Exodus 14

Pharaoh in Pursuit

1 Now the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
2 "Tell the sons of Israel to turn back and camp before 1Pi-hahiroth, between 2Migdol and the sea; you shall camp in front of Baal-zephon, opposite it, by the sea.
3 "For Pharaoh will say of the sons of Israel, 'They are wandering aimlessly in the land; the wilderness has shut them in.'
4 "Thus 3I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and 4he will chase after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, and 5the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD." And they did so.
5 When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, Pharaoh and his servants had a change of heart 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 his chariot ready and took his people with him;
7 and he took six hundred select chariots, and all the other chariots of Egypt with officers over all of them.
8 6The LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and he chased after the sons of Israel as the sons of Israel were going out 7boldly *.
9 Then 8the Egyptians chased after them with all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, his horsemen and his army, and they overtook them camping by the sea, 9beside Pi-hahiroth, in front of Baal-zephon.
10 As Pharaoh drew near, the sons of Israel looked *, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they became very frightened; 10so the sons of Israel cried out to the LORD.
11 Then 11they said to Moses, "Is it because * there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you dealt with us in this way, bringing us out of Egypt?
12 "12Is this not the word that we spoke to you in Egypt, saying, '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."

The Sea Is Divided

13 But Moses said to the people, "13Do not fear! Stand by and see 14the salvation of the LORD which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never * see them again forever *.
14 "15The LORD will fight for you while 16you keep silent."
15 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward.
16 "As for you, lift up 17your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, and the sons of Israel shall go through the midst of the sea on dry land.
17 "As for Me, behold, 18I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen.
18 "19Then the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD, when I am honored through Pharaoh, through his chariots and his horsemen."
19 20The angel of God, who had been going before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind * them; and the pillar of cloud moved from before * them and stood behind * them.
20 So it came between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel; and there was the cloud along with the darkness, yet it gave light at night. Thus the one did not come near the other all night.
21 21Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD swept the sea back by a strong east wind all night and turned the sea into 22dry land, so 23the waters were divided.
22 24The sons of Israel went through the midst of the sea on the dry land, and 25the waters were like a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.
23 Then 26the Egyptians took up the pursuit, and all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots and his horsemen went in after them into the midst of the sea.
24 At the morning watch, 27the LORD looked down on the army of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and cloud and brought the army of the Egyptians into confusion.
25 He caused their chariot wheels to swerve, and He made them drive with difficulty; so the Egyptians said, "Let us flee from Israel, 28for the LORD is fighting for them against the Egyptians."
26 Then the LORD said to Moses, "29Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may come back over the Egyptians, over their chariots and their horsemen."
27 So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and 30the sea returned to its normal state at daybreak, while the Egyptians were fleeing right into it; then the LORD 31overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.
28 The waters returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen, even Pharaoh's entire army that had gone into the sea after them; 32not even one of them remained.
29 But the sons of Israel walked on 33dry land through the midst of the sea, and the waters were like a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.
30 34Thus the LORD saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel 35saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore *.
31 When Israel saw the great power which the LORD had used against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD, and 36they believed 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 36

  • 1. Numbers 33:7
  • 2. Jeremiah 44:1
  • 3. Exodus 4:21; Exodus 7:3; Exodus 14:17
  • 4. Exodus 14:23
  • 5. Exodus 7:5; Exodus 14:25
  • 6. Exodus 14:4
  • 7. Numbers 33:3; Acts 13:17
  • 8. Exodus 15:9; Joshua 24:6
  • 9. Exodus 14:2
  • 10. Joshua 24:7; Nehemiah 9:9; Psalms 34:17; Psalms 107:6
  • 11. Exodus 5:21; Exodus 15:24; Exodus 16:2; Psalms 106:7, 8
  • 12. Exodus 6:9
  • 13. Genesis 15:1; Genesis 46:3; Exodus 20:20; 2 Chronicles 20:15, 17; Is 41:10, 13, 14
  • 14. Exodus 14:30; Exodus 15:2
  • 15. Exodus 14:25; Exodus 15:3; Deuteronomy 1:30; Deuteronomy 3:22; Joshua 23:3; 2 Chronicles 20:29; Nehemiah 4:20
  • 16. Isaiah 30:15
  • 17. Exodus 4:17, 20; Exodus 7:19; Exodus 14:21, 26; Exodus 17:5, 6, 9; Numbers 20:8, 9, 11; Isaiah 10:26
  • 18. Exodus 14:4, 8
  • 19. Exodus 14:25
  • 20. Exodus 13:21, 22
  • 21. Exodus 7:19; Exodus 14:16
  • 22. Psalms 66:6; Psalms 106:9; Psalms 136:13, 14
  • 23. Exodus 15:8; Joshua 3:16; Joshua 4:23; Nehemiah 9:11; Psalms 74:13; Psalms 78:13; Psalms 114:3, 5; Isaiah 63:12, 13
  • 24. Exodus 15:19; Joshua 3:17; Joshua 4:22; Nehemiah 9:11; Psalms 66:6; Psalms 78:13; Hebrews 11:29
  • 25. Exodus 14:29; Exodus 15:8
  • 26. Exodus 14:4, 17
  • 27. Exodus 13:21
  • 28. Ex 14:4, 14, 18
  • 29. Exodus 14:16
  • 30. Joshua 4:18
  • 31. Exodus 15:1, 7; Deuteronomy 11:4; Nehemiah 9:11; Psalms 78:53; Hebrews 11:29
  • 32. Psalms 78:53; Psalms 106:11
  • 33. Exodus 14:22; Psalms 66:6; Isaiah 11:15
  • 34. Exodus 14:13; Psalms 106:8, 10; Isaiah 63:8, 11
  • 35. Psalms 58:10; Psalms 59:10
  • 36. Exodus 4:31; Exodus 19:9; Psalms 106:12; John 2:11; John 11:45

Footnotes 24

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

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