These small group studies of Exodus contain outlines, cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, and applications. Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group.
Exodus 11 Inductive Bible Study
- The declaration that the people will be driven out of Egypt soon (1-3)
- Announcing the final most disastrous plague (4-8)
- Pharaoh would not listen (9-10)
What would be the result of the final plague for the Israelites?
How would Pharaoh respond to the last plague?
Why did God ask the Israelites to request gold and silver from their neighbors?
Why would their neighbors actually give it to them?
Verse by Verse Commentary
- God knew exactly what would happen in the future. He had His exact timetable. Plague ten wasn’t plan 10 and plague two wasn’t plan B. God knew it would take ten plagues to convince Pharaoh to let His people go. This is yet another reminder to us to persevere.
- Pharaoh was not only going to let them go, he was going to drive them out. This would demonstrate clearly God’s victory. Pharaoh would no longer attempt to compromise. He would no longer need any persuasion. God would completely humble him and force him to do exactly what God wanted. Instead of using his army of enforcers to keep the Israelites as slaves, he would forcibly expel them from the land. Proverbs 21:1
- Moses was to speak to the people to prepare them for the Exodus. Each one was to ask valuable articles from his neighbors. There are several reasons why God might have asked Moses to do this. Firstly, we learn in 1 Timothy 5:18 that a worker is worthy of his wages. The Israelites had worked in Eygpt for hundreds of years as slaves and been mistreated, abused, and even murdered in mass by the Egyptians. Now was finally time to be paid for their work. Secondly, it was yet another form of punishment for the Egyptians and their cruel national policy towards the Jews. Thirdly, it was God’s way to provide for the Israelites. As slaves, it is likely that they were very poor and didn’t have many things. God chose to use this way to provide for them. Fourthly, God had prophesied this to Moses in Exodus 3:22. This prophecy and fulfillment showed the completeness of God’s victory over the Egyptians. Fifth, much of this treasure would likely be used to build the tabernacle for the LORD in the wilderness. Ask and you will receive.
- Amazingly, the Egyptians did it. This is yet another miracle and shows how much the Egyptians respected/feared the Lord and Moses. I think if we take a break from study right now and knock on doors in this apartment complex asking my neighbors to give us cash and jewelry and their HD TVs we wouldn’t get many takers. But they did give these things to the Israelites. God worked in their hearts to bring this about.
- We can learn a great lesson from this about God’s provision. When we read in Matthew that if we seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added to us, we can know for sure that God will take care of us somehow someway. It could be through friends providing for us when we are in need. Or as in this case, it could even be enemies or strangers knowingly, or unknowingly helping us. God will make a way even when their seems to be no way.
- Moses was finally a leader the people respected. If we remember back in the first couple of chapters of Exodus, the Jews rejected him as their leader. They didn’t want anything to do with him. They likely were jealous of him and hated him because he grew up in the palace while they suffered. The Egyptians also turned against him because he sided with the Jews. He was a man without a home. Yet now we see that both sides greatly respect him. They respect him because of his boldness and perseverance and because of the great miracles God has done through him. They can see that he is now a great leader. The people under him (at this point) don’t appear to be complaining much anymore. They are willing to submit to Moses’ leadership and follow him. And although the Egyptians had suffered greatly seemingly at the hands of Moses, they still respected him. He was a man of principle and courage. We can learn several lessons from this. Firstly, if God gives us a task to do, He will enable us to do it. God asked Moses to be a leader and it took some time, but people finally respected and followed him. Don’t worry about getting the respect of others. If God wants them to respect you or listen to you, He will cause it to happen at the right time. Secondly, if you do what is right and serve God even unbelievers may end up respecting you. The first criticism of unbelievers is often that believers are hypocrites. But if you stand up for what you believe in and boldly, publicly follow Christ, it will draw many people’s admiration. Of course, this is not the goal of why we serve God, but it is a nice reminder, especially in cases where a boss or other authority figure has been against you. Hang in there and you might just win the person’s respect.
Exactly what would the last plague be? Why did God send such a serious plague on the Egyptians?
Many people have come to me and asked if it was fair for God to do this. If you had a skeptic come to you and doubt God’s fairness in sending this plague against the Egyptians, what would you say to him?
What can we learn from this plague about God’s character?
Do you think the Egyptians had any chance to avoid this fate? Why or why not?
What can we learn from this plague about how the sins of the parents affect their kids? And what application can we get from this today?
From verse 8 what can we see about who Moses was talking to?
The final plague would be by far the most serious yet. Every firstborn human and animal would die. This is a great number of people. The Egyptians honored the firstborn. They held an especially important position in the family and in society and in the monarchy. The firstborn would ascend to the throne and continue the dynasty. The firstborn would be the head of the household after growing up. All of this religious, political, and societal importance would be rendered mute by this plague. No one would be exempt from Pharaoh’s household, down to the lowest slave girl. You guys should know that this plague and the death of all firstborn is one of the first things that skeptics like to point out about Scripture and they like to criticize/accuse God about. Because of this and the significance of the Passover through Scripture, we will spend a while looking first at what we can say to an unbeliever who brings this up, defending God’s honor (although He doesn’t need us to) and secondly what lessons we can get from this.
Defending God’s honor and giving an answer to those who question us. 1 Peter 3:15-17
Verse by Verse Commentary
- Every person is a sinner. This means that everyone is guilty. Like it or not, millions of people die every day and God was the one who decided their fate, when, where, and how they would die. As God is the Creator of the universe and the giver of life it is God’s right to take away life when and how He sees fit. He is the giver and the taker of life. Romans 3:23
- The wages of sin is death. Death is actually an unnatural thing. All death can ultimately be traced back to the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve sinned against God. See Genesis 2:15-17. God told Adam and Eve that if they ate the fruit they would die. They ate it. God didn’t tell them when they would die. He could have killed them immediately, but he didn’t, because of his mercy. Because of our sin, we all deserve death. This applies to every man, woman, and child in existence. God could rightfully execute anyone and anytime because of our sin, but God is actually patient with us, holding off on this judgment for the sake of giving more time to people to repent. Someone might ask, what about babies? Do they deserve this? We should remember that babies die all the time, many are miscarried and many die shortly after birth. This is not a pleasant fact, but it is a fact of life. From Psalms 51:5, we know that even babies are born with sin. This is called original sin and is why children are selfish without anyone teaching them to be selfish and is why they lie without anyone teaching them to lie. Some babies of course did die in this plague. We can trust in God that He will deal with them fairly. While the Bible is not very clear on it, many believers believe that babies will go to heaven when they die. Part of this is based on David’s belief that he would see his child again although his child died and also some other verses that mention children’s innocence and lack of knowledge about right and wrong. See 2 Samuel 12:22-23, Matthew 19:13, Luke 17:11, Luke 18:15. “Because they have forsaken Me and have made this an alien place and have burned sacrifices in it to other gods, that neither they nor their forefathers nor the kings of Judah had ever known, and because they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent and have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, a thing which I never commanded or spoke of, nor did it ever enter My mind; Jeremiah 19:4-5
The Bible also indicates that children are regarded as being innocent because of their lack of ability to discern between good and evil:
Moreover, your little ones who you said would become a prey, and your sons, who this day have no knowledge of good or evil, shall enter there, and I will give it to them and they shall possess it. Deuteronomy 1:39
- It is also based on the logic that God will not hold children (or mentally handicapped) responsible for something they don’t understand and can’t make a choice/decision about. From this comes the theory of the age of accountability. In other words, before the child can understand he is not accountable and after he can understand, he is accountable. I do believe that babies will go to heaven when they die and therefore any babies who died as a result of this plague went to heaven so this plague was actually good for them. However, regardless of what you believe on this issue, know that God deals fairly and justly with them.
- God, through Moses, warned the Egyptians first (see verse 4 -8, Moses was talking in the presence of Pharaoh). The Egyptians knew what was coming and presumably heard through word of mouth or directly from Moses or other Jews how to prevent it (the Passover lamb). This means that all the Egyptians were quadruply culpable. They were culpable firstly because they had original sin, secondly because when they were old enough they decided to sin knowingly (including worshiping false gods and not turning to God even when He showed clearly He was the true God, they had plenty of signs), thirdly because they had willfully enslaved the Jews, and fourthly because they had not listened to Moses warning.
- If indeed some did listen to Moses warning, obeyed his commands and sought the Lord with all their heart, we have every reason to believe that God would have forgiven them and saved them from this plague just like he did in chapter 9:20-21 when the God-fearing Egyptians brought their livestock into safety. I am taking a slight leap from what the Scripture plainly states in this case, but I believe based on the whole context of Scripture and 9:20-21 that if an Egyptian obeyed God in this, his family would be spared. See John 6:37. He who comes to Me I will in…
- Do not put the Lord your God to the test. Deuteronomy 6:16. It is the height of arrogance to set ourselves up as judges over God and to accuse His character (especially when the accusers are wretched sinners themselves). God is righteous and holy. Everything He does is right. We have no right to question Him or accuse Him. He will deal righteously and justly. Besides, no matter what God does people will find fault with Him. I don’t think God is worried whether or not some atheists agree with Him.
- When atheists or skeptics bring up this issue we should be prepared to give an answer to explain this to them. Understanding issues like this can strengthen our faith and help skeptics to understand the Word better to remove barriers from them believing themselves.
Lessons we can learn from this:
- God is just. Once again we learn from the Bible about God’s character of justice. This is not as appetizing to many people as His love and mercy, but it is equally true. It doesn’t matter if you like it or not or just want God to save everyone or not, He is not like that. He takes sin seriously and cannot allow the sinner to go free.
- You reap what you sow. This is a Biblical principle. Many times God works things out naturally that you reap what you sow. For example if you are not generous to others they likely won’t be generous to you and if you are generous they likely will be generous to you. If you are kind, they will most likely be kind in return. Other times God works this out supernaturally (any examples?), such as when the people who accused Daniel were eaten by the lions as they wanted Daniel to be. In this case, how did the Egyptians reap what they sowed? The Egyptians had a national policy to kill the firstborn of the Israelites. Pharaoh made this policy and asked his people to enforce it. God judged them back in the same way. This is fairness epitomized. We should never complain, but we should especially not complain if the trouble happening to us is because of our own mistakes or our own sins against others. Psalms 57:6, Galatians 6:7-8. The Egyptians had ten chances to repent and didn’t take them. Pharaoh (a previous Pharaoh) was the one who made the national policy to kill the Jewish boys, but if his people rose up against this policy in anger public opinion would have forced him to change course. They didn’t. They accepted it. Many of them likely had slaves of their own.
- We should take sin seriously, especially the sin of rejecting God willfully. It is not a light matter. All sin is worthy of death. While God is patient and kind, He also hates sin and takes it seriously. We should hate sin as He hates sin. Hebrews 1:9, Psalms 45:7. Jesus hated wickedness. Can you give any examples where He showed it? (In the temple, when he rebuked Pharisees for misleading the people and their wicked hearts.)
- God protected and saved those who obeyed Him and trusted in Him. Once again God made a distinction between those who believed in Him and those who didn’t. For this most destructive plague, He saved them from it. Not only did they not die, but not even a dog growled at them. God went above and beyond to show His protection for them. At the same time, they still had personal responsibility. They were responsible to obey God’s commands about the Passover lamb and the blood. God gave them an opportunity to be saved, but they had to take this opportunity. People like to ask what if questions. What if someone somewhere hasn’t heard the gospel, what will happen to happen. They like to ask why questions. Why does God judge and do this or that. But they would be better off to ask how. How can avoid a similar fate? By turning to God and joining His team. Then you will be on the Almighty’s side and He will protect you.
- Parents have a great responsibility for their kids. Their own decisions and their own sins will affect their own kids lives. Parents should take this responsibility seriously and lead their families wisely. Can you think of any examples where a father or mother’s sin affected his children (Saul and Jonathan, Jacob marrying four wives and showing bias towards Joseph,David’s indiscretions and lack of discipline towards his kids then Absalom, Amnon and Adinojah). How about any examples where a parent’s right choices helped save his children? (Noah, Rahab, Acts 16:31). Exodus 34:7, John 9:1-3 (God’s purpose for the blind man), Deuteronomy 24:16 (other side, children should not be put to death for parents), Acts 16:31. In the final judgment in heaven, God will never punish a child for his parents’ sin or vice-versa. However, there will be many a child facing judgment whose parents failed to give them every opportunity to believe in, learn about, and follow God. Bringing a child into the world and raising the is a big responsibility. Do not make the mistake the Egyptians did. Their outcry was the loudest heard in Egyptian history and they were responsible. You also will cry out if your child is a prodigal (I have heard of many Christians suffering this) or if your failing causes them serious harm.
- God is patient with us. God could unleash similar plagues around the world at any time for people’s sin and their willful rejection of Him, but in most cases He doesn’t do this. In most cases He gives people more time and opportunities to repent. Don’t waste these opportunities.
- Do not fight against God. God will win in the end, but if you fight against Him your life could be destroyed just like the Egyptians’ lives were.
III. Verses 9-10
Would Pharaoh listen to this last warning? Why not?
- Once again God hardened Pharaoh’s heart for the purpose of increasing His wonders. Remember that these wonders also had many positive benefits both to the Jews, the Egyptians, and around the world where people heard of it. It gave many people clear proof that God is true and encouraged them to repent of their sins and turn to God. Maybe even some of the Egyptians who lost children, brothers, fathers, uncles, etc. would turn to God as a result. Everybody was affected in some way. Death does often act as a shock to let people see the fragility of life, humble themselves, and turn to God.
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