Study questions for Exodus 17
What is the context of this chapter?
More testing in the wilderness. Internal: grumbling. External: Amalekites.
Probably the second month: Ex. 19:1
v. 1—Where were the people staying at this point?
Where did they move to?
How did they get there? Num. 33:12-14 could be that they went from place to place instead of parts of the people moving in sections.
Rephidim was their last stop before Sinai (Ex. 19:1-2; Num. 33:15)
What was the story on the water?
v. 2—What did the people do about the shortage of water?
What did they demand of Moses?
How was Moses supposed to give them water?
What did Moses say to the people?
How was what they were saying a test of the Lord? Mat. 4:5-7
v. 3—Did Moses answer satisfy the people? 2 Cor. 5:7
What would have made them happy?
What did they do that makes you think they weren’t happy with Moses answer?
Have you heard their pleas before?
What was their problem?
Where should they have turned in their desires for water?
What have they forgotten?
Who did they see as the source of the problems?
What did they see as the source of the solutions? 2 Cor. 4:17
How do we know they should have asked God for water?
How can they ever enjoy the Promised Land in the way they ought, if they can’t trust God the way they need to?
v. 4—What did Moses do in response to the people’s grumbling?
What did he say?
What was his attitude toward God?
v. 5—What did God tell Moses to do? Move forward rather than back
Why did he take the elders with him?
v. 6—Where were they going?
Where was the rock?
Where was Horeb?
What was Moses to do with the rock?
What will happen when Moses strikes the rock?
What will the people do with the water that comes out?
And what did Moses do? Psa 78:15-16; 1 Cor. 10:4
Who was watching?
v. 7—What did they call that place from then on?
Why did they call it that?
How was their complaining a test of the Lord?
In less than 6 months they had witnessed 10 plagues, the pillar of cloud and fire, the opening and shutting of the red sea, the miraculous sweetening of the water, manna and birds from the sky; and their real question comes down to: “Is the Lord among us or not?”
Deut. 33:8; Psa 95:8-9 tells us how to view the Israelites at this point in their history. They were continually hardening their hearts, not softening them. They continued to consistently turn from God’s provision to their own devices. They did not trust God, they did not look for solutions, they only complained and whined.
They could not, would not accept the fact that God was God and they were not. They were no different than the Egyptians. But God chose them out of all the people of the earth to be his blessed one. They did not understand what it meant to be the people of God. God’s people. The beloved of God the almighty, creator of heaven and earth. And here he was providing simple things like food and water in the dry dessert.
v. 8—Who was Amalek? Gen 36:12-16; Gen 14:7
What did Amalek do? Deut. 25:17-19
Why would the Amalekites be attacking the whole nation be a problem?
Israelites were tired, Amalekites were distant relatives and should have known about the promise of blessing to the offspring of Abraham (Gen. 12:3) Again, no faith. They did not believe God. They did not trust him for their future blessing and provision.
Where did the attack take place?
Where is Rephidim?
v. 9—Who was Joshua? Num 13:8, 16; 14:6; Ex. 24:13 Possibly around 45 years old.
Why does the text not tell us who these people are?
What did Moses tell Joshua to do?
What is the significance of Moses standing on top of the hill with is staff? 1 Sam. 19:20
What did the staff have to do with the battle? God and man doing the work. Sovereignty and responsibility.
v. 10—What did Joshua do with what Moses told him?
Who was Hur? Ex. 24:14 Josephus says Hur was Miriam’s husband.
What did Moses, Aaron and Hur do?
v. 11—What happened when Moses raised his hand? Ps 63:4
What happened when his hand came down?
v. 12—What happened to Moses during the battle? Ex. 9:22-23; 10:12-13; 14:6
What did they do to help Moses because he was so tired?
Why was he so tired?
How long did they hold his hands up? “Hands remained steady” translates “his hands were faithfulness.”
“The whole narrative…conclusively shows that God’s designed to teach Israel that the hand of Moses, with whom [Israel] had just been chiding, contributed more to their safety than their own hands; his rod more than their weapons.” (Bush in Kaiser, p. 409)
v. 13—When did Israel overcome Amalek and his people?
v. 14—What did the Lord say to Moses? Ex 24:4, 7; 34:27; Num 33:1-2; Deut 31:9, 24
What is a memorial?
Who was he supposed to tell about the events?
What happened to Amalek? “Blotted out” meant that in the same way that ink was rubbed out of a skin by repeated rubbing, so too the nation would slowly be eradicated from the earth.
When will this happen? Deut 25:17-19; Psa. 83:4, 7; 1 Sam. 15; 2 Sam. 1:1-8:12; possibly Est. 9:7-10
v. 15—What did Moses do after chatting with Joshua?
What is an altar?
What did he call the name of the altar? Banner in Hebrew means “’to be high,’ ‘raised,’ ‘conspicuous.’ The allusion would be to lifting up the staff as a standard and a testimony to his power. The victory, then was the Lord’s, just as the ware had been his. There was no such thing as a ‘holy war’ in the OT, but there were “wars of Yahweh.” (Kaiser, p. 409).
v. 16—Why did he name it that?
See the different translations.
Notice that the Israelites didn’t argue of grumble here. It might have been because of the way the Amalekites attacked them and their emotion carried them to war. But it might have also been because they were reacting correctly to the command of God.
Take also Moses as an example of service to the people of God – Col. 1:29 – and the way the leader needs help from the people to serve most effectively. Cf. Eph. 6:18
Contrast the way two Gentile nations treat the apple of God’s eye—cf. the next chapter.