For this lesson, rather than asking questions about each verse, I will give an overview of selected chunks of verse and then ask questions about them. I’m trying to figure out a manageable way of dealing with the large portions of text assigned. I worry that creating many pages of detailed questions about verse after verse is more likely to intimidate someone and make close scripture study less likely rather than more. So this is an attempt at a different approach.
A hint for reading the story anew: as you read, remember that the story was written for theological purposes rather than for historical ones. The writer is telling the story of Israel so that we will learn something about God and his relation to his people, not so that we will know the facts concerning Israel’s movement from Egypt to Canaan. That is not, of course, to say that the events didn’t happen. It is just to say that the writer, traditionally assumed to be Moses but probably redacted by later editors (as was the Book of Mormon), tells us the things he does—and, presumably, omits the things he does—in order to fulfill his purposes. As you read, therefore, ask yourself about the theological purposes of the things you read: what is the narrator showing us about God’s relation to Israel? about Israel’s relation to God?