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Bible Commentaries

Gaebelein's Annotated Bible

Exodus 15

Verses 1-21

7. The Song of Redemption

CHAPTER 15:1-21

1. Jehovah acknowledged and praised (Exodus 15:1-2 )

2. The victory celebrated as His victory (Exodus 15:3-10 )

3. His holiness praised (Exodus 15:11-13 )

4. His enemies tremble (Exodus 15:14-16 )

5. Thou shalt bring them in (Exodus 15:17-18 )

6. The judgment and salvation (Exodus 15:19 )

7. The women’s chorus (Exodus 15:20-21 )

This is a great chapter. It is the first song in the Bible. In Egypt was no singing for Israel but only weeping and groaning. Nor did they sing in Babylon (Psalms 137:2-4 ). There is to be a future song for Israel in connection with their coming great deliverance (Isaiah 12:0 ). Moses sang this song. It is his first song; his last song is that great prophetic outburst recorded by him in Deuteronomy 32:0 . The song of Moses, the servant of God, is mentioned in Revelation 15:3 . This whole song breathes the spirit of praise and worship. The destructive criticism has not left this song unchallenged. They object to it on account of the prophetic utterance in verses 17 and 18, as if this were impossible to say at that time, thus ruling out the inspiration by the Holy Spirit. A closer study of this song will be very profitable. Note the expression “Jehovah is a man of war.” This foreshadows His incarnation and His coming as the mighty King, who conquers his enemies (Psalms 45:3 ; Psalms 46:8-9 ; Isaiah 63:1-7 , Revelation 19:11 ). The whole song is prophetic. What Jehovah has done in the judgment of His enemies and the complete deliverance of His people that He will do again. It is interesting to compare this outburst of praise in which Miriam* (Mary) and the women joined with the song of praise of Hannah (1 Samuel 2:1-10 ), the praise of the mother of our Lord, Mary, in Luke 1:46-55 , and Zechariah’s words in Luke 1:68-79 . The whole atmosphere of Exodus 15:1-21 is that of praise and adoration, joy and victory; such is yet in store for the earth and for Israel , when that goal is reached, of which Exodus 15:18 speaks, “Jehovah shall reign forever and ever. (* Miriam is significantly called “Aaron’s sister,” not Moses’. She could not rank with Moses. Leadership did not belong to her. She was subordinate to Moses, as Aaron was.)

Exodus 12:0 foreshadows our deliverance from the guilt of sins (Romans 1-5:11). Chapter 13 teaches God’s claim on those He has delivered, which is separation unto Himself Chapter 14 tells in type of our deliverance from the power of sin. The song of redemption contained in chapter 15 points us to the beautiful ending of Romans 8:0 , the song which every delivered believer can sing (Romans 8:31-39 ).

Verses 22-27


1. The Experiences in the Wilderness

CHAPTER 15:22-27 In the Wilderness of Shur

1. Marah (Exodus 15:22-26 )

2. Elim (Exodus 15:27 )

They went out into the wilderness of Shur. Shur was a great wall of protection which Egypt had erected. The surrounding country was called by that name. The trials of the wilderness journey at once begin; typical of our passage as redeemed ones through this world. Redemption has for a consequence the wilderness. We are in Christ crucified unto the world and the world unto us. The bitter waters are the first wilderness experience of the nation. It is a hint of what their subsequent history would be. Naomi in the book of Ruth called herself “Mara.” “Marah,” the bitterness, is the perfect picture of the world under sin and death. Then came the first wilderness murmuring. Six more are reported in Exodus and Numbers: Exodus 16:2 ; Exodus 17:2-3 ; Numbers 11:33-34 ; Numbers 14:2 ; Numbers 16:41 ; Numbers 21:5 . God had a remedy. The tree is typical of the cross. The tree was not discovered by Moses, but by Jehovah. Christ went into the deep, dark waters of death; by Him the waters were made sweet for those who believe on Him. Now the bitterness of death is passed, and if we find the bitterness in the world through which we pass as pilgrims and strangers and we follow the path which He went while in the world, then murmuring will be forever excluded if the heart sees Christ and following in His steps, looks upon every bitter experience as the fellowship of His sufferings. Compare the tree for healing with Revelation 22:2 .

In Exodus 15:26 Jehovah speaks of Himself as “Jehovah Ropheka,” the Lord thy Healer. The bitter waters showed them that they needed Jehovah in the wilderness as much as they needed Him in their deliverance from Egypt and Pharaoh’s power. And now He offers Himself as their healer. He takes gracious care of His people while they follow Him in the path of obedience. Some have pressed this promise to such an extent that they say sickness in a Christian is the result of direct disobedience; a Christian has no need of being sick, etc. This is wrong, and has led into theories which are far from sane and scriptural.

Marah is followed by Elim with its twelve wells of water and seventy palm trees. A beautiful oasis in the desert, giving them a foretaste of Canaan . What a place of refreshing and peace it must have been. So in our experience many a Marah is followed by an Elim, as the cross is followed by the crown. Elim means “trees,” and they must have been of luxuriant growth, planted by the wells of waters. So Israel after their Marah experience, when Jehovah has forgiven their sins and healed all their diseases, in the day of their future blessing and glory, will be like trees planted at the water brooks and will draw water out of the wells of salvation (Isaiah 12:3 ).

Exodus 16:1-36

CHAPTER 16 In the Wilderness of Sin

1. The renewed murmuring (Exodus 16:1-3 )

2. The bread from heaven promised (Exodus 16:4-10 )

3. The promise fulfilled and the quails and bread given (Exodus 16:11-14 )

4. Instructions concerning the gathering (Exodus 16:16-18 )

5. The manna corrupted (Exodus 16:19-21 )

6. The manna and the Sabbath (Exodus 16:22-31 )

7. The manna kept for a memorial (Exodus 16:32-36 )

After they removed from Elim, they encamped by the Red Sea (Numbers 33:10 ). They came into the wilderness of sin. The Hebrew word means “thorn,” the bush in which Jehovah had appeared to Moses in the Hebrew is “Sineh,” a thornbush. The second murmuring takes place. This gives a deep glimpse into the desperately wicked condition of the human heart. God had brought them out of the house of bondage; they wished themselves back. God had sheltered them beneath the blood; they wished the judgment might have carried them away. They were ready to leave the ground of redemption, guided by Jehovah, and turn back to Pharaoh to become slaves once more. What infinite patience and grace the Lord manifested toward them. All this is repeated in the lives of many believers. It need not to be so and it will not, if Christ and the redemption we have in Him as well as our glorious inheritance which is before us, is a reality in our lives.

Heaven offers now to minister to the daily need of such a people. The glory of the Lord was seen again out of the cloud (Exodus 16:7 ; Exodus 16:10 ). The bread from Heaven was given. It is described as small in size, round, white like coriander seed, like wafers made with honey and hard. Rationalists have tried to explain the giving of this bread in a natural way. In a certain part of the desert is found a tree from which exudes at certain times an eatable gum and falls to the ground in the form of small cakes; this, it is claimed, explains the manna. But they do not explain how it is that the Israelites received the manna in every part of the desert, that they received it in such immense quantities that the hundred thousands were fed by it and it lasted for forty years. It ceased as miraculously as it was given (Joshua 5:12 ). The word “manna” is from the Hebrew “Man-hu,” the question, “What is that?” It is designated as the bread from heaven (Psalms 78:24 ; Psalms 105:40 ). Our Lord speaks of it as the bread from heaven in John 6, a chapter which is of importance in connection with the typical meaning of the manna. But quails were given first and in the morning dew, and after it arose, the manna. The quails and the manna are both the types of Christ, the food for God’s people. The dew after which the manna is seen, speaks of the Holy Spirit, who ministers Christ. Each gathered the bread which had come down according to his eating. Each got what he wanted, and not more. So Christ meets the need we have of Him if only our need of Him were greater and felt more.

It could not be hoarded up, but had to be gathered every morning. We must feed on Christ daily in living faith. Yesterday’s experience and enjoyment cannot feed us today. We must gather afresh, and let the dew, the Holy Spirit, minister to our hearts. Many live on past experiences, and become puffed up. Stagnation and corruption follow. The Sabbath is mentioned in connection with the manna and it is the first time that the Sabbath for Israel as a nation is spoken of. To feed on Christ, the bread from heaven, means rest for the soul. The keeping of the manna in the golden pot (Hebrews 9:4 ) tells us of what our Lord said concerning the bread from heaven, “He that eateth of this bread shall live forever.” The true manna endureth to eternal life and we shall eat in His own presence in glory “the hidden manna” (Revelation 2:17 ).

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Exodus 15". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". 1913-1922.