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Conducted by 

The Jewish Chautauqua Society 

Methods of Teaching 

Primary Grades 


Course B ^ -*i c 





(ah RiEhtt Reterred) 



Copyright 1914 


The Jewish Chautauqua Society 





Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 



I. Foreword 7 

II. Buying the Birthright 19 

III. Life of Jacob (l) 31 

IV. Life of Jacob (2) 43 

V. Life of Jacob (3) 55 

VI. Life of Joseph (l) 65 

VII. Life of Joseph (2) 77 

VIII. Life of Joseph (3) 87 

IX. Early Life of Moses 99 

X. Moses the Man Ill 

XI. The Deliverance from Egypt 123 

XII. The Passover 135 

XIII. Esther (l) 145 

XIV. Esther (2) 159 

XV. Esther (3) 173 

XVI. Teaching the Prayers and Psalms 185 

XVII. Teaching the Ten Commandments(I-III) 195 

XVIII. The Commandments (IV-X) 205 






Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 


The explanation given for the lessons embodied 
in Course A of Methods of Teaching Primary Grades, 
holds good also for lessons contained in Course B. 
The hope is entertained that this volume will be of 
further aid in the early religious instruction of the 

Attention is here called to the necessity of weav- 
ing the ethical lessons into the Biblical story in such 
a way, that the former becomes of one piece with the 
latter. The parent as well as the teacher might use 
this publication profitably in the education of the 
child — their common task. 

The Author's thanks are herewith again ex- 
pressed to Dr. Henry Berkowitz, Chancellor of the 
Jewish Chautauqua Society, and to Dr. William Rose- 
nau, Dean of the Correspondence School, for much 
valuable assistance given in the preparation of this 


Philadelphia, May 1914. 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

Lesson I— -Foreword 


When the careful teacher has completed the les- 
sons in Course I of the Primary work, he will pause 
before starting the next year's work. Like the consci- 
entious merchant, he will take stock of his assets and 
liabilities. He will give himself and his work a thor- 
ough examination or test. Some of the questions he 
should put to himself are : 

"Am I qualified to proceed with my work?" 
"Do I thoroughly understand the import of 

the lessons I have taught?" 

"Have I made the meaning of the lessons 

clear to the children ?" 

"Have the material of the lessons and the 

method of my work been simple and compre- 

He will also ask himself : 

"Have I failed at all? If so, where? 

"Can I continue my work feeling I have put 

forth my very best efforts?" 

Candid answers to these self -inquiries will be 
helpful to the teacher and will put him in the right 
frame of mind for the succeeding lessons. 

The children entering upon the second year 
of the Primary Course should be from eight to nine 
years of age. They are still very young for purely 
mental work. All religious and ethical problems must, 
for them, therefore, be stated simply. They must also 
be taught slowly. The children must be frequently 
questioned in order to ascertain whether they under- 
stand the story and comprehend the point made by the 
teacher. It is only by constant repetition and frequent 

Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

paraphrasing (expressing the same thought in several 
different ways) that the teacher can really make him- 
self understood. 


In this, the second year, the children are already 
accustomed to the Religious School and will talk out 
with more freedom than in the first year. The judi- 
cious teacher, taking advantage of this natural growth 
and development, will himself speak less and have the 
pupils talk more. Instead of limiting himself almost 
exclusively to the use of the narrative style, as he had 
to do in the first year, he may adopt more and more 
the questioning method. This is an advantage, as it 
allows more pupils to take an active part in the recita- 
tions. The children will also be able to write simple 
sentences by the time they have reached this class. 

During the first year the teacher had to content 
himself with having the picture illustrating the story 
pasted in a book at home. (See Lessons I and II, 
Course III.) Now the children may be expected to 
write a few sentences or a very short story about the 
picture. Make it a privilege to write a "story" 
in the blank book. Do not command it to be done. 
Each week read aloud to the class a few of the stories 
written by the pupils. Look at every book every 
week, and praise the work, if possible. It is suggested 
that no criticism of spelling be made. 

The work must be the child's own work, not ihc 
parents'. Even misspelled words and poorly con- 
structed sentences which represent the child's personal 
effort are greatly to be preferred to the parent's work. 
Continue the use of the blue cards with the gilt stars 
on them for regular and prompt attendance. (See 
Lessons I and II of Course III.) The children will 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

still be interested in them. The cards form a second 
tangible connecting link between home and school. 
Many parents, who might be careless and not recog- 
nize the importance of punctuality in a Religious 
School, are taught to realize it by the distress of a 
tardy pupil who does not receive his tiny star. 

The lessons in this course begin with the life of 
Jacob. The general plan of teaching will be the same 
as in the previous course. 

There are a number of advantages in adhering 
to the same general method. The teacher can often 
illustrate by some reference to a story taught or a 
point made in the previous work. Similarities may be 
traced, differences discovered, and so the work be 
made more interesting to both teacher and pupil. 

Before teaching the lessons on the life of Jacob, 
let the teacher read in the Bible, in the Jewish Ency- 
clopedia and in other available reference books the 
entire life of Jacob, and thus obtain a clear idea of the 
conditions of life in Jacob's times — the mode of living, 
manner of dress, methods of travel, food — and of 
such facts as will make the whole subject clear and 
comprehensible to the teacher himself. 

Let him then study each separate lesson, divide 
the subject into topics and arrive at a clear and defi- 
nite idea of the subject he wishes to teach each week. 

Rather use too little than too much of the mate- 
rials of the lesson. Go slowly! This is the keynote 
of success in teaching little folks. Review frequently ! 
Such review helps to retain in the memory what has 
been previously learned. 

Explain in detail, so that every fact and idea may 
be grasped and clearly understood by the child's mind. 
Be patient with errors. Many mistakes, often ludi- 
crous and incomprehensible to you, will occur. 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades— II. 


Remember that, as in the previous lessons, what 
to omit in a story is just as important as what to tell. 
These Biblical narratives are to be used in an eclectic 
way. We select for pedagogical and ethical purposes 
that which is serviceable to stimulate in the child a 
love for what is good, and the desire to emulate the 
same. Emphasis is, therefore, to be laid upon noble 
traits, and the evil is to be referred to as a contrast 
and to accentuate the good. 

Any other presentation of the Biblical story must 
be deferred to a later study by the matured mind. 
For example, in the story of Jacob several points must 
be omitted: The shrewd, cunning man Jacob tried 
in every way to get rich at Laban's expense. (Genesis, 
Chap. XXX: 31-43.) Do not tell of Jacob's trickery 
to the children. In the later narrative, do not lay too 
much emphasis on Jacob's great partiality for Joseph. 
This partiality must be touched upon because of the 
great trouble it caused in the family. 

The Biblical narrative reveals the unfolding of 
Jacob's character. He develops from "J^^ob the de- 
ceiver" through struggle and self-mastery to become 
at last "Israel the champion of God." As a young 
man, Jacob evinced these lower traits. His efforts to 
obtain the coveted birthright and blessing depict him 
in anything but a good light. As he grew older these 
traits were replaced by the nobler qualities which 
made him an example to be emulated. 

This process of elimination must be made with 
care also in the succeeding stories of Joseph, Moses 
and Esther. Let the teacher be sure to take out the 
chaff and leave the kernels, omit the bad and select 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

the good. The evil in the Biblical characters, though 
not to be emphasized, must yet be mentioned, in order 
to bring out the real goodness and greatness to which 
these characters attained. It is not "begging the ques- 
tion" with young children to try in every way possible 
to show them pictures of the good, the positive and 
the beautiful, and to try to hide from them the 
evil, the negative and the ugly. 

It is necessary to show some development of 
character. Naughty children often develop into good 
men and women. With age comes judgment. Re- 
nunciation and self-denial purify character. The Bib- 
lical characters were only human. We must con- 
stantly repeat this to ourselves and the children. Do 
not attribute divine characteristics to the Biblical char- 
acters. No human beings are perfect, but their good 
deeds very often exceed their shortcomings. 

In this class it is well to teach simple Bible texts, 
e. g., selections from Proverbs and Psalms, prayers 
and Commandments. Some teachers may have intro- 
duced this feature in the lower class. If not, let this 
surely be done in the second year. The teacher is re- 
ferred to the little booklet entitled "Prayers for Home 
and School," by Ella Jacobs, Philadelphia, Pa. This 
book contains the Commandments in simple language 
and abbreviated form, suitable for the young child. 
It has short and simple prayers for night and morning 
and for the religious school classroom. It has a few 
Psalms. It also contains the reasons for observing 
all the holidays and the Hebrew and English words 
for the "Shema." This little book may serve as the 
first text-book. A copy of it may be placed in the 
hands of every pupil. Pupils will be interested in 
having, like their older brothers and sisters, a book 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

to use at home. The children are old enough now to 
offer a little prayer night and morning. The teacher 
should occasionally ask whether they do so. 


Continue to use the birthday and the collection 
box. Impress upon the pupils the nobility and joy 
of generosity, which is twice blessed: "Blessing him 
who gives and him who takes." Lantern slides should 
be used for review. This procedure is a valuable aid 
to the work. The pupils might be shown more of 
the geography of Bible lands, but not too much. Chil- 
dren are not capable of comprehending much of this 

In a word, manner, method and material in 
Course II must all show a logical advance, a natural 
growth and sequence following upon the lessons in 
Course I. Be careful in answering the children's 
questions. Try to explain, whenever possible, always 
keeping within the range of the child's comprehen- 
sion. Above all, the children must be strengthened 
in faith — faith in you, faith in themselves and faith 
in God. 


Some questions are difficult to answer. These 
are treated from time to time in these lessons. Sug- 
gestions are given as to how to deal with them. In 
many instances it may be well to reply that children 
will understand when they grow older. Such an 
answer will prove satisfactory to children, if the 
teacher has won their confidence. Let me cite one 
instance: A teacher asked me how to explain the 
idea of God to a child. The answer is quoted as a 
help to other teachers. 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

We must speak of the Deity as having human 
attributes, because to express the infinite we have 
only finite modes of thought and finite words. The 
Rabbis have said that "The Bible speaks in the 
language of man." Thus we speak of the "All-seeing 
eye," "the finger of God," "an outstretched Arm," 
"Whose throne is the Heaven and whose footstool 
is the earth." All such expressions we know are in- 
sufficient and are to be taken figuratively. We cannot 
express ourselves in any other manner. 

The Chinese represent the Creator of the world 
as a man with a gimlet boring out rocks ; the Norse, 
as a giant, Thor, who with big sledge hammer is 
breaking stones to form tht earth. Michael Angelo's 
"Creation" shows God as a deified man with angels 
hovering about Him. All these conceptions of the 
Creator are equally unsatisfactory and imaginative. 
To teach young children the conception of an invisible 
God is difficult, but the teacher must refrain, as far as 
possible, from picturing God in a human form. 

Ask the child what makes the leaves move in the 
trees. They will know it is the wind. You cannot 
see the wind, yet you are sure there is such a force 
or power. It turns windmills. It can blow down 
houses. It can uproot trees. Or ask: What makes 
the street cars run? What is used for lighting the 
streets? Electricity! You are sure of the power, 
although it is invisible. Again illustrate: Watch an 
apple fall to the ground. See a coin fall. It never 
remains in the air. Why so? Because a force of 
nature (gravitation) pulls it down. After these illus- 
trations proceed to make the analogy. God is the 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

Cause. He is the Creative Force. He is the Direc- 
tive Power, making and ruling all things, yet wc 
cannot see Him. 


Notice that the sun rises each day in the east 
and sets in the west. Plant a peach seed. A peach 
tree, never an apple tree, will grow. These are in- 
violable laws of Nature. System and order are every- 
where seen in Nature. Note the change of seasons. 
They always recur in order. Nothing happens by 
chance. God's power creates and His will directs all 
things. In the same way show His omnipotence, His 
omniscience and omnipresence in the world about us 
by proving that God's laws are operative everywhere, 
all working with perfection. Deeper than all this arc 
His mercy and His goodness to His creatures, in pro- 
viding for their wants and caring for them and pro- 
tecting them. "The Lord is good to all, and His 
mercies extend over all His works." (Ps. CXLV:9.) 

By constant reference to these facts the teacher 
can lead the child to some idea of Divinity. 


1. In beginning Course IV, of this work, what 
points of similarity does the teacher naturally expect 
to find with the preceding course? What points of 
difference ? 

2. Why are some details of the Biblical narra- 
tive omitted ? Give an example. 

3. Will the teaching of Course IV, in your opin- 
ion, be more difficult or less difficult than Course III? 
State the reason for your answer. 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — II. 

4. How would you teach a little child about God ? 

5. Why should these lessons be more interesting 
t» the children than the ones of the previous year ? 

6. What part should the children take each 
week in the recitation? 

7. What preparation at home is required of the 
children in this grade? 

8. What is the length of time the teacher should 
expect the child to devote to home preparation ? What 
part should the parent take in this work ? 

9. How long should children of this class be kept 
m session each week ? 

10. Write out a program for the work, stating 
time to be given for prayer, new lesson, review, etc. 


Lesson II 
Buying the Birthright 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — II. 

Lessen II— Buying the Birthright 

Aim of the Lesson — To illustrate that in every 
person there are good and evil inclinations. 

Memory Gem — "Thou, Oh God, seest me." (Com- 
pare Zachariah IV: 10; II Chronicles XVI: 9.) 

Bible References— Genesis XXV; XXVII: 1-40. 

Pi'c^wr^^— Wilde's 506, "Esau Sells His Birth- 
right." Tissot 22, "The Mess of Pottage." 

Object — Some dried lentils. 

Song — The Golden Rule. 



As this is the first lesson in Bible narrative for 
the second year of the child's life in the religious 
school, the point of contact must be carefully made. 
Indeed, the point of contact will best be made by means 
of a brief review of the preceding Bible tales. 

The teacher must not make the error, however, of 
making too detailed a review. By doing so, unneces- 
sary time would be consumed and the child become 
confused and tired before the real lesson of the day 
is reached. 

In this lesson on "The Early Life of Jacob" the 
teacher must have in mind the whole story of Jacob's 
entire career and also the relation it bears to the life 
of his father and grandfather. 

An impressive and easy way to make the point 
of contact then will be for the teacher to place the 
following diagram on the blackboard: 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — II. 


Abraham^ ^^1""^^' 


lam 1 

and [- Isaac and ) 1 

Lrali J Rebekah j 2 

Abraham ^ 


Sarah J Rebekah j 2 Jacob 

The children will easily understand this. Tell 
them that we call Abraham, Isaac and Jacob our great 
forefathers, the Patriarchs. 

Get them to recall some promises God made to 
Abraham and Isaac. See Lessons — Genesis XVII: 
4-6-8; Genesis XXII: 17 and 18; Genesis XII: 1, 2 
and 3 ; Genesis XXVI : 3, 4, 5. 

These verses show plainly that God blessed Isaac 
for the sake of his father Abraham. The pupils will 
now learn that God continued to bless Jacob for the 
sake of Abraham and Isaac. 



Isaac and Rebekah had two sons, who were named 
Esau and Jacob. Esau was the older. The boys 
grew up, and Esau was an expert hunter, a man of 
the field, while Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in 
tents. "And Isaac loved Esau because he did eat of 
his venison, but Rebekah loved Jacob." (Genesis XXV: 
27 and 28.) 

These verses contain the reason for many of the 
trials of Jacob, as well as for all the sufferings of 
Isaac and Rebekah. Here we have an instance of the 
partiality of parents for a special child. Of course, 
this must be very lightly touched in teaching the lesson 
to young children. 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades— II. 

Tell something of the early life of the two boys. 
They were unlike physically and spiritually. Esau 
was a rough and hairy man. As Esau grew up he 
liked to hunt, and, of course, this pleased his father. 
And when Esau killed his first deer, with the bow 
and arrow Isaac had made for him, his father was 
very proud. He often took Esau out hunting with 

Jacob, however, was very different He had a 
delicate complexion; his skin was smooth and soft. 
He was a quiet, thoughtful boy. He disliked hunting. 
He preferred to stay at home, to dwell in tents and 
help his mother. 

Rebekah, partly for these reasons and partly be- 
cause Isaac showed such preference for Esau, grew 
to love Jacob more and more, and mother and son 
became close companions. 

Of course, most of the laws in those days were 
very different from the laws of today. Yet in some 
we can trace great similarity. At present, when a 
king or queen dies, the eldest son becomes the heir, 
succeeds to the throne and is made the ruler of the 
country. In olden times this law, called the law of 
primogeniture, also prevailed in ordinary families. 
When the father died, the eldest son became the head 
of the family and received the larger share of the 
possessions of his father. Esau was the elder son 
of Isaac, and at his father's death he was entitled 
to be the heir. It was the duty of the eldest son to 
become familiar with all the work of his father. 

Isaac was trained to become his father's (Abra- 
ham's) heir, but Esau cared little about his birthright 
with the accompanying honors. He delighted in hunt- 
ing, and forgot his duties. 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — II. 

As Isaac grew older his eyesight failed, and he 
finally became blind. Of course, he could not go out 
hunting with Esau. There were many duties then 
which Esau, instead of his feeble father, should have 
performed, but he neglected them to indulge in his 
own pleasures. 

It was customary on the anniversary of the death 
of a parent or grandparent to fast ; also to cook some 
lentils and place them on the deceased ancestor's grave 
while offering a prayer to God for the rest of the 
departed soul. (Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. VII, page 
63.) As Isaac was feeble and nearly blind, these 
duties devolved on Esau ; but, as you know, he shirked 

Lentils are small beans, perfectly round in shape, 
and, probably because of the endless line or circle, were 
used on the anniversary of a death to symbolize im- 

Tradition tells that one day, on some such anni- 
U J t J versary, Esau neglected his duty and went out hunting 
■^luA^ f^ h. as usual. Jacob, in the meanwhile, cooked the lentils 
ij J and made them into pottage. (Show some dried len- 
>^r-,.M^^ tils; call attention to their shape.) 

Esau returned home very hungry, and the pottage 
smelled good to him, so he said to Jacob: "Let me 
taste, I pray thee, some of that yonder red pottage, 
for I am faint." (Genesis XXV: 30.) 

In those far off times and places the eldest son 
really ruled over the younger brothers. The servants, 
also, were bound to obey him. So Esau might readily 
have taken the pottage, and Jacob could not have 
prevented it. But both Esau and Jacob knew that 
the lentils had been cooked for quite a different pur- 
pose, i. e., for placing them on a grave. They also 
knew that Esau ought not to eat until sundown, until 



Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

the day of fasting was over. But Esau cared little 
for his birthright, while Jacob was very anxious to 
have it. This explains why Jacob refused to give 
his brother the pottage at first. Then the thought 
occurred to Jacob that he might get the coveted birth- 
right by offering to exchange or to sell the pottage for 
it. He suggested to Esau that he buy the pottage. 
Esau said he had nothing wherewith to pay for it, 
but Jacob eagerly reminded him of his birthright. 
Esau, although a big, strong, rough man in body, 
was weak spiritually. He could not stand the suffer- 
ing or inconvenience of fasting. The smell of the 
food overcame all his scruples. He could not control 
his appetite, and so he parted with his sacred birth- 

Read to the class what the Bible says about it: 
"And Jacob said, 'Sell me this day thy right of first- 
born.' And Esau said: 'Behold, I am going to 
die, and what profit then can the right of first-born 
be to me?' And Jacob said: 'Swear unto me this 
day ;' and he swore unto him ; and he sold his right of 
first-bom to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and 
pottage of lentils, and he did eat and drink, and he 
rose up and went his way; thus Esau despised his 
birthright." ( Genesis XXV : 29-34. ) 

In thinking about this narrative, we are impressed 
at first with the meanness and shrewdness of Jacob. 
But before teaching it to the class, go deeper into the 
motives of both the brothers, Esau and Jacob. Ac- 
cording to our standards of morality today, Jacob 
does appear in a bad light. He should have given 
his hungry brother some food. Then he should not 
have required an oath from him. His simple word 
should have been enough. But even little children will 
understand how frequently, under stress of circum- 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

stances, people will make promises which they do not 
intend to keep or they will forget such promises. A 
man in danger of drowning will promise all his be- 
longings to his rescuer, but when he is safe, often 
forgets his vow. Children themselves, when forcing 
a gift from some child, will make him say: "King, 
king, double king, never take it back again." This 
jingle is to insure permanent future possession of the 

Tell the child that later on he will hear of a king- 
(Pharaoh) who made promise after promise, and 
broke his word repeatedly. This common failing of 
young and old seems to excuse or to palliate the fact 
of Jacob's making his brother Esau swear to let him 
keep the much-desired birthright. Jacob did not want 
Esau to say afterwards : "Oh, I was starving then, 
and I was only joking." Esau would not have starved 
to death in a few hours. He was weak and foolish 
not to endure the little inconvenience. He showed 
that he "despised" his birthright, of which he should 
have felt so proud, and which was a God-given bless- 
ing. Jacob craved it, and took the only means he 
knew to secure it. Both brothers were to blame for 
the transaction, and both were punished, and had much 
trouble later on in their lives on account of this bar- 
tered birthright. The children will be told of these 
troubles when they learn in the next lesson about the 
Stolen Blessing. 


This story gives an excellent opportunity for em- 
phasizing in the course of the narrative the virtue of 
sobriety and the evil effects of uncontrollable appetite 
in eating and drinking — a lesson which the children 
need. Remember that it is better to teach a positive 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

lesson, a virtue, than a negative lesson, a vice. The 
children will at some time surely see some pitiable 
inebriate on the streets, so it is, therefore, well to 
anticipate such a sight. A person who cannot control 
his desire to drink strong drinks, such as beer, wine, 
whiskey, etc., and who drinks to excess, is called 
a drunkard. Enlarge on tlie evils of drunkenness — a 
dreadful habit ; and speak of the misery of a drunkard, 
and of the sorrow and shame of his family. 

A person who cannot control his appetite for food 
is a glutton. While gluttony is not as repulsive and 
the effects are not as disastrous, yet it is a serious 
fault. Esau appears to us as a man who could not 
control his appetite for food. Each one should learn 
to master or control his evil desires and appetites and 
not let them master or control him. 

As Jews, we do not believe in total abstinence, 
but we do believe in moderation in drink, food and 
all other features. Our religion has prescribed dietary 
laws which have, whenever observed, kept the Jewish 
people temperate and healthy. 


Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are the three great 
Jewish Patriarchs, or forefathers. Abraham was 
known as the first Hebrew. He was the founder of 
our faith. God made many promises to Abraham, to 
bless him and his children, and his children's children, 
and through them to bless all the inhabitants of the 
earth. God repeated these promises to Isaac, Abra- 
ham's son. Later on they were repeated to Jacob. 

Isaac and Rebekah had two sons, Esau and Jacob. 
As children they were unlike, and as they grew up 
these differences were more apparent, both physically 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

and spiritually. Esau was rough, burly and fond of 
hunting. Jacob was quieter and loved to dwell in the 
tent. The father, Isaac, showed greater love for Esau, 
while the mother, Rebekah, cared more for Jacob. 

Parents should love all their children alike. The 
baby in a family is usually the favorite ; but this is on 
account of its tender age and helplessness. According 
to the laws of the land, Esau was entitled to the birth- 
right; but he despised it, while Jacob yearned to have 
it. Of the two brothers, Jacob was best fitted to 
become the head of the family. He felt this, and 
keenly desired to obtain this position. 

One day, when Esau came home from hunting, 
tired and hungry, Jacob persuaded Esau to barter or 
sell his divine right of birth for mere food — a mess of 
pottage. At first glance it seems unbrotherly in 
Jacob to make Esau buy what should have been given 
him. But tradition says that both knew that Esau 
was observing a religious fast, and therefore he should 
not have eaten anything. He was a weak man and 
could not control his appetite. In order to get what 
he most desired, Jacob took advantage of his brother's 
failing. Both brothers did wrong and suffered for it 
during a long series of years. 

We must learn to control our wishes, desires 
and appetites. Esau could not do this, and hence lost 
his birthright. This act changed the events of his 
whole life. 


1. How should the point of contact be made with 
the previous lesson ? 

2. (a) What is the advantage of a short review 
each week ? 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

(b) What is the disadvantage of going too 
far back in the review ? 

3. Cite some mental and physical differences be- 
tween Esau and Jacob. 

4. Explain the law of primogeniture in Bible 

5. What actions of Isaac and Rebekah caused 
much trouble in their family ? 

6. What custom prevails among us today on the 
anniversary of a parent's death ? How does this com- 
pare in purpose with the ceremony of olden times ? 

7. Why did Esau sell his birthright? 

8. Why was Jacob so anxious to obtain it ? 

9. What flaws were shown, respectively, in the 
character of both Esau and Jacob in this transaction ? 

10. Who are the three great Patriarchs? Why 
are they so called ? 

11. Tell briefly how you would teach the control 
of the appetite to young children. 


Lesson III 
Life of Jacob (1) 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

Lesson III— Life of Jacob (1) 

Special Topic — The Stolen Blessing. 

Aim of the Lesson — To show that one sin leads 
to another. 

Memory Gem — "Honor thy father and thy 
mother." (Fifth Commandment.) Exodus XX : 12. 

Bible References— Genesis XXVII, XXVIII : 1-9 

Pictures— Tissot 19, 20. 

Objects — Bow, quiver and arrows. 

Song — The Golden Rule, continued. 



The teacher, as usual, should begin the lesson by 
reviewing the chief events covered by the previous 
lesson. For this purpose let him use the "Resume" of 
the previous lesson, omitting the portion on sobriety 
and intoxication. Let the children tell how Jacob 
secured the coveted birthright. Did he get it by fair 
means entirely? Anything which is obtained in an 
unjust way never brings happiness. One sin usually 
leads to others. The children will learn the truth of 
this as the story progresses. Ask them if in these 
days the right of the eldest son is preserved in ordi- 
nary life. To some degree it is. A father often takes 
his eldest son into the firm with him, and this son 
continues the business after the father dies. An heir- 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

loom, as a rule, passes by courtesy and tradition to the 
eldest son. Both Esau and Jacob knew that they had 
done wrong in the matter of the birthright, so it is 
very probable that they did not tell their parents, Isaac 
and Rebekah, anything about the transaction. 



Jacob had secured the desired birthright, but was 
dissatisfied. He felt that he wanted the blessing also 
which accompanied it. In olden times the blessing of 
God was an important factor in the lives of men. Recall 
some of the blessings of God to Noah, Abraham and 
Isaac. So, too, in those days special importance was 
attached to the father's blessing. Of course, by right 
of seniority Esau was entitled to the greatest blessing. 

For variety in the work read to the children first 
Genesis XXVII : 1-40, as a continuous story. The 
narrative is worded so simply that they will readily 
understand the greater part of it. Moreover, it is 
well occasionally to let the children hear Biblical lan- 
guage. It accustoms the ear to the wonderful phrase- 
ology, which has come down to us with little alteration 
through many centuries. 

After the story has been read, begin to ask ques- 
tions about it, in order to test the clearness with which 
the meaning has been conveyed to the children. Then 
proceed to explain any misunderstood portions. 

In the previous lesson the children were told that 
as Isaac grew old he became blind. He wanted to be 
sure to give his last, best blessing to his elder son, 
Esau, who was his favorite. It was no hardship, but 
a pleasant task, to obey the command to go forth and 
hunt a deer, in order to kill it and cook it as his father, 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

Isaac, liked it. But the mother, Rebekah, wanted the 
blessing for her best beloved son, Jacob. So, as soon 
as Esau had left the tent she called Jacob and told 
him hurriedly to kill two kids. She promised to cook 
the meat and season it to Isaac's taste, so that he 
would think it was the meat of a deer. Although 
Jacob wanted the blessing, he feared to do what his 
mother asked. He was afraid not of the wrong deed, 
but of being detected. So many people are like Jacob. 
They will do wrong, but only fear "being found out." 
Tell the children that it is the wrongdoing of which we 
should really be afraid. We should avoid evil because 
it is evil. No wrong ever goes undiscovered, and pun- 
ishment always follows, sooner or later. Jacob 
reminded his mother of the difference between himself 
and Esau. "Esau, my brother, is a hairy man, and I 
am a smooth man. If my father will feel me and I 
should then seem to him as a deceiver, I would bring 
upon me a curse and not a blessing." In her great 
mother-love for him Rebekah replied: "Unto me be 
thy curse, my son, only obey my voice." (Genesis 
XXVII: 11-13.) 

Call attention to the boundless love of parents for 
their children. The mother was willing to bear the 
blame, i. e., to be cursed, so that her son should be 
benefited. She was willing to be punished for the sin 
of another. 

A child's sin always reacts on its parents. But 
our parent, like our Heavenly Father, always loves 
us and is willing to forgive our sins, if we repent of 

Let the teacher guard well against the error of 
attempting to condone Rebekah's wrongdoing in 
deceiving her blind husband and in teaching her boy to 
practice deception. It is in its simple portrayal of such 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

human weakness and in revealing the sad effects of 
yielding to them that the moral force of the Lesson is 
impressed. Do not attempt to conceal from the pupil 
the frailty of Rebekah and her selfish love for her 
favorite son. But do not paint her as exceptional. 
Indicate, rather, how all mothers are similarly tempted 
by affection and how love and friendship also have their 
dangers. The Lesson is a warning to mothers and 
sons, but a lesson we all need. Impress the sad results 
to which the wrongdoing led ; viz. : the flight of Jacob 
and all the troubles which befell him ; the cruel separa- 
tion of the son from his parents ; the sorrow of Isaac 
and the years of trial which followed. 

To the child of the Primary Grade, father and 
mother are perfect beings. The Bible narrative pre- 
sents parents who are not alone imperfect, but weak. 
Rebekah is sinful. It is, indeed, a very delicate matter 
to present such pictures without suggesting to the 
child, though it be unconsciously, the thought that its 
own parents may be capable of like offenses. Here 
the tact of the teacher is needed to safeguard the child's 
love of parent untainted and its spirit of devotion and 
absolute obedience undiminished. To insure this, the 
narrative of the family life of Isaac must be told with 
sorrow at its failings, not with scorn or contempt. 
The ideal is to be clarified and emphasized by contrast 
with a picture from real life. That contrast should not 
be concealed and left to a later painful self-discovery 
by the child. Rebekah thought that the end justified 
the means. She was punished by having to send her 
son away and never seeing him again. This was the 
penalty for her sin. Jacob's deception was punished in 
many ways. Long years after this his own children 
deceived him, as he had deceived his father. 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

When Jacob took the food to his father, Isaac felt 
him, and, of course, was deceived by the hairy hide on 
Jacob's hands. It is pathetic to think of the old blind 
man saying: "The voice is the voice of Jacob, but 
the hands are the hands of Esau." These words are 
often used now when a sin is committed or a deception 
practiced. So the old blind man ate the food, and 
with great solemnity kissed his son, putting his hands 
on the head of Jacob in blessing. Being deceived and 
thinking that it was Esau, Isaac gave to him the great 
and coveted blessing: 

"May God give thee of the dew of Heaven, and 
the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine. 
Nations shall serve thee, and people bow down to thee ; 
be lord over thy brethren, and thy mother's sons shall 
bow down to thee ; cursed be they that curse thee, and 
blessed be they that bless thee." (Genesis XXVII: 

Teachers are sometimes puzzled by the question 
whether Jacob should or should not have obeyed his 
mother. Her command was a strong one. But here 
again it is not feasible to tell young children not to 
obey their parents, whatever the command may be. 
While they are young, "Honor thy father and thy 
mother" is a command to be obeyed absolutely. The 
sin is on the parent who misleads, not upon the 
irresponsible child that is misled. 

Soon after Isaac had blessed Jacob, Esau returned 
from the hunt. He brought the deer, which he pre- 
pared and cooked. He took it to his father. The scene 
is at once pathetic and tragic. Imagine Isaac's feelings 
when he found that Jacob had deceived him and 
secured the blessing. Imagine Esau's sorrow and rage 
when he discovered this theft. He said : "He hath sup- 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. ' 

planted me these two times ; my right of first-born he 
took away; and behold now he hath taken away my 
blessing." ( Genesis XXVII : 36. ) 

The Bible tells us that Esau wept, and no doubt 
Isaac wept also to know the grief of his son ; to think 
of Jacob's deception, by which Esau had really lost 
the birthright, and therefore he would not succeed his 
father in power and possessions. It is very probable 
that Esau now regretted keenly that he had despised 
his birthright and had sold it so cheaply to Jacob. But 
a deed done cannot be undone. (Enlarge on this topic.) 

He begged his father for a blessing, saying: 

"Hast thou but one blessing? Bless me also, Oh my 

father!" Isaac then blessed him, telling him that he 

. should live by the sword — that is, be the leader of a 

y^^i^4)^,.uj warlike tribe. But Isaac said that Esau should serve 

U V .his brother, Jacob, until he was strong enough to 

^J^'^^^^' throw off the yoke of servitude from his neck. 

Esau went away from Isaac in sorrow and anger. 
"He hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his 
father had blessed him." And he resolved that after 
his father was dead he would kill Jacob. (Genesis 
XXVII: 41.) 

What a horrible crime it was that Esau contem- 
plated ! Though he had murder in his heart, yet how 
dearly he loved his father ! He would not grieve him. 
No, he would wait, perhaps for years, "until the days 
of mourning will be at hand." Not until these had 
passed would he revenge himself for his wrongs. 

When Rebekah discovered Esau's plans she was 
naturally grieved and frightened. So she said to 
Jacob : "Behold, thy brother Esau doth comfort him- 
self, with regard to thee, purposing to kill thee. Now, 
therefore, my son, obey my voice ; and arise, flee thou 
to my brother Laban to Haran ; and tarry with him a 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — II. 

short time until thy brother's fury turn away. Until 
thy brother's anger turn away from thee and he for- 
gets that which thou hast done to him ; then will I send 
and fetch thee from there ; why should I be deprived 
of both of you at once, in one day?" Genesis XXVII : 

Rebekah had done wrong, and her punishment 
began at once. She feared that her eldest son would 
be a murderer. She feared that her younger son 
would be murdered. She feared that she would lose 
them both. She resolved to send Jacob far away to 
her old home, to her brother. She knew that Laban 
would care for him for her sake. But she did not want 
to tell Isaac the true reason of making Jacob leave 
home. She again deceived him. 

She told Isaac that she did not want Jacob to 
marry one of the girls of the land, as Esau had done. 
She told him how much she had grieved over Esau's 
marriage. She reminded him that his father, Abra- 
ham, had sent a servant back to their own birthplace 
to get a wife for him. She spoke of how she herself 
had left home to become his, Isaac's wife. She begged 
him to send Jacob back to her old home to get a wife 
for himself. 

All this seemed plausible to Isaac, and perhaps 
he was anxious, too, to separate the brothers, for he 
knew there must be bitter feeling between them. Isaac 
sent for Jacob and told him that he must not marry 
among the Canaanites, but that he must go to Padan 
Aram, their old home in another country, there to find 
his wife among his own kindred. Isaac gave a parting 
blessing to Jacob. In this blessing it is seen that he 
realized that Jacob was to succeed him and carry for- 
ward the sacred task which had come down to him 
from his father, Abraham. Note the words : "God, 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

the Almighty, bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and 
multiply thee, that thou mayest become a multitude o£ 
people. And may he give thee the blessing of Abra- 
ham, to thee, and to thy seed with thee; that thou 
mayest inherit the land of thy sojourn, which God gave 
unto Abraham." (Genesis XXVIII: 3 and 4.) 

To Jacob the parting must have, indeed, been a 
sad one. He kissed his mother again and again, and 
listened to the many messages she sent to her family 
in the far-off land and to the words of love and advice 
which she gave him. Deep down in their hearts the 
mother and son knew that they both had sinned. Jacob 
left his father in sorrow. He had deceived the blind 
man, and even now he was leaving him in a deceitful 
manner. He wondered if he should ever see that 
pathetic, feeble form again. He parted from his 
brother Esau in anger, for Esau, naturally enough, 
could not so soon forget the wrong that Jacob had 
done to him. So it was with a sorrowful heart that 
Jacob took up his few possessions and started on his 
long, eventful journey. Tell the children that this les- 
son depicts one of the saddest scenes in the whole 
Bible: strife in a family. Instead of father, mother 
and sons living happily together, as a family should, 
there were suffering, quarrelsomeness, springing from 
envy and selfishness and leading to grief. Each one, 
from selfish motives of his own, helped to deaden love 
and to break up a home. Things grew from bad to 
worse, until the family ties were torn asunder and the 
yoimgest member had to flee for his life. 


Show the bow and arrow. Explain their use in 
telling of Esau's occupation as a hunter. Show the 
pictures. Apply the Memory Gem. Sing the Song. 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 


The story of the stolen blessing is one of the sad- 
dest in the Bible. It shows how a happy family was 
destroyed by the weaknesses and failings of each of its 

As there are two sides to every question, so the 
fault for any trouble is rarely to be found with one 
perspn alone. "It takes two to make a quarrel." 

We see plainly that all four — Isaac, Rebekah, 
Esau and Jacob — were involved in the troubles which 
led to the final scene: the sending away of Jacob to 
save his life. 

Isaac was old, feeble and nearly blind; and for 
these reasons alone he was entitled to the extra consid- 
eration, care and love of his wife and two sons. 

Esau was selfish and thought chiefly of his own 
pleasures, especially hunting. He despised his birth- 
right and all the duties and honors of the head of a 
great family. 

Rebekah had been a good wife and loved her hus- 
band dearly, but her mother's love was deeper. Misled 
by her affection, she planned with Jacob to get the 
blessing for him by stealth. 

Jacob was torn by conflicting emotions. He had 
bought the birthright, but that was only part of what he 
coveted. He must have the blessing also. Yet he dis- 
liked deceit. He finally yielded, and really stole the 
blessing intended for Esau. 

Through sorrow and suffering Jacob is trained, 
and finally he becomes fit to be his father's successor. 
But we must not fail to believe and realize that God's 
hand was in all these transactions and that he had a 
purpose, in all that befell Jacob, in his journeys. 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 


1. How did Jacob obtain the birthright? How 
did he obtain the best blessing? 

2. Who was chiefly to blame in the matter of the 

blessing ? Why ? 

3. Discuss the attitude of Rebekah in making 
Jacob deceive his father. 

4. Give your personal opinion as to whether a 

child should obey a parentis sinful command. State 
reasons for your answer. 

5. How did Esau feel when he found that Jacob 
had stolen the blessing? How did Isaac feel? 

6. Why was Jacob so desirous of securing the 

7. What did Rebekah do for Jacob's safety ? 

8. How did the last blessing Isaac gave Jacob 

(Genesis XXVIII : 3 and 4) differ from the first 
blessing (Genesis XXVII : 28 and 29)? 

9. State briefly how you would teach the first 
part of this lesson to a child. 

10. If a child raised the question : "Should his 
mother have told Jacob to deceive his father?" how 
would you answer it ? 


Lesson IV 
Ufa of Jacob (2) 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

Lesson IV— Life of Jacob (2) 

Aim of Lesson — To show that God is always 
watching over us. 

Memory Gem — "I am with thee and will keep thee 
wherever thou goest." Genesis XXVIII : 15. 

Bible References — Genesis XXVIII: 10-22, 

Pictures — Jacob's Dream, Tissot 24. 

Song — "God is always near me." 



The previous lesson ended with the departure of 
Jacob from home. 

The teacher, in preparing himself to teach this 
lesson, should study carefully a map of Palestine. Let 
him trace the journey of Abraham from his home in 
Chaldea from Ur of the Chaldees northward to Haran. 
Let him show how Abraham and Lot traveled south 
to southwest and crossed the Jordan into Canaan the 
Promised Land. Years after, Eleazar, Abraham's 
servant, traveled back to Haran, where Laban lived, to 
get a wife for Isaac. Isaac and his family lived for 
many years at Gerar, in the northern part of Canaan. 
When Esau threatened to take Jacob's life, his mother 
sent him to her brother Laban, at Haran, her old home. 

The members of this class are too young to under- 
stand all the importance of these journeys. The 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

teacher must therefore indicate the various places with 
the merest sketch upon the blackboard in order to 
show distance and direction. 

Ask the children why Jacob was sent from home 
and whither his mother sent him. The answers to 
these questions will furnish the point of contact with 
the opening of the new lesson. 



Jacob started on his long journey with a sad 
heart. He must have thought of all the sorrow he had 
caused at home. Yet in spite of all his faults, Jacob 
had a deep reverence for God and yearned to become a 
good, worthy man, so that he could serve God as did 
his grandfather and his father. Here contrast Abra- 
ham's journey with Jacob's. Abraham left home at the 
Divine call. (Genesis XII : 1-3.) He had been chosen 
by God to establish the monotheistic religion and to be 
the founder of a great people. Abraham was rich in 
cattle, flocks, gold and silver. He had his relatives, a 
wife, a nephew and many servants with him. Jacob, 
on the other hand, was driven from home by fear of 
death. He was poor. But, worse than this, he was 
all alone — alone, save that he knew God was watching 
him and caring for him. As Jacob journeyed on, he 
must have had many sad thoughts. His first thoughts 
were naturally of his poor, heartbroken mother, who 
loved him dearly. Tears undoubtedly suffused his eyes as 
he pondered : "Oh, my dear, dear mother ! Will I ever 
see you again ?" He never did see her again. Although 
Jacob, after many years, returned to his native land, 
his mother had died without having her favorite son 
with her. Jacob was no happier when he thought of 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

his old, feeble, blind father. He pictured recent 
events: how the old man lay on his couch, waiting 
eagerly for his elder son, Esau; waiting to bless him 
with ^e patriarchal blessing; how he, Jacob, had 
deceived his old father and. had stolen the coveted 
blessing. Would the blessing benefit him? Would it 
be fulfilled ? Jacob wondered. He could not foretell. 

As Jacob walked through this strange country he 
thought of his only brother, Esau. Esau had often 
been kind to Jacob, despite his rough manner. "And 
now I have stolen his blessing, I am a thief," thought 
poor, wandering Jacob. 

It is a sad thing to do a wrong and then to be 
sorry when it is too late. Yet by prayers, atonement 
and better conduct we can be forgiven for our sins. 

Jacob continued his journey. He did not know 
how far he had walked, nor was he aware how much 
farther he would have to go. He now noticed that 
the sun, which had been bright overhead in the sky, 
was getting lower in the west. Long, dark shadows 
were cast by the trees. Night was advancing. And, all 
at once, Jacob began to feel very tired, hungry and oh ! 
so very, very lonely. Ask the children whether they have 
ever played all day alone; whether they ever felt 
lonely when night came on. By realizing such 
moments of loneliness they can partially sympathize 
with the young man, Jacob. Let the pupils think of 
the difference between a journey now and in Jacob's 
days. Most of the children have taken a trip in a car, 
boat or train. Some have travelled at night in a com- 
fortable sleeper or stateroom. The next morning they 
perhaps have had a delightful breakfast served them. 
Then picture Jacob's journey. He travelled miles over 
a country unknown to him, over roads rarely used. 
His mother, no doubt, had given him food for the 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

journey. He, perhaps, stopped by the roadside and 
ate his evening meal alone and in silence. He saw 
plants, flowers and trees fade from sight as the day 
grew darker and darker. The stones around looked 
black. Far off, beyond the mountain tops, he saw the 
sun sink, until it finally disappeared from sight; and 
Jacob in his solitude truly felt himself a stranger in a 
strange land. But he was not a coward. He felt and 
knew that God was omnipresent — everywhere — and 
that therefore God was with him then just as much as 
when safely at home. Jacob took a large flat stone 
and used it as a pillow. He put his bundle and his 
shepherd's crook near him. He lay down to sleep. 
(See picture.) 

Explain that Canaan, especially Mesopotamia, was 
a warm country. Perhaps some children may have 
taken a nap on the warm sand at the seashore. Some 
may have seen farmhands lie down at noon under trees 
and go to sleep. 

While Jacob was asleep he had a most wonderful 
dream. "And he dreamed; and behold, a ladder was 
set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven ; 
and behold, angels of God were ascending and descend- 
ing on it." (Genesis XXVHI : 12.) 

In dreams all things are possible and seem real. 

Jacob thought the angels looked at him kindly 
and smiled with friendly faces to give him courage 
and assurances of his safety. 

"And behold the Lord stood above it, and said, I 
am the Lord, the God of Abraham, thy father, and the 
God of Isaac ; the land whereon thou liest, to thee will 
I give it and to thy seed." (Genesis XXVIII : 13.) 

When Jacob heard these words a great load was 
lifted from his mind and heart. He felt that God had 
accepted him as the descendant of Abraham and Isaac, 

Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades— II. 

worthy to teach the faith in the one, true God. He had 
already obtained the birthright and the blessing. His 
father had blessed him as the chief of the household. 
Therefore, he felt the happier to have also God's assur- 
ance. And as he received this Jacob resolved to be 
worthy of it. Henceforth he determined he would be 
a strong, truthful, brave and good man. 

God further said to Jacob : "And thy seed shall 
be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread 
abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north 
and to the south; and in thee and thy seed shall 
all the families of the earth be blessed." (Genesis 
XXVni: 14.) 

As a child it had made Jacob thrill and glow 
with pleasure and pride to hear his father, Isaac, tell 
that the grandfather, Abraham, had been chosen for 
such a noble calling. He loved to listen to the story 
of Abraham's journey. Ah, how different his own 
seemed ! He knew, too, that God had made great prom- 
ises to his father, Isaac. He had wished that he, in 
turn, could succeed Isaac and become a leader and 
religious guide; that through him all the families of 
the earth might be blessed. Indeed, it was this great 
longmg in his heart that caused Jacob to buy the birth- 
right and cunningly secure the blessing. He knew 
Esau despised his birthright. Esau felt no pride in 
ancestry. Esau even married one of the women of the 
country in which he lived. Esau did not try to keep 
the seed of Israel a distinct and pure race. So Jacob's 
heart naturally filled with joyful emotions as he heard 
God speaking to him. 

Notice the similarity of wording between the 
blessing that God gave Jacob and that which He had 
given to Abraham. (Genesis XVII : 6-9.) Compare 
It also with God's blessing to Isaac. (Genesis XXVI : 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

3-4.) To assure the lonely man once more of His 
infinite love and care, the Almighty continued and 
said : "And behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee 
whithersoever thou goest, and will bring thee again into 
this land ; for I will not leave thee, until I have done 
what I have spoken to thee of." (Genesis XXVIII : 
15.) Jacob knew the blessings which God had bestowed 
on Abraham and Isaac. He knew they would be ful- 
filled. Therefore, when Jacob heard the repetition and 
continuance of these promises, love, reverence and 
gratitude filled his heart. When Jacob awoke the next 
morning he said : "Surely the Lord is present in this 
place, and I knew it not." (Genesis XXVIII : 16.) 
"And he was afraid and said. How fearful is this 
place! This is none other but the house of God." 
(Genesis XXVIII: 17.) 

Jacob was not afraid in the sense of being terri- 
fied, but being filled with deep awe, a sublime and holy 
fear. In the presence of one whom we truly love and 
respect we would fear to lie or do or even think any 
wrong. So it is not cowardly to "fear God," which 
really means to "fear to do evil." To fear One 
infinitely greater and higher than we are is righteous 
fear. The Bible says : "The fear of God is the begin- 
ning of wisdom." "Fear" in this verse does not mean 
bodily fear. The word is used in a different sense. It 
signifies reverence. 

"And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took 
the stone that had been his pillow and set it up for a 
pillar and poured oil upon the top of it." (Genesis 
XXVIII: 18.) 

Be sure that the pupils know the difference be- 
tween the words pillow and pillar. Avoid confusion 
here and later. Write the words on the board and 
explain their meaning. Tell the children that stones 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

are often used as pillars, or memorials, to God. There 
were no synagogues or temples in Jacob's days. In 
times of great stress men raised these simple stones. 
The remains of these early altars have been found 
during some of the recent excavations in the Holy 

It was an ancient custom to pour oil on objects 
and persons as a mark of honor and sanctification. We 
read later on of oil being used to anoint Saul when he 
was chosen King of Israel. (See I Samuel X : 1.) 
And in one of the Psalms there is an allusion to the 
oil which ran down Aaron's beard. 

After Jacob poured oil on the stone he called the 
place Bethel, which means the house of God. Then he 
made a promise, or vow, saying: "If God will be with 
me, and will keep me on this way which I am going, 
and will give me bread to eat and raiment to put on. 

And I come again in peace to my father's house, 
then shall the Lord be my God, 

And this stone which I have set for a pillar, shall 
be God's house; and of all that thou wilt give me, I 
will sure give the tenth unto thee." (Genesis XXVIII : 

Jacob meant by this that he would make to God 
sacrifices and burnt offerings, and be charitable to the 
poor and needy. Now, Jacob proceeded on his journey 
with happier thoughts and more ease of mind, full of 
good resolutions for the future. After some time, 
Jacob reached a well of water, and, inquiring of the 
shepherds, who had brought their flocks there to be 
watered, Jacob discovered that he was at Haran, 
where Laban lived. He then inquired if these men 
knew Laban. They said: "We know him. He is 
well, and behold, Rachel, his daughter, cometh with 
the sheep." (Genesis XXIX : 6. ) 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

Rachel was a shepherdess and was caring for her 
father's sheep. You can imagine how rejoiced Jacob 
feh to see his cousin. She was a beautiful girl. Jacob 
ran eagerly to meet her, and told her he was the son 
of her aunt Rebekah. Then she went home quickly 
and told her father Laban, who ran out to meet Jacob, 
"and embraced him and kissed him and brought him 
to his (Laban's) house." (Genesis XXIX: 13.) 

Jacob told Laban all the doings of his family. In 
those days there were no newspapers, no telegraph, no 
telephone. Letter-writing was an unknown art. There 
were no railroad trains, as you know. So every trav- 
eler was greeted with a hearty welcome. This was 
especially true when the traveler proved to belong to 
one's own family from a distant place. The arrival of 
Jacob at Haran, his going to the house of Laban after 
his long, eventful journey, will make an appropriate 
ending to the lesson. 


Jacob was sent from home by Isaac and Rebekah. 
Each had a different reason for sending Jacob away. 

Rebekah feared that Esau would avenge thej 
wrong of the stolen blessing and kill Jacob, as he had 
threatened. Isaac did not know of this, and agreed 
with his wife to send Jacob away to his uncle in Haran 
in order to prevent him from marrying a woman of 
the land in which they lived. Sad, discouraged and 
fearful, Jacob bade good-bye to his family and started 
on his long, strange, perilous journey. He was 
oppressed by his wrongdoings, and as night approached 
he became lonely and afraid. While Jacob was asleep 
he had a wonderful vision, or dream. He dreamed that 
a ladder, or stairway, was stretched from earth to 
heaven, and angels were ascending and descending on 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

it. The Almighty appeared to Jacob and told him 
that he should be the successor of Abraham and Isaac. 
He promised to bless Jacob himself and to bless his 
seed forever. This means that through Jacob's chil- 
dren, grandchildren and all their children after them 
all the nations of the world were to be blessed. 

When Jacob awoke he no longer felt afraid and 
discouraged. He felt that God would always be with 
him and help him. He continued his journey in a very 
different state of mind from that in which he had 
started it. He was elated and happy to think that he 
had been found worthy of a great charge, and resolved 
to live up to it, i. e., to live a good life, to be true to 
God and man. Jacob continued his journey, and 
finally reached in safety the home of his kinsman, 
Laban, at Haran. 


1. To insure the purity both of race and religion, 
Jacob became the heir of Isaac. On what grounds 
was he found more fit than Esau for this responsi- 
bility? ^ 

2. Sketch a rough map of Palestine, showing on 
it the journey of Abraham and the journey of Jacob. 
Mark the cities. 

3. Contrast the purposes of Abraham's journey 
with Jacob's. 

4. What must have been some of Jacob's 
thoughts as he left home ? 

5. Describe Jacob's dream. 

6. What difference in Jacob's feeling was brought 
about by his dream ? How did Jacob feel towards his 
father, mother and brother? 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — IL 

7. How can we atone for a sin ? 

8. Tell some instance in which a wrong act can 
be righted. State one instance in which it cannot 

9. In what respect was God's blessing to Jacob 
similar to that made to Abraham and Isaac ? 

10. Have these promises been fulfilled? Give 
reason for your answer. 

Lesson V 
Life of Jacob (3) 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

Lesson V—Life of Jacob (3) 

Special Topic — Jacob's life with Laban. 

Aim of Lesson — To show God's Providence, as 
revealed in continued care over Jacob during his 

Memory Gem — "The Lord thy God is with thee, 
wherever thou goest." Genesis XXVIII : 15. 

Bible References— Genesis XXIX : 14-30; XXX : 
25-31; XXXI :3-18; XXXII :l-22; XXXIII :1-18; 
XXXV : 10-15, 19, 27-29. 

Pictures — Tissot 23 and 25. 

Song— The Golden Rule (Concluded). <^^<->^^ y/^^cv^ 



The Point of Contact is readily made by referring 
to the familiar experience of dreaming. In the pre- 
vious lesson the children were told of Jacob's wonder- 
ful dream. God kept His promise, as He always does. 
He guided Jacob safely to the home of his uncle, 
Laban, whither his mother sent him. 

You may imagine how eagerly Laban asked ques- 
tions of Jacob. He wanted to know all that had hap- 
pened to his sister, Rebekah, since she had left home 
to become the wife of Isaac. Jacob was glad to be 
able to talk at length about his dear mother. It was 
full of interest to him to see her former home and to 
think that his mother had been about his age when 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

she had left her home. The girl had become a wife 
and mother. Now she was growing old. 

At length, when a month had gone by, Laban 
asked Jacob to stay with him and to work for wages. 
He asked Jacob how much he should pay him. "And 
Laban had two daughters, the name of the elder was 
Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel." (Gen- 
esis XXIX : 16.) Leah had weak eyes and was not 
attractive, but Rachel was tall, handsome in form and 
appearance. Jacob fell in love with her at once. So 
when urged to stay and work for Laban, Jacob said he 
would work for seven years if Laban would let him 
have Rachel for a wife at the end of that time. Laban 
agreed, and Rachel was willing. Jacob worked hard, 
for both duty and love spurred him on. One can 
always work harder when striving to attain happy 
results. The Bible says that "Jacob served for Rachd 
seven years, and they seemed unto him but a few days, 
through the love he had for her." (Genesis XXIX : 20.) 

Then Jacob asked Laban for his promised reward, 
Rachel. Laban made a great feast to celebrate the 
wedding. But he committed a sin against Jacob. He 
deceived him. Instead of giving him Rachel, he gave 
him Leah. He put a veil over the face of Leah so 
that Jacob would not notice the trick until it was too 
late. Jacob was very angry, but deep down in his 
heart he must have felt that he was being punished for 
having deceived his father years ago. 

Review how Jacob had passed himself off for his 
brother, Esau, As in those days a man was allowed 
to have more than one wife, Jacob agreed to serve 
Laban seven years more to wed Rachel. 

Jacob was kind to Leah, for he knew she was not 
to blame for the deception, but he always loved Rachel 
more. She was his first and greatest love. He also 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

loved Rachel's children more than Leah's. The class 
will hear about this matter in subsequent lessons. 

When Jacob became the father of a large family 
lie began to think of his old home. He yearned to go 
back to make a home there for his wives and children, 
and to find out whether his mother and father were 
living. He had received no word from them in all 
these years. 

So "J^cob said unto Laban, send me away that I 
may go into my own place, and to my country." But 
Laban did not want Jacob to leave him. He replied : 
"I have learned by experience that the Lord hath 
blessed me for thy sake." Laban's flocks and sheep 
and riches had increased greatly since Jacob had been 
living with him. To Laban, as to most of us, God's 
blessing seems to be only of a material kind, but we 
know (See Genesis XXXI : 49, Mizpah) that Jacob's 
life with Laban led to more than mere material good 
for both of them. 

Jacob agreed to stay with Laban, who gave him a 
part of the flocks ; and in a few years these had multi- 
plied greatly, and Jacob also became a rich man. 
Then: "The Lord said unto Jacob, return unto the 
land of thy fathers, and to thy birthplace, and I will 
be with thee." (Genesis XXXI : 3.) 

In order that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob's seed 
should inherit Canaan, it was necessary for Jacob and 
his family to return again to Canaan. 

Laban did not want Jacob to leave, but as Laban's 
daughters, Leah and Rachel, were willing to leave, 
Jacob decided to go. So he, with his wives, his chil- 
dren, his flocks, his herds and all his possessions, 
which the Lord had given him, departed from Laban. 
As he journeyed towards his home he was thrilled 
with great and noble thoughts. He was filled with 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

thankfulness to God, Who had cared for him. He 
thought of his previous journey. He had left home 
over twenty years ago poor, forsaken, alone. Now he 
returned rich, prosperous and with a large family. As 
he neared home he commenced to wonder what had 
happened to his parents and his brother during these 
twenty years of his service with Laban. His father 
had been old and nearly blind when Jacob left home. 
"I wonder if he is living. Will my dear mother greet 
me ?" thought Jacob. And then he wondered whether 
his brother, Esau, still hated him and whether he still 
would want to kill him. When he came near to the 
section of the land in which Esau lived, Jacob sent 
messengers to his brother, Esau, telling of his return 
home and asking Esau to forgive him and to forget the 
ill feeling that had existed between them. The mes- 
sengers returned and said that Esau, with four hun- 
dred men, was coming to meet Jacob. "Then Jacob 
was greatly afraid," and he prayed to God, and he 
said : "Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my 
brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear him, lest 
he will come and smite me and the mother with the 
children." (Genesis XXXH : 12.) Jacob feared not 
only for himself, but for his wives and their little 
ones. He was not so selfish now. He had thoughts 
also for others. 

He collected from his live stock hundreds of goats, 
camels, cows and sheep and sent them ahead as a gift 
to Esau. He told his servants who drove these animals 
to tell Esau that they were a present from Jacob. 

Jacob and his family proceeded in fear and trem- 
bling on their journey. They knew that they would 
meet Esau the next day, and Jacob was not aware how 
Esau would greet him. The next day "Jacob lifted up 
his eyes and looked, and behold, Esau came, and with 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

him four hundred men." (Genesis XXXIII : 1.) 
Jacob had already divided his family into groups. He 
put the women and children in the rear for safety, for 
he knew not what was Esau's mood of mind._ Jacob, 
full of misgivings, yet courageous, passed on in front 
and bowed down as he approached his brother. "And 
Esau met him and embraced him, and fell on his neck 
and kissed him, and they wept." (Genesis XXXIII : 
4.) After more than twenty years of separation, Esau 
had forgiven Jacob and had nobly forgotten all that he 
had suffered ; and he was glad to welcome his brother. 
Esau did not want to take Jacob's gift, but Jacob said : 
"If I have but found grace in thy eyes, then do thou 
receive my present at my hand ; since I have seen thy 
face, it is as though I had seen the face of an angel, 
and because thou hast received me kindly. Take I 
pray thee, my present that is brought to thee ; because 
God hath dealt graciously with me, and because I have 
plenty of all. And he urged him, and he took it." 
(Genesis XXXIII : 10 and 11.) 

And Esau and Jacob became reconciled again. 
Jacob continued on his journey to the land of Canaan. 
He built several altars to God. When Jacob came to 
Bethel, at which place God had appeared unto him in 
the dream at the time when he fled from the face of 
his brother, he built a special altar, and thanked God 
for His Providential care through all his journeyings. 
"And God said unto him, I am God, the Almighty, be 
fruitful and multiply, a nation and an assemblage of 
nations shall spring from thee. And the land which I 
gave to Abraham and to Isaac, to thee will I give it, 
and to thy seed after thee will I give it." (Genesis 
XXXV: 11, 12.) 

Rachel, Jacob's favorite wife, died on this jour- 
ney near Bethel before Jacob had reached the home of 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — II. 

his father, Isaac. So Jacob travelled on, sad at heart, 
for he had lost his dearest wife ; and wondered whether 
there had been sad changes at home. When at last 
Jacob reached the place in which Isaac dwelt he found 
Isaac still alive, but his mother had died. His mother's 
death was a sad blow to Jacob; but we can imagine 
that father and son were very glad to see one another 
again. Isaac lived to be over a hundred years old, 
and his last days were made happy by the reconcilia- 
tion of his two sons, Esau and Jacob. 


The teacher must call the attention of the class 
to the fact that the characters of both Esau and Jacob 
had changed greatly in the course of their separation. 
Bad boys often grow up to be good men, if they make 
great efforts to conquer their faults and try in every 
way to correct their errors. 

Esau had conquered his temper. He had forgiven 
Jacob. He longed to see Jacob and tell him so. Jacob 
realized fully his miserable deception towards his 
father when he, in turn, was deceived by Laban. He 
understood the anger of his brother, and resolved to be 
open and frank in the future. 

It often takes years of sorrow and suffering to 
really ennoble the character of a person. When we 
think of Esau and Jacob we realize that by trying 
hard and praying to God for help we may become 
good men and women. 

Show the pictures illustrating this lesson. Trace 

Jacob's journey on the wall map, or sketch the same 

on the blackboard. 

Read the narrative in the Biblical language. 
Apply the Memory Gem. 

62 I 

Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 


Jacob agreed to live with Laban and to serve 
seven years for Rachel, whom he loved. Laban 
deceived him and gave him Leah for a wife. Jacob's 
love for Rachel was so great that he worked seven 
years more for her. As Laban did not want Jacob to 
leave him, Jacob worked six years more. In this time 
God blessed his cattle and herds, and they increased 
greatly. Then Jacob's longing for his own home 
became even greater, until at last he left Laban and 
took his wives, his children and all his possessions and 
started on his journey homeward. He had quite dif- 
ferent feelings as he retraced his steps from those he 
had twenty years before, when, weary, discouraged and 
lonely, he had sought shelter with Laban to be secure 
from Esau's wrath. Yet, even then he knew in his 
heart that God would keep His promise to take care 
of him and to bless him. Now he was returning to his 
old home rich in cattle, with wives and children; no 
longer poor and lonely. His greatest fear was of his 
brother, Esau. When he was near home Esau marched 
out to meet him, but, far from coming as a foe, he wel- 
comed and embraced Jacob as a brother. So Esau 
forgave the great wrong that Jacob had done to him. 

Jacob finally reached the home of his father, 
Isaac, in safety. On the way another heavy trial befell 
him. His best beloved wife, Rachel, died on the jour- 
ney when they were nearly at its end. Esau and Jacob 
had changed greatly as they grew older. Each was 
more tender and loving; each was kinder and had 
more respect for the feelings of others. Through pain 
and sorrow, through sin and suffering, our charac- 
ters are often softened and moulded better. 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 


1. What is the special purpose of this lesson? 
Explain your answer. 

2. How was Jacob deceived by Laban? How 
did Jacob try to overcome the deceit and obtain his 
wishes ? 

3. (a) What circumstances in Jacob's own life 
must have been recalled to him by Laban's deception. 

(b) Which seems worse — Jacob's deception 
towards Isaac or Laban's deception? Why? 

4. When and why did Jacob want to return to 
his own land ? 

5. What were God's words to Jacob? How did 
Jacob obey ? 

6. What must have been some of Jacob's 
thoughts and feelings on the return journey? 

7. How would you explain to a child the two 
journeys of Jacob? How would you illustrate the 

8. When Jacob approached the land in which 
Esau dwelt how did he feel ? How did he act? 

9. In what spirit did Esau finally meet Jacob? 
What change did this show in Esau's feelings ? 

10. What moral would you draw for the children 
from this lesson of the later life of Jacob? 


Lesson VI 
Life of Joseph (1) 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

Lesson VI—Life of Joseph, (1) 

Special Topic — Boyhood of Joseph. 

Aim of the Lesson — To show the necessity of love 
and forbearance between members of a family. 

Memory Gem — "The eyes of the Lord are in 
every place beholding the evil and the good." (Prov. 
XV :3). 

Bible References — Genesis XXXVII. 

Books — "Boys of the Bible," Lady Magnus. 
Jewish Encyclopedia, "Joseph." 

Pictures— ''Joseph Sold by His Brethren," Wilde 
368. "Joseph Cast Into the Pit," Tissot. "Despair of 
Joseph," Wilde 370. 



The story of Joseph is one of the most beautiful 
in the Bible. It is dramatic in its incidents and full 
of feeling. It plays upon every emotion of the human 

The story is so essentially human. The narrative 
moves along easily and naturally, the sequences occur 
in such logical order that the children easily compre- 
hend a great deal of the plot and follow out the tale 
with keen interest to the end. This story is usually 
a great favorite with the children. 

To teach the lesson properly the teacher should 
read carefully the whole history of Joseph (Genesis 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

37-50) in order to be thoroughly posted on its details, 
to be saturated with its spirit and filled with its 
language, and in order to be able to reproduce its 
very atmosphere in retelling the narrative. Besides the 
Biblical account, the teacher is referred, for the Mid- 
rashic Stories of Joseph, to "Legends of the Jews" 
by Ginzberg, Vol. II, and the article on "Joseph" in 
Jewish Encyclopedia. The first lesson will naturally 
deal with the boyhood of Joseph. 

As the story is such a long one, it need not be 
told in all its details. Let the teacher be careful, 
however, to use every salient feature. The Biblical 
narrative is such a perfect piece of literary workman- 
ship, therefore lest it be marred or ruined, keep care- 
fully every connecting link in the narrative, and build 
the story up gradually, unfolding the plot artistically 
as the Biblical writer has evolved it 


Show the workings of God throughout the life of 
Joseph. Trace the wonderful events which led from 
palace to prison. It will not be necessary for the 
children to learn the list of the twelve sons of Jacob. 
Tell them only the names of those who play the major 
parts in the great drama. Remember Reuben, the 
eldest brother, tries to protect Joseph. Judah, too, 
has a kindly feeling towards his younger brother. 
Indeed, nothing more eloquent or self-sacrificing can 
be found in Holy Writ than Judah's pathetic appeal 
to Joseph in behalf of Benjamin. Of course, Benja- 
min, the youngest, Joseph's own brother, figures largely 
in the narrative. It would be useless to burden young 
children with the other eight names. They may learn 
these names when grown. Do not hesitate to repeat 
the dreams as they occur and are narrated. Children 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

delight in such repetitions. The dreams make the 
story more comprehensible. Pupils learn it better 
through such repetition. The dreams make the story- 
more attractive to them. Similar instances of the 
effect of repetition are to be found in nursery tales 
that are the greatest favorites, such as *The Three 
Bears," "Rumpelstilkin," "The House that Jack Built" 
and "The Dame and the Cat." In all of these there 
is constant repetition of the jingle of the story. 


Commence the lesson by reviewing what the chil- 
dren have learned about Jacob's separation from 
Laban. They will remember that Jacob takes his wives 
and children, his herds and flocks, and starts on a 
journey. Call attention to the River Jordan over 
which he crossed. 

We remember that Jacob was cheated into marry- 
ing Leah and that Rachel was his favorite wife. 
Naturally her children were his favorites also. Jo- 
seph, Rachel's first child, was Jacob's favorite son 

Rachel's other son, Benjamin, was born on the 
journey from Bethel to Ephrath, and there Rachel 
died. Joseph had eleven brothers. It was quite a large 
family, and you may be sure the boys had a good time 
playing together. 

Ask the children to tell some of the games and 
sports of those days. Archery was a favorite pas- 
time. All these events occurred before the days of 
pistols and guns. Skill with bow and arrow and the 
sword was considered necessary. Sometimes the 
brothers were not happy because of jealousy due to 
Jacob's unwise favoritism. As Joseph grew up he 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — II. 

became a handsome youth. The Bible tells us he was 
"well favored." This fact may also have excited 


Now that Joseph's mother was dead, his father 
grew to love him more and more. He made for him 
a coat of many colors. Some people think this coat 
was made of the skins of wild beasts. Some think 
it was dyed in bright colors. If possible, show a leaf 
or picture of the variegated plant called "Joseph's 

We may be sure that the coat was beautiful; 
and when he wore it, it distinguished Joseph above 
all the other boys. He would then naturally feel proud 
and perhaps would act proudly. The feeling of jeal- 
ousy thus grew stronger among the brothers. They 
hated the sight of Joseph and his pretty coat. One 
night, Joseph dreamt a strange dream, and the next 
morning he told his father and brothers all about it. 
(Genesis XXXVII : 6, 7, 8.) "And he said unto 
them, Hear I pray you, this dream which I have 
dreamed. For behold, we were binding sheaves in 
the field, and lo! my sheaf arose and also stood up- 
right, and behold your sheaves stood around about 
and made obeisance to my sheaf." His brothers were 
angry, but his father was rather pleased and proud of 
his favorite son. Another night Joseph dreamed again. 
This time he dreamt that the sun, moon and even the 
stars bowed down to him (Genesis XXXVII :9). 
Quote it from the Bible. 

His brothers were very angry, and even his father 
rebuked him and said : "What is this dream that thou 
hast dreamed ? Shall I and thy mother and thy breth- 
ren indeed come to bow ourselves to thee, to the 
earth?" (Genesis XXXVII : 10). 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades— II. 

The teacher must make the children realize that 
in the Bible times the. people were greatly influenced 
by dreams and wise men were employed to interpret 
their meanings. God did sometimes reveal himself in 
dreams. Tell the children to remember these dreams 
of Joseph and to notice how many years after, they 
came true. 

Some time after Joseph had these two dreams 
his father sent his older brothers to feed the flocks 
and herds, for his brothers were shepherds. Some 
days passed and there was no report from them. Then 
Jacob said to Joseph (Genesis XXXVII: 13): "Do 
not thy brethren feed the flocks in Shechem? Come 
and I will send thee unto them." 

Joseph was a young boy and was not accustomed 
to being sent so far from home, so he felt very proud 
of his errand. He dressed himself and put on his 
pretty coat and said good-bye to his father. How 
little either father or son realized then that they would 
not see each other again until many, many years had 
passed, until Jacob had become an old, sorrowful man, 
and until Joseph had grown to be a great, good and 
powerful man. We never know in life what will 
happen to us. 

Joseph went along gaily, enjoying his little trip. 
At last he found his brothers. Omit the incident that 
they had changed their pasture ground. It is unim- 
portant. The story is so long, as was said above, that 
only the salient points are to be told. 

When his brothers saw Joseph coming from afar, 
they were angry that their father had sent him. They 
thought: "Here comes the pet." They said to one 
another : "Behold the dreamer cometh." Joseph wore 
his pretty coat and this aroused their worst feelings 
of anger and jealousy. These cruel, envious brothers 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

talked together and planned to get rid of Joseph. They 
even went so far as to make plans to kill Joseph, 
but Reuben, the eldest, said he would not allow them 
to do so. He suggested that they put him into a dry 
pit. Reuben thought that when the other brothers 
had moved on he could take Joseph out and send him 
safely home to his father. The wicked brothers 
stripped off Joseph's coat and cast him into the pit. 

The teacher here must dwell on the evils of 
jealousy and anger, pointing out to what sins and 
sorrows these evils will lead. Read to the class Genesis 
XXXVII : 18-35. The story is beautifully and simply 
told and will need only a few words to make it com- 

Reuben is defeated in accomplishing his end, 
because the brothers, anxious to get rid of Joseph, 
actually sold him to some travelling merchants. Tell 
how horrible a deed this was, selling their own flesh 
and blood. We sell horses, dogs and merchandise of 
all kinds, but in olden times, and even in recent years, 
human beings were also bought and sold into slavery. 
Explain slavery. Some pupils may have heard that 
the negroes were once slaves in the United States. 
To sell one's own brother was so cruel, one cannot 
conceive of a worse thing. 

God watched over Joseph all this time. God 
watches over all of us. We cannot understand His 
ways. Years afterwards, we sometimes see the great 
good which comes from what seems cruel and wrong. 
So God made all of this come to pass in the life of 
Joseph for two reasons. First, Joseph through this 
great trouble was to grow to be one of the noblest men 
that ever lived. Through his goodness and wisdom 
he was to be the means of helping not only his own 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

family, but many families in the great land of Egypt, 
the land into which he was carried as a slave. 

Another reason by which we can clearly see why 
all these events occurred, was that through the conse- 
quence of this wrong act, in years after, the brothers 
also grew to be better and kinder men. We must 
profit by these warnings of evil and learn to love and 
to do the right. 

After the brothers had sold Joseph, Reuben 
returned and looked into the pit and was amazed to 
find that Joseph was not in it. Then the brothers told 
him that they had sold Joseph. He was much grieved, 
but now that the deed was done his brothers persuaded 
him into deceiving the old father. One sin invariably 
leads to others, and this is clearly shown in the story 
of Joseph. 

Joseph's brothers, on returning home, could not 
say merely that Joseph had not met them, for then 
Jacob would have sent forth to search for Joseph. 
With great cunning they killed a goat, and taking 
Joseph's coat, dipped it into the blood. Then they 
carried the coat home to their father and said : "This 
we have found. Know now, whether it be thy son's 
coat or not ?" This was surely an act of great cruelty 
and deceitfulness. 

Poor old Jacob recognized at once the coat which 
he had made with so much care for his favorite son. 
He tore his clothes and cried aloud with woe. He 
thought some wild beast had killed Joseph. The Bible 
tells us that he grieved and wept for his son and would 
not be comforted. His sons and daughter tried to 
cheer him, but they failed. 

The brothers must have felt the prickings of con- 
science. They must have felt worried as time went 
on and no news was heard of their brother. Years 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

passed by. The brothers of Joseph married and had 
families of their own and almost forgot Joseph. At 
times, when danger threatened their own children, then 
surely they must have thought of their wrongdoings 
towards their brother. Jacob never forgot. He would 
sit and think of Joseph as dead. Although he loved 
Benjamin, Joseph's own brother, his youngest son, 
very much, he never ceased to grieve for his beloved 

Parents may have many children, but they cannot 
lose one without great grief and they never forget 
the lost one. He is always kept in sacred memory, 
deep in the affection of their hearts. The time came 
when the brothers felt remorseful. They loved their 
father, and when they had children of their own they 
realized all the anguish they had inflicted on their 
father's heart. They were powerless now to right the 
dreadful wrong. It is always very difficult, sometimes 
quite impossible, to make reparation for a wrong done, 
and to alleviate the sorrow that others feel because 
of our misdeeds. 


Joseph was one of a large family. His father 
loved him more than any other child. This partiality 
caused much trouble to both father and son. Their 
jealousy led his brothers to wish harm to Joseph, and 
when an opportunity presented itself they did him a 
great wrong. But God in His omnipresence and 
omniscience causes good to come forth out of evil. 
The troubles of Joseph made him one of the best and 
wisest of men, and remorse changed the characters of 
his brothers also. Joseph was made the means of 
saving many lives in the land of Egypt by his integrity, 
justice and faithfulness. 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

Although the family of Jacob was finally reunited, 
all had suffered years of sorrow. Jacob had suffered 
the pangs of separation from his beloved son, Joseph ; 
and Joseph had, for many years, felt a natural bitter- 
ness and resentment against the members of his own 
family from whom he had been separated. 


1. Cite two lessons that the boyhood of Joseph 
should teach us. 

2. What kind of a story is the history of Joseph 
as related in Genesis, didactic or narrative? Why? 

3. Why do the children like the story of Joseph? 
Give at least two reasons. 

4. Which brothers played the most important 
part in the early life of Joseph? How did their atti- 
tude differ from that of the other brothers ? 

5. Relate one of Joseph's dreams and its inter- 

6. What was the attitude of Joseph's brothers 
towards him? Why? 

7. In what two ways did the selling of Joseph 
finally prove a benefit? 

8. What traits of Joseph's character as a boy 
are to be extolled ? Which are to serve as warning ? 

9. Tell how you would explain to young children 
the error of Jacob, in being partial to Joseph. 

10. Write in your own words a resume of this 


Lesson VII 
Life of Joseph (2) 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

Lesson VII— Life of Joseph, (2) 

Special Topic — From Prison to Palace. 

Aim of the Lesson — To teach that although cir- 
cumstances seemed much against Joseph, yet God was 
watching over him all the time, and his trials were 
turned into blessings. 

Bible References — Genesis XXXIX, XL, XLI; 
Psalm CXXI. 

Memory Gem — "The Lord is thy Keeper." 
(Psalm CXXI : 5.) "Unto the Lord, when I was in 
distress, did I call, and He hath answered me." 
(Psalm CXX : 1.) 

Pictures — "Joseph Interpreting Pharaoh's 
Dream." Wilde 371. "Joseph and Pharaoh's 
Dream." Wilde 570. 



Point of Contact — The children were told in the 
previous lesson that Joseph's brothers sold him to 
merchants who were going down into Egypt. The 
teacher should show, on a large map, where Egypt 
is located, so that the children may see that Joseph 
went on a long journey. Let the teacher tell about 
a slave market. Refer to the fact that years ago, in 
our own country, the negroes were slaves in the United 
States, and how they were bought and sold. Families 
were often separated by the cruel system of selling 
the various members in different cities. Sometimes 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

it is hard to work, even though we get paid for it. 
The slaves had to work and received no pay. Often 
their masters were very cruel and treated them like 
brutes instead of like human beings. How sad, de- 
pressed and discouraged Joseph must have felt when 
he found he had been sold as a slave ! But Joseph was 
full of courage, and resolved not to hate his brothers 
for their cruelty. He resolved always to trust in 
God. He determined to be true to himself, cheerful 
and trustworthy. 

It is always well to make the best of circum- 
stances, not to grumble and grieve, but to try to forget 
one's own troubles in helping others. This is the 
unselfish way of living. Enlarge upon this idea. Get 
examples of unselfishness, if possible, from the pupils. 
A mother may lose a child. She is grief-stricken, yet 
her love will often make her kinder to all other chil- 
dren. She will forget her grief in trying to help other 
mothers keep their children healthy and happy. 


When the merchants went down to Egypt, they 
sold Joseph to Potiphar, an ofificer of King Pharaoh. 
Explain here, in order to avoid later confusion, that 
Pharaoh is not the real name, but merely the title 
of a dynasty of rulers. 

Long after Joseph was dead, in the time of 
Moses, we read of "Pharaoh.'' Of course, it could not 
be the same man of whom we are speaking. Pharaoh's 
officer, Potiphar, became fond of Joseph, and gave him 
a post of responsibility. On the basis of a charge that 
he was faithless to his trusts, Potiphar's wife suc- 
ceeded in getting Joseph into trouble. He was put into 
prison, although he was innocent of all wrongdoing. 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades— II. 

One evil person has it in his power to hurt many 
other persons. A sin, or wrong action, always affects 
more than one person. 

But even in prison Joseph did not lose his cour- 
age and his faith in God. By his good behavior he 
obtained favor with the keeper of the prison. The 
keeper soon found out that Joseph was reliable and 
could be trusted. So he made Joseph his assistant in 
taking care of the other prisoners. Joseph thus had 
considerable freedom, but it never occurred to him to 
take advantage of his favored position or to violate his 
trust. No matter in what position we are placed, by 
being brave and doing our duty, we can prove that we 
can be trusted. A careful boy or girl can be trusted 
to take care of the baby. But a mother would never 
trust a careless girl or boy with her precious child. 
The teacher soon finds out which pupils may be relied 
upon and may be trusted. 

Ask questions. Find out from the children what 
they must do to become trustworthy. Tell some other 
mstances of a similar nature which can be easily 
comprehended by young people. It takes a careful 
driver to be trusted with horses. A careless chauffeur 
should not be permitted to run an automobile. 

Among the prisoners there were two servants of 
the king; his butler and his baker. (Explain the 
duties of each.) A legend tells us that the butler was 
put into prison because a fly had been found in the 
king's wine. The baker had been put into prison 
because stones were in the king's bread. Ask the 
children which seemed worse? A fly might by acci- 
dent drop into our food or drink. Stones must have 
been placed into the bread by design. Explain the 
innocence of the butler and the guilt of the baker 
One morning Joseph noticed that the butler and the 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

baker looked very sad. He forgot his own troubles 
and inquired about theirs. The true spirit of goodness 
is to forget self by trying to help others. This often 
causes us to become oblivious of our own pains and 
sorrows. When the butler and baker told Joseph their 
perplexity he offered to help them by explaining their 
dreams. In the last lesson you were told the impor- 
tance attached to dreams in olden times. This story 
shows it clearly. Relate the butler's dream. (Gen- 
esis XL :8-ll.) Then tell the meaning of the 12th 
and 13th verses. Relate the baker's dream and its 
meaning. (Genesis XL : 16-22.) Joseph told the but- 
ler of his own hard life ; that he, too, was innocent of 
crime and was unjustly imprisoned. Joseph told him 
also how he had been sold from his own land and 
people. He begged the butler to remember him when 
the butler would be restored to his place and again 
would serve wine in the palace. The butler promised 
to do so. (Chapter XL: 14-15.) 

When we are in trouble we often make many 
promises, but when the trouble is over, alas! we too 
often forget our promises. We forget even those 
who have helped us. Poor people often say : "Oh, if 
I were rich, how liberal I would be!" They may 
become rich, but many soon forget that they were once 
poor, and they do not perform the promised char- 
itable deeds to their more unfortunate brethren. 
Dwell on the sacredness of a promise. We must, 
under all circumstances, keep our word and fulfill 
our promises. 

Events came to pass just as Joseph had foretold. 
The butler was restored to office and the baker was 
hanged. (Genesis XL : 20-23.) The butler, when 
taken again to the palace, forgot all about Joseph in 
prison, until one night two years later, when the 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades— 11. 

king dreamt two strange dreams that no one, not 
even the wise men, could interpret. (Chapter XLI : 
1-8.) ^ Then the butler's memory was suddenly stirred 
and his promise made to Joseph in prison returned to 
him, and he said: "Then spoke the chief of the 
butlers unto Pharaoh, saying. My faults I must call to 
remembrance this day," etc. (Genesis XLI : 9-13.) 

Joseph must have felt very unhappy, waiting 
these two long years. Perhaps every day he expected 
that the butler would remember him and try to get 
him released from prison. While he was waiting he 
continued to perform all of his duties faithfully God 
did not forget Joseph. "The eyes of the Lord are in 
every place, beholding the evil and the good." Joseph 
thought that to be a free man would be all that he 
wanted. But God was working in His own wise way to 
make Joseph fit for a very high place in the affairs of 
that country. "Then Pharaoh, the king, sent and had 
Joseph called, and they brought him hastily out of the 
dungeon and (he) came in to Pharaoh." 

(Genesis XLI: 14-16.) 

And Pharoah said unto Joseph : "I have dreamed 
a dream, and there is none that can interpret it, and I 
have heard said of thee, that thou canst understand a 
dream to interpret it." Notice how humble Joseph was 
in his reply. He did not say: "Oh, yes, I can 
explain dreams. I know all about them." He said: 
It IS not in me, but God will give an answer for the 
peace of Pharaoh." (Genesis XLI : 17.) Joseph 
knew that he could not explain the meaning of Pha- 
roah s dreams unaided, but that with God's help he 
could do anything. So Joseph prayed to God to help 
him understand the import of the dreams of the king 
Ihen the king told his dreams to Joseph. Relate the 
dreams again in Genesis XLI : 17-24. Tell Joseph's 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

interpretation. (Genesis XLI : 25-32.) Besides tell- 
ing the meaning of the dreams, Joseph advises Pha- 
roah what to do to avert the great misfortune which 
would attend the famine. Explain what a famine 
means. Tell how much suffering it always causes. 
Some countries, even nowadays, suffer from famine. 
Some years ago there was a famine in Russia, and 
the people of the United States sent several ships 
loaded with grain, barley, wheat, rice and canned goods 
to prevent the Russians from starving. 

Joseph tells Pharaoh (Genesis XLI : 34-37) that 
he must store up great quantities of food in large ware- 
houses and keep it until the time of the famine, be- 
cause there would be no crops and then the people 
would be in danger of starving. He told the King 
that during each of the seven years of plenty part of 
the grain must be stored away to provide for the 
seven years of famine. 

Pharaoh thought the advice good. He knew of 
no one who seemed as wise as Joseph. He asked 
Joseph, therefore, to take charge of the affairs of the 
country. (Genesis XLI : 38-49.) Joseph accepted the 
position. What a wonderful outcome, after all of 
Joseph's trials ! This rise from prison to palace ! It 
reads almost like a fairy tale. Truth is stranger than 

The children can now realize why God allowed 
Joseph to stay in prison so long. Here Joseph learned 
to rule and govern others. Here he also learned the 
still greater lesson to govern himself. He thus became 
fitted to be a head of a great nation, second in power 
to the king only. "And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, 
I have set thee over all the land of Egypt. And 
Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it 
upon Joseph's hand and arrayed him in vestures of 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

fine linen, and put a golden chain about his neck." 
Pharaoh conferred many honors upon Joseph, who so 
recently had been but a despised prisoner. 

Describe the busy time in Egypt during the next 
seven years. The people gathered in very large crops. 
(Genesis XLI : 47-49.) And Joseph went through the 
land to see that a sufficient part of all the crops was 
gathered up and put away for the time of famine, 
which God said would follow the years of plenty. 

Joseph's predictions were indeed realized. After 
seven years of plenty the crops were blighted and 
nothing at all ripened. There were no harvests in the 
land. Then Pharaoh realized that God had, indeed, 
helped Joseph to interpret the dream and to tell truth- 
fully just what the dreams had meant. 

In all the surrounding countries the famine was 
bad also, and no food had been stored up in other 
places. Only in Egypt had provision been made for 
the dearth of crops. The people of surrounding coun- 
tries came to buy food ; and as Joseph sold it to them 
at high prices, Pharaoh became very rich. 

This is a proper ending for this part of the story. 
The coming of the brothers into Egypt will be told in 
the next lesson. 


God sees everything, whether it be in a palace or 
in a prison. God took care of Joseph all the time he 
was in prison, until Joseph learned many lessons from 
his trouble. Ask what lessons Joseph learned. When 
God saw that Joseph was fit for prosperity He raised 
him from prison life to the exalted position of the 
viceroy of Egypt. 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — II. 


1. Explain how you would make the Point of 
Contact with the preceding lesson. 

2. How is the Memory Gem, "The Lord is Thy 
Keeper," especialy applicable to this lesson? 

3. What lesson is to be drawn from Joseph's 
relations to his companions in prison ? 

4. What noble trait does Joseph's conduct in 
prison exemplify ? 

5. Give some instance not found in the lesson 
in which faithfulness is rewarded. 

6. Give some Biblical instance not in the life of 

7. How should we regard a promise ? 

8. What is your opinion of promises made to 
children ? Explain the reason for your reply. 

9. Contrast the life of Joseph in prison with his 
life in the palace. 

10. Explain why and how the trial of Joseph 
helped him to fill better the exalted position to which 
he was promoted. 


Lesson VIII 
Life of Joseph (3) 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

Lesson VIII— Life of Joseph, (3) 

Special Topic — Jacob and his Family go Into 

Aim of the Lesson — To show the love of God for 
all His children and to demonstrate His care for us at 
all times and in all places. 

Memory Gem — "He raiseth up the poor out of the 
dust; and exalteth the needy, from his lowliness that 
He may set him with princes. Even with the princes 
of his people." Psalm CXHI : 7 and 8. 

Bible References — Genesis, Chapter XLH, XLHI, 
Psalm CXHI and CXXI. 

Pictures — Wilde 606, "Cup found in Benjamin's 
sack." Wilde 372, "The Meeting of Joseph and his 


The events of the story of Joseph are so closely 
related and follow in such logical sequence that there 
are few gaps to be filled. It is merely necessary to 
review the previous lesson to be sure that the children 
are ready to proceed with the narrative. 

Ask the children to recall a time when they felt 
very, very hungry and had to wait. In times of 
famine people get very hungry and there is no food for 
them to eat. Thousands die of hunger. How dread- 
ful this appears to us ! 

The famine was in the land of Egypt. There 
were no crops growing. We know how the wise 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

Joseph had made provisions for this state of affairs 
which he foresaw would occur. The famine spread 
through other countries also. It spread through the 
land of Canaan. Point out these places on the map. 
We have heard of the wonderful events which hap- 
pened to Joseph in Egypt, but in the meantime we 
have not heard anything about Jacob and his sons. 

Events were going along without special moment 
in Canaan. Jacob had grown to be an old man, but 
he had never forgotten his favorite son, Joseph. He 
still grieved for Joseph, and often he would sit and 
think of his lost dear child. The brothers' consciences 
must have pricked them greatly. The brothers must 
have felt great remorse when they saw their father's 
grief. They now had children of their own. They 
could sympathize with Jacob. They knew how badly 
he must have felt over the loss of his favorite son. 
They tried to comfort him, but in vain. Jacob had 
the deepest affection for Benjamin, for he, too, was 
Rachel's child, Joseph's own brother. Although Jacob 
showed in many ways favoritism to Benjamin, the 
brothers were not as jealous of him as they had been 
of Joseph. Their hearts had softened. They had, 
indeed, become better, kinder, more loving and for- 
bearing men. 


Jacob, his sons and their families were suffering 
by reason of the famine in the land. They had very 
little food to eat. Jacob had heard that there was 
food in Egypt, so he said to his sons : "Why do you 
look on one another? Behold, I have heard that there 
is corn in Egypt; get you down thither and buy for us 
from thence ; that we may live and not die." (Genesis 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

Notice that although the brothers were married 
men, they obeyed their father. They clung together. 
They did not resent the fact that their father would 
not allow his own favorite son, Benjamin, to go with 
them on the journey, which might, perhaps, have 
proved a dangerous one. 

The brothers arrived safely in Egypt. So many 
strange men coming together were looked upon with 
suspicion. Joseph's brothers were therefore carried 
before Joseph. He knew his brothers at once. Imag- 
ine what mixed feelings he must have had when he 
beheld them. Immediately he wondered whether his 
father was still alive, and yearned to learn about his 
dear brother, Benjamin. Oh, how he longed to talk 
to them, to reveal his own identity! But no! He 
stifled his own feelings. He resolved to find out 
whether his brothers were still as cruel, jealous and 
evil minded as they had been when he last saw them 
and when they had sold him into slavery. 

How earnestly he hoped that they had improved ! 
How anxious he was that they should stand the test 
with which he quickly decided to try them. Joseph 
was dressed in the elegant robes of an Egyptian prince. 
He was a ruler in a great land. Naturally, his brothers 
did not recognize in him their miserable brother, the 
shepherd lad, whom they had so cruelly wronged. 

Joseph was very gruff to his brothers. He ac- 
cused them of being spies. They denied the charge 
and said: "Nay, my Lord, but to buy food are thy 
servants come." (Genesis XLII:6-17.) 

After talking for some time with them, Joseph 
decided to hold Simeon as hostage until they would 
bring Benjamin down to him in Egypt. (Read XLII : 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — 11. 

How strange it must have seemed to Joseph to 
hear his brothers talking about him! He knew by 
their words, which he understood, that they had not 
forgotten their treatment of him. 

At last Joseph agreed to sell his brothers some 
corn, but told them that they need never come down to 
Egypt again to buy food, unless they brought their 
other brother with them. He ordered his steward to 
fill their sacks, or bags, with corn and to put back the 
money they had paid him into their sacks. (In using 
the word "sack" be sure that the children do not con- 
fuse it with "sacque," a piece of clothing. This is a 
frequent and natural confusion of terms.) 

The brothers started on their journey homeward. 
They talked together about the great ruler who had 
been so rough to them. When they reached home they 
related all about their journey to their father, Jacob. 

When they opened their sacks and emptied out the 
corn they were surprised and a little frightened to see 
that all their money had been returned. They utterly 
failed to understand it all. 

Jacob declared that Benjamin should never leave 
him. After some time, Jacob, his sons and families 
had eaten up all the corn which had been brought from 
Egypt. They needed food, but the brothers did not 
want to suggest going again to Egypt. 

At last their father bade them go. They told him 
how useless it was for them to enter Egypt unless 
Benjamin went with them, for the ruler of the land 
had said they should have no more corn unless their 
youngest brother accompanied them. Jacob could not 
bear to let Benjamin go out of his sight. Then Judah 
said he would be responsible for Benjamin's safe 
return. (Read Genesis XLHI : 1-5.) 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — II. 

Contrast this speech and its depth of feeling with 
the harsh words and acts used by the brothers years 
before in their treatment of Joseph. Notice now that 
Judah was willing to sacrifice himself and his own 
sons for the welfare of the others. His self-sacrificing 
spirit at length prevailed. Jacob relented. He sent 
Benjamin with the brothers on their second journey to 
Egypt. Joseph was filled with joy when he saw his 
own brother, Benjamin. He could hardly refrain from 
embracing him and revealing himself to his own 
brother. But he did not yet feel sure of the attitude of 
his brothers toward him. He decided to make one 
more test. He had a banquet prepared for them, and 
he seated them in the order of their ages. The broth- 
ers marveled at all this. They thought it accidental. 
To Benjamin, Joseph sent extra food from his own 
table. Then Joseph gave them permission to buy com, 
and he had their sacks filled. This time Joseph 
secretly told his steward to hide his silver cup in Ben- 
jamin's sack. 

The brothers had not gone very far on their jour- 
ney when the steward followed them. He accused 
them of stealing the great ruler's cup. They protested 
and resented the charge. They finally agreed to be 
searched, and so sure were they of their own innocence 
that they declared : "Let the one on whom the cup is 
found be put to death !" The sacks of each one were 
opened in the order of the brother's ages. Of course, 
the cup was not found in the first, the second and 
others. The brothers rejoiced, until when the last 
sack was opened; lo! in Benjamin's sack the missing 
cup was found. The brothers were mystified and hor- 
rified. They wondered whether Benjamin really did 
steal it. However, the suspicion and selfishness of 
former days no longer ruled their conduct. They 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — II. 

resolved to protect their younger brother. Despite 
what the steward said, that Benjamin alone should 
follow him to Egypt, they all returned and asked to 
see Joseph. 

They told him again the story of their family. 
(Genesis XLIV:4-34.) Judah's appeal was strik- 
ingly simple, beautiful and pathetic. It is one of the 
most touching petitions in Holy Writ. It is full of 
love, affection and pathos. His plea to Joseph would 
have softened the hardest heart. Joseph could not 
restrain his affections any longer. His heart ached. 
He yearned to make himself known to his brothers. 
They had stood the tests by which he had tried them. 
He now knew that instead of being selfish, cruel and 
jealous, they had become unselfish, kind and self-sacri- 
ficing and loving. Joseph was thankful and grateful 
for the change in them. He sent his Egyptian attend- 
ants from the room, and then said to his brothers: 
"Do ye not know me ? I am Joseph ; doth my father 
yet live? (Genesis XLV : 1-4.) He wept for mingled 
grief and joy. 

We can well imagine the incredulity of the broth- 
ers when first they are startled by this strange revela- 
tion. This feeling quickly gave way to astonishment, 
then to fear. Here was their brother whom they had 
so cruelly wronged. He was a ruler in Egypt. They 
prostrated themselves in humility and terror. Joseph 
quickly bade them rise. He embraced them all, espe- 
cially Benjamin. (Genesis XLV :4-13.) He asked 
again after his old father. He was thankful to learn 
that the old father was still living. He was eager to 
go at once to see his father, but Joseph could not leave 
his post of duty in Egypt. The king and all the people 
depended upon him, his wisdom and knowledge to save 
them from starvation. 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

He explained to his brothers that there would be 
five more years of famine and that food would grow 
scarcer and scarcer as these five years went by. Joseph 
told them that he was a rich man and he would take 
care of them all. He would provide food for them 
and their families. He ordered them to return home, 
to tell their father that he, Joseph, was still alive, and 
that he sent for Jacob and all of his household to 
come down to Egypt t-o live. 

Joseph sent gifts to his father. He sent wagons, 
too, that his old father, his brothers, their wives and 
little ones might ride, for it was a long journey. 

The brothers returned home to Canaan. They 
related their wonderful tale to Jacob and confessed 
their guilt of long ago. Poor old Jacob was confused 
at first. He could not believe the strange story. He 
was overjoyed and overcome by the news. He doubted 
the truth of it; but when he saw all the gifts Joseph 
had sent him and the wagons provided for his journey 
he exclaimed : "Enough, Joseph my son, is yet alive, 
I will go and see him before I die." (Genesis XLV: 

Jacob, his sons, their wives and families all went 
down to Egypt together. How eager they must have 
felt to reach the land in which they were sure of safety 
and plenty! How anxious Jacob was to see his 
favorite son ! 

Joseph went forth to meet his aged father. The 
Bible tells us that "Joseph made ready a chariot and 
went to Goshen to meet his father. When Joseph got 
in sight of his father, Joseph fell on his neck and wept 
a good while." (Genesis XLVI : 29.) 

Pharaoh was very glad that so much happiness 
had befallen his favorite, Joseph. He was very liberal, 
and told Joseph to give his family the land of Goshen 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

as their home and to let his brothers be shepherds in 
the land to care for the flocks and herds. 

When Pharaoh asked to see Joseph's father, 
Joseph took Jacob to see Pharaoh. What a beautiful 
scene is now presented ! The old man blessed the King 
of Egypt. 

Jacob lived in Goshen for the rest of his life. 
When Jacob died the brothers thought that Joseph 
would now revenge himself on them. They did not 
yet understand the wonderfully noble character of 
Joseph. He assured them that he would not be unkind 
to them ; told them that he had forgiven them entirely 
and that they must believe him. 

He said: "You thought for evil against me but 
God meant it for good. Fear not, I will nourish all 
of you." He comforted them and spoke kindly to them. 
So Joseph and his brothers lived happily in the land of 


Note the various tests to which Joseph puts his 
brothers. Mark how they were willing to protect Ben- 
jamin and even sacrifice themselves for him. Study 
the touching scene in which Judah pleads jbefore 
Joseph, and Joseph's revelation of his identity. What 
a beautiful spirit of forgiveness and enduring love 
Joseph shows his brothers ! Joseph's welcome of his 
aged father and the father's blessing of a potentate are 
striking incidents. The lesson which Joseph taught 
his brothers after his father's death, that seeming mis- 
fortune is often a blessing in disguise, is worth being 
emphasized and illustrated. 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 


1. Contrast the life of Joseph now with his 
early days. 

2. What experiences helped to develop Joseph's 
character ? 

3. To what position did the King raise him? 
What reason did the King assign for this ? 

4. How did Joseph treat his brothers when they 
came down to Egypt to buy corn? State the reason 
that prompted his conduct. 

5. In what respects had the brothers changed 
since the time when they had sold Joseph in their 
younger days ? 

6. Why did Jacob leave Canaan? Whither did 
he go? Why? 

7. Tell how Joseph tried his brothers in order to 
see whether they had grown better. Had they im- 
proved ? Why do you think so ? 

8. Why did Joseph have the cup hidden in Ben- 
jamin's sack ? 

9. What is the usual result of partiality on the 
part of a parent towards a child? Illustrate your 

10. When Joseph made himself known to his 
brothers how did they feel? Give Joseph's reply 
to them. ^^ 


Lesson IX 
Early Life of Moses 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

Lesson IX— Early Life of Moses 

Special Topic — A Boy Saved from Death. 
Aim of Lesson — To teach implicit trust in God 
and unquestioning obedience to His commands. 

Memory Gem — "I lift up mine eyes to the moun- 
tains, whence shall come my help. My help is from 
the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth." Psalm 
CXXI : 1 and 2. 

Bible References — Exodus I, II. 

Pictures— "Moses and The Daughter of Pha- 
raoh," Wilde 377. "Finding of Moses," Wilde 378. 

Song— One of the traditional songs for Passover 
sung at Seder Service. 


From the death of Joseph to the birth of Moses 
many years elapsed in the history of our people.^ The 
lesson stories in Genesis deal largely with individuals, 
telling of Adam and Eve, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, 
Joseph, etc. The second book of the Bible, Exodus, 
treats of groups of people, or tribes. The subject- 
matter of Exodus, therefore, is not quite as interesting 
to young children. By grouping the events about the 
life of the great leader, Moses, the interest, however, 
may be well sustained. Events in the life of Moses 
should be taken up in historic order. In teaching about 
Moses we deal with the greatest hero of olden times. 
We must so present the facts that the children will 
admire Moses for his bravery, love him for his kind- 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

ness and sympathize with him as a great general and 
the leader of a wayward and immature people. Slavery 
and freedom are contrasted in the next lesson. Hence 
these subjects should be touched upon only lightly 
here. The story of Moses, although separated by a 
long interval of time from that of Joseph, follows it 
closely and logically. 



In the lessons of Joseph the children learned that 
he was sold into slavery, ill treated and thrown into 

All these facts seemed to show that God had for- 
gotten him; but in a wonderfully beautiful and dra- 
matic sequel it is seen clearly that God never forgot 
Joseph, but not only was working in many ways to 
improve Joseph's character by hardships, but also to 
make him the means of changing his brothers from 
hard, cruel men into kind and loving sons and broth- 
ers. God could have freed Joseph and sent him home 
to his father's house, but God had selected Joseph to 
be a help during the famine, to save the Egyptians 
and many others, including Jacob and his family, from 
starvation. Hence, Joseph had to pass through so 
many various trying experiences. They illustrate the 
truth that God always answers our prayers, though 
not always in the way we expect and not always at the 
time we expect. But, if we trust in Him implicity, we 
need have no fear of disappointment. 

Proceed from this point by recalling to the chil- 
dren's minds the kindness of the king of Egypt 
toward Joseph's family. Pharaoh gave them a special 
part of the land of Egypt (Goshen) for a home. But 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades— II. 

when this king had been dead many years there were 
other kings who forgot all of Joseph's fidelity and 
work and soon treated the Israelites cruelly, making 
of them slaves in the land of Egypt. 



The king of Egypt became alarmed at the number 
of boys among his slaves, the Israelites. The Egyp- 
tians feared that when these Hebrew boys grew up 
and became men the Hebrews would be more powerful 
than the Egyptians and fight against them. The king 
devised several plans against the Hebrews. He made 
them work harder. But we know that work is a bless- 
ing, not a curse. The people grew in strength and in 
numbers. Finally, the king issued a horrible, cruel 
law. He commanded that all the Hebrew boys who 
were born should be killed. "If it be a son, then shall 
ye kill him, but if it be a daughter, then may she live." 
(Exodus I : 16.) "Every son that is born ye shall 
cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save 
alive." (Exodus I :22.) This law naturally caused 
great distress among the Israelites. When a boy was 
born, instead of the usual happiness and joy in the 
home, there was sorrow and gloom, because the king 
had decreed that the lad should be drowned. In one 
family, in which there was one daughter and one son, 
a third child was born. It was a darling boy. The 
mother's and father's joy was turned to sorrow when 
they thought of throwing their precious child into the 
Nile River. Nothing is so dear, especially to the 
mother's heart — nothing so precious to her, as her 
child. For several months the mother hid her babe 
where no one could see or hear him laugh and cry. 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

Then the boy grew so big and strong that the mother 
knew she could hide him no longer. She feared some 
officer of the king might come into her house and kill 
all of the family because the king's law had been dis- 

Finally, the mother thought of a plan. She had 
made a little cradle in the form of a basket, "And when 
she could no longer hide him, she took for him a box 
of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with 
petals, and she put the child therein, and laid it amidst 
the flags by the brink of the river. And his sister 
placed herself afar off to ascertain what would be 
done to him." (Exodus II : 3-4.) 

Tell of the mother's great love in making or 
weaving a little cradle for her baby; but her heart 
failed her when she put the basket into the river. So 
she told her daughter, Miriam, to hide herself in the 
high flags, or bulrushes, in order that she might watch 
the basket. If possible, the teacher should have some 
flags, wide grass or rushes and a basket to show clearly 
the manner in which the child was saved. As Miriam 
was watching she peered through the flags, or grasses, 
and saw a lady elegantly dressed coming to the Nile 
River. The lady had many maids with her. One held 
a sunshade over her head to keep the heat from her. 
Another maid had a large fan, with which she tried to 
keep the lady cool, for it is hot in the land of Egypt. 
Miriam soon guessed that this fashionable, elegant 
lady was a princess. Yes, she was the daughter of the 
king, Pharaoh, and had come to bathe in the Nile 
River. Miriam was frightened and troubled. She 
naturally thought that if the King was so cruel as to 
order the baby boys of the Israelites to be drowned, 
perhaps his daughter was just as wicked. It is prob- 
able that Miriam offered up a prayer to God, begging 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades— 11. 

for God's help and the safety of her dear baby brother. 
"My help is from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and 
earth." This is the "Memory Gem" of the lesson, and 
it is very appropriate here, for the Lord did help, as 
He always does, in times of sorrow, danger and trouble. 

The princess saw the basket, and wondered what 
it could possibly be. She said to one of her maids: 
"Go and fetch that queer looking thing from among 
the flags." "And when she had opened it, (the basket) 
she saw the child and behold it was a weeping boy." 
And the princess thought: "Oh, what mother could 
be so cruel as to try and drown her baby." Then she 
remembered that the king, her father, had made the 
cruel law commanding this. Her heart was filled not 
only with pity for the baby, crying for its mother, but 
also with sympathy for the poor mother who had to 
part with her little son. "Alas !" she said : "This is 
surely one of the Hebrews' children." (Exodus II : 6.) 
She resolved to brave her father's anger and save the 
baby's life. She lifted it from the basket, kissed it 
and petted it. 

When Miriam, the baby's sister, saw the princess 
was soothing the baby and was kind to him Miriam 
resolved to make another eifort to save the baby's life. 
She ran quickly from her hiding place and, bowing low 
to the princess, said : "Shall I go and call thee a nurse 
of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse for thee 
the child?" 

"And Pharaoh's daughter said to her Go, and the 
maiden went and called the mother of the child." 
(Exodus II : 7 and 8.) How joyfully Miriam must 
have run home! How anxiously the mother must 
have been waiting for news of her baby! When 
Miriam told her mother the good news of the baby's 
safety and that Pharaoh's daughter wanted a Hebrew 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

nurse for it, the mother cried for joy and went eagerly 
and quickly to obey the princess and thus fold her 
dear child once again to her breast. "And Pharaoh's 
daughter said unto her, Take away this child and nurse 
him for me, and I will give thee thy wages, and the 
woman took the child and nursed him." (Exodus 

Ask the children whether they think the mother 
wanted wages. Your pupils will naturally reply : "No, 
indeed ; the mother was only too happy to have charge 
of her child again. She wanted no money for caring 
for him." "Thereupon the mother took care of the 
child until he grew up. And she brought him unto 
Pharaoh's daughter and he became to her as a son, and 
she called his name Moses, and she said : Because out 
of the water I have drawn him." (Exodus II : 10.) 

Now, while Moses was a little boy and under his 
mother's care, his mother must have constantly told 
him that although one day he would live in a palace 
with the princess, he really was a Hebrew boy. She 
begged him to remember not only this, but also that his 
brethren were slaves. She admonished him that as he 
would receive a good education and be a free man, he 
must in some way try to help his poor, oppressed 
brethren. Moses was an obedient son. He loved his 
mother. From all that followed we know that her 
words made a deep impression on his retentive mind. 
All of us should think of our mother's words and our 
father's teachings. No matter how long we live, we 
should remember and obey all that they tell us. When 
Moses was a man the words of his mother often came 
back to him. He felt the deepest pity for the Hebrew 
slaves, who were his kinsmen. The harsh overseers, 
who treated the Israelites so cruelly, filled him with 
righteous rage and indignation. 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

God works in a wonderful manner. He had 
planned that Moses, the little Israelitish boy, should be 
saved; should live in an Egyptian palace; should re- 
ceive a good education, and should, in the course of 
time, really be the means of leading his people, the 
Israelites, from slavery to freedom. 

The Bible tells us : "And it came to pass in those 
days, when Moses was grown up, that he went out 
unto his brethren and looked on their burdensome 
labours, and he saw an Egyptian man smiting a Hebrew 
man, one of his brethren. And he looked this way 
and that way, and when he saw that there was no one 
by, he smote the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand." 
(Exodus 11:11-12.) 

When Moses saw the Egyptian treating the 
Hebrew cruelly he perhaps thought it was only an act 
of God that had prevented him from being a slave also. 
While thankful for his happier lot, Moses sympathized 
with and felt deeply for the oppressed Hebrews. Who 
knows but that Moses tried to reason with the Egyp- 
tian, but his words had no effect? Then Moses slew 
the cruel man. Some days after this Moses saw two 
Hebrews fighting. He told them that it was very 
wrong to do so and that brethren should not quarrel. 
One of the men answered him and said : "Who made 
thee a chief and a judge over us? Intendest thou to 
kill me as thou hast killed the Egyptian?" When 
Moses heard these words he was afraid. He feared 
that his act had become known. On this account he 
resolved to flee from the country, lest Pharaoh should 
kill him. Hence Moses went far away to another land. 

The story of Joseph is dramatic and inspiring. 
The life of Moses, too, is filled with strange and won- 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

derful events. When we think of the checkered career 
of Moses we cannot doubt the wise and loving Provi- 
dence which ordains a place in life and a work for each 
one of us to do. From the time Moses was exposed 
to drowning in the Nile River until the time he led the 
people out of Egypt his life is full of remarkable 
events. God's power saved him from death. Instead 
of living the degraded life of a slave, Moses is edu- 
cated in the palace of the king. His growth and 
development were part of the Divine Plan to raise him 
above his brethren, on a much higher plane than the 
bondsmen, in order to fit him to save his people, to 
lead and govern them. His education and training 
marked him out and endowed him alone of that whole 
generation to become the leader of his poor, despised 
brethren. Our help truly comes from the Lord. God 
always watches over us. What may seem evil often 
turns out to be a forerunner of good. 

While our prayers may not always be answered 
when we expect them and in the manner in which we 
would have them answered, we may be sure that the 
Heavenly Father never forgets His children. 


1. In what general respect do the lessons in 
Exodus differ from those in Genesis ? 

2. What is the historic relation between the his- 
tory of Moses and the story of Joseph ? 

3. Because of what law was Moses put into the 
Nile ? Describe how he was saved from drowning. 

4. How and where was Moses educated? 

5. In what respect did Moses' life and education 
differ from that of the other Hebrews ? 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

6. In what way did the education of Moses fit 
him for his life's work? 

7. Was Moses in sympathy with his persecuted 
brethren? Give reason for your reply. 

8. What effect did the quarrel Moses interrupted 
have on Moses' life? 

9. Contrast the lives of Joseph and Moses. 

10. Do you think Moses was justified in slaying 
the Egyptian ? Give reason for your reply. 


Lesson X 
Moses the Man 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — 77. 

Lesson X— Moses the Man 

Special Topic — The Burning Bush. 

Aim of the Lesson — To show that God is all-wise 
and that He will instruct us and help us if we call 
upon Him. 

Memory Gems — *T will instruct thee and I will 
teach thee in the way which thou shalt go. (Psalm 
XXXn :8.) "I will be with thee." (Exodus II : 
12.) "For the Lord giveth wisdom ; out of His mouth 
(come) knowledge and understanding." (Proverbs 
II :6.) 

Bible References — Exodus II : 15-22; III : 1-22; 
IV : 1-9. 

Picture — "Moses and the Burning Bush," Wilde 
No. 381. 

Song — Song of the previous lesson (concluded). 


In presenting this lesson the teacher is confronted 
for the first time with the subject of miracles. (On 
the Jewish mode of teaching about Miracles, see "The 
New Education in Religion," pp. 80-81.) The burn- 
ing bush was truly miraculous, an unexpected won- 
der, at variance with all the natural laws of the uni- 

To God all things are possible. This is the 
thought the teacher should give to the pupils. God 
made something startling, unusual — i. e., miraculous — 
happen in order to attract Moses' attention and to make 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

him realize the omnipotence of "the Great First Cause." 
He filled the heart of Moses with surprise and awe, 
wonder and fear at God's power. 

Another point for the teacher to notice is the 
manner of God's workings. The shepherds were 
despised in Egypt, yet it was with his staff, or shep- 
herd's crook, that God permitted Moses to perform the 
strange deeds before Pharaoh and the Egyptians. 



Try to make the story of Moses real by telling 
the children something about the recent excavations 
that have been made and that have made us familiar 
with the life of ancient Egypt. In 1883 and since 
then, ruins of cities, temples and tombs have been 
found which are positively of the time of Rameses II, 
the Pharaoh of these lessons. Tell of the thousands 
of tourists who now travel to Egypt to gaze upon these 
sights. The point of contact having been thus found, it 
is easy to proceed with a brief review of last week's 

Question the children to be sure that they under- 
stand and remember the early life of Moses. Note the 
most important points. 

1. The cruel law of Pharaoh. 

2. The birth and hiding of Moses. 

3. His rescue. 

4. His education at the palace. 

5. His recollection of his brethren. 

6. His attempt to help them. 

Commence the presentation of the lesson from 
this point. Moses remembers his brethren ; he tried to 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

help them. The killing of the Egyptian brings him 
into trouble, and Moses has to flee from the country 
because Pharaoh seeks revenge and wants to kill him. 
Moses goes to a nearby land and lives there for about 
forty years. He is married and has two sons. 

The teacher should emphasize the fact that Moses 
willingly gave up his life of luxury at the palace for 
one of hardship and struggle. The sorrows of the 
Hebrews and his hope to help them had so affected his 
life that he gladly became a shepherd in the new land. 
Here in his daily wanderings with his flock, in the 
stillness, in the peace of outdoor life, he has a chance 
to commune with himself, to think of how he could 
best be useful to his people. He realizes that the time 
had not yet come for action and that he had been too 

It was in the Divine Plan of God that Moses in all 
these years of life as a shepherd should think out and 
plan rules and laws for the government of the unedu- 
cated people, of whom he was one day to be the 
leader. Moses also learned the geography of the coun- 
try through which he was to lead the Israelites in their 
wanderings. At length, God thought the time was ripe 
to bring Moses back to Egypt to take up his appointed 
work,^ and so God revealed Himself to Moses for the 
first time, in a strange and wonderful manner. Moses 
was tending his flocks in a low valley surrounded by 
great, tall mountains. (One of these was Mount 
Sinai.) Explain on the blackboard or sand table or 
by pictures how valleys and mountains look. Describe 
such a landscape. Tell of the soft, green grass, the 
splendid trees, the stream of water, with a row of 
bushes growing on the banks of the brook. Make this 
picture vivid, that the children may get the true feeling 
and spirit of the event. 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

As Moses was caring one day for his flock in such 
a valley "an angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a 
flame of fire out of the midst of a thorn-bush ; and he 
looked, and behold, the thorn-bush was burning with 
fire, but the thorn-bush was not consumed." (Exodus 

What a curious sight this must have been! A 
bush, or a tree, once aflame would burn up and be con- 
sumed. It would crumble to ashes; but this strange 
bush burned and burned, and though continuing to 
burn, remained intact. 

Some people say that this is a beautiful symbol of 
God's care over His people. They suflfered and suf- 
fered and suffered, yet were they not destroyed, for 
God watched over them. 

"And Moses said I must turn aside and see this 
great sight, why the thorn-bush is not burned." (Exo- 
dus 111:3.) 

"And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to 
see, God called unto him out of the midst of the thorn- 
bush and said, Moses, Moses, and he said, Here am 
I." (Exodus HI: 4.) 

Here recall to the children God's appearance to 
Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. Remind them of 
God's great promise to bless the people whom He had 
chosen for His own. The promise to Abraham. (Gen- 
esis XII : 1 and 2.) The promise to Isaac. (Genesis 
XXVI :3.) The promise to Jacob. (Genesis 
XXVIII : 13, 14, 15.) 

As Moses, in response to God's call, drew near 
the bush, God said unto him : "Draw not nigh hither ; 
put off thy shoes from thy feet, for the place whereon 
thou standest is holy ground." (Exodus III : 5.) 

These words will strike the attention of the chil- 
dren, for they show one difference in the oriental 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

customs from those of our western world. It is cus- 
tomary now in our country for men to take off their 
hats as a mark of respect, but in those days and lands 
to take off their shoes showed reverence. 

If possible, the teacher should get a pair of 
sandals, or else show a picture of them. Explain that 
the sand of the desert naturally got into the feet. 
Hence removing the sandals and washing the feet were 
marks of hospitality and respect in Bible times. Ask 
the children to recall how Abraham ran to meet the 
three strangers, whom he hospitably asked to come 
into his tent and to let him bring water to wash their 
feet. Moses removed his shoes and drew nearer to 
the fiery bush. Then for the first time God spoke to 
him. Notice that God recalls the promises He made 
to our three great forefathers — the promises that have 
just been cited. 

"And he said: I am the God of thy father, the 
God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of 
Jacob; and Moses hid his face; for he was afraid." 
(Exodus III :6.) His was a righteous, wholesome 
fear in the presence of the King of Kings. "And the 
Lord said, I have truly seen the affliction of my people 
that is in Egypt, and I have heard its cry by reason 
of its taskmasters, yea, I know its sorrows. And I 
am come down to deliver it out of the hand of the 
Egyptians, and to bring it out of that land unto a land 
good and large." (Exodus III : 7-8.) 

Moses must have felt glad when he knew that 
God was ready to deliver the Hebrews from their cruel 
bondage and had repeated His promise to bring them 
into their own land. But Moses was a meek man. He 
feared to take the leadership. God said: "And now 
then, go, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh and thou 
shalt bring forth my people, the Children of Israel, out 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

of Egypt." And Moses said unto God: "Who am I 
that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring 
forth the Children of Israel out of Egypt?" "And he 
said I will be with thee." (Exodus III : 10-12.) 

This great promise of God, "I will be with thee," 
should have satisfied Moses. It should have made him 
ready for anything and for everything he might be 
called on to do. 

It is a beautiful Bible verse, and when we repeat 
it, it should make us feel happy and strong for any 
work required of us. We remember God's many 
promises to us, and as God promised Moses to be 
with him and help him, so we too must feel that God 
is always with us, especially, when we ask for His 
help and His guidance. 

The children are old enough to feel this, and 
the personal application must be dwelt upon, for this 
is one of the first places to develop the natural, per- 
sonal feeling between the little child and the Great 
Heavenly Father, as well as to quicken in the child 
the first sense of pride in his Jewish heritage and 

But Moses demurs and God repeats His promise 
to bring His people to their own land as He has 
promised to them. Then God showfs Moses two 
curious signs. It is left to the time and the discretion 
of the teacher to read and explain (Exodus IV : 1-7). 
Moses puts forth, as a last plea, his inability to speak : 
"Pardon, O Lord, I am not a man of words, neither 
yesterday, nor the day before, nor since Thou hast 
spoken unto Thy servant; for I am heavy of speech 
and heavy of tongue" (Exodus IV : 10.) God re- 
plies : "Who hath given a mouth to man ? or who 
maketh him dumb, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is 
it not I, the Lord?" (Exodus IV : 11.) This reply well 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — II. 

sets forth our utter dependence for all our senses, 
powers and feelings on God. Children should realize 
how utterly powerless we are without our Heavenly 
Father, who endows us with all our faculties, sight, 
hearing, smell, touch and taste. God says further: 
"Now therefore go, and I will be thy mouth, and I 
will teach thee what thou shalt speak." (Exodus IV: 

But Moses still hesitates. Then "the anger of the 
Lord is kindled against Moses." But God tells Moses 
that his brother Aaron shall go with him to speak 
before Pharaoh what Moses might wish. So Moses, 
with Aaron's help, finally is willing to go to Pharaoh 
and eventually lead the people from slavery to free- 
dom. Aaron is glad to be the spokesman in this great 
cause. God had said to Moses that Aaron would be 
pleased and the Bible says that when Moses returned 
to Egypt, Aaron was happy and he came out to meet 
Moses and ran and kissed his brother. 


To God all things are possible. He decided to 
free His people and chose Moses to be their leader. 
Moses hesitated and refused at first. God performed 
several miracles to show His power to Moses and to 
convince him of God's ability to strengthen him. Show 
the children that this was not disobedience as we 
generally term it, but it was the meekness and modesty 
of Moses which made him feel that he, Moses, was 
not great enough for such a grave and trying task. 
But God promised to instruct and to help Moses. At 
length Moses was ready for the great burden, the 
great task of leadership. Sometimes school children 
grow tired of their tasks and it requires effort and 
struggle on their part to conquer difficulties. Often 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

the teacher will gladly help them in their efforts, if 
they will strive faithfully to accomplish their tasks; 
then, next time the work seems easier. So God gives 
help to those who earnestly strive to do His will. 

Just as exercises strengthen the muscles of the 
body, so does study strengthen the mind and make 
it readier for harder work. Even so is every difficult 
duty in life made easier with every effort to fulfill it. 
And if the tasks seem too heavy we should feel 
strengthened by the words God spoke to Moses: *1 
will be with thee." 


1. What miracle occurs in this part of the life 
of Moses ? How would you explain miracles to young 
children ? 

2. How should the teacher try to make the les- 
son realistic to the children? What recent events 
will help? 

3. Tell three important facts in the early life 
of Moses that would help in making the Point of 
Contact between the preceding lesson and this one. 

4. Why did Moses flee from Egypt? Why did 
he return? 

5. What divine purpose can be seen in Moses* 
wandering life as a shepherd? 

6. In the teaching of God's appearance and 
promise to Moses, name two other occasions when 
God appeared to people who lived before the days of 
Moses. Tell one promise God made. 

7. Give a verse in which God told His previous 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

8. Was Moses eager to assume the leadership 
of the people? Give reason for your answer. 

9. Explain the verse "I will be with thee." 
What lessons can the teacher draw from this verse 
for his class? 

10. Write in your own language a brief resume 
of the chief events of this lesson, using short, terse 


Lesson XI 
The Deliverance From Egypt 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

Lesson XI— The Deliverance from Egypt 

Special Topic — The Origin of the Passover Fes- 

Aim of the Lesson — To develop the contrast be- 
tween slavery and freedom. 

Memory Gem — "I am the Lord thy God, who 
have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of 
the house of slavery." Exodus XX : 2. 

Bible References — Exodus I :8-14; II : 23-25; 
III : 13. 

Pictures — "Pharaoh Urging Moses to Leave 
Egypt." Wilde 383. ''Departure of the Children of 
Israel from Egypt." Wilde 578. 

Songs — "America," or some other national hymn. 
Also one of the traditional airs used at the Seder 



The teacher should begin the lesson by asking 
the children if they know the difference between slav- 
ery and freedom. Physical freedom is the ability to 
go about when and where one pleases. Spiritual free- 
dom is the ability to pray as one pleases and to follow 
the dictates of one's own conscience. Spiritual free- 
dom entitles a man to belong to whatsoever religion 
he chooses, or not to belong; and to worship God in 
any way which seems right. When a person is free, 
he may have to work very hard, but he receives pay 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

and gets money for his work. The children will 
know that their fathers and brothers are paid for all 
the work they do. Some mothers do work outside of 
the home also, then they, too, are paid for it. The 
servants in the house receive weekly wages. When a 
person is a slave he has to work very hard, but he 
does not receive pay or wages. He works for his 
master without compensation. 

The United States is a free country, but years 
ago there were a great many slaves living here. Ask 
the children whether they have ever heard about the 
negroes being held as slaves. Some were treated 
kindly, but others had very cruel masters, who beat 
them and used them badly. These slaves could not 
legally leave their employers. Many ran away, but 
when they were brought back they were severely pun- 
ished. This shows that they did not have physical 
freedom. Ask the children whether they know who 
set these slaves free. They will very probably know 
that Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves. 

Next talk to the class about the time, years ago, 
when America was under the rule of England. Al- 
though the colonists were not slaves physically, yet 
in many ways they were treated badly and oppressed 
by the mother country. Every child will know that 
George Washington freed the United States from 
Great Britain's control. 

Speak of the courage and bravery of Washington 
and Lincoln. We honor their memories. We cele- 
brate their birthdays each year, and tell of their great 
deeds. We also celebrate the Fourth of July as the 
birthday of liberty in the United States. 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 


Tell the children that many years ago the Jews 
(or Israelites) as they were then called, were not 
free as we are now, in America. They were slaves 
in Egypt under Pharaoh. Review briefly the end of 
the story of Joseph. Tell how kindly Jacob and his 
family were treated by King Pharaoh in their time. 
But now all was changed. (Exodus I : 8, 11, 14.) The 
Hebrews groaned under their heavy burdens. Their 
bodies, their minds, their souls, were starved by the 
cruelties of their masters. They dared not pray to 
their God as they chose. They were not allowed to 
think and act as they wished. They could not run 
away from their cruel taskmasters. 

Explain how wrong it is for one human being to 
own another. God has made us all free and equal. 
"Hath not one God created us?" (Mai. II : 10.) The 
Bible tells us that although the Hebrews were op- 
pressed, God had not forgotten them. He was watch- 
ing over them and ever does watch over all His chil- 
dren. (Exodus II : 23-25 ; III : 7 and 8.) 

Notice that in Exodus III : 6, God says : *T am 
the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God 
of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." Thus God renewed 
his pledges given to our ancestors, Abraham, Isaac 
and Jacob. God told Moses that he was to be the man 
to lead the people from slavery to freedom. Moses 
was a meek and modest man. He was not conceited. 
But Moses thought he was not equal to the great task 
of delivering the people from bondage. (Exodus III : 
13; IV: 1-13.) 

He said: "Who am I, that I should go unto 
Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the Children 
of Israel out of Egypt?" Explain to the children 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

that although Moses was so modest, he was specially 
adapted for the work God called upon him to per- 
form. The Israelites, generally, were not educated. 
Slavery had starved their minds, but Moses had been 
well educated. He had been brought up in the palace 
of Pharaoh, and had thus had unusual advantages of 
learning. The poor Hebrew slaves were almost like 
children, unable to govern themselves. Moses was 
different and was therefore chosen by God for this 
great mission. Read to or tell the class the various ob- 
jections put forth by Moses, because of his hesitancy 
to undertake so great a task as that of liberating his 
enslaved brethren from the mighty power of Egypt. 
(Exodus ni : 12-21; Exodus IV : 1-17.) God an- 
swered every protest and objection of Moses, and 
finally Moses said: "Pardon, O Lord, I am not a 
man of words .... for I am heavy of speech 
and heavy of tongue." (Exodus IV : 10.) Then God 
told Moses that his brother, Aaron, should go with 
him to be the spokesman. 

An interesting little tale has come down to us 
in the legends of the Midrash, which tries to explain 
why Moses was "heavy of tongue." 

It is said that when Moses was a little boy, the 
"Wise Men" or magicians of Egypt warned Pharaoh, 
the king, that this little Hebrew boy would some day 
become greater than Pharaoh. Of course this an- 
gered the king. One day, Moses in play, laughingly 
took the crown off Pharaoh's head and placed it on 
his own. This aroused the anger of the magicians 
and they said to the king: "See, this is the beginning 
of the verification of our prophecy. This child will 
one day take away your crown from you forever." 
The king was worried and wanted to have the child, 
Moses, put to death. The tale goes on to say that 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades— II. 

an angel whispered into the king's ear : "The child is 
too young to have any knowledge about a crown 
Test his intelligence." The king had a platter brought 
to him. On It were placed a lump of gold and a 
lump of burning red coal. The king told Moses 
to take that which he liked best. The gold being 
valuable, any common sense person must naturally 
have chosen it. But as Moses stretched out his hand 
the good angel made him take the lump of coal. Child- 
like he put It up to his mouth, and burned his ton^e 
and never after that day could be speak plainly. 

In obedience to God's command, Moses and 
Aaron appeared before Pharaoh to ask that the Israel- 
ites might be allowed to leave Egypt. "Thus said the 
Everlasting One, the God of Israel, Let my people 
go! And Pharaoh said: "Who is the Everlasting 
One, whose voice I am to obey, to let Israel ^o? I 
know not the Everlasting One, nor will I let Israel 
go. (Exodus V : 2.) Explain the blasphemy in these 
words of the king. Pharaoh thought only of him- 
^If. He did not recognize, heed or obey the great 
King of Kings. But the Almighty told Moses and 
Aaron that the time would come when Pharaoh would 
surely know Him, and obey Him, and let the Israel- 
ites go. 

The cruel overseers now made the Israelite 
slaves work harder than ever. They refused to dve 
them the materials with which to labor and yet de- 
manded that the same amount of work should be 
accomplished. (Exodus V: 16-19.) 

God determined to punish Pharaoh and the 
Egyptians, and to hasten the time when the Israelites 
would be free. He told Moses and Aaron of His 
plans and He said: "And I will take you to me for a 
people, and I will be to you for a God, and ye shall 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

know that I am the Lord, your God, who bringeth 
you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians." 
(Exodus VI: 7.) 

God sent ten plagues, or dreadful catastrophes, 
over the land of Egypt to punish the king and his 
people for their cruelty. 

It is not necessary to go into the details of each 
of the plagues. Let the children know that ten pun- 
ishments were sent to soften Pharaoh's heart to make 
him free the slaves. In dealing with these awful 
punishments the question may arise, "Why were the 
innocent made to suffer with the guilty?" Review 
the theme as explained in previous lessons: "God*s 
thoughts are not our thoughts, God's ways are not 
our ways." Sometimes we can see good results from 
evil. Speak of the wholesale ruin wrought by the 
Flood. Yet it finally benefited the human race. Men- 
tion the wreck of the Titanic, yet behold, what good 
came of it, in the world-wide outpouring of sympa- 
thetic aid and the renewed care and watchfulness to 
safeguard life. 

These plagues seemed necessary punishments be- 
cause the people in Egypt had become degenerate, on 
account of their luxurious mode of living. Pharaoh 
was mad with the lust for power, and thought he 
could defy every law of right and every principle of 
justice and mercy. The Egyptians shared in this de- 
fiance. This led to their downfall. Such is God's 
law by which men and nations are punished. 

It all happened just as God ordained. It always 
does happen so. Every promise of God, whether for 
our seeming good or evil, is always fulfilled. 

Let the teacher tell of the first plague, that all 
the water was turned into blood, and dwell on some 
of the hardships and suflfering entailed by their having 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

no water for washing, drinking and cooking pur- 
poses. Ask the children to tell of some of the needs 
of life which require water. All will know what it 
means to suffer from thirst. Similarly explain the 
plague of darkness. 

Be sure to tell of the wonderful miracle, that in 
the land of Goshen, in which the Israelites lived the 
water was not turned into blood, and darkness did not 

With each plague Pharaoh sent for Moses and 
Aaron and begged them for relief, promising to let 
Israel go free. Moses and Aaron prayed that each 
plague in turn might cease. God granted the request. 
But Pharaoh refused again and again to let the people 
go, and one plague after another was sent over the 
land. Each time Pharaoh promised to let the people 
go if the plague were removed. When it had been 
taken away, he again refused and speedily forgot his 

At length nine plagues had been sent. "And the 
Lord said unto Moses, yet one plague more will I 
bring upon Pharaoh and upon Egypt, after that he 
will let you go hence, he shall surely thrust you alto- 
gether from here." (Exodus XI : 1.) God sent the 
angel of death over the land of Egypt, and in every 
family the firstborn was killed. There was no differ- 
ence between prince and pauper, between rich and 
poor From the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on the 
throne, to the firstborn of the poorest peasant. But 
in the land of Goshen the Israelites escaped also this 
dreadful catastrophe. At midnight a great cry went 
up from every family in Egypt, for each was mourn- 
mg the death of the eldest or firstborn. Then, at 
last, Pharaoh realized and recognized that there was 
indeed a "God of Israel," a Higher Power than that 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

of petty gods. He saw and confessed the might of 
Almighty God. 

On that night every Hebrew family offered to 
God a lamb as a sacrifice. The people were told to 
be ready to leave Egypt; to have their sandals on 
their feet, their staffs in their hands, prepared for 
their great deliverance. (Exodus XH : 7-12.) God 
told the people (Exodus XH : 14-20) that, this day 
should be "a memorial" unto them and that their de- 
scendants each year should observe this festival of 
Pesach or Passover, on the anniversary of the de- 
parture from Egypt God commanded the Israelites 
to perform certain rites before leaving Egypt. These 
are explained in Exodus XII. God said that it should 
be a "Beginning of months," a starting point in the 
life of the history of Israel. The slaves were to be- 
come freemen, and naturally some ceremonies were 
performed at this transition period. So that the 
Israelites prepared for their departure from Egypt. 
Read Exodus XI : 4-7. 

And Pharaoh sent for Moses and Aaron and told 
them to go, and to take the Hebrews out of Egypt 
quickly, lest all of the Egyptians be killed. The 
Israelites were ready when the command came. 

They had been slaves so long, several hundreds 
of years, that they had little property. The men had 
their bundles on their backs and their staffs in their 
hands. The women bound up their kneading troughs 
on their shoulders, for the dough had not yet had 
enough time to rise. They took their children, their 
cattle and goods with them. Thus all the Hebrew 
families went out of Egypt. They departed at God's 
command. They went forth from slavery to freedom ! 

Describe this wonderful Exodus. Make an im- 
pressive mental picture of this first instance in the 
history of the world that such an event occurred. 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 


The diflFerence between slavery and freedom is 
clearly shown by contrasting the physical, mental and 
moral attitude of a slave and that of a free man. 

There are many kinds of slavery. Physical slav- 
ery usually implies mental servitude also. America 
was once under the slavish rule of England. The 
negroes were once slaves in the United States. The 
Israelites were slaves in Egypt. God appointed Moses, 
their leader, to set them free. 

We honor the memory of Washington and Lin- 
coln for their wonderful deeds. We should realize 
that Moses was a very great source of inspiration to 
Washington and Lincoln, because he was the first man 
to free an enslaved people. He was the first to enun- 
ciate those great doctrines and principles of liberty 
which have come down to us through the long eras 
of time. The Israelites were told by God to make 
certain preparations for their departure from Egypt. 

The festival of Pesach is observed each year 
with various ceremonies, to remind us of our depar- 
ture from Egypt. It is a celebration for thanking God 
for delivering our forefathers from slavery and bring- 
ing them to freedom. If this had not happened, we, 
ourselves, might today be slaves. 


1. How would you explain to the children the 
difference between slavery and freedom? 

2. What two facts in United States history 
would help explain it? 

3. Why was Moses "heavy of tongue"? 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — II. 

4. What difference intellectually was there be- 
tween Moses and his brethren ? Why ? 

5. Whom did God appoint to help Moses ? Why? 

6. Describe the first interview between Moses, 
Aaron and Pharaoh. 

7. What series of catastrophes did God send on 
the Egyptians? How would you explain them to the 
children ? 

8. How would you answer a child who asked 
you : "Why were the good punished with the wicked" ? 

9. What events finally led to the Exodus? De- 
scribe the Exodus. 

10. Why is Passover celebrated? 


Lesson XII 
The Passover 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

Lesson XII-^The Passover 

Special Topic — The Seder Service. 

Aim of the Lesson — To show and explain the. 
ceremonies and objects used at the Seder Service. 

Memory Gems — "And this shall be unto you a 
memorial, and ye shall celebrate it as a feast unto the 
Lord." Exodus XII : 14. 

"Proclaim freedom throughout the land, unto all 
the inhabitants thereof." Lev. XXV : 10. 

Bible References— Exodus XII; XIII; Psalm 
CV : 23-45. 

Books — William Rosenau: "Jewish Ceremonial 
Institutions and Customs" (pp. 77-84 ) Any Hagad- 
dah or Seder Service Book. 

Pictures — Oppenheimer: "Seder Evening." "Op- 
pression in Egypt." 

Objects — The Seder table set ready for the serv- 
ice. On the table should be the matzoth, lamb bone, 
bitter herbs, charoseth, wine, Kiddush cup, salt, egg, 
vinegar or salt water. 

Songs — One or two traditional airs, from the 
Seder Service. 



The teacher should start by reviewing briefly the 
previous lesson. Ask the children to tell the story 
of the first Passover. Let them relate the wonderful 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — II. 

manner in which God delivered the Israelites from 
slavery and led them to freedom. Then proceed to 
the subject of similar celebrations among different na- 
tions. Ask what day we Americans celebrate in honor 
of our freedom. We celebrate the Fourth of July. 
We have parades, fireworks, festivals and amuse- 
ments of all kinds. Why is all this done? 

Note that the Jewish people celebrate the birth- 
day of their liberty by observing a solemn but joyful 
holiday known as Pesach or Passover. 

Pesach is observed to show our gratitude to God 
for the wonderful deliverance of our forefathers. In 
tlie Bible we read that God commanded us to observe 
it each year so that we may never forget the trials of 
our forefathers and therefore duly appreciate our own 
freedom when contrasted with the trials of our an- 


"And this day shall be unto you for a memorial, 
and ye shall celebrate it, as a feast unto the Lord, 
throughout your generations, as an ordinance forever 
shall ye celebrate it." (Exodus XII : 14.) Read this 
verse to the children as it is the command to observe 
the Passover every year. Tell the children how we 
observe Passover. The holiday lasts for a whole 
week. The first day and the seventh day are espe- 
cially hallowed. Among some of our brethren the 
second and eighth days are also observed. The Jewish 
holidays always begin in the evening, because when 
God created the world we read : "And it was evening 
and it was morning." (Genesis I : 4, etc.) Our Sabbath 
begins on Friday evening. So, too, on Passover we 
begin our celebration in the evening. 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — 11. 

We have a beautiful, happy and unique custom 
of ushering in this holiday. It is by reading the 
Haggadah or Seder Service. The Hebrew word *'Hag- 
gadah" means narrative or tale, because we are com- 
manded to tell each year the story of the Passover. 
"And thou shalt tell thy son on that day, saying : This 
is done for the sake of that which the Lord did unto 
me when I came forth from Egypt." (Exodus XIII: 


The teacher should show the table on which are 
grouped the articles mentioned above. Let us note 
once more the articles on the table. There are : three 
matzoth (thick matzoth). These are placed in the 
center of the table covered with a cloth with appro- 
priate Hebrew words embroidered on it; a dish con- 
taining bitter herbs, horse radish, celery, parsley, let- 
tuce; charoseth: — a mixture made of scraped apples 
and raisins, pounded almonds and other nuts, sugar 
and cinnamon ; an egg which has been roasted in hot 
ashes ; a roasted lamb bone (the shank bone is gen- 
erally used) ; special wine, used for Pesach. 

Besides there are to be provided also a small cup 
of salt sater or vinegar, a salt cellar of salt, a cup of 
wine (for the Elijah cup) ; a Kiddush cup and a 
Seder Service book for every participant in the serv- 

The teacher should take up each article on the 
table, explain the meaning of the symbol and why it 
is used. He should draw out what previous knowl- 
edge of these matters the children may have. He 
should, however, discourage guessing. The objects 
which the children will probably mention first are the 
matzoth. Why do we eat matzoth or unleavened 
bread? Read Exodus XII : 34-39, followed by the 
command. Exodus XIII : 6 and 7. 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades^-II. 

"Seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread and 
on the seventh day shall be a feast to the Lord. Un- 
leavened bread shall be eaten these seven days and 
there shall not be seen there any leavened bread." 

Tell the class that the matzoth were called "the 
bread of affliction," on account of the affliction of the 
Jews, but in free countries they are the "bread of 
joy" on account of our freedom. Ask the children 
if they have ever baked little crackers or biscuits from 
scraps of dough which mother or the cook has given 
them. The original matzoth, baked in the sun, were 
hard and tough, not like our modem machine-made 

Next call attention to the Lamb Bone. When God 
told the Israelites to be ready to leave Egypt, he com- 
manded each family to make a burnt offering of a 
lamb. We do not use the whole lamb now. We have 
no burnt offering. However, the bone is to serve as 
a reminder of the sacrifice of the first Passover. (Exo- 
dus XII : 3-10.) 

Tell the class that the egg is used as a symbol of 
the new life into which the people were about to enter. 
The children will know that a bird's egg will hatch 
out a baby bird. Some declare the egg to be in place 
of the festive offering prescribed for Passover. 

The salt is used because it is a necessity of life. 
Gather from the children the many, many articles of 
food which would be unpalatable if used without salt. 

The Bible says: "On all thy offerings thou shalt 
use salt." (Recall that salt is also used on the bread 
in the Kiddush of the Sabbath Eve.) 

The bitter herbs are used to remind us that in the 
days of slavery the Egyptians embittered the lives of 
the Israelites by much hard work and cruelty. "And 
they made their lives bitter with hard labor, in mortar 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — 11. 

and in bricks, and in all manner of labor in the fields, 
besides all their other services wherein they made 
them labor with rigor. (Exodus I : 14.) 

In contrast to the bitter, biting herbs, we have 
the sweet Charoseth, which is used to show the sweet- 
ness of freedom. Some say it is also used because in 
color it resembles the mortar the people used for 
building purposes. 

We use the wine as a symbol of joy, and cheer- 
fulness. At weddings, parties and other happy events, 
we use wine. The Bible says : ''And wine that maketh 
joyful the heart of man." (Psalm CIV : 15.) Recall 
here also that we use wine at the Kiddush of the Sab- 
bath Eve. 

The children in' this class are too young to have 
all of the regular Seder Service read to them, but it 
will interest them and please them greatly and make 
a deep impression on them if you will give each one 
a piece of matzoth, some bitter herbs and a taste of 
the Charoseth. Let the children (or their parents) 
provide these things and you will establish a point of 
contact with the home. It may be well for you to in- 
vite the parents to come and see how the Seder table 
is set. It may induce them to introduce the beautiful 
ceremony into their own homes. 

Take up the Seder book and tell the children that 
it contains the story of the Passover, the various pas- 
sages and verses from the Bible which tell about the 
feast and that it also contains questions and answers 
about the festival. Read to them the section: "Why 
do we observe this holiday?" Tell them it is cus- 
tomary for the youngest person at the table to ask 
these questions, and for the father to answer them. 
Tell of the hiding of the good luck Matzo, which is 
afterwards redeemed as a forfeit by the head of the 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — II. 

family. Sing some of the old hymns. Show in every 
way that the Seder ceremony is a joyful service. Tell 
the children that the Seder is an old custom and that 
the Haggadah, with its songs and ceremonies, is a 
growth of many centuries. Some people today in- 
clude in the Seder the singing of the National Anthem, 
which is peculiarly appropriate for us, in this free 
country. / 

A table set for the Seder Service should be placed 
at the front of the class room. All the necessary ob- 
jects should be placed upon it. The teacher should 
explain the use of the various articles. Dwell on the 
historic basis of the Passover. The Israelites were 
slaves in Egypt and treated cruelly by Pharaoh. God 
appointed Moses as their leader and sent him with 
Aaron to demand their liberty. Pharaoh was punished 
for disobeying God. After the ten plagues, Pharaoh 
hurried the Israelites out of Egypt. Passover, or 
Pesach, is observed for seven days and, among some of 
our co-religionists, eight days. We usher in the fes- 
tival with the Seder service, which symbolizes the sor- 
rows and joys of the Israelites. We honor Moses, 
showing how he must have inspired Washington and 
Lincoln, for he was the first leader to bring a nation 
from slavery to freedom. We give thanks to God 
for our liberty. We who live in America are espe- 
cially grateful for this land where freedom is the as- 
sured right of even the humblest. Call attention to 
the promise of liberty held out to all residents of this 
country as contained in the Biblical verse used as the 
inscription on the Liberty Bell in Independence Hall, 
Philadelphia. It is in this wise: "Proclaim freedom 
throughout the land, unto all the inhabitants thereof." 
(Lev. XXV: 10.) 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 


1. In the celebration of Passover what special 
service do Jews conduct? 

2. Draw a diagram of a Seder table. Designate 
on it all the names of things used in the service. 

3. Explain why the lamb bone and bitter herbs 
are used. 

4. What is the significance of the egg and salt? 

5. Tell why wine is used and mention two other 
occasions on which wine is used in Jewish ceremonials. 

6. With what national holiday can Pesach be 
compared? Why is unleavened bread eaten on Pass- 
over? Are our Matzoth now like those of our an- 
cestors ? 

7. What object is revered by Americans as the 
symbol of liberty? What is a symbol? 

8. Tell the burden of the traditional song sung at 
the Seder Service. 

9. Who should take part in the Seder Service? 

10. How should we personally feel at the cele- 
bration of Passover? 


Lesson Xlh 
Esther (1) 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

Lesson XIII— Esther (1) 

Special Topic — The Orphan Girl made Queen. 

Aim of the Lesson — To show that the poor and 
the rich are equal in the sight of the Lord. 

Memory Gem — "He raiseth up out of the dust, 
the poor." Psalm CXIII : 7. 

Bible References — Book of Esther, Chaps. I, II, 

Objects — A signet ring, or seal ring, or a seal 
with sealing wax. 

Picture — Queen Esther. 

Song — Review of same previously taught 



Many years have elapsed in the history of the 
Israelites. It is now appropriate to teach the story 
of Esther. It has been put into the Primary Course 
for two reasons. First, it is a drama, whose plot is so 
easy, interesting and swiftly moving that small chil- 
dren are extremely impressed with it. Second, the 
incidents form the basis of the observance of Purim, 
a minor festival of great rejoicing. While not filled 
with the spirit of sanctity which marks our great holy 
days, yet Purim as a day for rejoicing, and making 
others happy, makes a strong appeal to little children. 

An historical point of contact with other Bible 
tales is impossible. Rather make the sequence a log- 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

ical one. Thus the children will readily recall that 
Passover is observed on account of the Israelites gain- 
ing their freedom. 

Tell them that although the Israelites were never 
made slaves again physically, yet their religious free- 
dom was often endangered and the people had many 
trials, sometimes they barely escaped with their lives. 

The event of which they will now hear is one of 
those stirring ones which shows how the Jews of the 
land of Persia at one time were nearly exterminated 
and how they were saved by the hand of God, who 
caused a wonderful woman to become the means of 
helping her people. 


Long, long ago the Jews lived in a country far 
from here, called Persia. Show Persia on the^ map, 
and point out the distance and direction from the Holy 
Land. The people in Persia did not like the Jews. 
The king of this country (Ahashverosh or Ahasuerus; 
do not require the children to learn this name at first) 
was a man weaker than he was wicked. He allowed 
himself to be easily swayed by the opinions of others. 
This is a great fault. Every person must know right 
from wrong and he must do the right thing, no matter 
how much pressure is brought to bear upon him to do 
evil. Cite the instance of Adam and Eve. Adam 
knew it was wrong to eat the forbidden fruit, but he 
allowed himself to be persuaded. If the children have 
learned the story of Joseph, they may recall that 
Reuben did not want wrong done to Joseph, but finally, 
when Joseph had been sold, he joined the others in 
deceiving his father, Jacob. If the teacher can illus- 
trate by an account of some occurrence within the ex- 
perience of children, let him do so. 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

The king of Persia had a beautiful wife named 
Vashti. In those far-off countries long ago, and to 
some extent also now, the wives had to obey their 
husbands. There were other curious customs. One 
was that no woman went on the street unveiled. No 
man but her husband ever saw her face. 

The king made a great feast for all the princes 
and other great men. It lasted not one day, but many 
days and nights. The king displayed all his riches 
and all his jewels. The palace was gorgeously dec- 
orated (Esther I : 1-8). The men drank a good deal of 
wine and all were very lively; too much so, for they 
became intoxicated. Even the king himself had 
drunk too much, else he would never have dared to do 
what he knew was wrong to his queen, whom he loved. 

He had shown all his wealth, he had boasted of 
his possessions. But, he declared to his guests that 
he had yet one jewel he prized above all, — his wife. 
He resolved to exhibit her also. So he sent some of 
his servants "to bring Vashti, the queen (orna- 
mented), with the crown before the king, to show the 
princes and the people her beauty; for she was hand- 
some in appearance." (Esther I : 11). 

**But Queen Vashti refused to come at the word 
of the king * * * and the king was very wroth, 
and his fury burnt in him." (Esther I : 12). 

Of course the queen refused to come. It was 
an insult for the king to ask her; but the king and 
princes were in no condition to think of that. The 
king was very angry that any one should dare to dis- 
obey him, and he was ashamed that his courtiers 
should see such disobedience. He resolved to punish 
his good queen, and instead of thinking the matter 
over himself, he asked his princes what should be 
done to Vashti. They replied that "The conduct of 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

the queen will go abroad unto all the women, so that 
they will despise their husbands" and disobey them 
just as the queen had disobeyed the king. They de- 
cided that Vashti should no more be queen, and they 
passed a law to that effect. Letters were sent all 
over the land warning the women, saying that Vashti 
had been deposed for her disobedience and "that 
every man should bear rule in his own house." 

Soon after he had deposed Vashti, the king felt 
very sorry that he had done so. He wished sincerely 
that he had not listened to the advice of his wicked 
counsellors. His heart yearned for his queen. He 
felt very lonesome. But it was too late then. A law 
made in that country (according to the laws of the 
Medes and Persians) could not be changed. 

When the princes saw how lonely the king felt, 
they resolved to get a new and beautiful queen for 
him. So they told the king to order all the young 
and beautiful girls in the country of Persia to be 
brought to the capital city, Shushan, in which the 
king lived. The king, said they, should choose the 
one he liked best, and make her his queen in the place 
of Vashti. 

Let the teacher explain that Shushan was the 
capital or principal city of Persia, just as Washing- 
ton, D. C, is the capital of the United States and Har- 
risburg of Pennsylvania. (The teacher may substitute 
the capital of the State in which he is teaching). All 
the laws governing the country are made at the capital. 
The governor, or president, or king, lives in the capital 
of a state or country. There was "a certain Jew in 
Shushan * * * yv^ho had been carried away into 
exile from Jerusalem." (Esther H: 3-6.) This man, 
Mordecai, had reared his niece, named Esther, for her 
father and mother were both dead. She was beautiful 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

in form and handsome in appearance, and Mordecai 
loved her as his own daughter. And it came to pass, 
when the king's order and decree were heard, and 
when many maidens were brought together unto Shus- 
han, the capital * ♦ * that Esther was also 
brought unto the king's house. (Adapted from Esther 
II :8-9.) Esther made friends with the keepers of 
the women, because she was beautiful in face and just 
as beautiful in character. She was kind, gentle, oblig- 
ing and simple in her manners. All the other girls 
asked for presents and jewelry with which to adorn 
themselves, but Esther desired nothing. She thought: 
"I would like the king to love me, just for myself, not 
for my clothes or jewelry, because they really are not 
I. Any one who has money can buy such things." 

This was the secret of Esther's great charm and 
success. She was kind. She made no difference be- 
tween rich and poor. A shabbily dressed person may 
be as good, indeed he may be better, than a richly 
dressed one. A child poorly clad may have brains 
and good manners, more head and heart than one who 
wears silks and furs, bracelets and rings. Never 
judge a person by external appearance. "Man looketh 
on the outward appearance; God looketh on the 
heart." (I Samuel 16:7). Of course, Esther was a 
Jewess, but no one knew it at the palace, because her 
uncle, Mordecai, had forbidden her to tell it. He 
was not ashamed of his faith. Indeed, he was proud 
of it, as the children will learn later on. But he had 
reason to believe that if it were known that Esther 
was a Jewess, she would never become queen. He 
wanted her raised to high position because he thought 
she might then help her now-despised race. 

"Esther told nothing of her people or her descent, 
for Mordecai had charged her that she should not 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — II. 

tell." (Esther II :10). Mordecai walked near the 
house in which Esther lived, every day, so that he 
might know whether all was well with her. At last 
it came Esther's turn to go unto the king. She was 
so sweet and modest that the king fell in love with 
her at once. The Bible tells us that "the king loved 
Esther above all women. She obtained grace and 
favor before him more than all the virgins. He placed 
the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen 
instead of Vashti." (Esther II : 17.) 

So the sweet, simple maiden rose to the highest 
place in the kingdom, next to the king. Recall how 
Joseph had been lifted from prison to palace. 

In the story of Esther the scenes shift rapidly 
from place to place. The teacher must be exceedingly 
clear in her narration that the children may under- 
stand each change of scene and plot. 

Sometimes it is found helpful to draw a diagram 
on the blackboard and to indicate in color the various 

It may be well also to write in full view the 
name of each character in the order of introduction. 


1. King Ahasuerus. 

2. Haman. 

3. Mordecai, the Jew. 

4. Queen Vashti. 

5. Esther, Mordecai's cousin. 


1. Country of Persia. 

2. City of Shushan. 

3. Garden. 

4. Palace. 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades—IL 

5. Gate. 

6. Mordecai's House. 

7. Hainan's House. 

"In those days, while Mordecai was sitting in the 
king's gate, two chamberlains (or servants) of the 
king * * * became wroth (angry) and sought 
to lay their hands on King Achashverosh," (Esther 
II :21.) 

This means that these two men made a plot to 
kill the king. Mordecai overheard all that they said 
and he quickly let Queen Esther know about it. She 
in turn told the king, whose life was thus saved, 
and the two plotters were put to death. But Mordecai, 
strange to say, was not rewarded for this deed. "And 
it was written in the Book of Chronicles before the 
king." (Esther II: 23, last part.) 

The king's chief adviser was a conceited, wicked 
man named Haman. He was so proud that when the 
king advanced him above the other princes, he 
wanted all the people in the king's gate to bow down 
to him. Of course, the children know that the Jews 
prostrate themselves only to God. So "Mordecaji 
bent neither the knee nor prostrated himself. Then 
said the king's servants who were in the king's gate 
unto Mordecai, Why transgresseth thou the king's 
command?" (Esther III :2 and 3). 

Mordecai told them that he bowed down to none 
save the one true God of heaven and earth. He told 
them that he was a Jew, hence his belief. 

"And when Haman saw that Mordecai bent not 
the knee, nor prostrated himself to him, Haman be- 
came full of fury." (Esther III : 5). 

Haman was so angry because this one man re- 
fused to do him honor, that he resolved to kill him. 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — IL 

But he felt that it was too small a matter to kill only 
Mordecai. Therefore he determined to kill all of 
the Jews throughout the land of Persia. 

Think what a terrible revenge this was ! Not only 
the one guilty man but his family, his friends, his 
people, — all to be murdered to satisfy the pride and 
revenge of one man. Haman could not kill them 
without some excuse, so he made up wicked charges 
against the Jews, which were untrue. 

He said to the king: "There is one people scat- 
tered, yet separate, among the nations in all the 
provinces of thy kingdom ; and their laws are different 
from the laws of every people, while they do not 
execute the laws of the king; and it is no profit for 
the king to tolerate them. 

"If it be pleasing to the king let (a decree) be 
written to destroy them; and ten thousand talents of 
silver will I weigh out into the hands of those that 
have charge of the business, to bring (the same) into 
the king's treasuries." (Esther III : 8-9.) 

Just think what a fiend this Haman was! He 
flattered the king by representing the goodness and 
justice of his laws. He trumped up charges that 
the Jews had different laws, and did not obey those 
of the king. Then as a final effort he offered the 
king ten thousand pieces of silver, because Haman 
thought the king was as greedy for wealth as was 
he himself. 

The king, as was previously told, was weaker 
than he was wicked. He did not stop to inquire into 
the truth of Haman's charges against the Jews. He 
did, what many do altogether too readily. He 
believed what he was told. He wanted to please his 
favorite prince. He did not even want the silver. 
He was not so greedy. 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

He replied to Haman that he did not want the 
silver, but, he said that if these people, the Jews, 
were as bad as Haman said they were, it would really 
be doing a kindness to rid the land of them. 

"And the king said unto Haman, The silver is 
given to thee; the people also to do therewith as it 
seemeth good in thy eyes." (Esther HI : 11). 

Then a decree or law was written out, just as had 
been done when Vashti was deposed. It was written 
in every language used in the country. It was sealed 
with the king's seal or signet ring, and these letters 
were sent all over the country of Persia. The letters 
said that on a certain day every Jew was to be killed. 
(Here show the seal ring and show its uses). 

"'And the letters were sent by the runners unto all 
the king's provinces, to destroy, to kill, to exterminate 
all the Jews, from young to old, little ones and women, 
on one day; on the thirteenth day of the twelfth 
month, which is the month of Adar, and to plunder 
their property as spoil." (Esther III : 13). 

Think of the danger in which Jews were placed 
by the vanity and wickedness of one man ! But "the 
God of Israel sleeps not, neither does He slumber." 
He heard His people's cry and he raised up a deliverer 
to save them from the hands of their enemies. 

A copy of the writing was published in every 
part of the country that the people might all be ready 
on the same day to do their horrible work. The law 
was also given out in Shushan, the capital of Persia. 

Haman was much pleased. The Bible says: 
"And the king and Haman sat down to drink, but 
the city of Shushan was perplexed." (Esther III : 15). 

There are three distinct incidents in this lesson, or 
rather three distinct scenes of the story are presented. 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

The scene opens in Shushan, the capital of Per- 
sia. Many years had elapsed in the history of the 
Jews. They had been driven from their own land, 
and some were living in Persia. The king, Ahasuerus, 
was a weak, wicked man. He was guided by his 
princes, whether they were right or wrong. He was 
too lazy to think and to investigate matters for him- 
self. He did not really love his people, or he would 
have governed them more wisely. 

He was rather fond of drinking, and often took 
too much. 

On one of these drunken sprees, at the close of 
a great feast, he ordered his good queen, Vashti, to 
come and show her beauty to all the courtiers. The 
modest Vashti rightly refused to obey him, and at 
the advice of his courtiers he deposed her. 

When he came to his senses he was very sorry, 
and very lonely, for he had really loved Vashti. The 
laws of the land, however, could not be repealed. So 
he determined to take another queen. He had the 
most beautiful girls in the country come before him. 
He chose Esther in preference to all and crowned her 
as queen. 

We behold Esther as queen. Now Esther was 
a Jewess, but she did not make it known ; because her 
cousin, Mordecai, who acted as her father, forbade 
her to tell any one her religion. Why? 

The second scene is outside of the palace. Mor- 
decai, fortunately, chanced to overhear a plot to kill 
the king. He sent word of it to officers in the palace, 
thus saving the king's life. But he received no re- 
ward for this act. 

The third scene presents Haman before the king. 
Haman, the king's wicked prince, sought to destroy 
all the Jews, because Mordecai, the Jew, refused to 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

bend the knee to him. Mordecai would bow down 
only to the one true God, the Maker of heaven and 

It meant a calamity for the Jews when the king 
allowed Haman to send a letter throughout the land 
telling the people that on a certain day, they were to 
kill all the Jews, young and old. But God did not 
permit the destruction of His people; He heard their 
cry and He saved them. 


1. In teaching the story of Esther, how is the 
point of contact made? How does the method differ 
from that usually used? 

2. How does the character of Ahashverosh re- 
mind one of Adam? How of Reuben? 

3. State briefly the troubles of Vashti, and her 
punishment. In your opinion was she right or wrong 
in disobeying the King? 

4. Name some of the characteristics of the king 
which are shown in this lesson. Why did he punish 


5. Who was Mordecai? What post did he fill? 
What was his relationship to Esther? 

6. Give a short account of Esther. State her 
chief traits and her actions at the period in which 
she is chosen queen. 

7. Tell how you would explain to a class the 
real way to judge people. What part would clothes 
and adornments play in such judgments? 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

8. Why did Mordecai tell Esther not to divulge 
her race? Tell of the plot to kill the king. What 
did Mordecai have to do with it. 

9. Draw diagram showing places, and naming 
people who have figured in this drama as far as it 
has been unfolded. 

10. Describe Haman's traits. Why did he dis- 
like Mordecai? What revenge did he decide to take? 



Esther (2) 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — II. 

Lesson XIV— Esther, (2) 

Special Topic — Haman's Conspiracy and Mor- 
decai's Triumph. 

Purpose of the Lesson — To show that right is 
greater than might. 

Memory Gem — 'The Lord will make the counsels 
of the nations come to nought." (Psalm 33 : 10). 

Bible References — Book of Esther, Chaps. IV 
and V. 

Article on ^'Esther" Jewish Encyclopedia. 

Picture — Tissot's Mordecai's Triumph, No. 99. 

Song — Suitable song of Thanksgiving from 
Union Hymnal or any other Jewish Hymn Book. 



As this lesson follows in close sequence the pre- 
vious one, the point of contact is easily made by a 
hasty review of the facts in said lesson. 

Point to the diagram, which should have been 
left on the blackboard, and let the children tell you 
what they know about the places noted. Conduct the 
review by asking the following questions: 

Who can tell something about Persia? 

What was Shushan? 

By what was the palace surrounded? 

Tell the names /Of the two men who lived in 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

State something about Mordecai. 

Narrate something about Haman. , 

Who was the first queen mentioned in the story? 

Who was the king ? 

Who was Esther? 

How did Esther become queen? 

What wicked thing did ^ Haman wish to do? 

It is suggested that the teacher should try this 
catechetical method in order to vary the style of mak- 
ing the point of contact, thus to avoid automatic or 
mechanical teaching. Questioning the children, as 
suggested above, will relieve the monotony and lead 
up to the desired point of this lesson. 


Haman was so angry because Mordecai refused 
to bow down to him, that he resolved to kill all the 
Jews. Of course, he did not know that Queen Esther 
belonged to the race he despised. 

When Mordecai heard of the cruel plans to de- 
stroy all the Jews, he tore his , clothes and put on 
rough, mourning garments. In olden days, the people 
donned coarse sackcloth and sprinkled ashes on them- 
selves. Thus they humbled themselves and showed 
signs of their distress. When the king's law became 
known, there was fasting and weeping among the 
Jews, who mourned in sackcloth and ashes and prayed 
to God to prevent this destruction of their race. 

"Then came ^the maidens of Esther * * * 
and told it her; and the queen was exceedingly ter- 
rified and she sent garments to clothe Mordecai, and 
to remove his sackcloth from him; but he accepted 
them not." (Esther IV : 4). 

Mordecai continued to cry with a loud and a bitter 
cry, and walked near the king's gate, but he did not 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

dare enter, clothed as he was. Then Esther sent out 
a servant to inquire of Mordecai, what was the matter, 
and why he refused all comfort. "And Mordecai told 
him all that had happened unto him, and of the fixed 
sum of money which Haman had promised to weigh 
out into the treasuries of the king, for the Jews, 
to destroy them." 

"Also the copy of the writing of the law, that had 
been given out in Shushan to destroy them he gave 
to him, to show unto Esther and to tell , her (all), and 
to charge her that she should go in unto the king, 
to make supplication unto the king, and to present a 
request before him, for her people." (Esther 
IV :7and8). 

And the man came back and told the queen 
all that her uncle, Mordecai, had said. 

Esther grew deeply depressed and afraid. She 
was torn by conflicting emotions. She loved the king. 
She was afraid to tell him that she was a Jewess. 
Yet she loved also her people. Never could she bear 
to see them slaughtered. And she loved Mordecai 
more than all. He had been both father and mother 
to her, when her own dear parents had died. She 
obeyed him in all things just the same as when she 
was a child. The Bible tells us, "And Esther did 
fulfill the order of Mordecai, equally as when she 
was under his guardianship." (Esther II :20). 

An important and useful lesson should be taught 
from this sentence. So often when a child grows up, 
he thinks he has become too wise to heed his parents, 
forgetting their larger experience as well as their 
years of love and self-sacrifice. He thinks : "Oh, I 
am grown now, I need not obey my parents any 
longer." The Fifth Commandment : "Honor thy father 
and thy mother" has no age limit. We should obey 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

and honor our parents always, whether we are young 
or old. 

That Esther was tossed by conflicting emotions 
is easily understood. She did not know just what to 
do. She sent her messengers back to Mordecai with 
the following words : "All the king's servants, and the 
people of the king's provinces, do know, that every 
one, whether man or woman, who should come into 
the king, into the inner court, who is not called, there 
is but one law for him, to put him to death, except 
the one to whom the king should hold out the golden 
sceptre, for he will be suffered to live ; but I have not 
been called to come to the king, these thirty days." 
(Esther IV : 11). 

This verse needs little explanation. Recall that 
the inner court was the most private room of the king. 
The outer court was entered first. To make this clear 
refer to the familiar fact that in these days most busi- 
ness men have a private office, and an outer office. 
The mayor, the governor, the president, all officials, 
have an outer and an inner office. 

Of course much ceremony surrounded the king. 
To venture to enter into the inner court, without hav- 
ing been sent for, was a risky matter. The intruder 
would be put to death, unless the king raised his 
golden sceptre, as a sign that the king was willing or 
pleased to see the one who came. 

Esther knew these customs. Hence she sent back 
the message to Mordecai. But he, nothing daunted, 
deemed even her life not too precious, to risk for her 
race. He replied: "Imagine not in thy soul to be 
able to escape in the king's house out of all the Jews. 
For if thou do indeed maintain silence at this time 
* * * deliverance will arise to the Jews from an- 
other place; but thou and thy father's house will 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

perish ; and who knoweth whether thou has not for a 
time like this attained to the royal disunity." (Esther 
IV: 14). 

Mordecai felt that God had raised Esther to the 
throne, so that from her high position she might be 
able to be of use to all her race. 

Then Esther sent back word to Mordecai, that 
she would obey him, that she would risk her life and 
go in to the king, saying: "If I perish, I perish." 

Esther bade Mordecai tell all the Jews in Shushan 
to fast and to pray for her. All prayed fervently to 
God to spare the queen and to enable her to save them 
from death. 

Esther dressed herself in beautiful robes, and 
went into the king's room, when he was sitting on the 
throne, and she looked so gentle and lovely, that 
when the king saw her he held his sceptre toward 
her; whereupon Esther came near and touched the 
top of it. 

"Then said the king unto her: What wilt thou. 
Queen Esther? and what is thy request? If it be 
equal to half of the kingdom it shall still be given 
thee." (Esther V :3). 

Esther rejoiced. She had entered into the king's 
presence with fear and trembling. As the king raised 
his sceptre she knew that her life was safe. Because 
he spoke to her so kindly she felt a dawning hope 
that she might indeed be the deliverer of her people. 
But her heart still failed her to ask such a great boon. 
She hesitated and replied, "If it seem good unto the 
king, let the king and Haman come this day unto the 
banquet which I have prepared for him." (Esther 

Esther thought that perhaps this mark of atten- 
tion would please the king and flatter Haman, thus 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

singled out, as the only one to be invited to her ban- 
quet. Her invitation had the desired effect on both 
the men. 

"Then said the king, Bring Haman quickly hither 
to fulfill the word of Esther. So came the king with 
Haman to the banquet which Esther had prepared." 

After they had eaten and drunk, the king said 
to Esther: "What is thy petition? and it shall be 
granted thee : and what is thy request ? Even if it be 
equal to half of the kingdom it shall still be done." 

Esther felt now that the king really loved her 
and wanted to please her. But her heart failed her 
again and she delayed her petition. So instead of 
asking what she so ardently desired, she merely re- 
plied : "My petition and my request are, if I have 
found grace in the eyes of the king, and if it please the 
king to grant my petition, and to fulfill my request, 
that the king may come, with Haman to the banquet 
which I will prepare for them, and tomorrow will I do 
according to the word of the king." — Esther 

V : 7 and 8). 

So the king and Haman promised to come to 
Esther's banquet on the next day, and Esther said 
she would then ask a great favor of the king. 

The Bible tells us that "Haman went forth on 
that ,day joyful and with a glad heart; but when 
Haman saw Mordecai in the king's gate, who did not 
rise up or move out of the way for him then was 
Haman filled against Mordecai with fury." (Esther 

V :9). 

Haman left the banquet joyfully. He felt .proud 
of the special honor paid him. In his mind he saw 
himself rising to greater and greater power, ever 
nearer to the throne. Who could, tell — some day — he 
might — but he dared not think further. Just then he 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — II. 

came through the gate of the king. All the servants 
saluted, but Mordecai neither saluted nor turned 
around. This enraged the haughty Haman. He again 
vowed to revenge himself not only against Mordecai, 
but on the whole Jewish race. 

Haman walked to his house. He sent for his 
wife and for his most intimate friends. He wanted to 
tell them all about the banquet. He wanted to boast 
of his honor. He wanted to display all his wealth 
to them. 

Enlarge upon the character of Haman — a boast- 
ful, conceited, aspiring man; blind to everything ex- 
cept the fulfillment of his own selfish desires, who 
stopped at nothing to gain his ends. Haman had sur- 
rounded himself with friends who knew how to flatter 
him and to pander to his evil desires. When his wife 
and friends had come, he recounted to them the glory 
of his riches, the number of his children, all the things 
wherein the king had made him great, and how the 
king had advanced him above all the other princes and 
the servants. 

And Haman said: "Yes, Esther, the queen, did 
not let any one come in with the king unto the banquet 
that she had prepared but myself ! And also for tomor- 
row am I invited unto her with the king." (Esther 
V : 11-12). 

Alas for the boastful Haman! "Pride indeed 
cometh before a fall." He little knew that the next 
evening's banquet was the last he would ever eat. He 
little knew that before the next night he would be 
very much humiliated before the hated Mordecai. 

It is distasteful and wrong to boast of anything. 
God gives us all of our blessings. True, we must 
work to secure riches and honor ; but having obtained 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — II. 

them we should be grateful to God for our success 
and not boast before men of them. 

But, as you know, Haman was not satisfied, for 
he said : "Yet all this profiteth me nothing ; every time 
that I see Mordecai, the Jew, sitting in the king's 
gate." (Esther V : 13). 

His wife told Haman that as the king had given 
him permission to kill all the Jews, she would advise 
him to build a high gallows. "And in the morning 
speak unto the king that they may hang Mordecai 
thereon; and then go thou in with the king unto the 
banquet joyfully." 

The thing pleased Haman. He had the gallows 
erected. Haman was willing and anxious to injure 
Mordecai. Despite all his honors he could enjoy 
none, while he knew Mordecai, the Jew, refused to 
pay him honor. 

Now it happened that very night, before the sec- 
ond banquet, that the king could not sleep, but he 
ordered one of his attendants to bring him the book 
of the memorable events, (the chronicles) to be read 
to him. In this book all the chief happenings in the 
kingdom were recorded. This book was a manuscript 
like a scroll. Printing had not yet been invented. 

And the servant read from the scroll how Mor- 
decai had revealed the plot to kill Ahasuerus, and thus 
had saved the king's Hve. 

When this was recalled to the king's mind he 
wondered what reward had been given Mordecai for 
his gallant deed. The king did not remember be- 
stowing any special honor upon him. So the king 
asked : "What honor and distinction have been done 
to Mordecai for this ?" 

Then said the king's young men, his servants: 
"There has nothing been done with him." 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

The neglect angered the king. He thought that 
if a man had saved the life of one of the princes, he 
would have been liberally rewarded. Hence he felt 
ashamed that his life was held so cheaply. And again 
he felt that Mordecai must surely think him ungrate- 
ful not to have given him some recompense or honor. 

At this time the king said : "Who is in the court ?" 
Now Haman was come into the outer court of the 
king's house, to say unto the king to hang Mordecai 
on the gallows which he had prepared for him. 

And the king's young men said unto him: "Be- 
hold, Haman is standing in the court." And the king 
said : "Let him come in." 

So Haman came in ; and the king said unto him : 
"What shall be done unto the man whom the king de- 
sireth to honor ?" And Haman said in his heart : "To 
whom would the king desire to do honor more than 
to myself?" (Esther VI : 4-7). 

Haman's conceit is shown in this thought, and 
also in his answer to the king. 

"Let them bring a royal apparel which the king 
hath worn, and a horse which the king hath ridden, 
and let there be placed a royal crown on his head. 

"And let the apparel and the horse be given into 
the hand of one of the king's princes, or the most 
noble, that he may array the man whom the king de- 
sireth to honor, and let him cause him to ride on the 
horse through the streets of the city, and proclaim 
him: Thus shall be done to the man whom the king 
delighteth to honor.'" (Esther VI : 8 and 9.) 

Haman had certainly thought out a wonderful 
distinction and honor. It was that which would have 
pleased him more than anything else. Imagine,^ then, 
Haman's disappointment, chagrin and humiliation, 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — II. 

when the king said to him : "Make haste and take the 
apparel and the horse, as thou hast spoken, and do 
this to Mordecai, the Jew, that sitteth in the king's 
gate; leave out nothing of all thou hast spoken." 
(Esther VI : 10.) 

Haman had to obey the king. Picture how he 
disliked to show this honor to the man, whom he 
hated, — to the man for whose murder he had entered 
the king's court ! 

The tables were being turned on him quickly. 
He could hardly control his voice as he went through 
the streets, leading the king's horse, with Mordecai 
seated upon it, clad in the splendor of the king's robes, 
while he, Haman, walked and cried out: "Thus shall 
be done to the man whom the king desireth to honor." 

After Mordecai's triumphal ride, he returned to 
the king's gate, but Haman went quickly to his house, 
with bent head, ashamed of himself and his discom- 

When Haman related all this to his wife, she be- 
came very sad and told him that "if Mordecai, before 
whom thou hast begun to fall, be of the seed of the 
Jews, thou wilt not prevail against him, but thou wilt 
surely fall before him." (Esther VI : 13.) 

This was far from being comforting to Haman. 
He felt very gloomy, but he had little time to think 
about his feelings, for while he and his wife were 
still talking on the matter a message from the king 
arrived to take Haman to the second banquet which 
Esther had prepared for him and the king. 


This story reads almost like a fairy tale and the 
children will be greatly interested in it. 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — II. 

They can easily picture to themselves the proud, 
wicked Haman ; the good, pious Mordecai ; the sweet, 
modest Esther. 

Sometimes, indeed, if the teacher has told the 
story graphically, the children will take the characters 
and "act out a scene" with a little help. 

For Esther's appeal to the king, a draped chair 
makes a throne, a blackboard pointer serves as a 
sceptre, and the dialogue proceeds easily. 

Some of the children may be the courtiers. A 
resume, conducted in this manner is little less than 
thrilling to the class, who love the dramatic. 

Haman's determination to kill the Jews is brought 
about by his hatred for Mordecai, who will not bow 
down to him. The Jews pray only to one God : **Shema 
Yisroel Adonoi Elohenu Adonoi Echod." 

Mordecai sends word to Esther to go to the king 
and plead for her race. 

Esther, although afraid, obeys Mordecai, as she 
has always obeyed him. She risks her life for the 
sake of her people. She invites the king to a banquet. 
When the king asks her petition, she begs him to come 
with Haman the next day and she will make known 
her request. 

Mordecai had never been rewarded for saving 
the king's life. When Ahasuerus discovered this, he 
asked Haman what should be done to the man whom 
the king wished to honor ? Conceited Haman thinks : 
Whom should the king intend to honor but Haman? 
Hence Haman describes those honors he would like 
most — to wear the king's crown and clothes; to ride 
on the king's horse ; and to let the whole city see his 
glory. When the king tells Haman that all this is to 
be done to Mordecai, the Jew, and that Haman must 
attend to the details, Haman feels outraged. 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

The wife of Haman warns him that this is the 
beginning of the end. Instead of Haman destroying 
the Jews, he will fall before them. 

How true her prophecy was will be told in the 
next lesson. 


1. How would you make the point of contact 
between the preceding and this lesson ? 

2. When Mordecai heard of Haman's wicked 
plot, what message did he send to the queen? What 
did the queen suggest in her replies ? What was Mor- 
decai's answer to her replies? 

3. Why did Esther obey Mordecai? What moral 
lesson can be drawn from both Esther's and Mor- 
decai's actions ? 

4. Describe Esther's interview with the king. 
What was the immediate result? What was the more 
remote result? 

5. What event marked the beginning of Haman's 

6. How was Mordecai rewarded for saving the 
life of the king? Was it an immediate or a remote 
reward ? 

7. What did Haman's wife prophesy? 

8. Give your impression of the incidents in this 
lesson. How will they affect children? 

9. For what is the story of Esther adapted? 
How and why? 

10. What lesson may be taught from Mordecai's 
belief in God; and Haman's vanity and hatred? 


Lesson XV 
Queen Esther (3) 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

Lesson XV— Queen Esther, (3) 

Special Topic — The Reasons for Celebrating 

Aim of the Lesson — To show God's constant 
care extended to the Jews. 

Memory Gem — "Be strong and of good courage, 
for the Lord Thy God is with thee." (Joshua 1:7.) 

Bible References — Book of Esther. Chaps. 

Books — Rosenau's "Jewish Ceremonial Institu- 
tions and Customs." 

Songs — Review. 

Picture — Tissot, 104: "Esther Feasts with the 



Whenever a lesson is the continuation of a story 
which was begun in a previous lesson, the point of 
contact is easily made by a review of the incidents 
already narrated. 

This may be done in several ways: 

The teacher may again tell the story and continue 
with the new work. 

He may question the children on the previous 
part of the narrative. 

He may request several children in turn to tell 
what they remember of the lesson of the previous 
week. By having other children supply omissions 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — II. 

made, a good review will be effected, not to mention 
that all the children will get a chance to take part in 
the work. 

For this particular lesson be sure that the pupils 
remember that Esther was a poor orphan girl and 
had lived with and been reared by her uncle, Mor- 
decai. Recall the wonderful way in which she became 
queen. Tell briefly of Haman, the wicked counsellor, 
and Mordecai, the good Jew. 

Haman wished to destroy all the Jews, and 
brought false accusations and charges against them, 

Mordecai urges Esther to try to save her people. 
The brave girl goes to the king. Her timidity will 
not allow her to make her request at once. She only 
begs the king to come with Haman to a banquet. 
She cannot summon up courage, at this feast, but tells 
the king that "tomorrow" she will make her request 
known to the king. Meanwhile Haman is outraged 
by having to show Mordecai great honors which he 
had hoped to have conferred on himself. Matters 
are in this involved state when the last scenes are en- 
acted in this wonderful drama. 


Haman's wife had said to him: "If Mordecai, be- 
fore whom thou hast begun to fall, be of the seed of 
the Jews, thou wilt not prevail against him, but wilt 
surely fall before him." 

Haman hardly had time enough to reply to her, for 
the messengers came to take him to the second banquet 
given by the queen just for the two, the king and him- 
self. Haman cannot help feeling flattered at this 
mark of distinction, namely, to be chosen the sole one 
of all the king's advisers to go with the king to the 
banquet of the queen. So despite his anger against 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — II. 

Mordecai, he goes away in good spirits, not dreaming 
that the queen has a special reason for singling him 

"And the king came with Haman to drink with 
Esther, the queen." (Esther VII : 1.) 

"And the king said unto Esther also on the sec- 
ond day at the banquet of wine: "What is thy peti- 
tion. Queen Esther, and it shall be granted thee; and 
what is they request? Even it if be equal to half the 
kingdom, it shall be done." 

Ah, the king little knew that the queen cared 
naught for money, jewels or land. None of these 
could bring her happiness when the life of her dear 
uncle, Mordecai, the life of every Jew in the land, and 
her own life were all in danger. 

But the king's kindness and generosity gave her 
courage and emboldened her to make her request. 

She replied: "If I have found grace in thy eyes, 
O king ! and if it be pleasing unto the king, let my life 
be given at my petition and my people at my request/* 

And the king was greatly astonished at her reply, 
but not knowing that she was a Jewess, he did not un- 
derstand the meaning of what she said. He grew angry 
that any one should dare to think of killing his lovely, 
sweet, gentle queen. 

He said to Esther : "Who is this, and where is he, 
whose heart has emboldened him to do so?" 

You can imagine that Haman felt more than un- 
comfortable during this conversation between the king 
and queen. He began to suspect that Esther must be 
some relation of the hated Jew, Mordecai, yet he was 
not quite sure until Esther stood up, and pointing to 
him said slowly and impressively : "Our adversary and 
inimical man is this wicked Haman." Then became 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

Haman terrified before the king and the queen." 
(Esther VII :6.) 

Then Haman knew why he had been invited to 
the feasts. He threw himself in terror to the ground 
and begged the queen to save him from the just anger 
of the king. 

The king would grant no mercy to this wicked 
man, and when one of his servants told him that 
Haman had built a gallows, intending to hang Mor- 
decai upon it, the king gave the command that Haman 
himself be hanged upon that very gallows. 

"So they hanged Haman on the gallows which he 
had prepared for Mordecai, and the fury of the king 
was appeased." 

Mordecai's substantial reward follows: "On that 
day did King Ahasuerus give the house of Haman, 
the adversary of the Jews, unto Esther the queen ; and 
Mordecai came before the king; for Esther had told 
him what he was unto her." 

Imagine the surprise of the king to learn that 
she was a Jewess and had been an orphan girl brought 
up by her uncle, Mordecai. He knew Mordecai was a 
good man. He remembered how his own life had 
been saved by Mordecai's watchfulness. When the 
king thought of the reward Mordecai had received, 
the king felt angry at himself. Then he remembered 
that it was Haman who had suggested the triumphal 
ride as a reward. The king saw through the scheme 
that Haman thought the reward was intended for 
himself. The monarch, who was more weak than 
wicked, now regretted deeply that he had granted 
Haman's request to allow the Jews to be killed. Was 
not Esther, his own beloved queen, a Jewess and was 
not his protector, Mordecai, a Jew ! He began to sus- 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

pect that Hainan's charges against the despised race 
were untrue. Hence when Mordecai appeared before 
him "the king took off his signet-ring, which he had 
taken away from Haman, and gave it to Mordecai. 
Esther, moreover, appointed Mordecai over the house 
of Haman. 

But Esther was not yet satisfied. Her own Hfe 
was safe, as was the life of Mordecai, but what of 
the lives of her people — the Jews? Their lives were 
still in danger. She therefore resolved to go again 
unto the king and once more to present her petition. 

"And the king held out towards Esther the golden 

This, as the pupils will remember, was a mark of 
the king's favor. Esther thus knew that the king 
would listen to her words and grant her request. She 
begged the king to repeal or to take back the evil, cruel 
edict that Haman had devised or planned against the 

"And she said: *If it be pleasing to the king, 
and if I have found grace before him, and the thing 
appears proper before the king, and it be pleasing in 
his eyes, let it be written to recall the letter, the device 
of Haman, which he hath written to exterminate the 
Jews, who are in all the provinces of the king. 

" 'For how can I endure to look on the evil that is 
to befall my people ? And how could I endure to look 
upon the extermination of my kindred ?' " 

Explain the unselfishness of Esther in again brav- 
ing the king's displeasure. She and Mordecai were 
safe, but she could not be happy unless she could save 
all the Jews. Notice how timid and bashful Esther 
was. She was twice afraid to make her request 
known ; but she finally banished her own fear and be- 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

came truly brave for the love of others. This is true 

The king then said to Esther and Mordecai that 
Haman had been punished by death for trying to kill 
the Jews. "But," he said, "write yourselves con- 
cerning the Jews, as it may be good in your eyes, in 
the king's name and seal it with the king's signet- 
ring; for a writing which is written with the king's 
signet-ring cannot be recalled." 

Then the scribes, or men who wrote (for all 
people could not write in those days), were called in, 
and they wrote just as Mordecai told them. He told 
them that the king had ordered the Jews to defend 
themselves against their enemies and to fight for 
their lives and to protect their families. This order 
was sent all over the country by swift messengers on 
horseback, and on mules, and on camels, and on young 
dromedaries. Slow modes of sending messages, 
indeed, compared to our present swift methods ! 

The messengers went all over the country with 
the writing, and the law was given out in Shushan, in 
which city lived Esther and Mordecai. 

"And Mordecai went out from the presence of 
the king in a royal apparel of blue and white, and 
with a great crown of gold, and with a cloak of fine 
linen and purple ; and the city of Shushan was glad 
and joyful. 

"For the Jews there was light, with joy and glad- 
ness, and honor." 

In every place where the command was received 
the days of sorrow were made days of joy; and the 
fast was turned into a feast. 

For when the people read the decree they were 
glad to cease fighting the Jews, for they had no 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

special grievance against them, for "the dread of the 
Jews had fallen upon them." 

Mordecai's fame spread over the country, and 
other Jews were raised to places of honor. Thus, we 
see that uprightness and loyalty, coupled with trust in 
God, are sure of their reward. Here we see how one 
good, brave, loyal Jew can, by his loyalty and char- 
acter, elevate his people. 

And Mordecai sent word that, in thankfulness, 
all the Jews should make a feast day, and that year 
after year they must celebrate the day as one of joy 
and of sending gifts to one another, but more espe- 
cially to the poor and needy. 

The name of this great day of feasting and rejoic- 
ing and of sending gifts is Purim. 

Ever since the days of Mordecai and Esther, who 
lived hundreds and hundreds of years ago, the Jews 
in every land have observed and celebrated the joyful 
feast of Purim. 

It is observed even in this day by the reading of 
the Book of Esther from a parchment scroll in the 
synagogue; by reflections on Esther's and Mordecai's 
characters ; by expressions of thanksgiving to God for 
His unfailing protection of the Jews ; by giving gifts 
to relatives and friends ; by sending presents to those 
who are not blessed as we are, and by various enter- 
tainments reflecting the joyous Purim spirit. The 
teacher should see to the practical application of these 
injunctions by having the pupils contribute money or 
gifts, to be sent or taken to the sick and needy ; also by 
doing something to make each other and their parents 
and friends happy. 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — II. 


"God helps those who help themselves." Wc 
must be brave in spite of danger. We must forget 
ourselves and try to help others. 

Mordecai's courage in refusing to violate a reli- 
gious custom at first appears to cause much trouble, 
but his persistency and courage, united with Esther's 
bravery, eventually saved his people from death. 

Haman's downfall was directly due to his false 
pride, injustice and wickedness. 

Purim is celebrated in memory of the rescue of 
the Jews by the good Queen Esther, who by her sweet- 
ness, nobility and courage succeeded in having the 
king revoke the promise Haman had trapped him into 

In celebrating with our families, we must not 
forget the poor amidst our rejoicing. The Bible par- 
ticularly tells us that we must send gifts to the needy, 
in order that they, too, may rejoice on the happy 
hoHday of Purim. 


1. Suggest your own means as to how you would 
make the point of contact with the previous lesson. 

2. Did Esther make her petition at the first 
feast? Quote reason for your reply. 

3. How did Haman feel at being the only guest 
at both banquets ? 

4. Did Esther want to honor Haman ? Why did 
she single him out and invite him? 

5. What did the king demand of Esther at the 
second banquet ? 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

6. Tell her reply. Tell several measures the 
king took to reverse his wrong decision in reference 
to the Jews. 

7. What became of Haman ? What happened to 
Mordecai ? 

8. What holiday is observed to celebrate all 
these deeds of Esther? Of Mordecai? Tell how it 
is celebrated. 

9 and 10. Write out a short resume of this 
lesson, stating briefly and in chronological succession 
the most important events. 


Lesson XVI 
Teaching Prayers and Psalms 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

Lesson XVI — Teaching Prayers 
and Psalms 


Every child should be taught to pray. A child 
should be taught to pray before he is of the age to 
attend the Religious Schools. 

It should be the mother's sacred task to teach the 
baby lips night and morning to utter words of praise 
to the great God above. 

At first this may seem like mere lip service, but 
even a little tot realizes from the solemnity of the 
sound, his posture, folded hands, closed eyes and 
bowed head that the prayer is something holy addressed 
to the Source of Life, the Giver of all blessings. 

If the parent has not performed his duty before 
the child enters the Religious School, the teacher, who 
stands in loco parentis, must instil into the child the 
spirit of reverence and train the child in the habit of 

Early in the term the teacher should ask how 
many children say their prayers at night and in the 
morning. Let some of the children recite their 
prayers, be they in Hebrew, English, German or any 
other language. 

Ask the children why we pray. Try to gtt the 
answer that we pray to God at night to thank Him for 
taking care of us during the day and to ask Him to 
continue to watch over us at night while we sleep. 

In the morning we oflfer a prayer of thankfulness 
for God's care over us during the night, and we ask 
His help in doing the right and in being good and 
kind during the day. 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

A little boy once awoke at night and began to cry. 

His mother bent over him anxiously and said: 
"What is the matter, dear? Are you ill?" "No," he 
replied, "but I think I forgot to say my prayers." The 
little prayer, he said, always made him feel better. 

Thus it should be with all of our prayers. They 
should make us feel stronger and better. 

The child accepts the duty of prayer naturally 
and without question. It is unwise and unnecessary 
at this period to raise any question in reference to it 
The teacher will find the whole subject treated in the 
course on "The New Education in Religion." 

God does not need our prayers. Prayer is a need 
of our being. It reacts on us and makes us feel purer, 
happier and better. 

In time of danger, trouble or sorrow prayer com- 
forts us. In times of joy and gladness our prayers of 
gratitude to God make us feel glad and satisfy the 
inner demand of our nature. While prayer fills our 
hearts with trust in time of need, it also puts into our 
souls new courage to face difficulties ; new patience to 
bear our trials, and new strength in moments of weak- 
ness. It calls forth praise from our lips when we 
realize our every blessing. 

Sometimes, on occasions of national rejoicing and 
amid national calamities, the whole nation assembles 
for prayer. Jews and non-Jews in unison thank God 
for blessings and beseech Him for protection. 

Every year on Thanksgiving Day the people of the 
whole nation gather, by proclamation of the president, 
to give thanks to God for the bounties of nature and 
the blessings of prosperity. With their prayers of 
gratitude they couple hymns of thanksgiving. 

Prayer, as an expression of trust, is native with 
man. Our earliest forefathers could not resist pouring 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

forth their hearts' desires and feelings. The Bible 
is full of prayers. We read, respectively, of Noah, 
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob praying to God. 

Every one of us has much for which to be thank- 
ful. Every one should therefore not fail to offer a 
little prayer to God every night and morning. 

Let the children open their book. (Prayers for 
Home and School, Ella Jacobs, Philadelphia, Pa.) 
Read to them or have them read with you the little 
night prayer, ''Now the day is over and the quiet 
night has come," etc. Ask how many would like to 
learn a little prayer and say it every night before 

Although the thought of the prayer may be very 
simple and easy to comprehend, be sure the children 
understand the meaning of it. 

For example, in the first prayer quoted God is 
petitioned to watch over us during the night. Then 
forgiveness is asked for every wrongdoing ; and help is 
sought to make us better during the coming day. Illus- 
trate each point if possible. 

Teach the morning prayer in the same manner. 
Ask the children from time to time whether they 
have said their daily prayers. Accustom them to the 
habit of praying, and assure them that it will be a 
help and a comfort to them throughout life. 

A special prayer should be taught for the Sab- 
bath Day. Teach the prayer for opening and closing 
the school, sentence by sentence, without the book. 

In order to have the children concentrate their 
attention on the act of praying, have them stand erect, 
close their eyes and keep their hands folded or at their 

A correct, respectful and devout position is impor- 
tant. The teacher should begin by saying the first 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — II. 

sentence: "We meet again in gladness here." Let 
the class repeat this. Then the teacher should say 
the next sentence, and the class should repeat it. When, 
as will be the case, in a few weeks, the children will 
have learned the entire prayer, the teacher and pupils 
can say the prayer together. 

Teach them to know the first sentence of the 
Shema, although they may not yet understand Hebrew. 

Tell them that Jews all over the world say these 
words. It is our Confession of Faith. It is a bond, a 
connecting link, which binds Jews of all lands. The 
children are usually pleased to learn the Hebrew, be- 
cause many of them have heard parents and grand- 
parents say the Shema. 

Teach the closing prayer in like manner. The 
teacher should let nothing interfere with the rever- 
ential manner of saying the prayers in concert every 


In the Primary Class very few Psalms can be 
taught. In fact, one during each of the two years 
will be found sufficient. Take the opportunity before 
teaching the actual words of the Psalm to tell the 
children something about the Psalms in general. 

Take up your Bible and tell them that the Psalms 
are found in it, just as are the various stories of Adam 
and Eve, Cain and Abel, Moses, Esther, etc. Impress 
the fact that the Commandments are also found in 
the Bible. 

Explain to them that the Psalms, which are really 
songs, or hymns of praise and thanksgiving to God, 
are known as "The Psalms of David." Tell them just 
a little about the life of David, the shepherd king, 
even though David did not write the whole Psalter. 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

Tell them about David in this wise: 
David was a caretaker of sheep, and often, when 
he was alone in the open with his flock, he would think 
of God and compose little songs to sing to Him. David 
played on the harp. He thought of God as a Great 
Shepherd, and the thought made him happy. Most 
of David's Psalms are happy ones. In a wonderful 
way, all about which the children will learn later on, 
David became a king. He still played on his harp. 
He stilled composed songs, or Psalms. But a king is 
not always as happy as a shepherd. David's later life 
was full of troubles and worries and anxieties. Some 
of his Psalms became very sad songs, indeed. 

As an example of the Psalms best adapted for the 
instruction of little children, one of the gems of the 
collection selected is Psalm XXHI. It is one of the 
simplest, most easily understood and best known. Its 
sentiment is in true accord with the tender child 
nature. Try to secure a picture of a shepherd and his 
sheep. Show his crook or a picture of one. Tell the 
children how carefully a shepherd must watch the 
baby lambs in his flock. He must lead them by 
streams of slow-running waters to slake their thirst 
Fiercely rushing waters would frighten them. 

The shepherds must constantly guard them from 
harm and move on from place to place to find tender 
grass and green pasture for his sheep. Our shepherd 
is God. He watches over us all, as carefully as does 
the shepherd over all of his sheep. He sees that no 
harm shall come to even the least among us. 

"The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want." 
Explain each verse to the children. The symbolism 
is easily comprehended and enjoyed by them. In the 
latter part of the Psalm there is found the phrase: 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

"Thou anointest my head with oil." Tell them 
of the custom in olden times of pouring oil on the 
head of the King when he was crowned. 

in the house of the Lord forever" means keeping 
God's laws, obeying His Commandments, so that we 
may always be fit to dwell in God's Holy Sanctuary. 

It is well to teach also Psalm C. It, too, is appro- 
priate. "We are His people, and the sheep of His 

Shepherds were so common in Bible times that 
we find many allusions to them. 

"Serve the Lord with gladness, come before His 
presence with singing." 

This paragraph shows the joy of serving God. We 
should be glad — as some people say: "Just singing 
for joy." 

The everlasting attributes of God are taught in 
the last paragraph : 

"For the Lord is good, His mercy is everlasting; 
and His truth endureth to all generations." 

By carefully teaching these two Psalms, the chil- 
dren will be enabled easily to understand and mem- 
orize other Psalms as they pass on to higher grades 
of the School. 


L Why should a child be taught to pray? When? 
Who should be his first teacher ? 

2. What part should the Religious School teacher 
take in this work? Illustrate. 

3. What prayers should a child first learn ? 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

4. Who is chiefly benefited by prayers ? Explain 
your answer. 

5. Explain how to teach a prayer for the opening 
of School. 

6. Who is said to have written the Book of 

Psalms ? 

7. How many Psalms would you teach in a two 
years' Primary Course ? Why ? 

8. What kind of Psalms will interest young chil- 
dren most ? Adults ? 

9. How can you illustrate the pastoral Psahns ? 

10. In teaching Psalms, would you permit any 
deviation from the exact words of the text? Give 
the reasons for your reply. 


Lesson XVII 
Teaching the Ten Commandments 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

Lesson XVII — Teaching the Ten 

Before beginning the actual teaching of the 
Commandments the teacher should tdl the pupils 
something about them. Let him describe briefly how 
the Commandments were given to our sires at Mt. 
Sinai. Tell of their supreme importance and everlast- 
ing, binding character on all people — young and old. 
Suggestions for a fuller statement are given in this 
lesson. Explain that years and years ago there were 
very few laws, or commandments. "Might was right" 
in those days of uncivilized, uneducated people. When 
a tribe, or people, wanted the land of others, it would 
rush upon the desired ground, plunder or kill the 
people and simply steal the land and use it for its own 
purposes. If a man envied the horse of another, he 
would resolve to get it. He would go by stealth, kill 
the rider and take the horse for his own. 

Of course, in these days among civilized people, 
such action would not be tolerated. The laws of all 
countries punish theft and murder. 

The Jews had such laws long before the various 
nations and countries had adopted them. Many years 
ago God gave to the Jews the Ten Great Words, or 
Great Commandments. They were so wonderful that 
all civilized nations and countries have adopted them. 
They are as important today as when they were first 
given years ago from Mt. Sinai. They are part of the 
rules of our government. The laws of the land punish 
any violations of these Commandments. 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

The children may be asked if they know what is 
meant by a commandment, or rule. Nearly all will 
know that a command is something they are told that 
they must do, or something that they must not do. 

For adults, all commands are divided into two 
classes — positive and negative ones. Young children 
will not recognize these distinctions. Ask them to tell 
some command of their parents. The mother may 
say : "Come to dinner !" "Study your lessons !" "Go 
to bed !" These would be positive commands, although 
the child will not recognize such wording. It is some- 
thing the child must do. The mother may say, "Do not 
go near the open window !" "Do not play in the middle 
of the street!" "Do not read out loud!" These are 
negative commands. It is something the child must 
refrain from doing. 

There are hundreds of things the child must do 
and hundreds he must not do. They are far too 
many to be written down. Common sense must, to a 
great extent, guide man in all cases. 

Ask the children to tell you some positive com- 
mands, some things they must do. Probable answers 
would be: "Go to school in time." "Study my les- 
sons." "Obey my teachers." 

Then ask them to tell you some things they are 
commanded not to do. These might naturally be : "Do 
not be late at school." "Do not disobey your teach- 
ers." "Do not forget or neglect to study the lessons." 

These are explicit commands often given. But 
there are many other implied ones. You need not say 
to a child : "Do not put your fingers on the hot stove." 
He knows perfectly well the natural consequences. 
Burning his hand would follow the act. Even a young 
child knows he must not jump out of the window. He 
does not have to be told. God could tell us all the 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — II. 

things we must do and all the things which we must 
refrain from doing. 

The Commandments in full are too difficult and 
too long to teach little children, so in the primary 
classes the teacher is advised to use the abbreviated 
form of the Commandments, which is found in 
"Prayers for Home and School," by Ella Jacobs, 
Philadelphia, Pa. 

Many years ago the Children of Israel were slaves 
fn the land of Egypt. (Further details of this story 
are given in the lesson on the Passover. See Course 


It is unnecessary to go into details at this time. 
Merely state the fact. After the people had suffered 
for years and years, God set them free, and Moses was 
their leader. The people of Israel had been under 
King Pharaoh's rule, and had to obey the laws of the 
land of Egypt. Many of these laws were unfair, 
unjust and cruel. 

When the Israelites were a free people God said 
He would give them a new set of laws, or command- 
ments, which they must obey, and for this purpose he 
told Moses to separate himself from the people and to 
come up to the top of a high mountain, Mt. Sinai, 
there to be given the Commandments. Moses obeyed 
God and went up to Mt. Sinai. The Commandments 
were written on two tablets of stone. The teacher 
can procure a picture of the giving of the law, showing 
Moses holding the tablets. This may make the matter 
more concrete to the children. "And He gave unto 
Moses, when he had finished speaking with him upon 
Mt. Sinai, the two tables of the testimony; tables of 
stone, inscribed with the finger of God." (Exodus 
XXXI : 18.) 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

The full text of the Commandments is found in 
Exodus XX : 1-15, also in Deuteronomy V :6-15. 
With this explanation the children will be ready to 
hear the words of the Commandments. 

The First Commandment says : "I am the Lord, 
thy God, who hath brought thee out of the land of 

This is not really a commandment — i. e., some- 
thing to do or not to do. It is merely a restatement, 
to remember what God did for the Israelites when they 
were slaves. It implies, though it does not express, 
the command which makes it our duty to believe in 
one God, Who is Guide and Ruler. Explain that 
years and years ago the Israelites were held as slaves 
by the cruel king of Egypt, and God set this people 
free. If the children have studied the life of Moses, 
the teacher can explain in greater detail. 

The Second Commandment says: "Thou shalt 
have no other Gods but me." 

The children will remember that in olden times 
the people prayed to idols, false gods ; gods who had 
no power to make the sun shine, or the clouds to 
gather and the rain and snow to fall ; gods who could 
not even move or speak. Later on people prayed to 
the great forces in nature, which they thought had 
power; the sun, fire, the wind. But we know that 
each of these forces is under the will and command of 
God, the great Creator of all. There are people today 
of other religions who pray to other gods. The chil- 
dren come into contact with so many Christians that 
the teacher may be asked about the doctrine of the 
Trinity. He must use great tact to present properly 
the idea of the Trinity. Unless the teacher is well 
informed on the subject, let him, rather, refrain from 
treating it. But make the pupils recognize and realize 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

that the supposed "Divinity of Christ" is utterly con- 
trary to Jewish belief, which proclaims the one God. 
It is incomprehensible how a god can be bom and 
suffer human ailments and death. But take care to 
teach respect for all religion. Never argue. Religion 
is at first an accident of birth. It therefore discoun- 
tenances all discussion at this period of the pupil's 

But be firm and frown down any attempt of 
Jewish children to participate in non-Jewish cere- 
monies, as, for example, Christmas and Easter fes- 
tivities at school. Jews cannot participate in these, 
believing as they do that it is impossible for a god to 
have a birthday or to die and rise after death. Our 
God is one, without beginning and without end. To 
Him only must we pray. Be emphatic and leave no 
doubts in the children's minds as to the absolute Divin- 
ity of the great Jehovah. 

Quote the Shema : "Hear, oh Israel, the Lord our 
God, the Lord is one." We must not pray to any God 
but the One and only One Who has always existed, 
and always will exist, for ever and ever. 

The Third Commandment tells us : "Thou shalt 
■not take God's name in vain." 

Explain the meaning of taking His name in vain. 
It is good and right and proper to use the "Holy 
Name" in the daily prayers, in the service at syna- 
gogue, in the lessons in the Religious School and in 
every earnest and devout act in life. We may use 
God's name in the little songs and hymns we sing to 
God. But it is a dreadful wrong to speak the Great 
Name lightly and without reverence. Children and 
adults in their daily talk sometimes thoughtlessly and 
frivolously say, "Oh, Lord!" "Oh, God!" This is a 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

bad habit — a wrong, for it is sure to lead to what is 
still worse: to cursing and swearing. Sometimes a 
driver is angry with his horses. He beats them and 
uses oaths too vulgar to repeat. God is so holy that 
even His name is holy, and must only be used by us in 
reverence and awe, at the proper time and proper place. 

The remaining Commandments of the Decalogue 
will be found treated in the next lesson. 


1. Before teaching the text of the Command- 
ments, what introduction should the teacher make? 

2. What kinds of Commandments are there? 
Illustrate each. 

3. Is it practical to formulate a command for 
every action in life? Why? 

4. What is the difference between laws created 
by a legislature and those framed in the Ten Com- 
mandments ? 

5. Are only the Jews subject to the Ten Com- 
mandments ? Why not ? 

6. Are the Commandments in their original form 
suitable for teaching little children? Explain your 

7. Explain in your own words the meaning of 
the First Commandment. 

8. What practices are denounced in the Second 
Commandment? Tell a Bible Verse that contains the 
same prohibition as the Second Commandment. 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

9. Give instances of the violation of the Third 
Commandment taken from your own experience or 


10. Which Commandments refer to motives 
underlying conduct ? 


Lesson XVllI 
The Commandments dV'X) 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

Lesson XVIII — The Commandments 
{IV to X.) 

The Fourth Commandment is a very important 
one. On it and the Second Commandment are based 
the leading principles of Judaism. The unity of God 
and the sacredness of the seventh day, the Sabbath, are 
among the fundamentals of our faith. They differ- 
entiate Judaism from the faiths which permit the 
worship of other gods and the deification of men and 
sanction the observance of the Sabbath on some other 
than the seventh day of the week. 

"Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy." 
The teacher should read the entire Commandment, in 
order to help the children understand it thoroughly, 
although they should be expected to memorize only 
the first part. 

Notice that in the part which says "Six days 
shalt thou labor and do all thy work" the command to 
work is as emphatic as the command to rest. Idleness 
is a sin. Industry and activity are of great value per- 
sonally, not to mention that fruits of our labor benefit 
all mankind. 

"Remember the Sabbath Day." Why? "To keep 
it holy." Opinions differ greatly as to what we may 
do and must not do on the Sabbath Day, the day of 
rest. To some people rest means ceasing from all 
exertion, physical or mental. To others it means a 
change of employment. But to all it must mean a dif- 
ference between the weekdays and the Sabbath. What 
is work for one is rest for another, and vice versa. 
If a man has done hard physical work, then it rests him 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — II. 

to relax his body and use his mind to read or study. 
On the other hand, after great mental strain, physical 
work is rest. Illustrate from the experiences of chil- 
dren. Therefore, to keep the day holy we must 
refrain from our ordinary occupations. We must on 
that day more particularly turn our thoughts to God. 
We should go to the synagogue, in order to join with 
others in praising God. We should try to do some 
good deed, some little act of kindness or charity. 

A little child with a happy, cheerful face, a word 
or deed of kindness, helps to observe the Sabbath. Is 
it right to sew, to shop, to go to the theatre, to dancing 
school? All these questions will come up, and the 
teacher will have to answer them tactfully and truth- 
fully. Tell about the rabbinical injunction: "Build a 
fence about the Law." Such prohibitions as those 
cited are the "fences" to protect the holiness and rest 
of the Sabbath Day. 

Explain the meaning of Holy. 

The economic condition of our business life 
makes the duty of answering the children very difficult 
when they say: "My father works on Sabbath." The 
teacher cannot tell a child that his father does wrong 
to go to his place of business. The teacher should 
speak in regret, but not in harsh criticism, of the viola- 
tions of the Sabbath and express the hope that some 
day soon conditions will be better for observing the 
holy day ; and dwelling strongly on the spirit of sacri- 
fice for the sake of our principles. Each one can make 
some sacrifice for the Sabbath, which has been so great 
a boon to all. 

The Fifth Commandment, "Honor thy father and 
thy mother," is a basic one to be impressed on children. 
"Honor," "respect," "obey!" These words seem to 
have lost much of their significance and force with 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — II. 

American-born children in this twentieth century. 
Recall how Noah and Abraham obeyed God implicitly. 
Remember how Isaac and Jacob obeyed their respective 

Parents care for their children in health and 
sickness. Be they rich or poor, parents love them. 
Children, in turn, should love, honor and cherish 
parents and do all in their power to reciprocate all the 
devotion shown them. 

Call attention to the fact that teachers stand "in 
loco parentis" to the child when he is in school and 
should receive the same respect as the parents. Not 
only teachers, but also tutors, nurses and other per- 
sons who are charged with the responsibility of caring 
for the young should be obeyed. 

Unhappily, many children look with disdain on 
their parents and think them odd and old fashioned. 
This is especially true of American children of 
foreign parents. 

Teach the children the grossness of such ingrati- 
tude. No parent is too queer or odd to be respected. 
Ask the children to remember that some day they also 
may be old fashioned. They may have children, and 
would realize keenly and bitterly the sadness of similar 

The Sixth Commandment says : **Thou shalt not 
kill." God has given us life, and He is the only one 
Who has the right to take that life away. 

Older children will probably want to discuss the 
question of "capital punishment," but this subject 
should have no place in the primary classes. 

Disabuse the children's mind of the thought that 
this Commandment refers to killing animals which 
the Creator has designed to serve us for food and 
whose skins are used for protection and clothing. Man 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

is superior to all other animals. Animals are created 
for his use and comfort. Jealousy often leads to 
theft and murder. The teacher may cite the familiar 
story of Cain killing Abel. However, do not lay much 
stress on murder. It is too horrible. The sweet inno- 
cence of young children should not be dispelled by the 
laiowledge of the worst crimes. 

The S&venth Commandment is changed to read: 
^Thou shalt not have any thoughts which are not 

With little children it is enough to tell them that 
they must have good, refined, pure thoughts, so that 
all of their actions shall be pure, modest and refined. 

This question was dealt with in Lesson XVII, 
Course I, to which the teacher is referred for further 

The Eighth Commandment, "Thou shalt not 
steal," is a very necessary one, to be carefully ex- 
plained and taught to the little ones. 

Many children pass through a stage of dishon- 
esty. This mental or moral weakness seems as natural 
as a physical weakness and illness — for example, 
chickenpox or measles. 

Not all are attacked, but many are. Parents must 
not be unnecessarily worried or shocked at children's 
^ dishonesty at this period. But, with the help of the 
''teacher, parents should try to cure the errors which 
come from the weakness and in the face of tempta- 
tion or an untrained will. Books, pencils and, more 
often, food are exceedingly attractive to the children; 
and they easily fall into temptation and take another's 

Coveting, wishing and longing for what does not 
belong to him grows into a strong desire to possess 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

these things and lead many a child, yes, many an adult, 
to steal. 

Emphasize the sacredness of personal rights and 
personal property. 

Children should be taught that to be unruly in 
school is dishonest, also. By such conduct they waste 
or steal the time of the teacher and of the class. By 
wasting their own time they are dishonest also to 

The Ninth Commandment: "Thou shalt not speak 
evil about any one," or "Thou shalt not tell evil tales 
against thy neighbor.** 

Explain that "neighbor** does not refer merely to 
a person living next door to one's home, but to any 
acquaintance or friend ; in fact, to any other person. 

This Commandment is very often violated by the 
young, more in a spirit of thoughtlessness than with 
any intent of wrongdoing or evil. Children must be 
taught at an early age that "telling tales** on each other 
is an unkind habit which often leads to a serious fault. 
A person often says something ill against another. 
This is repeated, exaggerated and enlarged until the 
tale becomes actually libelous. The one who originated 
the report may not in the course of time even recognize 
that it is his story; the story may have grown so and 
have become distorted. Gossip and idle talk may lead 
to similar results. Teach the children that if they 
cannot say kind and pleasant things of another, not to 
talk about the matter at all. 

Let them memorize this helpful rhyme : 
"If wisdom's ways you wisely seek. 
Five things observe with care : 
Of whom you speak, 
To whom you speak. 
And why, and when, and where." 

Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

The Tenth and last Commandment, in abbrevi- 
ated form, reads : "Thou shalt not covet." 

Explain, first, that the word "covet" means to 
wish earnestly for something which you do not pos- 
sess. Children should early learn how to be contented 
with what is their own and not look with envy on the 
toys and clothes of their little friends. Envy and dis- 
content are the roots of much of the evil and unhap- 
piness in this world. Coveting leads to theft, and often 
even to murder. A man may covet the money of 
another. He makes himself and perhaps his family 
unhappy. He finally decides to rob or steal his neigh- 
bor's money. He may be caught in the act, and in 
defence he may shoot some one in order to escape 

Envy and jealousy made Cain angry with Abel. 
He tried to quarrel with his brother, and finally killed 
him; so that by this act Cain was driven from home, 
a wanderer over the earth. His parents practically lost 
both their sons by his dreadful crime. 

Contentment with our lot, be we rich or poor, is 
the great lesson to be learned by all, young and old. 
Show the children that violation of the Tenth Com- 
mandment may make one break many others — the 
eighth, the sixth, the fifth. 

Of course, all the Commandments are not to be 
taught in one year. During the first year of a child's 
life in a Religious School four Commandments could 
be taught. These would not come in numerical order, 
but the simplest ones, those which concern the child 
most, should be taught first. 

Therefore, teach first the Fifth Commandment; 
then the eighth; next the tenth, and then the fourth. 
These are the most easily understood and have the 
greatest bearing on the child's life. 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

In the second year's course take up the Com- 
mandments in their proper order, following the sug- 
gestions which have been made in this lesson. This 
implies a review of the four already taught and in- 
struction in the remaining six. Whenever possible, 
illustrate by narrative, previously learned from the 
Bible, from incidents in the child's life, or from secu- 
lar stories with which the pupil is familiar. 


1. Why is the Fourth Commandment very 
important ? Explain. 

2. What two Commandments are actually in- 
volved in it ? Which do you think is of greater import- 

3. Why should Jews observe the Seventh Day 
Sabbath ? When is the Sabbath first referred to in the 
Scriptures ? 

4. Why do Christians observe the first day? Do 
you know any other day observed as Sabbath by a 
religious denomination ? 

5. Relate some instance of the violation of the 
spirit of the Fifth Commandment. Cite some Bible 
verses which emphasize honor to our parents. 

6. Who else should be obeyed by children 
besides their parents ? Why ? 

7. How would you teach and explain the 
Seventh Commandment to little children? In what 
way would this differ from the instruction to older 
pupils ? 


Methods of Teaching the Primary Grades — //. 

8. Contrast the Sixth and Eighth Command- 

9. Illustrate your method of teaching the Ninth 

10. What is meant by coveting? What other 
Commandments are often violated as a consequence of 
breaking this Commandment ? 


Correspondence School 



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The Jewish Chautauqua Society 

Philadelphia, Pa. 

Henry Berkowitz William Rosenaa 

Chancellor Dean 

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selected faculty of experts, 
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Write for Prospectus and 
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The following courses for individual readers or study 
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reading and Translation in 51 lessons. Serves as an 
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By Rabbi Harry Levi, of Boston. Second edition 
(1911) revised and enlarged, pp. 173. In seventeen 

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Correspondence method. Subjects of Jewish and 
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Loan Library of books of reference, Debate Syllabus I, 
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Jewish Education — Historical Survey, by Abram Simon, 
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