Exodus 14

1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying,
2 Speak unto the sons of Israel that they turn and set up their camp before Pihahiroth between Migdol and the sea over against Baalzephon; before it shall ye set up camp by the sea.
3 For Pharaoh will say of the sons of Israel, They are entangled in the land; the wilderness has shut them in.
4 And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart that he shall follow after them; and I will be glorified in Pharaoh and in all his host; and the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD. And they did so.
5 And it was told the king of Egypt how the people fled; and the heart of Pharaoh and of his slaves was turned against the people, and they said, Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us?
6 And he made ready his chariot and took his people with him;
7 and he took six hundred chosen chariots and all the chariots of Egypt and the captains over them.
8 And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and he pursued after the sons of Israel, but the sons of Israel had already left with great power.
9 The Egyptians, nevertheless, pursued after them with all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, his horsemen, and all his army, and overtook them setting up camp by the sea beside Pihahiroth before Baalzephon.
10 And when Pharaoh drew near, the sons of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they feared greatly, and the sons of Israel cried out unto the LORD.
11 And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why hast thou dealt thus with us, to bring us forth out of Egypt?
12 Is this not what we told thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness.
13 And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still and see the saving health of the LORD, which he will bestow on you today; for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall never see them again for ever.
14 The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall be still.
15 Then the LORD said unto Moses, Why criest thou unto me? Speak unto the sons of Israel that they go forward:
16 And lift up thy rod and stretch out thy hand over the sea and divide it; and the sons of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.
17 And behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians that they shall follow them: and I will be glorified in Pharaoh and in all his host, in his chariots, and in his horsemen.
18 And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have glorified myself in Pharaoh, in his chariots, and in his horsemen.
19 And the angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and likewise the pillar of cloud went from before their face and stood behind them.
20 And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it lit up the night unto Israel; and all that night the one side never came near the other.
21 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.
22 Then the sons of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand and on their left.
23 And the Egyptians pursued and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.
24 And it came to pass that in the morning watch the LORD looked at the camp of the Egyptians in the pillar of fire and of cloud and troubled the camp of the Egyptians
25 and took off their chariot wheels and overturned them grievously, so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the LORD fights for them against the Egyptians.
26 And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thy hand over the sea that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.
27 And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned in its strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.
28 And the waters returned, and covered the chariots and the horsemen and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them.
29 But the sons of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand and on their left.
30 Thus the LORD saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore.
31 And Israel saw that great work which the LORD did against the Egyptians; and the people feared the LORD and believed the LORD and his slave Moses.

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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.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO EXODUS 14

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