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Exodus 14:19-25

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.

19. Profectus est itaque angelus Dei qui praecedebat castra Israel: coepitque ire a tergo ipsorum, et columna nubis quae praecedebat eos, fuit illis a tergo.

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.

20. Ac ingressus est inter castra AEgyptiorum et inter castra Israel. Et fuit nubes et caligo: et illuminavit noctem, nec appropinquavit alter alteri tota nocte.

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.

21. Porro extendit Moses manum suam super mare: et Jehova fecit mare abire per ventum orientalem vehementem tota nocte; posuitque mare in siccitatem, quia divisae erant aquae.

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.

22. Tunc ingressi sunt filii Israel in medium maris in sicco: et aquae illis erant quasi murus a dextra et sinistra eorum.

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.

23. Et insequuti sunt AEgyptii, et venerunt post illos totus equitatus Pharaonis, currus ejus, et equites ad medium maris.

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.

24. Et factum est custodia matutina ut respiceret Jehova ad castra Aegyptiorum in columna ignis et nube: et turbavit castra AEgyptiorum.

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.

25. Et abstulit rotas curruum ejus, et violenter vexit eum. Unde dixit AEgyptius, Fugiam a facie Israel: quia Jehova pugnat pro eis contra AEgyptios.

19. And the angel of God. A sudden change which occurred to prevent a battle is here described; for the angel, who used to go before the Israelites to show the way, turned to the other side that he might be interposed between the two camps; and this, in two respects, because the pillar of fire shone upon the Israelites to dissipate the darkness of the night, whilst thick darkness held the Egyptians as it were in captivity, so that they were unable to proceed further. Thus did God both prevent them from advancing, and also held out a torch for His people all night to light them on their way. He, who has been called “Jehovah” hitherto, is now designated by Moses “the Angel;” not only because the angels who represent God often borrow His name, but because this Leader of the people was God’s only-begotten Son, who afterwards was manifested in the flesh, as I have shown upon the authority of Paul. (1 Corinthians 10:4.) It may be remarked, also, that he is said to have moved here and there, as He showed some token of His power and assistance. Most clearly, too, does it appear, that the glory of God, whilst it enlightens the faithful, overshadows the unbelievers, on the other hand, with darkness. No wonder, then, if now-a-days the brightness of the Gospel should blind the reprobate. But we should ask of God to make us able to behold His glory.

21. And Moses stretched out. We have already said that the passage was free and convenient for the Israelites by night, since the pillar of fire replenished their side with light: and certainly so great a multitude could not reach the opposite shore in an hour or two. The Israelites then passed over from evening even till dawn; and then the Egyptians having discovered that they were gone, hastened to follow that they might fall upon their rear. Now, though Moses uses no ornaments of language in celebrating this miracle, yet the bare recital ought to be sufficient; and, therefore, is more emphatic to awaken our admiration than any rhetorical coloring and magnificent eloquence. For who would desire sounding exclamations, in order to be ravished to the highest admiration of the divine power, when he is told simply and in a few words that the sea was divided by the rod of Moses; that space enough for the passage of the people was dry; that the mighty mass of waters stood like solid rocks on either side? Designedly, then, has he set the whole matter before our eyes bare of all verbal splendor; although it will both be celebrated soon after, in accordance with its dignity, in the Canticle, and is everywhere more splendidly magnified by the Prophets and in the Psalms. In this passage let us learn, just as if Moses were leading us to the actual circumstance, to fix our eyes on the prospect of God’s inestimable power, which cannot be sufficiently expressed by any number or force of words. But Moses is very careful not to arrogate more than enough for himself, so as to detract from the praise of God. He had been before commanded to divide the sea with his uplifted rod; he now changes the form of expression, viz., that the waters went back by the command of God. Thus, content with the character of a minister, he makes God alone, as was fit, the author of the miracle. But although it was competent for God to dispel the waters without any motion of the air, yet, that He might show that all nature was obedient to Him, and governed at His will, He was pleased to raise the strong east wind. Meanwhile it is to be remembered, that the sea could not be dried by arty wind, however strong, unless it had been effected by the secret power of the Spirit, beyond the ordinary operation of nature. On which point see my previous annotations on chap. 10:13 and 19.

24. And it came to pass, that, in the morning-watch. In the morning the angel began to look upon the Egyptians, not that they had escaped his sight before; but for the purpose of destroying them by sudden submersion, though he had seemed previously to forget them, when hidden by the cloud.157157     La nuit. — Fr. And first, He opened their eyes, that too late they might see whither their mad impetuosity had brought them; and also that they might perceive how they were contending not with man only, but with God; and that thus, being overwhelmed with sudden astonishment, they might not be able to escape to the shore in time; for they were on this account overtaken in the midst of the sea, because terror had thrown them into utter confusion, when they perceived that God was against them. They saw that there was no greater hope of safety than to retreat, because God fought for Israel; but being in complete disorder, they could make no way, and whilst they rather proved hindrances to each other, the sea ingulfed them all.


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