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Exodus 15:1-10 (The Song of Moses, the Song at the Sea, Part I)

Sep 13, 2015   //   by Charlie Garrett   //   Exodus, Exodus Sermons (written), Old Testament, Sermons, Torah, Torah (written)  //  No Comments

Exodus 15:1-10
The Song of Moses
The Song at the Sea, Part I

I generally have a pretty good idea of how many verses I will use for any given sermon. I look over the passage, find a logical place to stop, and then start preparing those verses to delight your ears with treasures from the word. And so, on the 13th of July, which is the day I started typing this one, I chose Exodus 15:1-19.

Mom had come by that morning to pick someone up and take them to the airport and I told her that today would be a tough sermon to type. She blew me off, knowing that it would go fine, but I told her, “It’s the song of Moses. It’s in poem form. I’m not sure what I’ll get out of it.”

I started organizing it into sections – I chose four. That is rare, but four sections would mean three poems, one before each subsequent section. That would take up a lot of space to make a full length sermon. But by the time I finished the first verse, I had to cut off verses 11-19 and cut it from four sections to two.

The Song of Moses has taken on a whole new meaning to me because of what is tucked away in it. I hope you will enjoy this first half of it as much as I enjoyed studying it. And be advised – this sermon is not 22 or 23 pages long as normal… it is 25.

Text Verse: “But I have trusted in Your mercy;
My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
Because He has dealt bountifully with me.” Psalm 13:5, 6

David said that his heart would rejoice in the Lord’s salvation. Moses says something similar in His song today. I would trust that by the time we finish, you will rejoice in Him as well. Just hearing the words of the Bible come alive as they do in this song is enough to make me want to jump out of my seat.

Great stuff from a wonderful God to the objects of His affection! It’s all to be found in His superior word. And so let’s turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. The Lord is His Name (verse 1-5)

Then Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to the Lord, and spoke, saying:

Although not the first poetry recorded in the Bible, it is the first song recorded here. In fact the verb sheer or “sing” is used for the first time in Scripture in these words. And not only is this the first song in the Bible, it is also by some hundreds of years the first recorded song in human history.

The structure of it will be followed closely many times in Scripture after this and, though I’m no specialist on these things, it apparently “bears a close resemblance to the Egyptian religious poetry, with which Moses—and probably no other Israelite of the time—would have been familiar from his early training” (Ellicott).

Because of this, there is absolutely no reason to assume that anyone other than Moses is the true author of the song. And yet, he humbly doesn’t take credit for it. Instead he simply says that he and the children of Israel sang it to the Lord.

The song is written entirely in hemistiches, meaning half-lines, which is the normal form of Hebrew poetry. The poem actually divides in a few ways. The first is that from verses 1-12, the words are retrospective. They look back on the deliverance of the Israelites by the Lord.

From verses 13-18, they are prospective, meaning that they look forward to the future results of their deliverance. And yet, even though future, they are written in a past-tense, mission-accomplished style.

But, the first retrospective section logically divides into three subsections – from verses 1-5, then verses 6-10, and then verses 11-12. Each of these divisions begins with a note of acknowledgement to the Lord and each ends with a note of judgment on the Lord’s enemies.

But there is more to consider than just the song before us. Even at this early point of chapter 15, and without having entered into the song itself, it needs to be noted that this song is later comparable to the song of the redeemed of the Tribulation Period.

Thus this is a complete confirmation of the many previous sermons which equated Pharaoh first with the devil and later as the antichrist of the end times; Egypt with the world; and the Lord, Yehovah with the Lord Jesus.

Therefore, all three redemptive scenarios follow logically – Israel from Egypt, the church from the world, and the tribulation saints from the Tribulation Period. This Song of Moses is in Exodus 15 and the last is found in Revelation 15 – a nice pattern having been established between the two 15s. There we read these words –

“And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God. They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying:
‘Great and marvelous are Your works,
Lord God Almighty!
Just and true are Your ways,
O King of the saints!
Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name?
For You alone are holy.
For all nations shall come and worship before You,
For Your judgments have been manifested.'” Revelation 15:2-4

The words of this Revelation song follow the same pattern as that of the Exodus song. They open with acknowledgement to the Lord of His greatness, and they end with a note that the judgments of the Lord have been manifest.

Further, in these two songs we can see that the mark of the Passover is to be equated with refusal to take the mark of the beast, standing by the Red Sea is to be equated with standing by the sea of glass, and the timbrels of the women of Exodus 15:20 are to be equated with the “harps of God” in Revelation 15:2.

Throughout the Bible, we are progressively being shown what will come about in the future by looking at what has occurred in the past. And in that progressive revelation is the truth that God has slowly and methodically revealed Jesus as the Lord who is to be exalted above all else. If we fail to see this, or if we simply refuse to acknowledge it, it is to our own detriment.

The songs of the Bible are recorded to show us the very heart of God in how we are to honor Him, exalt Him, and glorify Him. This being the first, we should attend to it carefully and completely, savoring each line as a cherished possession which will lead us to the very throne of God and the Lamb. And so let us look into this first such expression of the magnificence of God’s redemptive workings with a sense of delight and joy.

1 (con’t) “I will sing to the Lord,

 

ashira l’Yehovah – This begins the first subsection which recounts the works of the Lord. It is individual and personal rather than as a group – “I will sing.” It is the true calling of each individual within the whole to acknowledge the Lord and sing to Him. Some of us, like me, should probably sing quietly as to not hurt the ears of the Lord or our fellow man, but let us sing! And the reason why is…

1 (con’t) For He has triumphed gloriously!

ki-gaoh gaah – literally, “He is gloriously glorious,” or “He is exceedingly exalted.” This word, gaah, is used only 7 times in the Bible and the first four of them are found in this chapter. The root of the word means “to rise.” For emphasis, the word is repeated twice here gaoh gaah. It is first in the finite form and then in the infinitive absolute.

The idea here is that the Lord has “risen up like a wave” (HAW) over His enemies. Therefore, I can’t see any reason not to think of these words as, “He rising has risen.” It would then make a perfect picture of, and parallel to, exactly what Christ did when He triumphed over His foes in the resurrection.

1 (con’t) The horse and its rider

sus v’rokevoh  – The “horse and its rider” implies the chariots of the Egyptians. They followed the Israelites in but they were destroyed.

1 (con’t) He has thrown into the sea!

ramah b’yam – This is a contrast to the “rising like a wave” from a moment ago. He rose like a wave; they were thrown into the sea. It is reflective of the words of Paul which say –

“When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, 14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.” Colossians 2:13-15 (NASB)

The Lord is my strength and song,

azzi v’zimrat Yah – “My strength and my song is Yah.” There is a lot in these few words for us to pull out. Instead of the full name Yehovah, this has the contracted form Yah. It is the first time this poetic form is used in the Bible and it was used to maintain the rhythm of the words.

But, this name, Yah, is not just a nickname or a reason for a poetic matching of sounds. In itself it is a full name. We know this because it is used in conjunction with the full name Yehovah by Isaiah on two separate instances. One is found in Isaiah 12 and it is almost a mirror of the words we now see here in Exodus –

“Behold, God is my salvation,
I will trust and not be afraid;
‘For Yah, the Lord, is my strength and song;
He also has become my salvation.'” Isaiah 12:2

Adam Clarke notes that the name Yah indicates “He who Is, simply, absolutely, and independently.” It is the very basis of the name “I AM” and it is what Jesus was certainly alluding to in John 8 when He said these words –

“Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” John 8:58

Despite this being the first use of Yah as a name, the compound form was used earlier in Genesis 22:2 in the name Moriah, or “Bitterness of Yah.” It is also the form of His wonderful name that we use every time we say “Hallelujah” or “Praise Yah.”

Moses acknowledges here that it is Yah who is azzi v’zimrat “my strength and my song.” And if He is our strength and our song, then that will naturally lead to Him being something else…

2 (con’t) And He has become my salvation;

v’hi-li lishua – “And he has been to me my salvation.”  The Lord is our strength, our song, and our salvation. Nothing could be more wonderful to consider. We could pull up a thousand verses on this concept. And as you read the Bible, take time to ponder them as your eyes alight upon them.

When we are weak, He is our strength. When we are downtrodden, He becomes the song on our lips to restore our souls. When we are overjoyed with His goodness, He is our song of praise and thanks. And when we need a Savior, He is there to save. This is now the third of seventy-seven times in the Bible that the word yeshuah is used. The first was in Genesis 49 during Jacob’s blessing of his sons. After blessing Dan and before blessing Gad, he cried out –

“I have waited for your salvation, O Lord!” Genesis 49:18

Jacob anticipated Yeshua. It was next used just before the parting of the waters when Moses said –

“Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord” Exodus 14:13

Moses promised Yeshua. Salvation would come and it would come from the Lord. And now in this verse, it says that Yeshua had come. There is a logical progression of the introduction of this word, Yeshua, to show us the coming of Christ – He is anticipated, He is promised, and He has come. It is a picture of the incarnation.

In essence, the words say, “My strength and my song is Yah, and He has become to me my Jesus.” It is ancient reference to what the Lord would do in history. He would step out of His eternal realm and become the Man, Yeshua; the Lord Jesus.

Along with Isaiah 12:2, these words are also quoted one more time in Psalm 118:14. We are being given, time and again, hidden references to what God would do in the sending of His Son to redeem man. The Lord is Yah and Yah is Jesus. Such is the wisdom of God to show us these things in advance!

2 (con’t) He is my God, and I will praise Him;

zeh eli v’anvehu – The term “my God” or Eli is used here for the first time in Scripture. It is a personal touch acknowledging that the Lord is God and not only “a god,” but “my God,” and because this is so, v’anvehu – “and I will praise Him.

This word, navah, is only used two times in the Bible and it means “home.” And so some older translations say “…and I will prepare Him a habitation.” However, the root of the word means “beautiful” and so other translations say something like “I will praise Him” or “I will glorify him.”

This is most probably the correct sense because the poem is constructed of parallel verses. The next portion says, “I will exalt Him” and so in order to be parallel, the words “I will praise Him” are certainly a better choice than “I will build Him a home.”

2 (con’t) My father’s God, and I will exalt Him.

elohe avi v’aromemenhu – “My father’s God” means “the God of my ancestors.” In other words, it is speaking of the everlasting nature of God who was there before and who is there now. He is the God his fathers called on and now it is his honor to call on this same God. This takes us right back to the words of Exodus 3 –

“Then He said, ‘Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.’ Moreover He said, ‘I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.'” Exodus 3:5, 6

This same God who received the praises of the fathers is the God who Moses and all of the children of Israel now exalt. There is no gap in the praise of God from generation to generation. When Jesus appeared to His people, His praises continued on in a new group of people who are sons of Abraham because they possess the faith of Abraham. Paul writes this to us in Galatians 3 –

“Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.” Galatians 3:7-9

The Lord is a man of war;

Yehovah ish milkhama – The sappy, impotent picture that modern theologians make concerning God is false. From the beginning to the end, God is the one who takes to the battlefront and engages in the battle. It is He who receives the victory as His enemies are destroyed. In the previous chapter, we read these words –

“The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” Exodus 14:14

In seemingly countless times throughout Scripture, the Lord is shown to be a mighty warrior and one who doesn’t shrink from the battle. In Isaiah 42 we read this –

“The Lord shall go forth like a mighty man;
He shall stir up His zeal like a man of war.
He shall cry out, yes, shout aloud;
He shall prevail against His enemies.” Isaiah 42:13

And in Isaiah 63 there is a description of the Lord that is so striking and terrible that if its words are properly considered, they would fill the mind with absolute horror at what they picture. There the prophet writes this most vivid description –

“Who is this who comes from Edom,
With dyed garments from Bozrah,
This One who is glorious in His apparel,
Traveling in the greatness of His strength?—

‘I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.’

Why is Your apparel red,
And Your garments like one who treads in the winepress?

‘I have trodden the winepress alone,
And from the peoples no one was with Me.
For I have trodden them in My anger,
And trampled them in My fury;
Their blood is sprinkled upon My garments,
And I have stained all My robes.
For the day of vengeance is in My heart,
And the year of My redeemed has come.
I looked, but there was no one to help,
And I wondered
That there was no one to uphold;
Therefore My own arm brought salvation for Me;
And My own fury, it sustained Me.
I have trodden down the peoples in My anger,
Made them drunk in My fury,
And brought down their strength to the earth.'” Isaiah 63:1-6

And lest we make the same error as many modern church-folk that this is just the “wrathful God of the Old Testament” and not the same as the “peaceful and loving God of the New” we have to see the fulfillment of Isaiah’s words in the book of Revelation –

Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. 15 Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:

KING OF KINGS AND
LORD OF LORDS.
Revelation 19:11-16

The terrifying vision of the Lord that Isaiah saw is actually fulfilled in Jesus Christ. It is He who will stomp out the blood of His enemies, spattering His garments with their blood in the full righteous rage of God who defends His people. Surely the words Yehovah ish milkhama are true – Yehovah is a Man of war.

3 (con’t) The Lord is His name.

Yehovah shemo – It is actually unfortunate that the name Yehovah is replaced with “the Lord” in most translations of this poem. We probably use the term “the Lord” to show the obvious connection between the two testaments of Yehovah the Lord and Jesus the Lord. However, we lose some of the sense of the poetry when we substitute the name with the title.

Yehovah is a proper noun, not a title, and so the words Yehovah shemo means, “Yehovah is His name.” He is the One who appeared to Moses at the burning bush and explained to him His very nature by the giving of the name.

In our sermon on Exodus 3:14, we went through many long pages of explanation concerning this divine name. Without going into so much detail, we should recall some of its significance now because Moses is tying the victory of the Lord over His enemies to the One whom he met at the bush.

The name Yehovah which is often translated as LORD is derived from the word ehyeh. It means to fall out, to come to pass, to become, or to be. In this, God confirmed that He was to be known to His people by the name Yehovah specifically.

This name Yehovah carries just that meaning – Being, He Is, or He Will Cause to Be. Abraim notes that to a Hebrew audience the name Yehovah may have looked very much like “He Who Causes ‘That Which Is’ To Be.” As He is uncaused, then all things that exist were caused by Him.

He then is the First Cause of all things; the unmoved Mover; and the Giver of existence. In that He is self-existent, and that all things come from Him, then that means that all things are actually encompassed by Him. There is no place where we are, or could be, which is outside of His Being.

The name I AM, or its form Yehovah, implies an absolute uniqueness. If He is the Giver of existence, then there is none other that gives existence and therefore none other like Him. The name also implies eternality.

He is outside of time, having created it, and therefore though He interacts with it, it has no effect on Him, rather it is affected by Him. Yehovah is His name and the promises which He makes will never fail to come to pass. Moses realized this in his words of this song. Yehovah promised to bring Israel out and Yehovah delivered. Yehovah is His name.

Pharaoh’s chariots and his army He has cast into the sea;

markevot paroh v’khelow yarah b’yam – The word used here for “cast” means something like “to hurl.” It is a verb which often is used to describe “the hurling of a javelin or the shooting of an arrow” (Pulpit). Such is the nature of the mighty Man of war described in the previous verse. By His hand, he took them and cast them to their deaths – both chariots and army in one fell swoop. But for intensification of the imagery, Moses continues…

4 (con’t) His chosen captains also are drowned in the Red Sea.

umiv-khar shalishav tubbehu b’yam suph – Not only were the lesser warriors destroyed, but even the chosen captains. The word miv-khar means “the choicest.” It is the same as the word used in Genesis 23:6 when Abraham looked for a tomb for Sarah. At that time, the Hittites said –

“Hear us, my lord: You are a mighty prince among us; bury your dead in the choicest of our burial places. None of us will withhold from you his burial place, that you may bury your dead.” Genesis 23:6

The word now shows that those who were personally selected by Pharaoh himself as the finest of all of the armies were not spared. They along with the lowest of foot soldiers all perished. If you have been paying attention to these four verses, you may have seen the amplification of the scope of the victory.

It started with the general words “horse and rider” in verse 1.  From that, verse 4 broke it down into first his chariots, then his army, and then his chosen captains. It seems Moses was purposely raising the intensity of the words as if he were stepping up to a new level with each description.

The word translated as “drowned” here is taba. It is the first of ten uses of it in the Bible. It specifically means to “sink.” It is the same word which is next used in 1 Samuel 17 when the rock from David’s sling sunk into the forehead of Goliath. Down went the choice captains of Egypt – a watery grave was their final lot.

With such a massive scope of destruction, particularly the choicest leaders having been removed, Moses could actually have turned around and probably subdued all of Egypt. But the sea behind them was closed and the Lord had no intention of leading them around it and back into that miserable place again.

Instead, He wanted them to share in His glory in another way. In fact, Deuteronomy 17 says that He instructed them to never return that way again. Israel was never to return to Egypt; we are never to return to the world of sin. Jesus Christ has utterly defeated the foe who stands against us, and so why would we go again to trust him or ally with him? Instead, we are to take a new direction and always follow the Lord where He goes.

One final note on this verse is that this destruction occurred in the Red Sea – yam suph. In an earlier sermon, I explained the meaning of suph as a noun means “reeds” but as a verb it means “end.” The verb is translated elsewhere as “to be swept away.” Thus, there may be somewhat of a play on words here. The armies of Pharaoh sunk in the sea which consumes. They were swept away.

The depths have covered them;

tehōmōṯ yekas-yumu – The word for “depths” is a word often used in a poetic sense as if an unfathomable abyss. One of the most memorable uses in Scripture is found in the 42nd Psalm –

Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls;
All Your waves and billows have gone over me.” Psalm 42:7

The tense of the words in Hebrew are is if the floods were covering them in Moses’ mind as the poem was being written – “…the floods covering them…”

5 (con’t) They sank to the bottom like a stone.

yaredu vimsolowt kemow-aben – “They went down into the abyss like a stone.” The word “bottom” or “abyss” is different from “the depths.” Taken together, the two lines read, “The floods covering them, they went down into the abyss like a stone.” It is a great mental parallel to what we read about the antichrist of the future –

“And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. 20 Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21 And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.” Revelation 19:19-21

The Lord judged Pharaoh and his armies and the Lord will judge the antichrist and his. The finality of the words is given to show the terrible end to these wicked foes of the Lord and of his people.

This ends the first subdivision of the poem with the words of judgment upon Pharaoh and his host. It is at this time in the song that the women would probably pick up the refrain found recorded at the end of the song in verse 21 –

“Sing to the Lord,
For He has triumphed gloriously!
The horse and its rider
He has thrown into the sea!”

When the refrain was finished, Moses and the men would continue with the next stanza.

Great and glorious is the Lord our God
He has cast the horse and the rider into the sea
He is my strength and my song in this life as I trod
And He has even become Salvation to me

He is my God and I will praise Him forever
My father’s God is He, the One who ever lives
He is a Man of war, from the battle retreating never
Yehovah is His name, and upon us His favor He gives

He is the same One who then stepped out of the eternal realm
Uniting with flesh and living as a Man to redeem us
He is our Mighty God! Ever at the ship’s helm
There to bring us to our heavenly shore; He is Jesus!

II. The Right Hand of the Lord (verses 6-10)

“Your right hand, O Lord, has become glorious in power;

yeminikha Yehovah nedari bakoakh – This is a second anthropomorphism used to describe the Lord. The first was in verse 3 when He was called a Man of war. Now an attribute of a man is given to Him – the right hand.

It is the first time this phase is used in connection with the Lord in the Bible, but it will fill Scripture from here on out, especially in the psalms and in the prophets. The New Testament will continue on with the analogy as well. Also, the word “glorious,” which in Hebrew is adar, is used for the first of only three times in the Bible. Some translations use “majestic” to translate this word, showing the superlative nature of the right hand of the Lord.

The right hand of the Lord is the place of power, of favor, of divine blessing, and of divine judgment. It is expressive of the finest qualities of tender care, or the harshness of the outpouring of wrath. How the right hand is used in relation to the subject is what determines what the outcome for the subject will be.

It is a lesson from the Bible. We should consider being on the good side of the Lord before the hand is raised. In the case of His enemies, the consequences of being in His disfavor are realized in the following words…

6 (con’t) Your right hand, O Lord, has dashed the enemy in pieces.

yeminikah Yehovah tirats owyev – The word translated as “dashed” here is raats. It means “to afflict” and it is only used twice in the Bible. The other time is in Judges 10 –

“So the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel; and He sold them into the hands of the Philistines and into the hands of the people of Ammon. From that year they harassed and oppressed the children of Israel for eighteen years—all the children of Israel who were on the other side of the Jordan in the land of the Amorites, in Gilead.” Judges 10:7, 8

Knowing the human heart, and seeing it daily in the treatment of people by, for example the muslims of today, we can know for sure that “dashed” is a good word. The Israelites were more than harassed. They were crushed. In like manner, the Egyptians were literally crushed by the right hand of the Lord.

Translators vary on what verbs to use in this verse – “has become glorious/has dashed the enemy,” “is glorious/dashes the enemy,” and so on. The ESV skips the verb in the first part and makes the second verb present tense. In doing so it gives what I think is proper sense of the verse –

“Your right hand, O LORD, glorious in power, your right hand, O LORD, shatters the enemy.” ESV

The verb is in the present but it is of continuance. His hand wasn’t just glorious in power in the past, it is simply glorious in power. And Moses wasn’t just looking back on what happened, but to what the Lord is capable of at all times. He shatters the enemy as the enemy comes against Him – past, present, and future; always.

And in the greatness of Your excellence
You have overthrown those who rose against You;

u’verov geownkha taharos qamekha – “Your excellence” is another word used for the first time in the Bible – ga’own. And it is immediately followed up in the Hebrew with another first-time word haras, or “overthrown.”

It is a completely different word than that used in chapter 14 where it says the armies of Pharaoh were overthrown. This word gives the idea of picking something up and shattering it to pieces, like a pot of clay being smashed on the ground.

Moses is holding nothing back as time and time again he introduces new or superlative words to describe the Lord and to convey the magnificence of what his eyes had beheld. This Song of Moses is merely the beginning of such majestic poetry about the Lord, but it is an amazing start to it.

The Lord in all of His greatness and majesty overthrows those who rise against Him. Like the previous verse, the verbs indicate something on-going. This is not merely a description of what occurred, but it is an acknowledgement of what occurs in connection with the work of the Lord.

7 (con’t) You sent forth Your wrath;
It consumed them like stubble.

teshalah kharonekha yokelemow kaqash – Again, a new word is introduced into the Bible, kharon, or “wrath.” It literally says, “Your burning.” It is as if a fire went out to consume them, hence the words, “It consumed them like stubble.”

Stubble in this verse is the same word, qash, that was first introduced in Exodus 5 when the people went out looking for stubble to make bricks. That which was useless was used in the brick-making process and those who are useless to the Lord are burnt up like stubble in the eternal fires of judgment.

And with the blast of Your nostrils
The waters were gathered together;

u’veruakh appekha neermu mayim – The imagery here is astonishing. It is as if the Lord put His face down to the water and blew with his nostrils, causing a mighty wind to drive the waters where He wished. With the mighty east wind, the waters were gathered and a highway was made.

The word for “gathered” is aram. It is used only here in the entire Bible. It comes from a primitive root meaning “to pile up” or “to gather together.” Moses is using exceptional words to describe the most exceptional of events. The fact that he uses a word such as this shows that this was not a mere ebb tide, but a truly miraculous event which they beheld. And the imagery continues…

8 (con’t) The floods stood upright like a heap;
The depths congealed in the heart of the sea.

nit-sevu kemow-ned nozelim qaphe-u tehomot b’lev-yam – Again, three words are used here for the first time in the Bible. Ned or “heap,” nazal, meaning “to flow,” and qapha, meaning “to congeal” have all been introduced into the poem and into Scripture.

Under the inspiration of the Spirit of God, Moses’ words reflect the magnificence of the event. The waters were brought to a state of animation as if they were in fear. They stood up at attention as if facing a drill sergeant, and poetically they were said to congeal to a hardened state as if blasted until frozen by a polar wind.

The elements reacted to the prompting of the Lord in order for the people of the Lord to pass through. And surely, no bride ever traversed down the hallway of a church with awed eyes gazing upon her as the people of God did as they passed through the admiring waters of the Red Sea. There went Israel, marching towards their marriage to Lord.

The enemy said, ‘I will pursue,
I will overtake,
I will divide the spoil;

amar oyev erdoph assig ahalek shalal – In what is a departure from the form of poetry thus far expressed, Moses enters directly into the thoughts of the enemy with words which are both extremely beautiful and yet terrifying in their original intent.

He makes abrupt and almost gasping utterances, leaving off the word “and” in between each. It is as if the intent of mind in the Egyptians was set on the goal, leaving no time to even coherently tie the thoughts together.

They were eager to regain the plunder of which they had been plundered. They were eager to take the flocks which would replace those lost in the plagues. They were eager to steal away the women, kill the men, and enslave the children. “I will pursue. I will overtake. I will divide the spoil.”

It is the most magnificent of poetry because we can enter into thoughts and feelings which had enticed otherwise rational men to go between walls of water which were as unnatural as a glowing green sky or cat which could fly. In complete disregard to the God who had proven Himself greater than any of their gods, they have become consumed with self. I will, I will, I will…

9 (con’t) My desire shall be satisfied on them.
I will draw my sword,
My hand shall destroy them.’

timlaemow naphshi ariq harbi towrishemow yadi – The maniacal thoughts of the enemy continue… “My, I, My!” My desire – the lusts of my angry and coveting heart will be turned against them. I will draw out my sword from its place of rest and I will loose it upon the Hebrews. It will leave its sheath at my side and find a new place of rests in their hearts.

Those who have destroyed my firstborn will be paid double and more. They shall be utterly destroyed by the power of my hand and the rage flowing through my veins.

The terrifying thoughts made them ready to act as they drew nearer with each step through the long tunnel of water. But those angry, lusting thoughts became their own undoing. The Lord was ready to act and the end drew near. Anger would be replaced with horror…

*10 You blew with Your wind,
The sea covered them;
They sank like lead in the mighty waters.

nashaphta v’ruakh-a kisamow yam tsalalu ka-o-pheret b’mayim addirim – The first wind was one of divine favor upon Israel. It parted the waters and it brought them out of bondage. The second wind was of divine wrath and it closed the mountainous passage, destroying the afflicters of His people. They were covered in the waters and started their journey to the bottom of the sea.

The word “sink” here is tsalal. This is its only use in Bible. It comes from a root meaning to tumble down or settle by a waving motion. However, two other identical words used elsewhere mean 1) grow dark, and 2) tingle. And so it could be that the intent is that they darkened the waters as they sank, and all that was left was a gurgling sound.

The word ophereth or “lead” is used for the first time in the Bible here. To me, it is striking that instead of again saying they sank like a stone, lead came to Moses’ mind. He is celebrating on the shore of the Red Sea with stones as far as the eye could see, and yet he says “lead” instead of “stone.”

Two things come to mind because of this. First, Moses was aware of the dense nature of lead. The word shows intent and it shows high intelligence concerning its nature. Secondly, there must be another connection for the Lord to so inspire him to use this word. The word for lead, ophereth, comes from another word, aphar, which means “dust” due to its dusty color.

It is the word used at the creation of man when God took the dust of the earth and created him by blowing the breath of life into his nostrils. Now Moses saw these men of dust, created by God, sinking as if lead, there to return to the dust from which they came. The breath of God gave, and the breath of God has taken away.

It is the most beautiful of symbolism that God is absolutely sovereign. Even a word such as “lead” instead of “stone” shows immense wisdom in the construction of the greater magnificent themes found in the Bible. What a book!

And one last word in today’s verses is used for the first time. It is used to describe the waters – addirim. Addir means “majestic” but here it is plural, addirim – “majestics.” It is “the mighty proof of the Creator’s glory which is furnished by the waves as they rush majestically along.” Keil and Delitzsch

Like noble warriors having won a great battle, the waves roooooll along proudly, having prevailed over the foes of the people of God. Every word has been carefully selected by the great man of God while under inspiration of the Spirit to delight the senses and to show forth the majesty and splendor of the Lord as He worked His mighty miracle for His redeemed people.

With the ending of this second stanza, Miriam and the women of Israel would have again picked up their timbrels and sang –

“Sing to the Lord,
For He has triumphed gloriously!
The horse and its rider
He has thrown into the sea!”

What a marvelous beginning to this most magnificent of songs. What treasure and beauty has been hidden in these words for us to read and to delight in. And if this song was written for the redemption of mere temporary physical life, how much more should we endeavor to sing to the Lord for the redemption of our eternal spiritual souls!

Can we really sit and withhold our joy, praise, and exultation from the Lord knowing that we have crossed over a greater chasm than Israel passing through the Red Sea; knowing that a far greater foe has been defeated for us than a mere army of flesh; and knowing that even now we are seated in the heavenly places with Christ because of what He has done for us?

Sing to the Lord! Surely He has triumphed gloriously! The devil is defeated, eternal life is granted, and we are the redeemed of the Lord! And with the mere possibility that you are listening today and have not yet received Jesus, please let me tell you how you can, even now…

Closing Verse: “He sent from above, He took me;
He drew me out of many waters.
17 He delivered me from my strong enemy,
From those who hated me,
For they were too strong for me.
18 They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
But the Lord was my support.
19 He also brought me out into a broad place;
He delivered me because He delighted in me.” Psalm 18:16-19

Next Week: Exodus 15:11-21 (The Song of Moses) (The Song at the Sea, Part II)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. Even if a deep ocean lies ahead of You, He can part the waters and lead you through it on dry ground. So follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

I will Sing to the Lord

Then Moses and the children of Israel in joyous praying
Sang this song to the Lord, and spoke, saying:

“I will sing to the Lord,
For He has triumphed gloriously!
The horse and its rider
He has thrown into the sea!
The Lord is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation;
He is my God, and I will praise Him;
My father’s God, and I will exalt Him.
The Lord is a man of war;
The Lord is His name.
Pharaoh’s chariots and his army He has cast into the sea;
His chosen captains also are drowned in the Red Sea.
The depths have covered them;
They sank to the bottom like a stone.

“Your right hand, O Lord, has become glorious in power;
Your right hand, O Lord, has dashed the enemy in pieces.
And in the greatness of Your excellence
You have overthrown those who rose against You;
You sent forth Your wrath;
It consumed them like stubble.
And with the blast of Your nostrils
The waters were gathered together;
The floods stood upright like a heap;
The depths congealed in the heart of the sea.
The enemy said, ‘I will pursue,
I will overtake,
I will divide the spoil;
My desire shall be satisfied on them.
I will draw my sword,
My hand shall destroy them.’
 You blew with Your wind,
The sea covered them;
They sank like lead in the mighty waters.

How wonderful to read the marvelous song
And to contemplate the greatness of the Lord
May we together for eternal ages sing along
And praise Jesus, God’s eternal word

Splendid and wondrous things He has done
He has brought us across the great divide
In our Lord the victory is won
And He has brought us to Himself to forevermore reside

We praise You Lord, Yes! Hear the praises from each of us
We exalt You O God, for our Lord, our Savior, our precious Jesus

Hallelujah and Amen…

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