Exodus 15:22-27

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.[a] )
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.

Exodus 15:22-27 Meaning and Commentary

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 15:22-27 In-Context

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.”
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. )
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.

Cross References 14

  • 1. Psalms 78:52
  • 2. S Genesis 16:7
  • 3. Exodus 17:1,3; Numbers 20:2,5; Numbers 33:14; Psalms 107:5
  • 4. Numbers 33:8; Ruth 1:20
  • 5. 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
  • 6. Matthew 6:31
  • 7. S Exodus 14:10
  • 8. 2 Kings 2:21; 2 Kings 4:41; 2 Kings 6:6
  • 9. S Genesis 22:1; Judges 3:4; Job 23:10; Psalms 81:7; Isaiah 48:10
  • 10. Exodus 23:22; Deuteronomy 11:13; Deuteronomy 15:5; Deuteronomy 28:1; Jeremiah 11:6
  • 11. Exodus 19:5-6; Exodus 20:2-17; Deuteronomy 7:12
  • 12. 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
  • 13. Exodus 23:25-26; 2 Kings 20:5; Psalms 25:11; Psalms 103:3; Psalms 107:20; Jeremiah 30:17; Hosea 11:3
  • 14. Numbers 33:9

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. "Marah" means "bitter."
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