Lord, when thou wentest out of Seir, when thou marchedst out
of the fields of Edom
Here properly begins the song, what goes before being but a preface to it; and it begins with an apostrophe to the Lord, taking notice of some ancient appearances of God for his people, which were always matter of praise and thankfulness; and the rather are they taken notice of here, because of some likeness between them and what God had now wrought; and this passage refers either to the giving of the law on Sinai, as the Targum and Jarchi; see ( Deuteronomy 33:2 ) ; or rather, as Aben Ezra, Kimchi, and others, to the Lord's going before Israel, after they had encompassed the land of Edom, and marched from thence towards the land of Canaan, when they fought with Sihon and Og, kings of the Amorites, and conquered them; which struck terror into all the nations round about them, and the prophecies of Moses in his song began to be fulfilled, ( Exodus 15:14 Exodus 15:15 ) ; and which dread and terror are expressed in the following figurative phrases:
the earth trembled;
and the like figure Homer F1 uses at the approach of Neptune, whom he calls the shaker of the earth, perhaps borrowed from hence; it may design the inhabitants of it, the Amorites, Moabites, Edomites, Philistines, Canaanites, and others:
and the heavens dropped, the clouds also dropped water;
which, as it may literally refer to the storm and tempest of rain that might be then as now, see ( Judges 4:15 ) , so may figuratively express the panic great personages, comparable to the heavens and the clouds in them were thrown into, when their hearts melted like water, or were like clouds dissolved into it.
F1 (treme d' ourea makra kai ulh) , Iliad. 13. v. 18, 34, 44.