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Title: Lion And The Fox

Major Focus: Cruelty and Wickedness

Minor Focus: Pharoah, as wicked ruler

Abstract: A fable teaching more about the meaning of being "heartless."

Format: Midrash

"But Pharoah said, 'Who is the Ruler (in Hebrew, "Hashem") that I should heed your God and let Israel go? I do not know the Ruler, nor will I let Israel go.'"

Exodus 5:2

"Yet Pharoah's heart stiffened and he did not heed them, as God had said."

Exodus 7:13

A lion and a fox were traveling on the road together. They came to a toll bridge where you must pay a tax in order to use the bridge. The toll collector was a donkey. The donkey said, "You must pay the toll or you cannot use the bridge!" The fox said to the donkey, "Idiot! How can you dare ask the king of beasts to pay your toll?" The foolish donkey demanded the money again, so the lion killed him.

The lion and the fox divided the donkey up to eat it. The fox took the heart when the lion was not looking. When the lion could not find the heart, he asked the fox where it was. The fox lied and said, "The donkey did not have a heart. If it had a heart, it never would have asked you for the toll!"

So it was with the Pharoah of Egypt. If Pharoah had a heart, he never would have asked Moses, "Who is this God of yours that I should let your people out of Egypt?" (Exodus 5:2) Over and over again, Moses and Aaron asked him to free the Israelites, but Pharoah's heart remained stiff and hardened. The Pharoah may have had a beating muscle in his chest like all people, but he certainly did not have a true heart!

Teacher Study Guide

Text Background: God spoke to Moses to remind him of the promises made to his ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them a Land of Promise. God said the cries of the Hebrew slaves had been heard in Heaven, and that they would be taken out of Egypt. God told Moses and Aaron to speak to the Pharoah, saying, "Let My people go!" Pharoah refused to let the people go, and seven plagues came upon Egypt: Blood, frogs, lice, wild beasts, boils, cattle disease, and hail. Each time Pharoah appeared to relent somewhat, but each time the plague had passed, his heart remained hard as stone.

Objective: To learn more about the meaning of the word "heartless!"

Suggestion: Students should read the midrash and discuss the issues involved.

The Fable

  1. Was the donkey toll collector being brave or foolish in asking the lion to pay his fair share for using the bridge?
  2. When the fox called the donkey an idiot, was he acting like the bully's assistant or was he being sincerely honest in offering some good advice to the donkey?
  3. Why do you think the fox took the donkey heart? Was he being brave or foolish?
  4. What did the fox mean when he told the lion, the donkey did not have a heart?

The Pharoah of Egypt

  1. When Moses and Aaron warned Pharoah that Egypt would suffer disaster if he did not let the slaves go free, do you think Pharoah thought they were unusually brave or just stupid?
  2. When Pharoah's magicians showed they could do the first three tricks the same as Aaron, were they acting like a bully's assistant, or were they being sincerely honest in saying to Pharoah, "So what, we can do that too!"?
  3. When Pharoah's magicians pointed out the "finger of God" was behind these events, and suggested he let the slaves go free, were they being brave or foolish? How do you think Pharoah felt about them and their advice?
  4. What does it mean to say that Pharoah may have had a beating muscle in his chest, but he certainly ?didn't have a heart!??