Exodus 15 - Outline of Exodus (Book Notes menu page)
15:1 Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying,
The Song of the Redeemed (v.1-21)-
Previously, we have read that Israel 'bowed their heads and worshipped.' (Ex 4:31; 12:27).
But, up to this point, they had offered no joyful praise.
Their eyes had been on their weakness, failings and circumstances.
But now, Israel (1) 'saw the great work which the LORD had done...
(2) feared the LORD... (3) and believed the LORD...' (Ex 14:30,31)
Ch. 15 is an example of the expression of true worship.
It is more than coincidental that the words 'sing' and 'song' have their first scriptural occurrence in v.1,2.
(Too often, the noise that we call 'praise' does not flow from worshipping hearts.)
True worship is...
  1. enthralled with the LORD. He alone fills the heart. Self and circumstances are forgotten.
  2. evoked by His completed redemption, and fulfilled promises, and by a sure knowledge that He 'is' and that He is our God. Ex 6:7
  3. embraces His future promises (15:13-18).
    When our attention is focused on Him, we know His purposes are sure (Prov 14:26).
15:1 Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying,
I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously:
the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.
15:2 The LORD [is] my strength and song, and he is become my salvation
{HB= yeshua}:
he [is] my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him.
15:3 The LORD [is] a man of war: the LORD [is] his name.
15:4 Pharaoh's chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea:
his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea.
15:5 The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone.
15:6 Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power:
thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy.
{cp. Psa 118:14-16}
15:7 And in the greatness of thine excellency
thou hast overthrown them that rose up against thee:
thou sentest forth thy wrath, [which] consumed them as stubble.
15:8 And with the blast of thy nostrils the waters were gathered together,
the floods stood upright as an heap, [and] the depths were congealed in the heart of the sea.
15:9 The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil;
my lust shall be satisfied upon them; I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them.
15:10 Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them:
they sank as lead in the mighty waters.
15:11 Who [is] like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods?
who [is] like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful [in] praises, doing wonders?
15:12 Thou stretchedst out thy right hand, the earth swallowed them.
15:13 Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people [which] thou hast redeemed:
thou hast guided [them] in thy strength unto thy holy habitation.
The LORD... is become my salvation-
How could God become salvation? See the discussion in "Letter to Israel # 2".
Also see Psa 118:14-f and the 'Psalms of the Messiah' Book Notes on Psalm 118.
Thou in thy mercy... the people which thou hast redeemed (v.13)-
The power to redeem is His alone.
The redeemed are those who are identified with Him (note at Ex 14:30).
The LORD is a man of war (v.3)- cp. 14:14
He destroys sin & wickedness, and all who stand against Him. v.6,7; Psa 78:49-51
He delivers & defends those who seek refuge in Him. v.13; Psa 78:52-54
15:14 The people shall hear, [and] be afraid:
sorrow shall take hold on the inhabitants of Palestina.
15:15 Then the dukes of Edom shall be amazed;
the mighty men of Moab, trembling shall take hold upon them;
all the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away.
15:16 Fear and dread shall fall upon them;
{cp. Rahab's testimony, Josh 2:9-11,24}
by the greatness of thine arm they shall be [as] still as a stone;
till thy people pass over, O LORD, till the people pass over, [which] thou hast purchased.
15:17 Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance ,
[in] the place, O LORD, [which] thou hast made for thee to dwell in,
[in] the Sanctuary, O LORD, [which] thy hands have established.
{cp. Psa 68:16; 76:2; 132:13,14}
15:18 The LORD shall reign for ever and ever.
15:19 For the horse of Pharaoh went in with his chariots and with his horsemen into the sea,
and the LORD brought again the waters of the sea upon them;
but the children of Israel went on dry [land] in the midst of the sea.
The song looks foward to the future completion of redemption,
at Israel's return to the promised land under Joshua (v.17).
It also foreshadows the greater final redemption under the Messiah. cp. v.18; Jer 23:5-8; Rev 15:1-4
15:20 And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand;
and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances.
15:21 And Miriam answered them,
Sing ye to the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously;
the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.
Miriam led the people in the Song of the Redeemed.
She was a witness to the LORD's work of redemption, from the beginning (Ex 2:4).
Yet, later, she would lead the people in rebellion (Num 12:1,2).
She would be among those who died in the wilderness (Num 20:1).
15:22 So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea,
and they went out into the wilderness of Shur;
and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water.
15:23 And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah,
for they [were] bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah
{ie., 'bitter', cp. Ruth 1:20}.
15:24 And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?
15:25 And he cried unto the LORD;
and the LORD shewed him a tree,
[which] when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet:
there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them,
15:26 And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God,
and wilt do that which is right in his sight,
and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes,
I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians:
for I [am] the LORD that healeth thee.
the people murmured {ie., grumbled, complained}...-
In just three days, the songs of praise changed into the sounds of unbelief. cp. Psa 106:12-15
bitter waters...- sweetened by a tree -
Since Israel came to these bitter waters while following the LORD's leading, it is evident that God intended to use this difficulty to instruct, rather than to punish them.
The tree reminds the believer of Christ's sacrifice...
It thou wilt... hearken... do... give ear... keep all His statutes...
...I will put none of these diseases upon thee...
Although God's people worshipped Him in song, following His triumph over their enemies (v.1-21), they soon forgot Him and distanced themselves from His blessings. At the very end of his life, Moses wrote another song (Deuteronomy ch. 32), which praises the LORD as the Rock of His people, and prophesies their apostasy from Him... His subsequent judgments upon them... and eventually, upon their enemies, when His people turn again to Him.
I am the LORD that healeth thee {HB= Jehovah-rapha}.-
Because Israel has not fully obeyed Him (v.26), they have often been distressed under His judgments (as the Egyptians were), and they have not fully known His healing (Jer 8:22).
However, in that day when they see Him for who He is (Deu 32:39,40), the LORD will bring the healing, promised to those who fear Him. Mal 4:1-3
15:27 And they came to Elim {lit., 'palms'},
where [were] twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten
{ie., seventy} palm trees:
and they encamped there by the waters.
'Twelve' and 'seventy' are numbers connected with service (eg. Ex 24:1; Num 11:16; Luk 6:13).
  • The trial at Marah tested their readiness to serve the One of whom they sang
    (cp. v.26, 'if you will diligently hearken... and will do... and keep...').
  • Elim, with its wells and trees, was not the promised land, but merely an oasis on the way.
    God ministered through it, to refresh and strengthen His people on the journey.
    So, today, He nourishes His pilgrim people through the water of His Word, and
    through faithful men who teach and govern according to His Word.
        See Psa 1:1-3; Jer 17:5-8; Eph 4:11-13; 2Tim 2:2,15,24-26
    (Contrast the 'mirage' of false teachers who offer false hope. 2Pet 2:17; Amos 8:11)

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