The Second Book of Moses, Called Exodus

Chapter 14

God instructs the Israelites in their journey, 1-4. Pharaoh pursues after them, 5-9. The Israelites murmur, 10-12. Moses comforts them, 13, 14. God instructs Moses, 15-18. The cloud moves behind the camp, 19, 20. The Israelites pass through the Red Sea, which drowns the Egyptians, 21-31.

1 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2 "Speak to the children of Israel that they turn and encamp before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baal-zephon. Before it you shall encamp by the sea. 3 For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, 'They wander aimlessly in the land. The wilderness has shut them in.' 4 And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and he shall follow them. And I will be honored upon Pharaoh and upon all his host so that the Egyptians may know that I am the LORD." And they did so.

5 And it was told to the king of Egypt that the people fled. And the heart of Pharaoh and of his servants was turned against the people, and they said, "Why have we done this that we have let Israel go from serving us?" 6 And he made ready his chariot and took his people with him. 7 And he took six hundred chosen chariots and all the chariots of Egypt and captains over every one of them. 8 And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued the children of Israel. And the children of Israel went out with a high hand. 9 But the Egyptians pursued them (all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, his horsemen, and his army) and overtook them encamping by the sea, beside Pi-hahiroth, before Baal-zephon.

10 And when Pharaoh drew near, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians marched after them, and they were greatly afraid. And the children of Israel cried to the LORD. 11 And they said to Moses, "Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you dealt with us in this way to conduct us out of Egypt? 12 Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, 'Leave us alone so that we may serve the Egyptians'? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness."

13 And Moses said to the people, "Do not fear. Stand still and see the salvation of the LORD which he will show to you today. For the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you shall see them again no more forever. 14 The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace."

15 And the LORD said to Moses, "Why do you cry to me? Speak to the children of Israel that they go forward. 16 But lift your rod and stretch out your 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 follow them, and I will get myself honor upon Pharaoh and upon all his host, upon his chariots and upon his horsemen. 18 And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD when I have gotten myself honor upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen."

19 And the angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them. And the pillar of the cloud went from before their face and stood behind them. 20 And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. It was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these, so that one did not come near the other all the night.

21 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. 22 And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. 23 And the Egyptians pursued and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. 24 And it came to pass, that in the morning-watch, the LORD looked to the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud and troubled the host of the Egyptians, 25 And took off their chariot-wheels and made them to move heavily, so that the Egyptians said, "Let us flee from the face of Israel, for the LORD fights for them against the Egyptians."

26 And the LORD said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen." 27 And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its strength when the morning appeared. And the Egyptians fled against it, but the LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. 28 And the waters returned and covered the chariots, the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them. There did not remain so much as one of them. 29 But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.

30 Thus the LORD saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea-shore. 31 And Israel saw that great work which the LORD did upon the Egyptians, and the people feared the LORD and believed the LORD and his servant Moses.


Matthew Henry Commentary - Exodus, Chapter 14[➚]


[v.13] - Concerning the imperative portion of what Moses says to the Israelites, see Isaiah 26:3.

[v.14] - Reference, Joshua 23:10.

[v.17] - Reference, Isaiah 1:24.

[v.21-22a] - This crossing of the Red Sea is also a type and shadow of two key doctrines: baptism (a demonstration of faith), and final judgment. See 1st Corinthians 10:1-2 and Hebrews 11:29.

[v.21-22b] - On baptism: Paul had drawn a very interesting parallel between this passing through the waters of the Red Sea and baptism. In 1st Corinthians 10:1-2, Paul said, "all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and were all baptized to Moses in the cloud and in the sea..." In saying that, Paul is trying to show how the Israelites were immersed into the cloud and into waters of the Red Sea, much like a person is immersed in water during a baptism. When the people of Israel passed through the waters, they were acknowledging God as their means of salvation, through Moses, from Pharaoh's army. It was certainly an act of faith (Hebrews 11:29), for passing through a sea on dry ground is quite extraordinary, to say the least. When they emerged from the waters, they recognized the source of their salvation and feared and believed in God. The sacrament of baptism is quite similar. When a believer is baptized, he is putting on Christ (Galatians 3:27), or identifying with Christ's life, death, and resurrection. The believer is also making a public acknowledgement of Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. The believer is saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8), and in response, follows Christ in baptism.

[v.21-22c] - On judgment: In Revelation 20:11-15, there is a description of the judgment that bears some resemblance with this event at the Red Sea. In that passage, the account is made of God judging each and every person according to his or her deeds, sparing His people while those who were not found in the book of life were cast into the lake of fire. Likewise, here in Exodus, we have the account of God sparing His people, but Pharaoh and his army were drowned in the sea, which is parallel to being cast into the lake of fire.