Exodus 15

The Song of Moses and Miriam

1 Here is the song that Moses and the people of Israel sang to the Lord. They said, "I will sing to the Lord. He is greatly honored. He has thrown Pharaoh's horses and their riders into the Red Sea.
2 The LORD gives me strength. I sing about him. He has saved me. He is my God. I will praise him. He is my father's God. I will honor him.
3 The LORD goes into battle. The LORD is his name.
4 He has thrown Pharaoh's chariots and army into the Red Sea. Pharaoh's best officers drowned in the sea.
5 The deep waters covered them. They sank to the bottom like a stone.
6 "Lord, your right hand was majestic and powerful. Lord, your right hand destroyed your enemies.
7 Because of your great majesty, you threw down those who opposed you. Your burning anger blazed out. It burned them up like straw.
8 The powerful blast from your nose piled up the waters. The rushing waters stood firm like a wall. The deep waters stood up in the middle of the sea.
9 "Your enemies bragged, 'We will chase Israel. We will catch them. We'll divide up what we take from them. We'll eat them alive. We'll pull our swords out. Our powerful hands will destroy them.'
10 But you blew with your breath. The Red Sea covered your enemies. They sank like lead in the mighty waters.
11 "Lord, who among the gods is like you? Who is like you? You are majestic and holy. Your glory fills me with wonder. You do wonderful miracles.
12 You reached out your right hand. The earth swallowed up the Egyptians.
13 "Because your love is faithful, you will lead the people you have set free. Because you are so strong, you will guide them to the holy place where you live.
14 The nations will hear about it and tremble. Pain and suffering will take hold of the Philistines.
15 The chiefs of Edom will be terrified. The leaders of Moab will tremble with fear. The people of Canaan will melt away.
16 Fear and terror will fall on them. Your powerful arm will make them as still as a stone. Then your people will pass by, Lord. Then the people you created will pass by.
17 You will bring them in. You will plant them on the mountain you gave them. LORD, you have made that place your home. Lord, your hands have made your holy place secure.
18 "The LORD will rule for ever and ever."
19 Pharaoh's horses, chariots and horsemen went into the Red Sea. The LORD brought the waters of the sea back over them. But the people of Israel walked through the sea on dry ground.
20 Aaron's sister Miriam was a prophet. She took a tambourine in her hand. All the women followed her. They played tambourines and danced.
21 Miriam sang to them, "Sing to the Lord. He is greatly honored. He has thrown Pharaoh's horses and their riders into the Red Sea."

At the Waters of Marah and Elim

22 Then Moses led Israel away from the Red Sea. They went into the Desert of Shur. For three days they traveled in the desert. They didn't find any water there.
23 When they came to Marah, they couldn't drink its water. It was bitter. That's why the place is named Marah.
24 The people told Moses they weren't happy with him. They said, "What are we supposed to drink?"
25 Then Moses cried out to the Lord. The LORD showed him a stick. Moses threw it into the water. The water became sweet. There the LORD made a rule and a law for the people. And there he put them to the test.
26 He said, "I am the LORD your God. Listen carefully to my voice. Do what is right in my eyes. Pay attention to my commands. Obey all of my rules. If you do, I will not send on you any of the sicknesses I sent on the Egyptians. I am the LORD who heals you."
27 The people came to Elim. It had 12 springs and 70 palm trees. 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.

Chapter Summary


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

Holy Bible, New International Reader's Version® Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by Biblica.   All rights reserved worldwide.