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15. Song of Moses and Miriam

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. 2The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him. 3The Lord is a man of war: the Lord is his name. 4Pharaoh’s chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea. 5The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone. 6Thy right hand, O Lord, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O Lord, hath dashed in pieces the enemy. 7And 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. 8And 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. 9The 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. 10Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them: they sank as lead in the mighty waters. 11Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders? 12Thou stretchedst out thy right hand, the earth swallowed them. 13Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation. 14The people shall hear, and be afraid: sorrow shall take hold on the inhabitants of Palestina. 15Then 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. 16Fear and dread shall fall upon them; 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. 17Thou 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. 18The Lord shall reign for ever and ever. 19For 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.

20And 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. 21And Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. 22So 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.

23And 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. 24And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? 25And 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, 26And 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.

27And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters.

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.


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