Exodus 15

The Song of Moses and Miriam

1 Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the LORD: “I will sing to the LORD, for he is highly exalted. Both horse and driver he has hurled into the sea.
2 “The LORD is my strength and my defense[a] ; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
3 The LORD is a warrior; the LORD is his name.
4 Pharaoh’s chariots and his army he has hurled into the sea. The best of Pharaoh’s officers are drowned in the Red Sea.[b]
5 The deep waters have covered them; they sank to the depths like a stone.
6 Your right hand, LORD, was majestic in power. Your right hand, LORD, shattered the enemy.
7 “In the greatness of your majesty you threw down those who opposed you. You unleashed your burning anger; it consumed them like stubble.
8 By the blast of your nostrils the waters piled up. The surging waters stood up like a wall; the deep waters congealed in the heart of the sea.
9 The enemy boasted, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake them. I will divide the spoils; I will gorge myself on them. I will draw my sword and my hand will destroy them.’
10 But you blew with your breath, and the sea covered them. They sank like lead in the mighty waters.
11 Who among the gods is like you, LORD? Who is like you— majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?
12 “You stretch out your right hand, and the earth swallows your enemies.
13 In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling.
14 The nations will hear and tremble; anguish will grip the people of Philistia.
15 The chiefs of Edom will be terrified, the leaders of Moab will be seized with trembling, the people[c] of Canaan will melt away;
16 terror and dread will fall on them. By the power of your arm they will be as still as a stone— until your people pass by, LORD, until the people you bought[d] pass by.
17 You will bring them in and plant them on the mountain of your inheritance— the place, LORD, you made for your dwelling, the sanctuary, Lord, your hands established.
18 “The LORD reigns for ever and ever.”
19 When Pharaoh’s horses, chariots and horsemen[e] went into the sea, the LORD brought the waters of the sea back over them, but the Israelites walked through the sea on dry ground.
20 Then Miriam the prophet, Aaron’s sister, took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women followed her, with timbrels and dancing.
21 Miriam sang to them: “Sing to the LORD, for he is highly exalted. Both horse and driver he has hurled into the sea.”

The Waters of Marah and Elim

22 Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went into the Desert of Shur. For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water.
23 When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That is why the place is called Marah.[f] )
24 So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What are we to drink?”
25 Then Moses cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water, and the water became fit to drink. There the LORD issued a ruling and instruction for them and put them to the test.
26 He said, “If you listen carefully to the LORD your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, who heals you.”
27 Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and they camped there near the water.

Images for Exodus 15

Exodus 15 Commentary

Chapter 15

The song of Moses for the deliverance of Israel. (1-21) The bitter waters at Marah, The Israelites come to Elim. (22-27)

Verses 1-21 This song is the most ancient we know of. It is a holy song, to the honour of God, to exalt his name, and celebrate his praise, and his only, not in the least to magnify any man. Holiness to the Lord is in every part of it. It may be considered as typical, and prophetical of the final destruction of the enemies of the church. Happy the people whose God is the Lord. They have work to do, temptations to grapple with, and afflictions to bear, and are weak in themselves; but his grace is their strength. They are often in sorrow, but in him they have comfort; he is their song. Sin, and death, and hell threaten them, but he is, and will be their salvation. The Lord is a God of almighty power, and woe to those that strive with their Maker! He is a God of matchless perfection; he is glorious in holiness; his holiness is his glory. His holiness appears in the hatred of sin, and his wrath against obstinate sinners. It appears in the deliverance of Israel, and his faithfulness to his own promise. He is fearful in praises; that which is matter of praise to the servants of God, is very dreadful to his enemies. He is doing wonders, things out of the common course of nature; wondrous to those in whose favour they are wrought, who are so unworthy, that they had no reason to expect them. There were wonders of power and wonders of grace; in both, God was to be humbly adored.

Verses 22-27 In the wilderness of Shur the Israelites had no water. At Marah they had water, but it was bitter; so that they could not drink it. God can make bitter to us that from which we promise ourselves most, and often does so in the wilderness of this world, that our wants, and disappointments in the creature, may drive us to the Creator, in whose favour alone true comfort is to be had. In this distress the people fretted, and quarrelled with Moses. Hypocrites may show high affections, and appear earnest in religious exercises, but in the time of temptation they fall away. Even true believers, in seasons of sharp trial, will be tempted to fret, distrust, and murmur. But in every trial we should cast our care upon the Lord, and pour out our hearts before him. We shall then find that a submissive will, a peaceful conscience, and the comforts of the Holy Ghost, will render the bitterest trial tolerable, yea, pleasant. Moses did what the people had neglected to do; he cried unto the Lord. And God provided graciously for them. He directed Moses to a tree which he cast into the waters, when, at once, they were made sweet. Some make this tree typical of the cross of Christ, which sweetens the bitter waters of affliction to all the faithful, and enables them to rejoice in tribulation. But a rebellious Israelite shall fare no better than a rebellious Egyptian. The threatening is implied only, the promise is expressed. God is the great Physician. If we are kept well, it is he that keeps us; if we are made well, it is he that recovers us. He is our life and the length of our days. Let us not forget that we are kept from destruction, and delivered from our enemies, to be the Lord's servants. At Elim they had good water, and enough of it. Though God may, for a time, order his people to encamp by the bitter waters of Marah, that shall not always be their lot. Let us not faint at tribulations.

Cross References 73

  • 1. Numbers 21:17; Judges 5:1; 2 Samuel 22:1; 1 Chronicles 16:9; Job 36:24; Psalms 59:16; Psalms 105:2; Revelation 15:3
  • 2. Judges 5:3; Psalms 13:6; Psalms 21:13; Psalms 27:6; Psalms 61:8; Psalms 104:33; Psalms 106:12; Isaiah 12:5,6; Isaiah 42:10; Isaiah 44:23
  • 3. Deuteronomy 11:4; Psalms 76:6; Jeremiah 51:21
  • 4. S Exodus 14:27
  • 5. Psalms 18:1; Psalms 59:17
  • 6. S Genesis 45:7; Exodus 14:13; Psalms 18:2,46; Psalms 25:5; Psalms 27:1; Psalms 62:2; Psalms 118:14; Isaiah 12:2; Isaiah 33:2; John 2:9; Habakkuk 3:18
  • 7. S Genesis 28:21
  • 8. Ex 3:6,15-16; Deuteronomy 10:21; 2 Samuel 22:47; Psalms 22:3; Psalms 30:1; Psalms 34:3; Psalms 35:27; Psalms 99:5; Psalms 103:19; Psalms 107:32; Psalms 108:5; Psalms 109:1; Psalms 118:28; Psalms 145:11; Psalms 148:14; Isaiah 24:15; Isaiah 25:1; Jeremiah 17:14; Daniel 4:37
  • 9. S Exodus 14:14; Psalms 24:8; Revelation 19:11
  • 10. S Exodus 3:15; Ex 6:2-3,7-8; Psalms 83:18
  • 11. Exodus 14:6-7; Jeremiah 51:21
  • 12. S Exodus 14:28
  • 13. ver 10; Nehemiah 9:11
  • 14. Psalms 16:11; Psalms 17:7; Psalms 21:8; Psalms 63:8; Psalms 74:11; Psalms 77:10; Psalms 89:13; Psalms 98:1; Psalms 118:15; Psalms 138:7
  • 15. S Exodus 3:20; S Job 40:14
  • 16. Numbers 24:8; 1 Samuel 2:10; Psalms 2:9
  • 17. Deuteronomy 33:26; Psalms 150:2
  • 18. Psalms 2:5; Psalms 78:49-50; Jeremiah 12:13; Jeremiah 25:38
  • 19. Exodus 24:17; Deuteronomy 4:24; Deuteronomy 9:3; Psalms 18:8; Psalms 59:13; Hebrews 12:29
  • 20. S Exodus 14:21; Psalms 18:15
  • 21. Joshua 3:13; Psalms 78:13; Isaiah 43:16
  • 22. S Exodus 14:22
  • 23. Psalms 46:2
  • 24. Exodus 14:5-9; Deuteronomy 28:45; Psalms 7:5; Lamentations 1:3
  • 25. Judges 5:30; Isaiah 9:3; Isaiah 53:12; Luke 11:22
  • 26. Job 4:9; Job 15:30; Isaiah 11:4; Isaiah 30:33; Isaiah 40:7
  • 27. ver 5; Exodus 14:27-28; Nehemiah 9:11; Psalms 29:3; Psalms 32:6; Psalms 77:19
  • 28. S Exodus 8:10; Deuteronomy 3:24; Psalms 77:13; S Isaiah 46:5
  • 29. S Exodus 7:5
  • 30. Numbers 16:32; Numbers 26:10; Deuteronomy 11:6; Psalms 106:17
  • 31. Nehemiah 9:12; Psalms 77:20
  • 32. S Exodus 6:6; Job 33:28; Psalms 71:23; Psalms 106:10; Isaiah 1:27; Isaiah 41:14; Isaiah 43:14; Isaiah 44:22-24; Isaiah 51:10; Isaiah 63:9; Titus 2:14
  • 33. ver 17; Psalms 68:16; Psalms 76:2; Psalms 78:54
  • 34. ver 16; Exodus 23:27; Deuteronomy 2:25; Joshua 2:9; Joshua 5:1; Joshua 9:24; 1 Samuel 4:7; Esther 8:17; Psalms 48:6; Psalms 96:9; Psalms 99:1; Psalms 114:7; Ezekiel 38:20
  • 35. Isaiah 13:8
  • 36. Psalms 83:7
  • 37. S Genesis 36:15
  • 38. Deuteronomy 2:4
  • 39. Numbers 22:3; Psalms 114:7
  • 40. Joshua 2:9,24; Joshua 5:1
  • 41. S ver 14; S Genesis 35:5; Exodus 23:27; Joshua 2:9
  • 42. 1 Samuel 25:37
  • 43. Psalms 74:2; 2 Peter 2:1
  • 44. Deuteronomy 2:4
  • 45. Exodus 23:20; Exodus 32:34; Exodus 33:12
  • 46. 2 Samuel 7:10; Psalms 44:2; Psalms 80:8,15; Isaiah 5:2; Isaiah 60:21; Jeremiah 2:21; Jeremiah 11:17; Jeremiah 24:6; Amos 9:15
  • 47. Deuteronomy 33:19; Psalms 2:6; Psalms 3:4; Psalms 15:1; Psalms 78:54,68; Psalms 133:3; Daniel 9:16; Joel 2:1; Obadiah 1:16; Zephaniah 3:11
  • 48. S ver 13; Psalms 132:13-14
  • 49. Psalms 78:69; Psalms 114:2
  • 50. S Genesis 21:33; Psalms 9:7; Psalms 29:10; Psalms 55:19; Psalms 66:7; Psalms 80:1; Psalms 102:12; Psalms 145:13; Lamentations 5:19
  • 51. S Exodus 14:28
  • 52. S Exodus 14:22
  • 53. ver 21; Exodus 2:4; Numbers 12:1; Numbers 20:1; Numbers 26:59; 1 Chronicles 4:17; 1 Chronicles 6:3
  • 54. Judges 4:4; 2 Kings 22:14; 2 Chronicles 34:22; Nehemiah 6:14; Isaiah 8:3; Ezekiel 13:17
  • 55. S Genesis 31:27; 1 Samuel 18:6; Psalms 81:2; Isaiah 30:32
  • 56. S Genesis 4:21; Judges 11:34; Judges 21:21; 1 Samuel 18:6; 2Sa 6:5,14,16; Psalms 30:11; Psalms 149:3; Psalms 150:4; Song of Songs 6:13; Jeremiah 31:4,13
  • 57. 1 Samuel 18:7
  • 58. Amos 2:15; Haggai 2:22
  • 59. ver 1; S Exodus 14:27
  • 60. Psalms 78:52
  • 61. S Genesis 16:7
  • 62. Exodus 17:1,3; Numbers 20:2,5; Numbers 33:14; Psalms 107:5
  • 63. Numbers 33:8; Ruth 1:20
  • 64. S Exodus 14:12; Exodus 16:2; Exodus 7:3; Numbers 14:2; Joshua 9:18; Psalms 78:18,42; Psalms 106:13,25; Ezekiel 16:43
  • 65. Matthew 6:31
  • 66. S Exodus 14:10
  • 67. 2 Kings 2:21; 2 Kings 4:41; 2 Kings 6:6
  • 68. S Genesis 22:1; Judges 3:4; Job 23:10; Psalms 81:7; Isaiah 48:10
  • 69. Exodus 23:22; Deuteronomy 11:13; Deuteronomy 15:5; Deuteronomy 28:1; Jeremiah 11:6
  • 70. Exodus 19:5-6; Exodus 20:2-17; Deuteronomy 7:12
  • 71. Deuteronomy 7:15; Deuteronomy 28:27,58-60; Deuteronomy 32:39; 1 Samuel 5:6; Psalms 30:2; Psalms 41:3-4; Psalms 103:3
  • 72. Exodus 23:25-26; 2 Kings 20:5; Psalms 25:11; Psalms 103:3; Psalms 107:20; Jeremiah 30:17; Hosea 11:3
  • 73. Numbers 33:9

Footnotes 6

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO EXODUS 15

This chapter contains the song of Moses, and of the children of Israel, on the banks of the Red sea; in which they celebrate their passage through it, the destruction of Pharaoh and his host in it, and the glory of the divine perfections displayed therein, interspersed with prophetic hints of things future, Ex 15:1-19 which same song was sung by the women, with Miriam at the head of them, attended with timbrels and dances, Ex 15:20,21, an account is given of the march of the children of Israel from the Red sea to the wilderness of Shur, and of the bitter waters found at Marah, which occasioned a murmuring, and of their being made sweet by casting a tree into them, Ex 15:22-25 when they were told by the Lord, that if they would yield obedience to his commandments, they should be free from the diseases the Egyptians had been afflicted with, Ex 15:26, and the chapter is concluded with their coming to Elim, where they found twelve wells of water, and seventy palm trees, and there encamped, Ex 15:27.

Exodus 15 Commentaries