Exodus 14

Listen to Exodus 14

Crossing the Red Sea

1 Then the LORD said to Moses,
2 "Tell the people of Israel to 1turn back and encamp in front of Pi-hahiroth, between 2Migdol and the sea, in front of Baal-zephon; you shall encamp facing it, by the sea.
3 For Pharaoh will say of the people of Israel, 'They are wandering in the land; the wilderness has shut them in.'
4 And 3I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and he will pursue them, and I will 4get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, 5and 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 6mind of Pharaoh and his servants was changed toward the people, and they said, "What is this we have done, that we have let Israel go from serving us?"
6 So he made ready his chariot and took his army with him,
7 and took 7six hundred chosen chariots and all the other chariots of Egypt with officers over all of them.
8 And 8the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued the people of Israel while 9the people of Israel were going out defiantly.
9 The 10Egyptians pursued them, all Pharaoh's horses and chariots and his horsemen and his army, and overtook them 11encamped at the sea, by Pi-hahiroth, in front of Baal-zephon.
10 When Pharaoh drew near, the people of Israel lifted up their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they feared greatly. And the people of Israel 12cried out to the LORD.
11 They 13said to Moses, "Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt?
12 Is not this what 14we said to you in Egypt: 'Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians'? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness."
13 And Moses said to the people, 15"Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today. For 16the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again.
14 17The LORD will fight for you, and you have only 18to be silent."
15 The LORD said to Moses, "Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward.
16 19Lift up your staff, and 20stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the people of Israel may go through the sea on dry ground.
17 And 21I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they shall go in after them, and 22I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, his chariots, and his horsemen.
18 And the Egyptians 23shall know that I am the LORD, 24when I have gotten glory over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen."
19 25Then the angel of God who was going before the host of Israel moved and went behind them, and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them,
20 coming between the host of Egypt and the host of Israel. And there was the cloud and the darkness. And it lit up the night[a] without one coming near the other all night.
21 Then Moses 26stretched out his hand over the sea, and the LORD drove the sea back by 27a strong east wind all night and 28made the sea dry land, and the waters were 29divided.
22 And 30the people of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground, the waters being 31a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.
23 The Egyptians pursued and went in after them into the midst of the sea, all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.
24 And in the morning watch the LORD in the pillar of fire and of cloud looked down on the Egyptian forces and threw the Egyptian forces into a panic,
25 clogging[b] their chariot wheels so that they drove heavily. And the Egyptians said, "Let us flee from before Israel, for the 32LORD fights for them against the Egyptians."
26 Then the LORD said to Moses, 33"Stretch out your hand over the sea, that the water may come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen."
27 34So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the sea 35returned to its normal course when the morning appeared. And as the Egyptians fled into it, the LORD 36threw[c] the Egyptians into the midst of the sea.
28 The 37waters returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen; of all the host of Pharaoh that had followed them into the sea, 38not one of them remained.
29 But the 39people of Israel walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.
30 Thus the LORD 40saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore.
31 41Israel saw the great power that the LORD used against the Egyptians, so the people feared the LORD, and they 42believed in the LORD and in his servant Moses.

Images for Exodus 14

Exodus 14 Commentary

Chapter 14

God directs the Israelites to Pihahiroth, Pharaoh pursues after them. (1-9) The Israelites murmur, Moses comforts them. (10-14) God instructs Moses, The cloud between the Israelites and the Egyptians. (15-20) The Israelites pass through the Red sea, which drowns the Egyptians. (21-31)

Verses 1-9 Pharaoh would think that all Israel was entangled in the wilderness, and so would become an easy prey. But God says, I will be honoured upon Pharaoh. All men being made for the honour of their Maker, those whom he is not honoured by, he will be honoured upon. What seems to tend to the church's ruin, is often overruled to the ruin of the church's enemies. While Pharaoh gratified his malice and revenge, he furthered the bringing to pass God's counsels concerning him. Though with the greatest reason he had let Israel go, yet now he was angry with himself for it. God makes the envy and rage of men against his people, a torment to themselves. Those who set their faces heavenward, and will live godly in Christ Jesus, must expect to be set upon by Satan's temptations and terrors. He will not tamely part with any out of his service.

Verses 10-14 There was no way open to Israel but upward, and thence their deliverance came. We may be in the way of duty, following God, and hastening toward heaven, yet may be troubled on every side. Some cried out unto the Lord; their fear led them to pray, and that was well. God brings us into straits, that he may bring us to our knees. Others cried out against Moses; fear set them murmuring as if God were not still able to work miracles. They quarrel with Moses for bringing them out of Egypt; and so were angry with God for the greatest kindness ever done them; thus gross are the absurdities of unbelief. Moses says, Fear ye not. It is always our duty and interest, when we cannot get out of troubles, yet to get above our fears; let them quicken our prayers and endeavours, but not silence our faith and hope. "Stand still," think not to save yourselves either by fighting or flying; wait God's orders, and observe them. Compose yourselves, by confidence in God, into peaceful thoughts of the great salvation God is about to work for you. If God brings his people into straits, he will find a way to bring them out.

Verses 15-20 Moses' silent prayers of faith prevailed more with God than Israel's loud outcries of fear. The pillar of cloud and fire came behind them, where they needed a guard, and it was a wall between them and their enemies. The word and providence of God have a black and dark side toward sin and sinners, but a bright and pleasant side toward the people of the Lord. He, who divided between light and darkness, ( Genesis 1:4 ) , allotted darkness to the Egyptians, and light to the Israelites. Such a difference there will be between the inheritance of the saints in light, and that utter darkness which will be the portion of hypocrites for ever.

Verses 21-31 The dividing the Red sea was the terror of the Canaanites, ( Joshua 2:9 ) ; the praise and triumph of the Israelites, ( Psalm 114:3 , Psalm 106:9 , Psalm 136:13 ) . It was a type of baptism, #1Co. 10:1, #1Co. 10:2 . Israel's passage through it was typical of the conversion of souls, ( Isaiah 11:15 ) ; and the Egyptians being drowned in it was typical of the final ruin of all unrepenting sinners. God showed his almighty power, by opening a passage through the waters, some miles over. God can bring his people through the greatest difficulties, and force a way where he does not find it. It was an instance of his wonderful favour to his Israel. They went through the sea, they walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea. This was done, in order to encourage God's people in all ages to trust him in the greatest straits. What cannot he do who did this? What will not he do for those that fear and love him, who did this for these murmuring, unbelieving Israelites? Then followed the just and righteous wrath of God upon his and his people's enemies. The ruin of sinners is brought on by their own rage and presumption. They might have let Israel alone, and would not; now they would flee from the face of Israel, and cannot. Men will not be convinced, till it is too late, that those who meddle with God's people, meddle to their own hurt. Moses was ordered to stretch out his hand over the sea; the waters returned, and overwhelmed all the host of the Egyptians. Pharaoh and his servants, who had hardened one another in sin, now fell together, not one escaped. The Israelites saw the Egyptians dead upon the sands. The sight very much affected them. While men see God's works, and feel the benefit, they fear him and trust in him. How well were it for us, if we were always in as good a frame as sometimes! Behold the end to which a Christian may look forward. His enemies rage, and are mighty; but while he holds fast by God, he shall pass the waves in safety guarded by that very power of his Saviour, which shall come down on every spiritual foe. The enemies of his soul whom he hath seen to-day, he shall see no more for ever.

Cross References 42

  • 1. Exodus 13:18, 20; Numbers 33:7, 8
  • 2. Jeremiah 44:1
  • 3. See Exodus 4:21
  • 4. Rom. 9:17, 22, 23; See Exodus 9:16
  • 5. Exodus 7:5
  • 6. Psalms 105:25
  • 7. Exodus 15:4; [Isaiah 31:1]
  • 8. [See ver. 4 above]
  • 9. Exodus 6:1; Exodus 13:3, 9, 16; Numbers 33:3; Deuteronomy 26:8; Acts 13:17; [Exodus 3:19]
  • 10. Exodus 15:9; Joshua 24:6
  • 11. ver. 2
  • 12. Joshua 24:7; Nehemiah 9:9
  • 13. Psalms 106:7; [Exodus 13:17]
  • 14. Exodus 5:21; Exodus 6:9
  • 15. 2 Chronicles 20:15, 17; Isa. 41:10, 13, 14
  • 16. [ver. 30]
  • 17. ver. 25; Deuteronomy 1:30; Deuteronomy 3:22; Deuteronomy 20:4; Joshua 10:14, 42; Joshua 23:3; 2 Chronicles 20:15, 29; Nehemiah 4:20
  • 18. [Isaiah 30:15]
  • 19. See Exodus 7:19
  • 20. See Exodus 7:19
  • 21. [ver. 4, 8]
  • 22. ver. 4
  • 23. Exodus 7:5
  • 24. [See ver. 17 above]
  • 25. Exodus 23:20; Exodus 32:34; Numbers 20:16; Isaiah 63:9; [Exodus 13:21]
  • 26. [See ver. 16 above]
  • 27. Exodus 15:10
  • 28. Psalms 66:6
  • 29. Exodus 15:8; Nehemiah 9:11; Psalms 74:13; Psalms 78:13; Psalms 106:9; Psalms 114:3; Isaiah 51:10; Isaiah 63:12; [Joshua 3:16; Joshua 4:23; Isaiah 10:26; Isaiah 11:15, 16]
  • 30. ver. 29; Exodus 15:19; Numbers 33:8; Psalms 66:6; Isaiah 63:13; 1 Corinthians 10:1; Hebrews 11:29; [Psalms 77:19]
  • 31. Psalms 78:13; [Habakkuk 3:10]
  • 32. ver. 14
  • 33. ver. 16, 21
  • 34. ver. 21
  • 35. [Joshua 4:18]
  • 36. Exodus 15:1, 7; Deuteronomy 11:4; Psalms 78:53; Hebrews 11:29
  • 37. [Habakkuk 3:8-13]
  • 38. Psalms 106:11
  • 39. See ver. 22
  • 40. Psalms 106:8, 10
  • 41. Psalms 92:9-11; [ver. 13]
  • 42. Psalms 106:12; [John 2:11; John 11:45]

Footnotes 3

  • [a]. Septuagint and the night passed
  • [b]. Or binding (compare Samaritan, Septuagint, Syriac); Hebrew removing
  • [c]. Hebrew shook off

Chapter Summary


This chapter begins with directions of God to Moses, to be given to the children of Israel about the course they were to steer in their journey, with the reason thereof, Ex 14:1-4, which they observing, a report was brought to Pharaoh that they were fled, and this determined him and his servants to get ready and pursue after them, as they did with a great army, Ex 14:5-9, which when the Israelites saw, it put them in great fear, and set them to murmuring and complaining against Moses for bringing them out of Egypt, Ex 14:10,11,12, who desired them to be still and quiet, and they should see the salvation of the Lord, Ex 14:13,14, and he is bid to order the people to go on in their journey, and to take his rod and stretch it over the sea and divide it, that Israel might pass through it on dry ground, and the Egyptians follow them, whereby God would be honoured and glorified, Ex 14:15-18, upon which the Angel of the Lord in a pillar of cloud removed from before there, and went behind them for their protection, Ex 14:19,20, and Moses stretching out his hand over the sea, and a strong east wind blowing upon it, the waters divided and the Israelites went into it, and the Egyptians followed them, but their host being troubled by the Lord, and their chariot wheels taken off, they found themselves in great danger, and were thrown into a panic, Ex 14:20-25 and upon Moses's stretching out his hand again over the sea, the waters returned, and Pharaoh and his host were drowned, but the Israelites passed through safely, as on dry land, Ex 14:26-29, which great work of the Lord being observed by them, influenced their fear of him, their faith in him and his servant Moses, Ex 14:30,31.

Exodus 14 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.