ESL Lesson 12 – Moses in the King’s Palace

Lesson 12

Moses in the King’s Palace

Exodus 1-3


In the land where Jacob and his family lived there was a terrible famine.  There was not enough food to eat.  Joseph, Jacob’s son, was a very important man in Egypt.  He brought his family down to Egypt and took care of them.  He made sure that they had everything they needed.


Egypt’s king, Pharaoh, liked Joseph.  He gave the best of the land to Joseph’s family. 


When Jacob first came to Egypt, there were seventy members in his family.  These people were the first Jews.  His family multiplied quickly.  After about four hundred years, there were so many of these Jews that they filled the land of Egypt. 


A new Pharaoh now ruled over Egypt.  He didn’t care about Joseph and all of the things Joseph had done to save Egypt.  When the new Pharaoh saw how many Jews there were, he was afraid of them.  Pharaoh was afraid that someday the Jews would help Egypt’s enemies fight against the Egyptians.  Then maybe the Jews would go back to their own land.  This new Pharaoh did not want the Jews to leave.  He wanted them to stay in Egypt and work for him.


Pharaoh hired slave drivers to make the Jews work very hard.  Pharaoh told the slave drivers to treat the Jews very cruelly.  But the more cruelly the Jews were treated, the more they multiplied. 


Pharaoh was so afraid of the Jews that he made a terrible law.  He said that every baby boy born to a Jewish family must be killed.


At this time a Jewish family gave birth to a baby boy.  They did not want to kill him.  So they hid the baby for three months.  When the mother could not hide her baby any longer, she took a basket and coated it with tar.  Then she put the baby in the basket, covered it, and floated it in the river.  The baby’s sister watched the basket from a distance.


Then Pharaoh’s daughter went down to the river to take a bath.  She saw the basket floating in the river and asked a slave girl to get it.  When she opened the basket the baby began to cry.  Pharaoh’s daughter felt sorry for the baby.  She knew the baby boy belonged to a Jewish family.  She wanted to adopt the baby as her son.


When the baby’s sister saw what happened she ran to talk to Pharaoh’s daughter.  “Would you like me to find a Jewish woman to nurse the baby and take care of him?” she asked.


Pharaoh’s daughter told the sister to do that.  The sister ran home and told her mother to come quickly.

“Take care of this baby for me and I will pay you,” Pharaoh’s daughter told the baby’s mother.


Now the baby was safe.  No one would harm the adopted son of Pharaoh’s daughter.  The mother was paid for taking care of her own baby.  When the baby got older, Pharaoh’s daughter came and took him to live in the palace.  She named the boy Moses. 







member (n)

tar (n)

multiply (multiplied) (v)

float (v)

Egyptian (n)

feel sorry for

hire (v)

belongs to

slave driver (n)

adopt (v)

cruelly (adv)

nurse (v)

hide (v)

harm (v)

basket (n)

palace (n)

coat (v)



Irregular Verbs



Past Participle




has hidden

will hide



has felt

will feel



1.  When Jacob first came to Egypt, how many members of his family were there?

2.  After 400 years how many Jews were there?

3.  Why was the new Pharaoh afraid of the Jews?

4.  What terrible law did Pharaoh make?

5.  What did one mother do to hide her baby?

6.  Who found the baby?

7.  Who did she find to take care of the baby?


One day after Moses had grown up, he went out to where the Jewish people were working as slaves.  He saw an Egyptian beating a Jewish man.  Moses looked around to see that no one was watching.  Then he killed the Egyptian. 

The next day he saw two Jewish men fighting.  “Why are you hitting each other when you are both Jews?” he asked.


One of the men said, “Who made you the judge over us?  Are you going to kill me like you killed the Egyptian?”

Then Moses knew that others knew about the Egyptian he had killed.  When Pharaoh found out about the Egyptian Moses had killed, he tried to kill Moses.  Moses ran away to live in the wilderness. 


Moses soon began to live with a shepherd’s family.  He married the shepherd’s daughter.  For forty years he took care of sheep in the wilderness.


Then one day Moses saw a bush that was on fire, but it did not burn up.  Moses went closer to see the strange sight.  Then God called to Moses from the burning bush.  “Moses!” God said.  “Take off your shoes, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”


God told Moses that He had seen how cruelly the Egyptians were treating the Jews.  He didn’t want the Jews to suffer anymore.  God said that he would rescue them and bring them out of Egypt and back to the land where Jacob’s family had lived long ago.  God told Moses, “I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring the Jews out of Egypt.”


Moses was afraid to be the leader of the Jewish people.  He remembered the question that the Jew had asked him, “Who made you the judge over us?”  But God promised to be with Moses and help Moses lead the people.  God told Moses that Pharaoh would not want to let the people go.  But God promised to do miracles that would make Pharaoh want to let the Jews go.


Finally Moses agreed to be the leader of the Jews.  He would lead the Jews out of Egypt and to the land that God had promised their ancestors.  But first some very terrible things would happen in Egypt.




shepherd (n)

judge (n)

burn up

wilderness (n)

ancestor (n)


Irregular Verbs



Past Participle




has beaten

will beat



 8.  When Moses saw an Egyptian and a Jew fighting, what did he do?

 9.  When Pharaoh found out what Moses had done, he wanted to kill Moses.  What did Moses do then?

10.  Who spoke to Moses from a burning bush?

11.  What did God want Moses to do?


To Think About

                         For the first four or five years of his life, Moses lived with his real parents.  He saw how the Jewish slaves lived and how hard they worked.  His parents taught him about the God that they worshiped.


Then Moses went to live in the palace with Pharaoh and his daughter.  He ate the best food in Egypt.  He could have anything he wanted.  He got the best education in the world at that time.  Wherever he went, people had to bow down to him. 


But while Moses lived in the palace, he remembered the difficult life of the Jews.  Though he was Pharaoh’s grandson, he knew that he was a Jew by birth.  Moses could have lived a comfortable life in the palace all his life.  But when he grew up he left the palace and his adopted mother, and went to live with the Jews.  He knew that helping the Jewish people was more important than having an easy life. 


God had promised to give the Jews a land of their own.  Moses believed that God would bring them back to their own land.  Years later, God used Moses to lead the Jews out of Egypt to their own land. 


1.  What are the most important things in your life–money, education, family, career, health, religion, friends, personal freedom, a trouble-free life, other things?  What can you do to get the things that are most important to you?  What can you do to make sure you don’t lose the things that are most important to you?  Will these things last forever?