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Crossing the Red Sea


Then the Lord said to Moses: 2Tell the Israelites to turn back and camp in front of Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, in front of Baal-zephon; you shall camp opposite it, by the sea. 3Pharaoh will say of the Israelites, “They are wandering aimlessly in the land; the wilderness has closed in on them.” 4I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them, so that I will gain glory for myself over Pharaoh and all his army; and the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord. And they did so.

5 When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, the minds of Pharaoh and his officials were changed toward the people, and they said, “What have we done, letting Israel leave our service?” 6So he had his chariot made ready, and took his army with him; 7he took six hundred picked chariots and all the other chariots of Egypt with officers over all of them. 8The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt and he pursued the Israelites, who were going out boldly. 9The Egyptians pursued them, all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots, his chariot drivers and his army; they overtook them camped by the sea, by Pi-hahiroth, in front of Baal-zephon.

10 As Pharaoh drew near, the Israelites looked back, and there were the Egyptians advancing on them. In great fear the Israelites cried out to the Lord. 11They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us, bringing us out of Egypt? 12Is this not the very thing we told you in Egypt, ‘Let us alone and let us serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.” 13But Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid, stand firm, and see the deliverance that the Lord will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you see today you shall never see again. 14The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to keep still.”

15 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry out to me? Tell the Israelites to go forward. 16But you lift up your staff, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the Israelites may go into the sea on dry ground. 17Then I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them; and so I will gain glory for myself over Pharaoh and all his army, his chariots, and his chariot drivers. 18And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gained glory for myself over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his chariot drivers.”

19 The angel of God who was going before the Israelite army moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from in front of them and took its place behind them. 20It came between the army of Egypt and the army of Israel. And so the cloud was there with the darkness, and it lit up the night; one did not come near the other all night.

21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. The Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night, and turned the sea into dry land; and the waters were divided. 22The Israelites went into the sea on dry ground, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left. 23The Egyptians pursued, and went into the sea after them, all of Pharaoh’s horses, chariots, and chariot drivers. 24At the morning watch the Lord in the pillar of fire and cloud looked down upon the Egyptian army, and threw the Egyptian army into panic. 25He clogged their chariot wheels so that they turned with difficulty. The Egyptians said, “Let us flee from the Israelites, for the Lord is fighting for them against Egypt.”

The Pursuers Drowned

26 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea, so that the water may come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots and chariot drivers.” 27So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at dawn the sea returned to its normal depth. As the Egyptians fled before it, the Lord tossed the Egyptians into the sea. 28The waters returned and covered the chariots and the chariot drivers, the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed them into the sea; not one of them remained. 29But the Israelites walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left.

30 Thus the Lord saved Israel that day from the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. 31Israel saw the great work that the Lord did against the Egyptians. So the people feared the Lord and believed in the Lord and in his servant Moses.

The Song of Moses


Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord:

“I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously;

horse and rider he has thrown into the sea.


The Lord is my strength and my might,

and he has become my salvation;

this is my God, and I will praise him,

my father’s God, and I will exalt him.


The Lord is a warrior;

the Lord is his name.



“Pharaoh’s chariots and his army he cast into the sea;

his picked officers were sunk in the Red Sea.


The floods covered them;

they went down into the depths like a stone.


Your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power—

your right hand, O Lord, shattered the enemy.


In the greatness of your majesty you overthrew your adversaries;

you sent out your fury, it consumed them like stubble.


At the blast of your nostrils the waters piled up,

the floods stood up in a heap;

the deeps congealed in the heart of the sea.


The enemy said, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake,

I will divide the spoil, my desire shall have its fill of them.

I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them.’


You blew with your wind, the sea covered them;

they sank like lead in the mighty waters.



“Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods?

Who is like you, majestic in holiness,

awesome in splendor, doing wonders?


You stretched out your right hand,

the earth swallowed them.



“In your steadfast love you led the people whom you redeemed;

you guided them by your strength to your holy abode.


The peoples heard, they trembled;

pangs seized the inhabitants of Philistia.


Then the chiefs of Edom were dismayed;

trembling seized the leaders of Moab;

all the inhabitants of Canaan melted away.


Terror and dread fell upon them;

by the might of your arm, they became still as a stone

until your people, O Lord, passed by,

until the people whom you acquired passed by.


You brought them in and planted them on the mountain of your own possession,

the place, O Lord, that you made your abode,

the sanctuary, O Lord, that your hands have established.


The Lord will reign forever and ever.”

19 When the horses of Pharaoh with his chariots and his chariot drivers went into the sea, the Lord brought back the waters of the sea upon them; but the Israelites walked through the sea on dry ground.

The Song of Miriam

20 Then the prophet Miriam, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand; and all the women went out after her with tambourines and with dancing. 21And Miriam sang to them:

“Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously;

horse and rider he has thrown into the sea.”

Bitter Water Made Sweet

22 Then Moses ordered Israel to set out from the Red Sea, and they went into the wilderness of Shur. They went three days in the wilderness and found no water. 23When they came to Marah, they could not drink the water of Marah because it was bitter. That is why it was called Marah. 24And the people complained against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” 25He cried out to the Lord; and the Lord showed him a piece of wood; he threw it into the water, and the water became sweet.

There the Lord made for them a statute and an ordinance and there he put them to the test. 26He said, “If you will listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God, and do what is right in his sight, and give heed to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will not bring upon you any of the diseases that I brought upon the Egyptians; for I am the Lord who heals you.”

27 Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees; and they camped there by the water.

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1. And the Lord spoke unto Moses. God, by closing up all the ways by which the Israelites might have escaped, now opens a course for His wonderful power, and by bringing them for one moment to despair, provided for the safety of His Church through a long period of time. This final act, then, marvelously illustrated the grace of God, so that the people, however ungrateful and disaffected they might be, should still acknowledge God as their deliverer; besides, its consequence was, that the forces of Egypt not only being broken, but the whole nation being destroyed, or, at least, the flower of it extinguished, it brought no further trouble upon the people until they were established in the land of Canaan. If they had freely and peacefully gone forth, with the king and the people of Egypt quiet, the former miracles would not have sufficiently availed to testify their redemption; but when, being everywhere shut in, they see nothing but death before them, whilst the sea suddenly and unexpectedly affords them a passage, and overwhelms their enemies pressing on them from behind, they are obliged to confess that they were not only saved from death but from the deepest abysses by the hand of God. But it appears that, when they were commanded by Moses to cast themselves, and, as it were, to ingulf themselves in the narrow passage, of which mention is made, they were astonished by the miracles, and like them that dream, since they obeyed without hesitation, although the very aspect of the place must have inspired them with horror. For, if they had apprehended danger, their readiness to obey would not have been so great, as we shall presently see. Wherefore it was the intention of Moses not so much to praise them, as the providence of God. For it is plain, that unless they had been amazed by the miracles, of which they had seen so many, they scarcely could have been induced willingly to throw themselves into. defiles from whence there was no retreat. From the word מגדל, migdol, we may conjecture that a fortress was built on the rock to prevent access to it. I do not quite understand the meaning of החירת151151     פיהחירת C. has not borrowed anything from S.M. here. In Dr. Wilson’s “Lands of the Bible,” vol. 1, chap. 5, he has observed that if Pi-hahiroth is to be supposed to be a name given to the place, in the Hebrew tongue, it is well fitted to describe the mouth of the defiles, on emerging from which, the traveler comes in sight of the Red Sea, and enters on ground shut in between mountain barriers and that sea; but he also mentions that Gesenius has said, on the authority of Tablonski, that these syllables form the Egyptian name for a place where sedges grow. — W. hachiroth, nor do I see why the Greeks should have translated it “the mouth of the valley;” yet from the word signifying “a mouth,” it may be probably conjectured that it was contracted by piles. Because the word חור, chor, signifies a cave or hole, I know not whether the place might not have obtained its name, as the mouth of the holes or caverns; for the letter ו, vau, is often converted into י, yod, and the change of the gender in the plural number is frequent with the Hebrews. Or perhaps some may think it more likely, that though it was written החירות, hachiroth, the letter ח crept in in place of ה from its similarity. If we so take it, the feminine gender is put for the masculine, and it will be “the mouth of the mountains.” But although we may be ignorant of the etymology of the second word, the word “mouth” makes it certain that the defile was inclosed by rocks, and of narrow access. Although, if I may tender my own judgment in a doubtful matter, I rather consider that it is derived from the word חרת charath, which means to engrave, or to furrow, because the rocks were cut as by a mallet. But on the opposite side, the place was surrounded by the sea, as though the Israelites had been cast into a sepulcher.

3. For Pharaoh will say. God here explains to Hoses His design; although, in His engagements with Pharaoh, he had so often gained glorious victories, that the last act still remained to overwhelm him and his army in the sea. He says that Pharaoh, then, will be caught in riffs snare, so as to rush upon his destruction. For, if the people had come into the land of Canaan by a direct course, they could not have been so readily pursued; therefore God, for the sake, of magnifying His glory, set a bait to catch the tyrant, just as fish are hooked. The word here used נבכים,152152     נבכים. Calvin adopts the explanation given by S. M., on the authority of Aben-Ezra, “Passivum est a verbo בוך, quod significat animo perplexum esse, ut nescias quo te vertas.” — W. nebukim, some render “perplexed,” others “entangled;” but it may be well explained, that they were to be “confounded in the land,” because they would find no way of egress; as being on all sides hemmed in in the narrow passage, with the sea behind them. And where He speaks of the intentions of Pharaoh, He does not, as men do, conceive a mere probability, but; He declares the secret mind of the tryrant, as of a thing which He well knew, since it is His attribute to discern our hearts. Afterwards He goes still further; for he signifies not only that He foresaw what would happen, but again repeats what we have so often observed before, that he would harden Pharaoh’s heart, that he should follow after the people. Whence it follows, that all this was directed by tits will and guidance. But He did not testify this to Hoses only in private, but would have them all previously admonished, lest, being terrified by the sudden assault of their enemies, they should despair of safety. But this admonition was less useful to them than it should have been; because, being soon after surprised, they are not less alarmed than as if they had been brought into danger through the error of God and the ignorance of Moses.

5. And it was told the king. Moses does not simply mean, that the king then first heard of the flight of the people, which had been anything but secret; but that the circumstances were reported to him, which stirred him up to make an attack upon them. When, then, he hears that the people fled in haste, he thinks that they may be retained by the slightest obstacle. Nor is he alone influenced by this foolish thought, but all his courtiers blame their own inertness for letting the people go. They inquire among themselves, Why they have let the children of Israel depart? as if they had not endeavored in every way to prevent their free exit — as if their pertinacity had not been ten times divinely overcome — as if God had not at length torn the people from them, in spite of their reluctance. But this is the stupidity of the wicked, that they only dread God’s present hand, and immediately forget all that they have seen. They were worn out by the fierce and dreadful punishments; but now, as if nothing had happened, they discuss why they had not resisted God even to the end, when he had compelled them to submit with extreme reluctance, after they had ten times found out that they struggled against Him in vain. But such is the pride by which the reprobate must be blinded, that they may be driven onwards to their own destruction, while they are persuaded that there is nothing difficult to them, and fight against. God.

6. And he made ready his chariot. Moses briefly describes the warlike preparation of Pharaoh, not only to magnify the greatness of God’s power in delivering the people, but also to show with what violent and obstinate audacity the wicked go forwards, when they give way to their depraved and criminal lusts. Just now the Egyptians were almost frightened to death, and cried out that all was over with them; scarcely has a day passed, when they collect a powerful army as if their forces were uninjured. If any object that 600 chariots, and even many more, although filled with armed men, were insufficient to conquer 600,000 men: I reply, that, since they knew that the battle would be with an unwarlike multitude, amongst which, too, women and children were mingled, they relied on this consideration, and hoped that they would have no difficulty in routing this enormous number, since it was both inexperienced and undisciplined. Nor would their hope have been disappointed, had not God been against them. But the event, proved how truly Solomon says,

“There is no wisdom, nor understanding, nor counsel against the Lord,” (Proverbs 21:30;)

and how justly Isaiah defies the enemies of the Church:

“Associate yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces; gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces; take counsel together, and it shall come to naught; speak the word, and it shall not stand.” (Isaiah 8:9, 10.)

For this presumption brings the wicked to naught; and, whilst they rush forward with unbridled violence, they conceive not that God has a secret bridle to restrain their lusts.

8. And the children of Israel went out.153153     Exierant. — Dathe. Moses indirectly reproves their too great security, which had freed them altogether from care and fear; and whence even the desire of calling on God had grown cold in them, as security always produces drowsiness and an idle spirit. Hence it came to pass, that this great danger, which they had not expected. produced the greater fear. But, on the other hand, Moses exalts God’s grace, because he so opportunely and so critically came to the help of the wretched Israelites exulting in their foolish joy; for otherwise, being suddenly overtaken, they would have fallen at once into confusion at the first shout of the enemy. Thus are we admonished by this example, that, while we are safe under God’s protection, the dangers, which might happen, are to be apprehended, not that we may be anxious and alarmed, but that we may humbly repose under His wings, and not be uplifted with inconsiderate joy. In the next verse Moses briefly relates, how formidable a sight presented itself to the Israelites, when they saw themselves shut in on one part by the sea, ingulfed, as it were, on both sides by the jaws of the defile, and the army of Pharaoh at the same time pressing upon them. He expressly mentions the strength of this army, in order that the glory of the aid divinely afforded them might more fully appear from the opposition.

Exodus 14:10-18

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.

10. Quumque applicuisset Pharao, levaverunt filii Israel oculos suos, et ecce, AEgyptii iter faciebant post eos. Itaque timuerunt valde, et clamaverunt filii Israel ad Jehovam.

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?

11. Et dixerunt ad Mosen, Nunquid (vel, An quia) quia non erant sepulchra in AEgypto, tulisti nos ut moreremur in deserto? Quare sic fecisti nobis, ut educeres nos ex AEgypto?

12. Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.

12. Nonne hoc est verbum quod diximus tibi in AEgypto, dicentes, Dimitte nos, ut serviamus Aegyptiis. Melius enim nobis erat servire AEgyptiis quam mori in deserto.

13. And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will show to you today: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more for ever.

13. Et dixit Moses ad populum, Ne timueritis: state et videte salutem Jehovae quam hodie faciet vobis. Nam quos vidistis Aegyptios hodie, non estis visuri post hac in saeculum.

14. The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.

14. Jehova pugnabit pro vobis, et vos quiescetis.

15. And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:

15. Dixerat autem Jehova ad Mosen, Quid clamas ad me? Alloquere filios Israel ut proficiscantur.

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.

16. Tu vero attolle baculum tuum, et extende manum tuam super mare, et scinde illud, et ingrediantur filii Israel per medium maris in arida.

17. And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honor upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.

17. Et ecce, ego roborabo cor Aegyptiorum, ut sequantur illos, glorificaborque in Pharaone, et in toto exercitu ejus, in curribus ejus, et in equitibus ejus.

18. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gotten me honor upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.

18. Et scient AEgyptii quod ego Jehova, quum glorificatus fuero in Pharaone, in quadrigis ejus, et in equitibus.

10. And when Pharaoh drew nigh. Moses implies that the alarm was greater from its suddenness, because no messenger had preceded, so that a very short time indeed was given them for preparation. There was, then, just ground for fear even in the bravest hearts, unless there had been something very extraordinary about them. But they sinned doubly; because both the hope of divine assistance had abandoned their hearts together with the recollection of God’s mercies; and they advanced to such an extent of ingratitude as to revolt insolently against God and Moses. Although there is an appearance of two contrary facts being here reported, viz., that they cried out unto the Lord, and mutinied against His minister; yet we may easily gather that this cry neither arose from faith nor from serious and! well-ordered affections, but that it was extorted by a confused impulse; since the natural sense impels all men, in their adversity, promiscuously to offer their prayers to God, although they neither embrace His mercy nor rely on His power. Thus David, in Psalm 107, says that all the distressed have recourse to God when any trouble oppresses them; because God, by the leadings of nature and by secret instinct, draws them to Him in their danger, in order that the most careless and most profane may be rendered more inexcusable. Yet in this way do they not render due honor to God, although by the utterance of their mouths they ask for safety from Him. It is, then, little to be wondered at, that the Israelites being reduced to such sore anxiety should have offered prayers and vows accompanied with God’s name; especially since He had recently manifested Himself to them in so many miracles, and they always had in sight the cloud, or the pillar of fire. But their insane cries against Moses were plain proof that, as in amazement, they had thoughtlessly hastened to call upon the name of God. For the exposition154154     The interpretation only noticed to be set aside is found in S. M. W. is unreasonable which some give, that certain of them piously prayed to God, whilst others of the multitude wickedly mutinied against Moses; because these two statements are made in conjunction, and cannot be referred to different persons.

11. Because there were no graves. This155155     This sentence is omitted in the French. is the more proper sense; for the double negative is put for a single one. It is a bitter and biting taunt; for, not contented with preferring the graves of Egypt to the death which they feared, they scoffingly inquire how he could have thought of bringing them into the wilderness, as if the land of Egypt was not large enough to bury them in. But God had openly and clearly proved Himself to be the leader of their departing; and, again, it was basely insensible of them to forget that they were not long since like dead men, and had been miraculously brought out of the grave. Their madness is wilder still, when they daringly call to remembrance the impious blasphemies which should have been a matter of shame and detestation to themselves. For how sad was their ingratitude in rejecting the proffered favor of deliverance, and in shutting the door against the advances of God, in order that they might rot in their misery! True, that God had pardoned this great depravity; but it was their part unceasingly to mourn, and to be as it were overwhelmed with shame, that their crime might be blotted out before God’s judgment-seat. But now, as if God and Moses were accountable to them, they boastfully and petulantly reproach them for not believing them, when they would have prudently prevented the evil. Hence are we taught how far men’s passions will carry them, when fear has extinguished their hopes, and they wait not patiently for God’s aid.

13. And Moses said unto the people. Although with his characteristic kindness Moses courteously exhorts them to be of good hope, yet it is not probable that he passed over in silence those wicked cries with which he saw that God was atrociously assailed. I conceive, then, that he discharged the duty of a faithful teacher by freely chastising their insolence, which was intolerable; and since he spoke under the inspiration of the preventing Spirit of God, there is no doubt but that God himself severely reproved their blasphemies, lest, by indulgence, they should grow worse. But Moses omits the reproof, and only shows that God’s loving-kindness went beyond the execrable impiety of the people, giving them consolation to assuage their grief and to calm their troubled hearts. Moreover, by bidding them not to fear, and “to stand still and see the salvation of the Lord,” he implies that, as long as fear has possession of our minds, they are blinded, and confounded in their stupidity so as not to receive the help of God. By the expression, “stand still,” he means “keep quiet;” as much as to say, that there was no occasion for any one to move a finger, because God alone would preserve them, though they were quiet and unmoved; and this he confirms in the next verse, where God promises to conquer for them whilst they hold their peace. But, in my opinion, it is not that he exhorts them to be quiet; but intimates that in God alone there would be strength enough to prevail, although they might be torpid like men entranced.: Now the Israelites, when, though preserved by God’s hand, they reject as much as possible His proffered grace, are an example to us how many repeated salvations are necessary for us, in order that God may bring us to perfect salvation; because, by our ingratitude, we nullify whatever He has given us, and thus should willfully perish, if God did not correct our apathy by the power of His Spirit.

15. And the Lord156156     Had said. — Lat. said I have used the praeter-pluperfect tense for the sake of avoiding ambiguity; for the reason is here given why Moses so confidently reproved the hesitation of the people, and promised that they should be safe under the present help of God; viz., because he had already been assured by divine revelation that God was willing to aid His people, and had in readiness a new means for their preservation. For he could not have been the proclaimer and witness of their safety if he had not received the promise. Therefore he relieves his confidence from the imputation of rashness, since he advanced nothing which he had not already heard from the mouth of God himself. These words, “Wherefore criest thou unto me?” some interpreters extend to the whole people, whose representative Moses was; but this sense is too far-fetched, and I have recently observed, that the prayers of the people were by no means directed to God. I doubt not., therefore, that the holy man had prayed apart in the insurrection of the people. Nor is this pious duty disapproved of in the passage; but rather shows that he had not spent his labor in vain, nor poured forth his words into the air. The sense, then, is, “Weary not yourself by crying any more; the event will prove that you are heard. Lift up your rod, then, whereby you may divide the sea, so that the children of Israel may go dry shod through the midst of it.” This passage shows that they are guilty of rashness who promise anything either to themselves or others, as to particular blessings, without the special testimony of God.

17. I will harden. God once more affirms, for the greater exaltation of His own power, that He will harden the Egyptians, so that, as if devoted to destruction, they may cast themselves into the midst of the sea; which they certainly would never have done, unless He had guided their hearts by his secret influence; because it could not have escaped them that a passage for the Israelites was opened by His special gift, from whence they might gather that the elements were at war with them. Therefore they would never have dared to enter the sea, which they saw to be armed against them, unless they had been blinded by God. Whence it appears how unworthy is the imagination of those who pretend that there was but a bare permission here, where God would make His power conspicuous. It would have been enough that after the Israelites had passed over to the opposite shore the sea should have returned to its place and prevented the Egyptians from following; but God was willing, by a double miracle, to consult for the security of His people for a long’ time to come. And this, indeed, came to pass; for the flower of the whole nation being destroyed, the Egyptians were unable to recruit their army; especially when the heir to the throne had already been slain, and the king himself was now taken away. On this account it is said, that the Egyptians should know that the God of Israel was the Lord; because in this last act they found that the power of rebellion was altogether taken from them.

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.

26. And the Lord said unto Moses. Moses here relates how the sea, in destroying the Egyptians, had no less obeyed God’s command than when it lately afforded a passage for His people, for it. was by the uplifting of the rod of Moses that the waters came again into their place, as they had been before gathered into heaps. The Egyptians now repented of their precipitate madness, and determined, as conquered by God’s power, to leave the children of Israel, and to return home; but God, who willed their destruction, shut up the way of escape at this very crisis. But, that we may know how evident a miracle was here, Moses now adds the circumstance of time, for he says that the morning then appeared, so that the broad daylight might show the whole transaction to the eyes of the spectators. The waters, indeed, were heaped up in the night; but the pillar of fire, which shone on the Egyptians, and pointed out their way, did not allow God’s blessing to be hidden from them. The case of the Egyptians was otherwise: therefore it behooved that they should perish by day, and that the sun itself should render their destruction visible. This also tends to prove God’s power, because, whilst they were endeavoring to fly, He openly urged them on, as if they were intentionally drowning themselves.

28. And the waters returned. In these two verses also Moses continues the same relation. It plainly appears from Josephus and Eusebius what silly tales Manetho158158     Les ennemis de Dieu. — Fr. and others have invented about the Exodus of the people; for although Satan has attempted by their falsehoods to overshadow the truth of sacred history, so foolish and trifling are their accounts that they need not refutation. The time itself, which they indicate, sufficiently convicts them of ignorance. But God has admirably provided for our sakes, in choosing Moses His servant, who was the minister of their deliverance, to be also the witness and historian of it; and this, too, amongst those who had seen all with their own eyes, and who, in their peculiar frowardness, would never have suffered one, who was so severe a reprover of them, to make any false statements of fact. Since, then, his authority is sure and unquestionable, let us only observe what his method was, viz., briefly to relate in this place how there was not one left of Pharaoh’s mighty army; that the Israelites all to a man passed over in safety and dry-shod; that, by the rod of Moses, the nature of the waters was changed, so that they stood like solid walls; that by the same rod they were afterwards made liquid, so as suddenly to overwhelm the Egyptians. This enumeration plainly shows an extraordinary work of God to have been here, for as to the trifling of certain profane writers159159     “Artapanus, an ancient heathen historian, informs us that this was what the more ignorant Menophites, who lived at a great distance, pretended, though he confesses that the more learned Heliopolitans, who lived much nearer, owned the destruction of the Egyptians and the deliverance of the Israelites to have been miraculous.” — Whiston’s Josephus, Notes on Jew. Ant., 2:16. “At an early period, historians (particularly in Egypt) hostile to the Jews, asserted that Moses, well acquainted with the tides of the Red Sea, took advantage of the ebb, and passed over his army, while the incautious Egyptians, attempting to follow, were surprised by the flood and perished. Yet, after every concession, it seems quite evident that, without one particular wind, the ebb-tide, even in the narrowest part of the channel, could not be kept back long enough to allow a number of people to cross in safety. We have thus the alternative of supposing that a man of the consummate prudence and sagacity, and the local knowledge attributed to Moses, altered, suspended, or at least did not hasten his march, and thus deliberately involved the people whom he had rescued at so much pains and risk, in the danger of being overtaken by the enemy, led back as slaves, or massacred, on the chance that an unusually strong wind would blow at a particular hour, for a given time, so as to keep back the flood, then die away, and allow the tide to return at the precise instant when the Egyptians were in the middle of the passage.” — Milman’s Hist. of the Jews, b. 2. Dr. Kitto says that, in those regions, the blowing of an easterly wind would be in itself a miracle. about the ebb and flow of the Arabian Gulf, it falls to nothing of itself. From these things, therefore, he at last justly infers, that the Israelites had seen the powerful hand of God then and there exerted.

31. And Israel saw. After he has said that the Israelites saw the dead bodies spread upon the seashore, he now adds that in this spectacle God’s hand,160160     So in margin, A.V. i.e., His power, appeared, because there was no difficulty in distinguishing between God’s wrath and His fatherly love, in preserving so miraculously an unwarlike multitude, and in destroying in the depths of the sea an army formidable on every account. Moses, therefore, does not unreasonably conclude here that the Divine power was conspicuous in the deliverance of the people. He afterwards adds, that, not without their profit, did the Israelites see God’s hand; because they feared Him, and believed Him, and His servant Moses. “Fear” is here used for that reverence which kept the people in the way of duty, for they were not only affected by dread, but also attracted to devote themselves to God, whose goodness they had so sweetly and delightfully experienced. But although this pious feeling was not durable, at any rate with the greater number of them, it is still probable that it rooted itself in some few of them, because some seed ever remained, nor was the recollection of this blessing entirely destroyed. By the word “believed,” I think that the principal part of fear is marked, and I understand it to be added expositively, as if it were said, “that they reverenced God, and testified this by faithfully embracing His doctrine and obediently submitting themselves to Moses.” I understand it that they were all generally thus affected, because the recognition of God’s hand bowed them to obedience, that they should be more tractable and docile, and more inclined to follow God. But this ardor soon passed away from the greater number of them, as (hypocrites161161     This word, added in the Fr., seems necessary to complete the sense. ) are wont to be only influenced by what is visible and present; although I hold to what I have just said, that, in some small number, the fear of God, which they had once conceived from a sense of His grace, still abode in rigor. Meanwhile, let us learn from this passage that God is never truly and duly worshipped without faith, because incredulity betrays gross contempt of Him; and although hypocrites boast of their heaping all kinds of honor upon God, still they inflict the greatest insult upon Him, by refusing to believe His revelations. But Moses, who had been chosen God’s minister for governing the people, is not unreasonably here united with Him, for although God’s majesty manifested itself by conspicuous signs, still Moses was the mediator, out of whose mouth God willed that His words should be heard, so that the holy man could not be despised without God’s own authority being rejected. A profitable doctrine is gathered from hence, that whenever God propounds His word to us by men, those who faithfully deliver His commands must be as much attended to as if He himself openly descended from heaven. This recommendation of the ministry ought to be more than sufficient to refute their folly, who set at naught the outward preaching of the word. Let us, then, hold fast this principle, that only those obey God who receive the prophets sent from Him, because it is not lawful to put asunder what He has joined together. Christ has more clearly expressed this in the words, —

“He that heareth you, heareth me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth me.” (Matthew 10:40.)

But it is more than absurd, that the Pope, with his filthy clergy, should take this to himself, as if he was to be heard when he puts forward God’s name; for (to pass over many other reasons which I could mention) it will be, first of all, necessary that he should prove himself to be God’s servant, from whence I wish he was not so far removed. For here the obedience of the people is praised on no other grounds but because they “believed the Lord,” and, together with Him, “His servant Moses.”

1. Then sang Moses. Moses introduced this song not only in testimony of his gratitude, but also in confirmation of the history; for the song which he dictated to the Israelites was not concerning an unknown event, but he brought them forward as eye-witnesses, that all ages might know that nothing thus far had been written which had not openly been declared by 600,000 men, besides their wives and children. Moses, therefore, set the example in accordance with his office, whilst the people, by singing with him, testified their approbation in a manner which admits of no contradiction. For’ to whom could they have lied, since they were each other’s witnesses, and the song was listened to by no strangers? Moses seems to mark their confidence by the repetition in the Hebrew, they “spoke, saying.” On this account, too, their confession, pronounced by all their mouths, deserves more credit, because the greater part of them soon after yielded to ingratitude: from whence we gather that it was only on compulsion that they gave God glory. But, although Moses was the author of the song, yet he does not say “I will sing” in his own person, but prescribes to all what each individual ought heartily to do.

2. The Lord is my strength. In this expression they acknowledge that they have a sufficient defense in God; and afterwards they add, that His grace furnishes them with just ground for praise. The sum is, that they were strong in God, and had not conquered their enemies by their own bravery; and that, therefore, it is not lawful to glory save in God alone. But we must observe that the help of God is conjoined with His praise, because this is the end of all His benefits, that we should hold our salvation as received from Him, which is here mentioned in the third place, for to say that God had “become their salvation,” was as much as to say that the people were saved by His grace. In the second clause there is an antithesis between the true God and all false ones; for there is much emphasis in the declaration, “he is my God,” as by it Moses excludes all that multitude of gods which then were everywhere worshipped in the world. To the same effect he adds, “my father’s God,” thus distinguishing the faith of Abraham from all the superstitions of the Gentiles. The faithful then declare that it is safe for them to repose in this One God, and that His praises are worthy of celebration. Isaiah imitates this figure. Isaiah 25:9,

“Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him.”

What follows in the next verse — “The Lord is a man of war,” is to the same purpose, for although at first sight the phrase may seem a harsh one, still it is not without beauty: that God is armed in military attire, to contend with all the forces of His foes. Therefore, says Moses, the name of the Lord belongs to Him alone, because His hand awaits to destroy whatever lifts itself up against Him.

4. Pharaoh’s chariots. Moses in these words only meant to assert, that the drowning of Pharaoh was manifestly God’s work. Therefore, he now illustrates in more glowing terms the transaction which he had before simply narrated; as also when he compares the Egyptians to stones and lead, as if he had said that they were hurled by God’s mighty hand into the deep, so that they had no power to swim out. On this score, he repeats twice the mention of God’s “right hand;” as much as to say that such a miracle could not be ascribed either to fortune or to the efforts of man. We must take notice of what he soon after says, that the Egyptians “rose up against” God; because they had treated His people with injustice and cruelty. Thence we gather, that God’s majesty is violated by the wicked, whenever His Church, whose safety He has undertaken to preserve by His faithful patronage, is assailed by them. “Thou sentest forth thy wrath,” and “with the blast of thy nostrils the waters were gathered together,” are to be read in conjunction; for their meaning is that God, without any instrumentality, but by His simple volition, and in manifestation of His wrath, had brought the enemy to. destruction.

9. The enemy said. He relates the boast of Pharaoh not merely in exultation over him, but to magnify the miracle, whereby God gives over to destruction this wolf intent upon his prey. But there is more force in the language when he introduces the Egyptians as speakers, than as if he had described their plans; for thus does the marvelous catastrophe more strikingly affect our minds, when the Egyptians, brought as it were on the stage, not only trumpet forth their victory, but insolently give vent to their arrogance and cruelty. But, presently, the Lord is introduced on the other side, dissipating by a single blast their terrible audacity. For whence came this great confidence to the Egyptians, promising themselves that they should be satisfied with the spoils, and that they should have nothing more to do in order to put the people to death than to draw their swords, but from the fact of their being very well armed against this unwarlike multitude? Hence, then, God’s power shone forth more brightly, when He put them out of the way by “blowing with His wind.”

11. Who is like unto thee? Moses concludes this song of praise with an ejaculation, because the grandeur of the subject transcends the power of words. The interrogation expresses more than as if he had simply asserted that none can be compared with God; because it marks both admiration and assured confidence in the truth of what he says; for he exclaims, as if overwhelmed with astonishment, “Who is like unto thee, O Lord?” The notion of some that by the word “gods” he means the angels, is more suitable to other passages; for instance, (Psalm 89:6,) “Who in heaven can be compared unto the Lord; who among the sons162162     Filios Dei. — V. of the mighty can be likened unto the Lord?” for it immediately follows, “God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are round about him.” (Ver. 7, etc.) The meaning then is,163163     “Or le Sainct Esprit veut dire;” now the Holy Spirit means to say. — Fr. that, although there be excellence in the angels, still God is exalted far above them all; but here it may be more properly referred to idols, for Moses (as has been said) is professedly contrasting’ the one true God, whose religion and worship existed among the children of Abraham, with the delusions of the Gentiles. The word “sanctitas,” holiness, expresses that glory which separates God from all His creatures; and therefore, in a manner, it degrades all the other deities which the world has invented for itself; since the majesty of the one only God is thus eminent and honorable. He adds, “fearful in praises;” because He cannot be duly praised, without ravishing us with astonishment. Moses afterwards explains himself, by saying that God’s works are wonderful. In my opinion, their explanation is a poor one, who think that He is said to be “fearful in praises,” because He is to be praised with fear; and theirs is farfetched, who say that he is terrible, even when he is praised.

13. Thou in thy mercy hast led them forth.164164     Wilt lead them forth. — Lat. The verb in Hebrew is indeed in the past tense; but, since it is plain from the context that their hope for what was to come was founded on God’s former mercies, I have preferred making the meaning clearer by translating it in the future.165165     “Selon l’usage commun de la langue;” according to the common usage of the language. — Fr. Moses, therefore, exhorts the people to proceed to their promised land boldly and joyfully; because God will not forsake His work in the midst of it. And on this account he expressly mentions their redemption; as though he had said, that the people were not in vain delivered from impending death, but that God, as He had begun, would be their constant guide. David uses the same argument, (Psalm 31:5,)

“Into thine hand I commit my spirit; thou hast redeemed me,
O Lord God of truth.”

For, as the beginning of their redemption has proceeded from God’s mere mercy, so he says that for this same reason He will lead them even to their promised inheritance. But, since the many obstacles might impress them with alarm, he at the same time sets before them the “strength” of God; for the whole praise is given to God, who had both been freely gracious to His people, and, asking assistance from no other source, but contented with His own power, had supplied what would have been otherwise incredible.

14. The people shall hear. Again in this place I have not scrupled to change the tenses; for it is plain that Moses is speaking of things future; although I do not deny, that by verbs of the past tense he confirms the certainty of the matter; which is a common figure with the Prophets. This boast depends on the mention of God’s “strength;” for it was impossible for the Israelites to make their way through so many adverse nations into the land of Canaan, unless God had, as it were, put forth His hand from heaven and fought for them. Lest, then, their numerous difficulties should dishearten them, Moses declares that, although many powerful enemies should endeavor to oppose them, terror shall possess them all from heaven, so that, in their confusion and astonishment, they shall have no power of resistance.

16. Fear and dread shall fall upon them. Some read this in the optative mood, but with little probability, as it seems to me; for Moses is not so much expressing wishes or prayers, as animating the Israelites to have a good hope, and to be firmly convinced that God would not make an end until He had finished the course of His grace. And this we may fairly apply to ourselves at this time, viz., that God will continue His calling in the elect, until they are brought on to the goal. For the heavenly inheritance, (to which we are called,) answers to “the mountain” of His holiness.166166     Sion. — Fr. The same reason, which was just before advanced, is again repeated, viz., that God would not fail His people until the end, because He had “purchased” them to Himself. For the translation “which thou hast possessed” is not so suitable; because although Moses signifies that they are God’s peculiar people, yet is their deliverance undoubtedly alleged as the cause of their full redemption; as if he had said, that the people whom God had once undertaken to protect would always be dear to Him.

17. Thou shalt bring them in. The metaphor of planting denotes a firm habitation; as also in Psalm 44:2, “Thou didst drive out the heathen with thine hand, and plantedst” our fathers, and causedst them to take root. Moreover, by his commendatory allusion to the temple, Moses excites in the people’s hearts a desire for the land, which was to be God’s “Sanctuary;” and by this secret thought attracts them, indifferent as they were, to seek the enjoyment of this great blessing. He also prophesies of Mount Sion many ages before the temple was erected there; from whence we gather that it was not chosen by man’s will, but consecrated by the eternal counsel and predestination of God. For it behooved that the gratuitous favor of God should manifest itself as to this place, as well as to men’s persons. Thus, in Psalm 78:67, it is said,

“He refused the tabernacle of Joseph, and chose not the tribe of Ephraim; but chose the of Judah,” etc.

Elsewhere also, (Psalm 132:13, 14,)

“For the Lord hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation: this is my rest for ever; here will I dwell, for I have desired it.”

But the stability of the temple is also foretold; as in another passage,167167     It will be seen that the sense, and not the words, of the citation are given. “Thy hand hath founded Zion.” (Psalm 87:1.) And God himself declares by Isaiah that He will not suffer Jerusalem to be laid waste, (Isaiah 37:26,) because of ancient times He had formed it. But although the whole land of Canaan is elsewhere called God’s rest, and the people was never collected into one city, yet, because God blessed the whole nation and land out c f His sanctuary, therefore is special mention made of His holy mountain. But this prophecy was very needful for the support of their minds, because Jerusalem only came into their power at a late period; and doubtless their posterity would have been still more slow to take possession of it had not their hearts been stimulated by this promise. A short sentence follows concerning God’s eternal reign, on which the perpetuity of the Church is founded. Thus David, (Psalm 102:27,) after having said that God would always be the, same, and His years would have no end, thus concludes, “The children of thy servants shall continue, and their deed shall be established before thee.” (Ver. 28.) Moses, then, would extend the hope of the people to all ages, because of God’s kingdom there is no end.

19. For the horse of Pharaoh went in. This verse does not; seem to be suited to the song, and therefore I am rather of opinion that Moses returns here to the history, and assigns the reason why the Israelites so magnificently celebrated the praises of God. For the sake of avoiding ambiguity, it would perhaps be better thus to render it, — “For the horse of Pharaoh had gone in, and the Lord had brought again the waters of the sea upon them, but; the children of Israel had gone on dry land.”168168     There is the following addition in the Fr.: — ‘Voyla pourquoy j’ai mis les verbes en temps plus que parfait;” you see why I have put the words in the pluperfect tense.

20. And Miriam the prophetess. Moses here introduces in his song the ἀντιστροφὴ, such as were constantly used by the lyric poets. For God would have not only men to be the proclaimers of this great miracle, but associated the women with them. When, therefore, the men had finished their song, the women followed in order. Although it is not certain whether the first verse was intercalary, (as the sacred history testifies the following sentence to have been in a solemn hymn: — “For his mercy endureth for ever,” 1 Chronicles 16:34, which is also intercalated in Psalm 136), or whether the women repeated alternately what the men had sung. It little matters which opinion you prefer, except that the former is more probable. But although Moses honors his sister by the title of “prophetess,” he does not say that she assumed to herself the office of public teaching, but only that she was the leader and directress of the others in praising God. The beating of timbrels may indeed appear absurd to some, but the custom of the nation excuses it, which David witnesses to have existed also in his time, where he enumerates, together with the singers, “the damsels playing with timbrels,” (Psalm 68:25,) evidently in accordance with common and received custom. Yet must it be observed, at the same time, that musical instruments were among the legal ceremonies which Christ at His coming abolished; and therefore we, under the Gospel, must maintain a greater simplicity.169169     C.’s opinion on this subject will be found at greater length in his Commetary on the Psalms, (Calvin Society’s Translation,) vol. 1:539; 3:98, 312, 495; 4:72, 73; 5:312, 320. Perhaps the following note on Psalm 81:2, may most conveniently embody his sentiments: — “With respect to the tabret, harp, and psaltery, we have formerly observed, and shall find it necessary afterwards to repeat the same remark, that the Levites, under the law, were justified in making use of instrumental music in the worship of God; it having been His will to train His people, while they were as yet tender and like children, by such rudiments, until the coming of Christ. But now, when the clear light of the Gospel has dissipated the shadows of the law, and taught us that God is to be served in a simpler form, it would be to act a foolish and mistaken part to imitate that which the Prophet enjoined only upon those of his own time. From this it is apparent that the Papists have shown themselves to be very apes in transferring it to themselves.” — Vol 3, p. 312. Elsewhere he says, “Paul allows us to bless God in the public assembly of the saints only in a known tongue. (1 Corinthians 14:16.) The voice of man, although not understood by the generality, assuredly excels all inanimate instruments of music; and yet we see what St. Paul determines concerning speaking in an unknown tongue.” — Commentary on Psalm 33:2, vol. 1:539.

22. So Moses brought. Moses now relates that, from the time, of their passage through the sea, they had been suffering for three days from the want of water, that the first they discovered was bitter, and that thence the name was given to the place. This was indeed no light temptation, to suffer thirst for three days in a dry land, and nowhere to meet with relief or remedy. No wonder, then, that they should have groaned with anxiety; but grief, when it is full of contumacy, deserves no pardon. In such an emergency, they should have directed their prayers to God; whereas they not only neglected to pray, but violently assailed Moses, and demanded of him the drink which they knew could only be given them by God. But because they had not yet learnt to trust in Him, they fly not to Him for aid, except by imperiously commanding Him, in the person of His servant, to obey their wishes; for this interrogation, “What shall we drink?” is as much as to say, “Arrange with God to supply us with drink.” But they do not directly address God, of whose assistance they feel that they have need, because unbelief is ever proud.

25. And he cried. Hence we gather that Moses alone duly prayed when the people tumultuously rose against him, and that they who were not worthy of the common air itself were abundantly supplied with sweet water. Herein shone forth the inestimable mercy of God, who deigned to change the nature of the water for the purpose of supplying such wicked, and rebellious, and ungrateful men. He might have given them sweet water to drink at first, but He wished by the bitter to make prominent the bitterness which lurked in their hearts. He might, too, have corrected by His mere will the evil in the waters, so that they should have grown sweet spontaneously. It is not certain why He preferred to apply the tree, except to reprove their foolish impiety by showing that He has many remedies in His power for every evil. A question also arises as to the tree, whether it inherently possessed the property which it there exercised. But although probable arguments may be adduced on both sides, I rather incline to the opinion that there was indeed a natural power concealed in the tree, and yet that the taste of the water was miraculously corrected; because it would have been difficult so speedily to collect a sufficient quantity of the tree for purifying a river; for 600,000 men, together with their wives and children and cattle, would not have been contented with a little streamlet. But I am led by no trifling reason to think that this property was previously existing in the tree; because it is plain that a particular species was pointed out to Moses, yet does not that prevent us from believing that a greater efficacy than usual was imparted to it, so that the waters should be immediately sweetened by its being put into them. What follows in the second part of the verse admits of a double signification, viz., either that, whereas God had there ordained a statute, yet that He was tempted by the people; or, because God was tempted by the people, therefore He had ordained the statute. If the first sense be preferred, their crime will be augmented by the comparison; for the impiety of the people was all the worse because, being taught by the voice of God, yet in the very same place they gave the reins to their rebellious spirit. But I rather embrace the latter sense, viz., that God chastised the sin of the people by whom He had been tempted. It was in fact a kind of tempting of God, because they not only doubtingly inquired who should give them water, but in these words manifested their despair. But because in the same context it is said, “there he made for them a statute, and there he tempted (or proved) them,” the name of God appears to be the subject in both clauses, and it is predicated of the people that they received the ordinance and were proved. Thus the meaning will be, that after God had tried His people, by the want of water, He at the same time admonished them by His word, that hereafter they should submit themselves more teachably and obediently to His commands.

26. If thou wilt diligently hearken. Moses now unfolds what was the statute or ordinance which God promulgated. For here the reference is not to the whole law which was afterwards given on mount Sinai, but to the special admonition which served to chastise the wickedness of the people. The sum of it is, that if the Israelites were tractable and, obedient to God, He on the other hand would be kind and. bountiful to them. And it is an implied rebuke, that they might know whatever troubles they experienced to be, brought upon them by their sins. He proposes the Egyptians to them as an example, whose rebellion they had seen punished by God with such severe and heavy calamities. “I am the Lord that healeth thee,” is immediately added in confirmation, as if he had said, that the Israelites were liable to the same plagues which had been inflicted on the Egyptians, and were only exempt from them because God performed the office of a healer. And truly whatsoever diseases afflict the human race, we may see in them, as in so many mirrors, our own, miseries, that, we may perceive that there is no health in us, except in so far as God spares us. We are also taught in this verse that this is the rule of a good life, when we obey God’s voice and study to please Him. But because the will of God was soon after to be proclaimed in the law, He expressly commands them to “give ear to His commandments, and to keep His statutes.”170170     “Je ne m’arreste point aux mots Hebrieux, pource que je ne voy pas qu’il en soit besoin pour les gens de nostre langue;” I do not stay to speak of the Hebrew words, because I do not see that it is necessary for those of our language. — Fr. I know not whether there is any force in the opinion of some who distinguish the word חקים, chokim, (which it is usual to translate “statutes,”) from precepts, as if they were mere declarations of His pleasure to which no reason is attached. Let it suffice that God’s law is commended under many names, to take away all pretext of ignorance.

27. And they came to Elim. Moses here relates that a more pleasant station was granted to the people, when they were led to a well-watered spot, even planted with palm-trees, which do not usually grow in a dry soil. But we learn from what precedes, that this was a concession to their infirmity, because they had borne their thirst so impatiently.