Exodus 13:1 – 15:21

 
The Deliverance at the Red Sea
Exodus 13:1 – 15:21
 
The Red Sea. Now we come to the second of two deliverances in the book of Exodus. As we already remarked, and the Passover and the Red Sea really illustrate two sides of one work of redemption. The deliverance of the Passover (Exodus 12) pictures the deliverance of the soul from the penalty or guilt of our sins, which is covered doctrinally in Romans 3, 4, and 5. The deliverance of the Red Sea (Exodus 14) pictures the deliverance of the soul from the power of sin, which is doctrinally covered in Romans 6, 7, and 8. Both represent one work, but in two different aspects. The Red Sea represents the bringing of the soul in to the realization that sin has no more dominion over us; “Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day… and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore” (Ex. 14:13, 30). Both deliverances are needed before Israel can sing the song of redemption. So it is in the experience of the believer!
 
The First Encampment. The first encampment of Israel on their journey from Egypt to Canaan was in Succoth (Ex. 12:37). There are a number of exercises laid before the people at this first encampment which correspond to the exercises laid before a new Christian:
  • The Ordinance of the Passover (Ex. 12:43-50) – corresponds to the believer’s appreciation of the death of Christ, expressed formally by participating in the Lord’s Supper.
  • The Consecration of the Firstborn (Ex. 13:1-2, 11-16) – corresponds to the fact that we belong to Christ, and owe our lives entirely to Him.
  • The Feast of Unleavened Bread (Ex. 13:3-10) – speaks of the holy, separate walk of the believer, which is in response to the work of Christ.
 
 

Succoth: The Consecration of the Firstborn & the Feast of Unleavened Bread (13:1-16)

Succoth. The lessons of Succoth have to do with separation: from Egypt and to the Lord. In Succoth we learn that the uncleanness of the world has no place in our lives. We also find that we belong to the Lord, and that He must have the first place in everything!
 
CHAPTER 13
And Jehovah spoke to Moses, saying, 2 Hallow unto me every firstborn, “whatever breaketh open the womb among the children of Israel, of man and of cattle: it is mine” [quoted Luke 2:23]. vv.1-2 The Firstborn Given to Jehovah. Directly after the firstborn of the children of Israel were sheltered by the blood of the Passover lamb, the Lord instructed Moses that all the firstborn of people and cattle in Israel were to be hallowed or dedicated to Him. The details of why this was to be are given in vv.11-16, but the main point is simply this: since Jehovah had spared the firstborn from judgment, the firstborn belonged to Him. We have the parallel to this in 1 Cor. 6:19-20, the recognition of the Lord’s claims over us in redemption; “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
 
3 And Moses said to the people, Remember this day, in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for with a powerful hand hath Jehovah brought you out from this; and nothing leavened shall be eaten. 4 Ye come out to-day, in the month Abib. 5 And it shall be when Jehovah hath brought thee into the land of the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Amorite and the Hivite and the Jebusite, which he swore to thy fathers to give thee, a land flowing with milk and honey, that thou shalt keep this service in this month. 6 Seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread; and in the seventh day is a feast to Jehovah. 7 Unleavened bread shall be eaten the seven days; and leavened bread shall not be seen with thee, neither shall there be leaven seen with thee in all thy borders. 8 And thou shalt inform thy son in that day, saying, It is because of what Jehovah did to me when I came out of Egypt. 9 And it shall be for a sign to thee on thy hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes, that the law of Jehovah may be in thy mouth; for with a powerful hand hath Jehovah brought thee out of Egypt. 10 And thou shalt keep this ordinance at its set time from year to year. vv.3-10 The Feast of Unleavened Bread. Moses wanted Isreal to remember “this day”, as the day that everything changed. For the believer, the day they are sheltered by the blood begins the “rest of his time in the flesh” (1 Pet. 4:3). The feast of unleavened bread speaks of the holy, separate walk of the believer. It is the intelligent outflow of the appreciation of the Passover; “Remember this day, in which ye came out from Egypt, etc.” In 1 Cor. 5:7-8 we are called on to fulfill the type of the feast of unleavened bread, just as Christ fulfilled the type of the Passover feast; “For also our passover, Christ, has been sacrificed; so that let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with leaven of malice and wickedness, but with unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” When we think of the cost to the Lord Jesus to put away our sins and deliver us from this present evil world, we find motivation to live a sanctified life for Him. This feast was mentioned first in ch.12, vv.15-17 when Israel was still in Egypt. Here we find that Israel was to keep this feast throughout the wilderness journey, and ongoing after they were settled in the land of Canaan. The moral effect produced in our lives as we consider what Christ has done for us should never fade. In fact, the number seven speaks of spiritual completeness. The feast was to be kept in the first month of the Jewish calendar, which was in the spring. The Passover was to be killed on the day prior to the Sabbath (between the two evenings), and then would follow a seven day feast, from that Sabbath to the next, completed with a feast on the second Sabbath. While the feast was going on, the Israelites were to explain the feast of unleavened bread to their children. So with Christian parents. When we take a path of separation from the evils of this world, our children will ask questions. We can explain that the Lord died to deliver us from this world, and that He wants us to walk separate from it.
 
11 And it shall be when Jehovah hath brought thee into the land of the Canaanites, as he hath sworn to thee and to thy fathers, and hath given it thee, 12 that thou shalt offer unto Jehovah all that breaketh open the womb, and every firstling that cometh of cattle which is thine: the males shall be Jehovah’s. 13 And every firstling of an ass shalt thou ransom with a lamb; and if thou do not ransom it, thou shalt break its neck; and every firstborn of a man among thy sons shalt thou ransom. 14 And it shall be when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What is this? that thou shalt say to him, With a powerful hand Jehovah brought us out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 15 And it came to pass, when Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go, that Jehovah slew all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of men and the firstborn of cattle: therefore I sacrifice to Jehovah all that breaketh open the womb — being males; and every firstborn of my children I ransom. 16 And it shall be for a sign on thy hand, and for frontlets between thine eyes, for with a powerful hand Jehovah brought us forth out of Egypt. vv.11-16 Consecration of the Firstborn. Returning to the issue of the firstborn, the Lord wanted Israel to remember that the firstborn belonged to Him. Every firstborn of cattle was to be presented to the Lord (Luke 2:22-24). Every firstborn of a man was to be “redeemed” with an offering. The “firstling of an ass” could not be presented to the Lord, because it was an unclean animal. Instead, the donkey was to be exchanged with a lamb, which could be presented to the Lord. This sets before us a type of substitutionary atonement. It is interesting that this scripture would link the firstborn of Israel with the firstborn of an unclean donkey – quite humbling! In our sinful, unclean condition, we are like the donkey: unacceptable as a sacrifice to God. We needed a lamb! If there was no substitute for the donkey, its neck was to be broken! It was inevitable that these things would bring up questions from the children, and the parents’ answer is given in vv.14-15. The firstborn was under the sentence of death, and the Lord passed over them. Now, in response to this, Israel was to recognize Jehovah’s claims. As Christians, we also must recognize the claims of Christ; “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again” (2 Cor. 5:14-15).
 

The Way of the Red Sea (13:17-22)

17 And it came to pass, when Pharaoh let the people go, that God did not lead them the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, That the people may not repent when they see conflict, and return to Egypt. 18 And God led the people about, the way of the wilderness of the Red Sea; and the children of Israel went arrayed out of the land of Egypt. vv.17-18 The Way of the Red Sea. There was a straightforward path from Egypt up the coast of the Mediterranean to Canaan called “the way of the land of the Philistines”. Why did God lead Israel on journey south and east to “the way of the wilderness of the Red Sea”? Eventually, the Children of Israel would have to face two enemies: the Philistines (representing the flesh in the land) and the Canaanites (spiritual wickedness in heavenly places). If they had seen “war” before really learning (1) what was in their own hearts and (2) what was in God’s heart (we have this in Deut. 8), it would have resulted in them giving up, and returning to bondage in Egypt; “for God said, That the people may not repent when they see conflict, and return to Egypt”. Therefore, God needed to lead Israel first in the path of the Red Sea, where they would see the fullness of God’s power on their behalf. Typically, this represents the believer coming to have deliverance from the power of sin and Satan. We cannot possess our Canaan (spiritual blessings) nor battle our Canaanites (spiritual wickedness in heavenly places) without passing through the Red Sea, and seeing God for us in delivering power. Israel also needed the experience of the wilderness where they would learn dependence on Jehovah. So with us, there is no shortcut for the spiritual education of the wilderness journey (Rom. 5:3-5)! The path that God chooses for us is usually not the path we would have chosen. It says that “the children of Israel went arrayed out of the land of Egypt”, which means they marched out in an orderly way. The word “harnessed” might convey the wrong idea that they left in their chains. It is the idea that they marched out in order. This was not a slave revolt like in the Roman Empire; God was deliberately bringing them out.
 
19 And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him; for he had made the children of Israel swear an oath, saying, God will be sure to visit you; then ye shall carry my bones with you hence. v.19 Joseph’s Bones. Moses was careful to fulfill the commandment of Joseph concerning his bones. It is quite something to think that all through the wilderness on Israel’s journey, not only were the people accompanied by the pillar of cloud and the smitten rock, but also the bones of Joseph. It was an enduring reminder of the faith of their ancestors. In times of doubt, when Israel would tempt Jehovah with their murmurings, etc., the faithful could look at that coffin and be encouraged that years before Joseph was convinced of the surety of God’s promises; “God will be sure to visit you”! We too can look at the graves of our late brethren and realize that, though they are with Christ, they are still waiting for the same thing as us. We can follow their faith (Heb. 13:17). Believers that have died have the same hope as believers that remain, i.e. the coming of the Lord. But those bones were also a symbol of something else; Joseph’s ultimate separation from Egypt. His desire was to have his bones in Canaan rather than in a lavish Egyptian tomb. Carrying about the bones would remind us of 2 Cor. 4:10; “Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.” 
 

Etham: The Pillar of Cloud and Fire (13:20-22)

Etham. At Etham Israel was given the pillar of fire and cloud. The lessons of Etham have to do with the Lord’s presence with us, especially as our guide and protection.
 
20 And they took their journey from Succoth, and encamped in Etham, at the end of the wilderness. 21 And Jehovah went before their face by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them in the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; so that they could go day and night. 22 The pillar of the cloud did not remove from before the people by day, nor the pillar of fire by night. vv.20-22 The Personal Presence of the Lord. Israel moves from the first to the second encampment. The Lord now gives the people the sign of His presence, in the pillar of cloud and of fire. He makes it manifest that they belong to Him. The cloud adapted itself to the various circumstances the people found themselves in, whether it be to provide direction and light, shade and darkness, etc. Later, in the wilderness, the cloud would hover over the tabernacle, Jehovah’s dwelling place on earth. Even later in the land, when Solomon built the temple he could say, “I have surely built thee an house to dwell in, a settled place for thee to abide in for ever… And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the LORD” (1 Kings 8:13, 10). The cloud represents the presence of the Lord among His people, especially for Divine guidance (read more about the cloud guiding in Num. 9:15-23). This was critical for Israel as they were now “at the end of the wilderness”. There was nothing before them but a waste-howling wilderness ahead. They were insufficient to guide themselves. This follows the appropriation of the Passover. As soon as a believer comes under the shelter of the blood of Christ, they also gain the personal presence of the Lord Jesus with them, to lead them where they should go. However, it also follows the Feast of Unleavened Bread. We must also separate from Egypt (the world), which Succoth speaks of, before we have a sense of the Lord’s will (Rom. 12:2). They had to learn to “look up” for guidance, to wait upon the Lord’s leading. It speaks of the need for believers to look up to God in prayer for direction, and to abide in communion with the Lord so that we can enjoy His presence. What we find in the next chapter that Israel had no real sense of this presence until after the Red Sea.
 
Three Guides. There were three ways God guided Israel in their journey, and they are all illustrated in these chapters. First, there was the pillar of cloud and fire (Ex. 13:20-22), which represents the Lord’s leading in our lives by the Spirit of God. Second, there was the direct word from the Lord to Moses (Ex. 14:1-2), which represents guidance from the Word of God. Third, there was the opening of the Red Sea (Ex. 14:21-22), which represents providential guiding through circumstances (2 Cor. 2:12), although in that case there was also a direct word from the Lord.
 
 

Pi-hahiroth: Between Migdol and the Sea (14:1-14)

Pi-hahiroth. At Pi-hahiroth Israel experienced Jehovah’s deliverance from Egypt at the Red Sea. The lessons of Pi-hahiroth have to do with trusting the Lord for full deliverance, not only from judgment, but also from the power of the enemy. Often in the experience of a young Christian, God will place the believer in a difficult position where they learn the power of God. Moreover, if the Passover speaks of redemption by blood, then the Red Sea speaks of redemption by power, accomplished through the death and resurrection of Christ. Both are required for peace (Rom. 5:1).
 
CHAPTER 14
And Jehovah spoke to Moses, saying, 2 Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp before Pi-hahiroth [‘mouth of caves’], between Migdol and the sea: before Baal-Zephon [‘lord of the north’], opposite to it, shall ye encamp by the sea. 3 And Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, They are entangled in the land, the wilderness has hemmed them in. 4 And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, that he may pursue after them; and I will glorify myself in Pharaoh, and in all his host; and the Egyptians shall know that I am Jehovah. And they did so. vv.1-4 Pi-hahiroth. The Lord directed Israel to camp in a very particular place, “before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea: before Baal-Zephon”. It was the very worst place for a fleeing people to be found when pursued by an army. They would be locked in between two mountains with the sea in front of them. But God ordered this so that His power would be greatly displayed! Here the emphasis is really on the glory that Jehovah would get from the Egyptians, as His power in judgment was demonstrated over them. This is final chapter in the life of Pharaoh, in which Jehovah would accomplish the purpose for which He gave Pharaoh his power to begin with (Rom. 9:17). God exercised His sovereignty in hardening Pharaoh’s heart, although it came after Pharaoh hardened his own heart. Romans 9 explains how these vessels of wrath are incorporated into His purpose: “What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction” (Rom. 9:22).
 
5 And it was told the king of Egypt that the people had fled; and the heart of Pharaoh and of his bondmen was turned against the people, and they said, Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from our service? 6 And he yoked his chariot, and took his people with him. 7 And he took six hundred chosen chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt, and captains over every one of them. 8 And Jehovah hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel; and the children of Israel had gone out with a high hand. 9 And the Egyptians pursued after them, — all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen, and his army, and overtook them where they had encamped by the sea, beside Pi-hahiroth, opposite to Baal-Zephon. vv.5-9 Pharaoh Peruses. Israel was still totally ignorant of is, but Pharaoh was amassing a huge army to recapture the Israelites. Pharaoh proved that even the Passover was not enough to deter his stubborn heart. He was the same after all! Pharaoh arises to pursue the Israelites whom he perceives as his property. So it is when a soul trusts in the shed blood of Christ. Satan puts forth his power to try and bring the soul back under his power by overwhelming them with doubts and fears. How sad it is when a soul has trusted in the blood but has not gotten the assurance of their salvation! God brings them to this point where they can look nowhere but to Christ for deliverance. They need to understand the power of God’s salvation not only from the penalty of sins, but from the power of sin.
 
10 And Pharaoh approached; and the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and the children of Israel were much afraid, and cried out to Jehovah. 11 And they said to Moses, Is it because there were no graves in Egypt, thou hast taken us away to die in the wilderness? why hast thou done this to us, that thou hast led us out of Egypt? 12 Is not this what we told thee in Egypt, when we said, Let us alone, and we will serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness. 13 And Moses said to the people, Fear not: stand still, and see the salvation of Jehovah, which he will work for you to-day; for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to-day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. 14 Jehovah will fight for you, and ye shall be still. vv.10-14 Two Reactions. Israel lifted up their eyes, but they didn’t lift them high enough! All they could see was the perusing army of Egyptians. If they could have seen the Lord above it all, they could have had peace. Their position was hopeless naturally. They were trapped, and it meant certain death. But that is where the Lord needed to bring them. This passage typically represents the struggle in the soul of one who has been delivered from the penalty of sins, but had not yet known deliverance from the power of sin. We have a parallel passage in Romans 7, where the undelivered-soul under law struggles within himself, having the desire to please God, and yet feels his helplessness. It produces two things: a realization of the two natures within himself, and also the hopelessness of his condition without a deliverer! “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Rom. 7:24). In Romans 7 we have a quickened soul (hence two natures, not one) but no power for deliverance. The power (the Spirit of God) comes in the following chapter, and then deliverance (Rom. 8:2). Here Israel cries out in fear and unbelief. They blame Moses for taking them out from Egypt, and wish to be back in Egypt as slaves. There is a particular awfulness of being in this state. The response of the people is wrong, because it was unbelief. Moses gives the correct response: “Fear not: stand still, and see the salvation of Jehovah”. Israel was going to see Jehovah fight for them, acting in supreme power on their behalf! This what we must do to have deliverance from the power of sin: stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. Many Christian try to use legal or human means to find deliverance from sin, but salvation is by grace through faith alone. It is not something we earn, but something Christ has accomplished that we simply appropriate.  The Lord would win the victory. “For the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.” Egypt would be defeated forever.  Later, we will see that Israel was to have war with Amalek (the flesh in the wilderness) from generation to generation, but the Egyptian army (Satan and his power) are defeated forever. This is the blessed truth we often call “deliverance from the law of sin”.
 

Crossing the Red Sea (14:15-31)

15 And Jehovah said to Moses, Why dost thou cry unto me? Speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward. 16 And thou, lift thy staff, and stretch out thy hand over the sea, and divide it; and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea. 17 And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall pursue after them; and I will glorify myself in Pharaoh and in all his host, in his chariots and in his horsemen. 18 And the Egyptians shall know that I am Jehovah, when I have glorified myself in Pharaoh, in his chariots and in his horsemen. vv.15-18 A Way Through the Sea. We gather from v.15 that Moses has cried out to the Lord between v.14 and v.15. The Lord directs them to move forward. Israel was to “stand still” and yet “go forward”. So for the Christian, there is something for us to do, but it cannot be done in a legal attitude as if the outcome depended on us. Salvation is of the Lord! Moses was to lift the staff (a picture of God’s judicial power) over the sea (waters speak of death), and divide those waters (a picture of separation, or death) so that Israel could pass through on dry ground (life through death). The passage through the sea would be on one hand salvation to Israel, and on the other hand destruction to the Egyptians when they followed. The Lord would have His way with the Egyptians, and would glorify Himself in judgment over them. The Lord’s death has made the ground dry for us! The rod of Jehovah’s wrath fell on Christ in the place of death; that sea which was the barrier trapping us in the land of Egypt, preventing us from drawing near to God. The barrier opens, and the people march through death into life, set free, and reconciled to God!

Jehovah lifted up His rod —
O Christ, it fell on Thee!
Thou wast forsaken of Thy God;
No distance now for me.
Thy blood beneath that rod has flowed:
Thy bruising healeth me.
 
19 And the Angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before them, and stood behind them. 20 And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and was a cloud and darkness, and lit up the night; and the one did not come near the other all the night. vv.19-20 The Cloud. The cloud now takes on a dual function, to provide light for Israel and to protect them from the army of the Egyptians. The cloud, which was really a physical representation of “the Angel of God”, had led them to the sea, but now it moves around to the back, between Israel and the Egyptians. The Lord was now taking up the cause of Israel in a special way;  “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). The cloud “lit up the night” for Israel, and was a “darkness” to the Egyptians. This was going to be a complete deliverance, and so God did not allow the two camps to make contact all night! 
 
21 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and Jehovah made the sea go back by a strong east wind all the night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. 22 And the children of Israel went through the midst of the sea on the dry ground; and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. vv.21-22 The Sea Opens.

Jehovah made a way through the seemingly impossible situation (Mark 10:27). Israel will face a similar situation in a future time (Zech. 14:4-5). The waters were blown back by a strong east wind, and Israel went through on dry ground. The Egyptians assay to follow, and drown. “Through death” (Red Sea, walls on each side, making a valley) the Lord has destroyed “him that had (but no longer has) the power of death, that is the devil” (Pharaoh). Death itself becomes the way to life. Coming up out of the water into a new land, Israel represents a believer brought into a new standing before God (“in Christ”). Understanding this gives perfect peace. The waters of judgment never touched us, because the storm broke on Christ.
 
The tempest’s awful voice was heard,
O Christ, it broke on Thee;
Thy open bosom was my ward;
It bore the storm for me.
Thy form was scarred, Thy visage marred;
Now cloudless peace for me.
 
23 And the Egyptians pursued and came after them — all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots and his horsemen, into the midst of the sea. 24 And it came to pass in the morning watch, that Jehovah looked upon the camp of the Egyptians, in the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and embarrassed the camp of the Egyptians. 25 And he took off their chariot wheels, and caused them to drive with difficulty; and the Egyptians said, Let us flee before Israel, for Jehovah is fighting for them against the Egyptians! 26 And Jehovah said to Moses, Stretch out thy hand over the sea, that the waters may return upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots and upon their horsemen. 27 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its strength toward the morning; and the Egyptians fled against it; and Jehovah overturned the Egyptians into the midst of the sea. 28 And the waters returned, and covered the chariots and the horsemen of all the host of Pharaoh that had come into the sea after them; there remained not even one of them. 29 And the children of Israel walked on dry ground through the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. vv.23-29 The Egyptians Drown. It would seem that Israel was all night in crossing the sea, and by morning the Egyptians were now down in the passage and Israel was on the opposite bank. Where Moses led Israel by faith, the Egyptians assayed to do, and were drowned (Heb. 1:29). It is a path only possible for faith. Before the Egyptians drowned, Jehovah first “embarrassed” them by taking off their chariot wheels, so that they dragged along heavily. The Egyptians realized something amazing; that Jehovah was fighting on Israel’s behalf. “The Egyptians said, Let us flee before Israel, for Jehovah is fighting for them against the Egyptians!” They started to flee, but it was too late. Moses was to reach out his hand (no staff needed), and God would allow the waters to return to their natural state, covering the Egyptians. How horrible it would have been for those men in the sea! It says “the Egyptians fled against it”, indicating that there was some struggle, but the Egyptians were no match. “Jehovah overturned the Egyptians into the midst of the sea.” The victory was complete and final; “there remained not even one of them”. In Psalm 136:15 we find that Pharaoh was among them when this took place. But the same waters which brought death and overthrew the mighty armies of Egypt were a protection to Israel; “a wall to them on their right hand and on their left”.
 
30 Thus Jehovah saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the sea-shore. 31 And Israel saw the great power with which Jehovah had wrought against the Egyptians; and the people feared Jehovah, and believed in Jehovah, and in Moses his bondman. vv.30-31 Conclusion. The deliverance at the Red Sea really completed the work that Jehovah had begun much earlier. The Passover was not enough to completely free Israel from Pharaoh’s power. It wasn’t until Israel had experienced redemption by blood and redemption by power that they could sing the song of deliverance (ch. 15). Here they see the power of God’s salvation; “Israel saw the great power with which Jehovah had wrought against the Egyptians; and the people feared Jehovah, and believed in Jehovah, and in Moses his bondman”. Typically the deliverance at the Red Sea represents the death and resurrection of Christ for the believer; i.e. a passage down into the depths and up again into a new standing. This is what we have in Rom. 4:25 – 5:1; “Jesus our Lord… Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God…” It is in the enjoyment of this new standing that we can “joy in God” (Rom. 5:11).
 

The Song of Deliverance (15:1-21)

The Song of Deliverance. This song is really the culmination of the work that began in ch.12 with the Passover. F.B. Hole remarked “If Exodus 12 is that of shelter from judgment, and chapter 13 that of sanctification to God, and Exodus 14 that of salvation from the foes, Exodus 15 is that of the song of triumph.” The great theme of the song in Exodus 15 is the glory of Jehovah demonstrated by His power in delivering Israel and judging Pharaoh. The Lord didn’t command the people to sing. It was a voluntary expression of their hearts overflowing with thanksgiving. They do not sing about themselves, nor do the failures of the people come into it at all. In the song at the end of the wilderness (Deut. 32) the failures are mentioned, although it ends in victory. The sentiments of this song go higher than the people’s state of soul, even to being brought into the land and to Jehovah’s sanctuary!

CHAPTER 15
Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song to Jehovah, and spoke, saying,
 
I will sing unto Jehovah, for he is highly exalted:
The horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.
2 My strength and song is Jah, and he is become my salvation:
This is my GOD, and I will glorify him;
My father’s God, and I will extol him.
 
vv.1-2 A Savior God. The song is called “the song of Moses” because Moses was its composer, but it was inspired by the Lord. Salvation is the basis of the song: salvation meaning the state of soul that knows deliverance. A fearful or doubting Christian is not truly saved in the sense that scripture speaks of salvation. Israel was safe from the judgment of God at Pi-hahiroth, in type “justified by blood” because of the Passover, but they did not have consciousness of deliverance from their enemies. It never says “Jehovah saved Israel” in connection with the Passover. Sheltered is not saved. So with a Christian who has faith but is not come to see their standing “in Christ”. In order to be “saved” in the full Christian sense we must come to know God as a Savior-God (1 Tim. 2:3; Titus 3:4). It is really the indwelling Spirit of God that gives the believer the consciousness of salvation; hence Paul’s words in Romans 8, “But ye are not in flesh but in Spirit, if indeed God’s Spirit dwell in you; but if any one has not the Spirit of Christ he is not of him”. One who does have the Spirit of God indwelling them is not “in the Spirit”; i.e. in the full Christian position. They may be sheltered by the blood, but they do not know their place in Christ’s standing before God. Now Israel had seen Jehovah’s power on their behalf; “The horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea”. Now they can say “My strength and song is Jah, and he is become my salvation”. Jehovah is God’s characteristic name in association with Israel. The name “Jah” is the shortened form of Jehovah that comes up frequently in the Psalms. We also have the name “Elohim” which brings in His creatorial power, and the shortened form “El”. The expression “I will prepare Him a habitation” in some translations is more properly translated “I will adorn Him” or “glorify Him”. It is the thought of conducting themselves in a way that would bring honor to the Lord. This might anticipate the building of the tabernacle (Ex. 25:2). God’s dwelling is always on the basis of redemption. Apart from that, He cannot dwell with man. In type, it is the soul consciously taking their place in the family of faith; coming to know “My father’s God”.
 
3 Jehovah is a man of war; Jehovah, his name. 
4 Pharaoh’s chariots and his army hath he cast into the sea;
His chosen captains also are drowned in the Red Sea. 
5 The depths covered them; they sank to the bottom as a stone. 
6 Thy right hand, Jehovah, is become glorious in power:
Thy right hand, Jehovah, hath dashed in pieces the enemy. 
7 And by the greatness of thine excellency thou hast overthrown thine adversaries:
Thou sentest forth thy burning wrath, it consumed them as stubble. 
8 And by the breath of thy nostrils the waters were heaped up;
The streams stood as a mound;
The depths were congealed in the heart of the sea. 
9 The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake,
I will divide the spoil; my soul shall be sated upon them;
I will unsheath my sword, my hand shall dispossess them. 
10 Thou didst blow with thy breath, the sea covered them;
They sank as lead in the mighty waters. 
 
vv.3-10 Jehovah as a Man of War. Through this whole song the work of salvation is attributed to Jehovah alone: by His right hand, by His excellency, by the breath of His nostrils, etc. All the glory goes to Him; “Jehovah is His name”. The enemy had great worldly pride and self-confident plans, but Jehovah acted swiftly and decisively, and with relative ease He dispatched the mighty armies of Pharaoh to the bottom of the sea!
 
11 Who is like unto thee, Jehovah, among the gods?
Who is like unto thee, glorifying thyself in holiness,
Fearful in praises, doing wonders? 
12 Thou stretchedst out thy right hand, the earth swallowed them. 
13 Thou by thy mercy hast led forth the people that thou hast redeemed;
Thou hast guided them by thy strength unto the abode of thy holiness. 
 
vv.11-13 Jehovah Among the Gods. Israel rhetorically asks, “Who is like unto thee, Jehovah, among the gods?”. This deliverance by power was the public manifestation of the glory of Jehovah as the God of Israel. He was publicly taking the place as Israel’s God, and by wonders glorifying Himself in holiness! As such, Jehovah not stop at the Red Sea, but was just beginning to lead His people forth (now redeemed), guiding them to the land – even the city – that Jehovah had chosen for Himself; “the abode of thy holiness”. This is a type of Christ’s ongoing preservation of the believer; He is an “all-the-way-home” Savior! Redemption is a theme not found in Genesis, which gives us rather the counsels of God. In order to have a type of redemption, there needed to be a type of bondage. We don’t have the thought of bondage in Genesis. Redemption means to be purchased and also set free. Purchase makes us a special people for the Lord, but redemption sets us free to serve Him! Purchase makes us the Lord’s bondman, while redemption makes us the Lord’s freeman (1 Cor. 7:22). This is similar to how Israel was “the people that thou hast redeemed” to be His peculiar treasure among all the nations, now set free to serve Him. It is not until the truth of redemption is set forth (typically) that the thought of the sanctuary is presented; God taking up His “abode” and dwelling among His people. The power was all with Jehovah. Moses stretched out his right hand, but here it is shown to be all Jehovah’s doing; “Thou stretchedst out thy right hand”.
 
14 The peoples heard it, they were afraid:
A thrill seized the inhabitants of Philistia. 
15 Then the princes of Edom were amazed;
The mighty men of Moab, trembling hath seized them;
All the inhabitants of Canaan melted away. 
16 Fear and dread fall upon them;
By the greatness of thine arm they are still as a stone;
Till thy people pass over, Jehovah,
Till the people pass over that thou hast purchased. 
17 Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance,
The place that thou, Jehovah, hast made thy dwelling,
The Sanctuary, Lord, that thy hands have prepared. 
18 Jehovah shall reign for ever and ever! 
19 For the horse of Pharaoh, with his chariots and with his horsemen, came into the sea, and Jehovah brought again the waters of the sea upon them; and the children of Israel went on dry ground through the midst of the sea. 
 
vv.14-17 The Ripple Effects. In the next several verses we have the ripple effects of the deliverance at the Red Sea. The enemies which stood in the way of Israel reaching Canaan hear of the victory at the Sea and are seized with fear; the inhabitants of Philistia, Edom, and Moab. The inhabitants of Canaan would include those seven nations frequently mentioned together, namely the Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Jebusites, Hivites, Perizzites, and Girgashites. These enemies are seen to simply “melt away”, like a blow torch through a snow bank. Again the thought of Israel as a purchased possession is brought forward; “the people pass over that thou hast purchased”. The victory continues until Israel is brought into the land, established there, and Jehovah takes up a permanent dwelling among His people. The wilderness with all its difficulties are passed over. We are getting a view of things as they will be accomplished through the purpose of God. This even looks forward to the building of the temple! Then, to Jehovah’s kingdom which is for ever and ever. All of this is anticipated by inspiration in the deliverance of Israel and the judgment of the Egyptians in the Red Sea. In a similar way, the long range effects of the work of Christ are still future! 
 
20 And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took the tambour in her hand, and all the women went out after her with tambours and with dances. 21 And Miriam answered them,
 
Sing to Jehovah, for he is highly exalted:
The horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.
 
vv.20-21 Women Join In. At the close we find that the women of Israel joined in this song, led by Miriam the prophetess. A prophetess is a woman who is used by God at times to speak His mind. Other examples include Deborah and Huldah. We do not read that Miriam was ever married. She seems to have been something of a leader, and here it is in a good way! She was leading the women of Israel in the praises of the Lord! We find her encouraging in a wrong direction in Num. 12:1, but here it is for the Lord’s glory!