceremony in Exod 24?
- What is the significance of the covenant meal in Exod 24:9–11?
- What color was the pavement under the Lord’s feet (Exod 24:9–11)?
- Who accompanied Moses to the top of the Mountain after the covenant was ratified?
- How did the Lord manifest His glory upon Sinai?
- Why is the number 40 important and what could it represent?
Exodus, Chapters 26-27 (21 Minute Video)
Exod 26––The construction of the Tabernacle––God dwells with His people––in a Tent.
- What is the key theological concept that is directly tied to the construction of the Tabernacle?
- What was the Tabernacle and why was it portable?
- What type of angels were on the curtains and why?
Exod 27–– The construction of the Altar and the Menorah. A perpetual burning of lamp before the Lord indicating that the Lord was present in the midst of His people behind the veil.
- What was the purpose of the Menorah and why was a light placed in the Holy Place?
- Where was the altar for sacrifices placed, inside or outside?
Exodus, Chapter 28 (20 Minute Video)
- Exod 28––Instructions regarding the vestments of the High Priest.
- Who were Aaron’s sons?
- What was placed on the shoulders of the high priests and why (Exod 28:5–14).
- How many stones were placed on the breastplate of the High Priests and why (Exod 28:15–21, 29–30)?
- Why was the Ephod important (Exod 28:31–35)?
- What was the Urim and the Thummim used for (Exod 28:29–30)?
- What does it mean when something or someone is consecrated to the Lord?
- What was written on the plate that the High Priest wore (covering his forehead) and why was this important (Exod 28:36–38)?
Exodus, Chapter 29 (32 Minute Video)
Exod 29––The instructions regarding the consecration of High Priests and the vestments of the High Priest.
- Why was atonement made for the sins of the High Priest?
- Why did the sons of Aaron place their hands upon the bull and the ram before they were sacrificed (Exod 28:10, 15, 19)?
- How long did the entire ordination ceremony last for the High Priest (Exod 29:35–37)? How long is a normal ordination ceremony today in the Catholic Church?
- What was the Tamid Sacrifice, and when were the two lambs sacrificed, approximately at what time in the Day (Exod 29:38–46)?
- What other important events in biblical history took place when the Tamid sacrifice was being offered?
Exodus, Chapter 30 (24 Minute Video)
- Exod 30––The Altar of Incense, the Laver/basin and Anointing oil.
- Where was the Altar of Incense placed in the Holy of Holies or in the Holy Place?
- Where was the bronze laver?
- Why was it important for priest to wash before serving the Lord?
- What sacrament does this remind you of?
- What spices and perfumes were placed in the holy oil that was used for anointing?
- Why was frankincense important and who used it? When is frankincense mentioned in the NT and why?
Exodus, Chapter 31 (12 Minute Video)
Exod 31––Bezalel is chosen as artisan and regulations are given concerning the Sabbath.
- What gifts are given to Bezalel so that he can help construct the Tabernacle (31:1–5)?
- Why was the Sabbath important?
- What does it mean to ‘sanctify’ the Sabbath?
- What is the significance of the commandments being written by the finger of God?
- What prophets refer back to the fact that the commandments were once written by the finger of God (see Ezek 36:25)?
Exodus, Chapter 32 (25 Minute Video)
- Exod 32––Israel worships the Golden Calf and the Levites execute God’s Judgement.
- How did Moses’ delay upon the mountain lead to Israel’s apostasy (32:1–5)?
- What did Aaron tell the people to do (Exod 32:2–4?
- What was the gold and other precious things supposed to be used for?
- What things did the people say about the Golden Calf and why were such declarations a lie (v. 4)?
- What is ironic about verse 7?
- What was Moses doing on the top of the Mountain while Israel was making the Golden Calf?
- How did Moses intercede for the people, and why is intercession an important part of prayer?
- What did Moses do with the two tablets (v. 19)?
- Was Aaron’s excuse a sufficient explanation (vv. 21-24)? Why is it better to just admit when we have sinned and ask for forgiveness rather than making excuses?
- How many people died at the foot of Sinai (v. 28) and how does the opposite situation occur in Acts chapter 2 on Pentecost?
- What tribe helped Moses and why did they receive the priesthood?
- How did the actions of the Levites at Sinai change the concept of priesthood in the Old Testament?
Exodus, Chapter 33 (26 Minute Video)
- Exod 33––YHWH reveals himself to Moses and speaks to Moses in a special manner, this is important if one wishes to understand expectations tied to the coming of a future prophet who will be like Moses (Deut 18:15–20), for only Christ can fulfill such expectations (John 1).
- Why are the people referred to as being ‘stiff-necked’?
- Where did Moses initially meet with the Lord before the Tabernacle was constructed (vv. 7–10).
- Moses spoke with the Lord face to face (v. 11)…but he was unable to behold the fullness of the Lord presence (vv. 12–16), thus, Moses desired to see the Lord’s _____ (v. 18–22)?
- Where did the Lord hide Moses and why (v. 18–22)?
Exodus, Chapter 34 (36 Minute Video)
- Exod 34––Moses ascended Sinai a second time, received regulations for religious feasts and his face shined with radiance and his face was veiled when he came near the people.
- How did the Lord descend upon Sinai?
- Where do we see a similar manifestation of God’s presence in the NT?
- What are some of the important characteristics associated with the Lord’s name and how does this help one know and understand the Lord (Exod 34:6–9)?
- What is the importance of the covenant relationship?
- Why were the Israelites prohibited from making a covenant with the other peoples of the Land?
- What was the significance of leaven and how long was the Feast of Unleavened Bread?
- How long was Moses with the Lord, a second time, when he received the commandments (vv. 27–28)?
- What occurred with Moses’ face why was the action of covering His face significant (vv. 29–35).
- How does Saint Paul use the events in Exod 34:29–35 to explain the significance of the New and Eternal Covenant in Christ (see 2 Cor 3:1–18)?
More Chapters From the Book of Exodus to Come.
Exodus 35–40- the Construction of the Tabernacle:
- Exod 35––The call for artisans and the community to make a free will offering for the construction of the Tabernacle. Only free will offerings are used for the construction of the Tabernacle. Nothing is obligatory, all must come from a generous desire to glorify the Lord.
- Why is it important to freely give that which is over and above what is normally required?
- Exod 36–40-Israel constructs the Tabernacle.
Exod 40:34–38 ––YHWH’s presence was manifested as a cloud at day and a pillar of fire at night. The significance is that during the desert journey the people could look towards the visible present of the Lord as a living sign of hope.
-What separated the Ark of the Covenant from the rest of the Tabernacle and why?
-What was placed in the Holy Place?
-Where were the laver for washing and the Altar for burnt offerings placed?
-After assembling the Tabernacle, what did the Lord do to show that He would dwell in the midst of His people?
-How did the Lord manifest His presence to the people visibly during their 40 year journey?