Moses’ Snakes

Ten Interesting Stories of Animals in the Bible

Welcome to Week Five

How it works:

  • Listen to the story, then think about the questions.
  • Finally, hear what Sophie and Timley have to say about it!

This is a reading from Exodus 6:1-8 and 7:8-13.

  1. Did anything in this story surprise you?
  2. God refers to a covenant between himself and the Israelites, starting with Abraham. What did God promise Abraham? (See Week 4, “The Ram that Saved the Day” for more on that).
  3. The Israelites were in Egypt under Pharaoh because of a famine in Canaan that took them there four hundred years prior to this story. Joseph, a descendant of Abraham, had saved the Egyptians through his smart thinking and God’s blessings, leading to many years of prosperity for the Israelite people before they became enslaved. They were waiting for someone to deliver them, yet Exodus 6: 9 tells us that the Israelites didn’t listen to Moses when he told them that God was going to save them. Why do you think they didn’t believe him?
  4. Why do you think God made Moses’ staff turn into a snake? What was the reaction?
  5. Did it surprise you that the Egyptian magicians could turn their staffs into snakes, too? How do you think they were able to do that?
  6. The snake from Moses’ staff swallowed up the magicians’ snakes. What do you think that means?

Now let’s hear from Sophie and Timley. What have they got to say about it?

Sophie Topfeather (rubbing her chin thoughtfully with her wing): I’ve never thought much about snakes before, except as breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Timley Mouse: You used to say the same thing about me!

Sophie (giggling): Hoo hoo hu hoo! So true! So true! (More giggling)

Timley (pulling out his toothpick sword): Still not funny, you know.

Sophie: Oh, I’m not laughing about the idea of eating you! I’m laughing at how surprised that snake must have been: a long piece of wood one minute, breathing and slithering the next!

Timley: Right! Pharaoh sure should have paid attention to what that snake did next, swallowing up the other snakes like that. He should have let the Israelites go right then and there.

Sophie: What do you mean?

Timley: Snakes aren’t the only animals God used in Egypt before Pharaoh lets the people go: God sent plagues of frogs, gnats, and flies that drove everyone nearly crazy, and then a plague that killed the Egyptians’ livestock (horses and cattle and sheep and camels and goats) but NOT the Israelites’ animals, and then a plague of boils that affected people and animals! To top it all off, there were locusts everywhere!

Sophie: Pharaoh must have been begging the Israelites to leave Egypt at that point!

Timley: Not exactly. He didn’t let them go until the firstborn of Egypt died, including his own son. Even then, he chased after them with his army! It’s interesting–just like the story last week, when a ram was used for a sacrifice instead of Isaac, God asked the Israelites to kill a perfect lamb and put its blood on their doorposts so that God would pass over their homes on that dreadful night. (Smiling with all his tiny sharp teeth) I’m glad that I’m a mouse! Members of the sheep family have it rough!

Author’s Note: Sophie and Timley are characters from a novel for kids ages 8-12, Sophie’s Quest, by Sonja Anderson.

About Sonja Anderson

I write novels and short stories for children, and occasionally a book or article for adults, too. I grew up in Ohio, and I have lived in Chicago, Connecticut, Boston, Tokyo, and Seattle. The beautiful Pacific Northwest inspires me every day.
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