Then the LORD gave these instructions to Moses:
"Tell the people to march toward Pi-hahiroth between Migdol and the sea. Camp there along the shore, opposite Baal-zephon.
Then Pharaoh will think, 'Those Israelites are confused. They are trapped between the wilderness and the sea!'
And once again I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and he will chase after you. I have planned this so I will receive great glory at the expense of Pharaoh and his armies. After this, the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD!" So the Israelites camped there as they were told.
When word reached the king of Egypt that the Israelites were not planning to return to Egypt after three days, Pharaoh and his officials changed their minds. "What have we done, letting all these slaves get away?" they asked.
So Pharaoh called out his troops and led the chase in his chariot.
He took with him six hundred of Egypt's best chariots, along with the rest of the chariots of Egypt, each with a commander.
The LORD continued to strengthen Pharaoh's resolve, and he chased after the people of Israel who had escaped so defiantly.
All the forces in Pharaoh's army -- all his horses, chariots, and charioteers -- were used in the chase. The Egyptians caught up with the people of Israel as they were camped beside the shore near Pi-hahiroth, across from Baal-zephon.
As Pharaoh and his army approached, the people of Israel could see them in the distance, marching toward them. The people began to panic, and they cried out to the LORD for help.
Then they turned against Moses and complained, "Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness? Weren't there enough graves for us in Egypt? Why did you make us leave?
Didn't we tell you to leave us alone while we were still in Egypt? Our Egyptian slavery was far better than dying out here in the wilderness!"
But Moses told the people, "Don't be afraid. Just stand where you are and watch the LORD rescue you. The Egyptians that you see today will never be seen again.
The LORD himself will fight for you. You won't have to lift a finger in your defense!"
Then the LORD said to Moses, "Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving!
Use your shepherd's staff -- hold it out over the water, and a path will open up before you through the sea. Then all the people of Israel will walk through on dry ground.
Yet I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they will follow the Israelites into the sea. Then I will receive great glory at the expense of Pharaoh and his armies, chariots, and charioteers.
When I am finished with Pharaoh and his army, all Egypt will know that I am the LORD!"
Then the angel of God, who had been leading the people of Israel, moved to a position behind them, and the pillar of cloud also moved around behind them.
The cloud settled between the Israelite and Egyptian camps. As night came, the pillar of cloud turned into a pillar of fire, lighting the Israelite camp. But the cloud became darkness to the Egyptians, and they couldn't find the Israelites.
Then Moses raised his hand over the sea, and the LORD opened up a path through the water with a strong east wind. The wind blew all that night, turning the seabed into dry land.
So the people of Israel walked through the sea on dry ground, with walls of water on each side!
Then the Egyptians -- all of Pharaoh's horses, chariots, and charioteers -- followed them across the bottom of the sea.
But early in the morning, the LORD looked down on the Egyptian army from the pillar of fire and cloud, and he threw them into confusion.
Their chariot wheels began to come off, making their chariots impossible to drive. "Let's get out of here!" the Egyptians shouted. "The LORD is fighting for Israel against us!"
When all the Israelites were on the other side, the LORD said to Moses, "Raise your hand over the sea again. Then the waters will rush back over the Egyptian chariots and charioteers."
So as the sun began to rise, Moses raised his hand over the sea. The water roared back into its usual place, and the LORD swept the terrified Egyptians into the surging currents.
The waters covered all the chariots and charioteers -- the entire army of Pharaoh. Of all the Egyptians who had chased the Israelites into the sea, not a single one survived.
The people of Israel had walked through the middle of the sea on dry land, as the water stood up like a wall on both sides.
This was how the LORD rescued Israel from the Egyptians that day. And the Israelites could see the bodies of the Egyptians washed up on the shore.
When the people of Israel saw the mighty power that the LORD had displayed against the Egyptians, they feared the LORD and put their faith in him and his servant Moses.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)