Exodus 14 - Outline of Exodus (Book Notes menu page)
14:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
14:2 Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp before Pihahiroth,
between Migdol and the sea, over against Baalzephon:
before it shall ye encamp by the sea.
14:3 For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel,
They [are] entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in.
14:4 And I will harden
{HB=chazaq, strengthen} Pharaoh's heart,
that he shall follow after them;
and I will be honoured upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host
{ie., army};
that the Egyptians may know that I [am] the LORD.
And they did so.
The LORD led them... (v.2; Ex 13:17,18) -
The route of travel and the place of encampment were chosen by the LORD to accomplish His purposes.
But to the eyes of man, God's wisdom looks like foolish tactical errors.
The LORD went before them (13:21,22). Pharaoh went after them (v.5-9).
14:5 And it was told the king of Egypt that the people fled:
and the heart of Pharaoh and of his servants was turned against the people,
and they said, Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us?
14:6 And he made ready his chariot, and took his people with him:
14:7 And he took six hundred chosen chariots,
and all the chariots of Egypt, and captains over every one of them.
14:8 And the LORD hardened
{HB=chazaq, strengthened} the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt,
and he pursued after the children of Israel:
and the children of Israel went out with an high hand.
{cp. Num 33:3,4; Acts 13:17}
14:9 But the Egyptians pursued after them,
all the horses [and] chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen, and his army,
and overtook them encamping by the sea, beside Pihahiroth, before Baalzephon.
14:10 And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes,
and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid:
and the children of Israel cried out unto the LORD.
Pharaoh pursued... -
  • he was armed for battle (v.7,9).
    The children of Israel 'went up harnessed' {ie., 'orderly', not 'armed,' Ex 13:18}. They were overcome with fear because they knew they were not prepared to battle Pharaoh's forces (v.10).
  • he entrapped them against the sea, with no apparent way of escape.
14:11 And they said unto Moses,
Because [there were] no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness?
wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt?
14:12 [Is] not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying,
Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians?
{cp. 5:21; 6:9}
For [it had been] better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.
14:13 And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not,
stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day:
for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.
14:14 The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.
Israel was in unbelief.-
  • They cried out unto the LORD (v.10) - They had no other recourse.
    Yet, they expected to be slaughtered (v.11).
  • They had reason to fear (v.7-9).
  • They had reasons not to fear.-
    1. The visible presence of God (13:21,22).
    2. The sureness of His promises - as evidenced by...
      • the ten plagues (6:6),
      • their victorious departure from Egypt (v.8; 13:9),
      • the bones of Joseph which departed with them (13:19).
    3. The stated purposes of God, who had led them into this situation (v.2-4).
      "Unbelief interprets God in the presence of difficulty,
      instead of interpreting the difficulty in the presence of God." [CHM]
Moses instructed them in the Attitudes of Faith (v.13,14).-
  1. Fear not.- cp. Ex 20:20; Deu 20:3,4; 2Chr 20:15; Psa 27:1-3
    Fear is characteristic of unbelief (eg., 1Sam 27:1; 1Kin 19:2,3).
  2. Stand still. - cp. 2Chr 20:17; Psa 46:10,11; Isa 30:15; Rom 4:5
    • To 'stand still' is to 'wait on the LORD' (cp. Psa 27:14; 37:34; 123:2).
    • 'The flesh would be actively working on a solution. Such activity can only raise dust to obscure our view of God's hand. Israel could not make a way of escape. We cannot accomplish our eternal salvation, nor solve our earthly dilemnas. It is equally impossible for us to create a blade of grass, as to create a world. Both are alike to God (Psa 113:6).' [adapted from CHM]
    • 'Waiting on the LORD' was exemplified by Joseph: sold into slavery... falsely accused... forgotten in prison... but the LORD was with him (Gen 39:21).
  3. See the salvation {HB= yeshua} of the LORD. - This refers both to...
    • the effect of salvation (ie., deliverance from, and destruction of, the enemy; v.30),
    • the means of salvation (ie., the LORD Himself; Ex 15:2; cp. 1Pet 2:24).
14:15 And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me?
speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:
14:16 But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it:
and the children of Israel shall go on dry [ground] through the midst of the sea.
14:17 And I, behold, I will harden
{HB=chazaq, strengthen} the hearts of the Egyptians,
and they shall follow them:
and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh,
and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.
14:18 And the Egyptians shall know that I [am] the LORD,
when I have gotten me honour upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.
Why do you cry unto me?...go forward...-
We cannot 'go forward' until we learn to 'stand still.' Moses waited for the LORD to direct him. Then, as he moved, in believing obedience, the LORD began moving to make Himself known to His people and to the unbelieving world.
     Only God can open the way before His people.
It is 'He who opens and no man shuts.' Our 'little strength' is to keep His Word. (Rev 3:7,8)
14:19 And the angel of God,
which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them;
and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them:
14:20 And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel;
and it was a cloud and darkness [to them], but it gave light by night [to these]:
so that the one came not near the other all the night.
14:21 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea;
and the LORD caused the sea to go [back] by a strong east wind all that night,
and made the sea dry [land], and the waters were divided.
14:22 And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry [ground]:
and the waters [were] a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.
The angel of God, who went before... went behind them... - cp. Psa 139:5; Isa 52:12; 58:8
...came between the Egyptians and Israel...
God stands between the believer and his sins (cp. Isa 38:17),
and between the believer and his enemies.
...was darkness to the one... but gave light to the other...-
"Those things that are light and life to the believer are death and darkness to the unbeliever." [CHM] eg., Psa 36 (cf. v.1 & v.9); Joh 12:35,46
the LORD caused the sea to go back...-
The man, Moses, did not possess power to part the waters.
However, by his speech and stance (v.15,21), he led the people to move out, trusting the One for whom nothing is impossible.
...by a strong east wind...-
How and where did this take place?
The exact location is not known. However, there are clues in the text:
  • The name 'Red Sea' (Ex 13:18) can be translated 'Sea of Reeds,' suggesting the marshy area north of the Gulf of Suez.
    [NOTE: This location is assumed in the discussion, below. However, some note that the 'Red Sea' {HB= yam suph} refers to the Gulf of Aqaba in several other passages (eg., Ex 23:31, where it marks the southern boundary of the promised land; and 1Kin 9:26, where Solomon floated a navy, based at Ezion-geber near Eloth {known today as Eilat}). Therefore, some think Israel crossed the Gulf of Aqaba, into Arabia. While the path of Israel's exodus is obscured due to its antiquity, most scholars have thought that their wilderness travel was confined to the Sinai Peninsula, until they turned northward through Edom and Moab.]
  • After they crossed the sea, the Israelites moved south or southeast into the 'Wilderness of Shur' (15:22), which is located in the northwestern region of the Sinai Peninsula.
  • The locations of Pihahiroth and Migdol are thought to have been near the modern Lake Ballah. [adapted from TBKC].
Perhaps, the mechanism by which the waters were parted can be explained as follows:
  • In Moses' day, the Red Sea extended farther up the rift valley, along the present path of the Suez Canal. There were a series of interconnecting lakes, some of which still exist, but because water levels have dropped, they are no longer connected. The land areas between these lakes (today) were (at that time) submerged land bridges from one side of the sea to the other.
  • Apparently, the LORD directed Israel to camp adjacent to one of these hidden shallow areas. He used wind and, perhaps, a receding tide to expose a dry path for his people. The waters to the right and left of the dry path were 'a wall' (in the sense of 'a protection', cp. 1Sam 25:16; Zech 2:5) for Israel. Note that the water, in this 'shallow' area, was deep enough to drown the pursuing Egyptians, when it returned to its normal level.
Normal level of sea _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
                    __          ___
Side view of          \        /   \
 underwater terrain    \______/     \__________
the waters divided _ _ _ _ _ _ <-- wind __ =___ tide --> the land was dried \ / \----------- \______/ \__________ 'The floods stood upright... the depths were congealed...' (Ex 15:8) 'The waters stood 'The sea... fled...' as an heap...' (Psa 78:13) (Psa 114:1-3)
If the above scenario is accurate, the LORD used natural phenomenon (His creation)...
  -- with miraculous precision (with regard to location and timing),
  -- to accomplish His pre-stated purposes (of deliverance and destruction).
14:23 And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea,
[even] all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.
14:24 And it came to pass, that in the morning watch
the LORD looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud,
and troubled the host of the Egyptians,
14:25 And took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily:
so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel;
for the LORD fighteth for them against the Egyptians.
14:26 And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea,
that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians,
upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.
14:27 And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea,
and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared;
and the Egyptians fled against it;
and the LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.
14:28 And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen,
[and] all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them;
there remained not so much as one of them.
14:29 But the children of Israel walked upon dry [land] in the midst of the sea;
and the waters [were] a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.
14:30 Thus the LORD saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians;
and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore.
14:31 And Israel saw that great work which the LORD did upon the Egyptians:
and the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD, and his servant Moses.
the cloud (v.19,20,24)... the sea (v.29)... - cp. 1Cor 10:1-2
Israel was "baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea." What does this mean?
  • It is not speaking of water baptism (only the Egyptians got wet).
  • It is speaking of 'identification.'
    Those 'baptized unto Moses' were identified with him...
    1. in his faith. "By faith they passed over the Red Sea..." (Heb 11:29).
      But it was the faith of Moses that moved them (v.13,14; Heb 11:23-29),
      while the people were in a state of unbelief (v.10-12).
      Moses' faith was in the LORD and in His Word.
    2. in his relationship to God, as the one sent (Ex 3:10) with 'the salvation of the LORD' (v.13).-
      • The cloud (the visible presence of God):
        brought judgment upon His enemies, and protection for His people.
        -- Emmanuel {God with us} accomplished such things for us (Mat 1:21-23).
      • The sea (the virtual guarantee of death):
        became both a grave and a path to life, at Moses' stretched out hand.
        Identified with the LORD (through Moses), Israel passed through death unto life.
        -- Today, all who are identified with Christ at the cross (the place of judgment and death) are also identified with Him "at heaven's side of the empty tomb." [CHM] Joh 5:24
Thus, the LORD saved Israel... (v.30,31)-
'Exodus is the book of redemption, and teaches:
  1. redemption is wholly of God (Ex 3:7,8; Joh 3:16);
  2. redemption is through a person (Ex 2:2; Joh 3:16,17);
  3. redemption is by blood (Ex 12:13,23,27; 1Pet 1:18,19; Rom 3:24-26);
  4. redemption is by power (Ex 6:6; 13:14; 15:6; Mat 6:13; Rom 1:16; 8:2-4).'
    [adapted from ScofRB]

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