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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Exodus 14

Verse 1

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 2

Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp before Pihahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baalzephon: before it shall ye encamp by the sea.

Speak ... that they turn and encamp. The Israelites had now completed their journey to the wilderness, and at Etham the decisive step would have to be taken whether they would celebrate their intended feast and return, or march onwards by the head of the Red Sea into the desert, with a view to a final departure. They were already on the borders of the desert, and a short march would have placed them beyond the reach of pursuit, as the chariots of Egypt could have made little progress over dry and yielding sand. But at Etham, instead of pursuing their journey eastward, with the sea on their right, they were suddenly commanded to diverge to the south, keeping the gulf on their left; a route which not only detained them lingering on the confines of Egypt, but in adopting it, they actually turned their backs on the land of which they had set out to obtain the possession.

A movement so unexpected, and of which the ultimate design was carefully concealed, could not but excite the astonishment of all, even of Moses himself, although, from his implicit faith in the wisdom and power of his Heavenly Guide, he obeyed. The object was to entice Pharaoh to pursue, in order that the moral effect which the judgments on Egypt had produced in releasing (God's people from bondage, might be still further extended over the nations by the awful events transacted at the Red Sea, [ wªyaashubuw (H7725), turn.]

The ordinary meaning the verb [ shuwb (H7725)] is to turn about, to turn back, to return. But it also signifies sometimes to turn in a new or different direction (cf. Psalms 73:10; Ezekiel 35:7; Zechariah 7:14), and it bears this sense here, because the Israelites were commanded, instead of pursuing an easterly course until they had rounded the head of the gulf, to turn southward, and go down the western side of the gulf. Although all the roads from Egypt to the Red Sea must have been perfectly well known to Moses, and it may be safely inferred from the weight of responsibility laid upon him by the difficult enterprise to which he had been called, of conducting so mighty a multitude through the deserts to Canaan, he would, if left to the free exercise of his own judgment, have chosen an easy, though it might be a circuitous route-there is no ground afforded by the Scripture narrative for supposing that Moses was aware of the divine purpose to make a miraculous passage for his people through the Red Sea; and therefore his implicit obedience to the command of the Lord to "turn and encamp before Pi-hahiroth" was a striking proof of his full and unwavering confidence in the power, wisdom, and care of the Almighty leader.

Pi-hahiroth - if a Hebrew word, it would signify 'the mouth of the caverns' or defiles. 'But,' says Gesenius, on the authority of Jablonsky, 'it is doubtless an Egyptian name, Pi-achi-roth, the sedgy place.

Between Migdol and the sea, [ Migdol (H4024)]. It could not be the town Migdol-for that was situated in the northern extremity of Egypt; nor can it, according to our preceding explanations, be the defile Micktal or Muktala, or Suez, as Laborde and Wilkinson suppose; but, as the word signifies a tower, or an elevated peak, so it is here obviously used for the lofty mountain Jebel Attakah. [The Septuagint, however, has: ana meson Magdoolou-referring to the town called by the Greeks Magdolon.]

Over against Baal-zephon - a place sacred to Typhon. The name was very appropriate to such a locality, as the wild desert regions between the Nile and the Red Sea were considered the habitation of Typhon, the Egyptian evil demon. 'On the left, at the mouth of Wady Tawarik, is Migdol (Ras-Attakah); in front the sea; on the right, in the defiles between the ranges of Jebel Deraj, Pi-hahiroth (openings of the caverns); and probably somewhere near was "Baal-zephon," in the form of a temple dedicated to Typhon' (Drew's 'Scripture Lands,' p. 54). The wilderness hath shut them in. Pharaoh, who would eagerly watch their movements, was now satisfied that they were meditating flight, and he naturally thought, from the error into which they appeared to have fallen by entering that defile, he could intercept them. He believed them now entirely in his power, the mountain chain being on one side, the sea on the other, so that, if he pursued them in the rear, escape seemed impossible. They marched now with the Attakah range on their right, and the sea on their left, and the mountain heights of Abu-Deraj, on the south of Wady Tawarik, in front; so that, with the Egyptians behind them, extrication from this cul de sac was by natural egress impossible. The route, however, was broad enough to allow the march of a large body of people.

Verses 3-4

For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, They are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verses 5-9

And it was told 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?

And it was told the king of Egypt that the people fled. Since the intelligence must have been sent to him from Etham, which would occupy two days, and the muster, as well as the transit of his army, would require one or two more, it might be a week before he reached them. This seems to be a natural conclusion: for at Etham, 'which was on the edge of the wilderness,' the king's spies, who doubtless were employed to watch the movements of the Israelites, would expect them to engage in their intended solemnity. But observing that, instead of halting to make preparations for the sacred rites, they took this road, a suspicion that their secret purpose was flight was now confirmed. Sicard thinks that an expression so remarkable as this, "that the people fled," can be fairly interpreted only on the supposition that Moses had previously had a definite route prescribed to him by the king.

The heart of Pharaoh ... Alas! how soon the obduracy of this reprobate king re-appears. He had been convinced, but not converted-overawed, but not sanctified by the appalling judgments of heaven. He bitterly repented of what he now thought a hasty concession. Pride and revenge, the honour of his kingdom, and the interests of his subjects, all prompted him to recall his permission, to reclaim those runaway slaves, and force them to their accustomed labour. Strange that he should yet allow such considerations to obliterate or outweigh all his painful experience of the danger of oppressing that people. But those whom the Lord has doomed to destruction are first infatuated by sin. Verse 6. And he made ready his chariot, [ waye'cor (H631); Septuagint, ezeuxe-and he bound, yoked the horses to the chariot (Genesis 46:29; 1 Kings 18:44); chariot [ rekeb (H7393)], singular, used collectively. His preparations for an immediate and hot pursuit are here described: a difference is made between the "chosen," specially young warriors, as the word is used (Isaiah 9:7; Isaiah 31:8; Jeremiah 18:21; Jeremiah 49:26; Jeremiah 51:3; Amos 4:10). So that these "chosen" chariots contained the flower and chivalry of Egypt.

Verse 7. Captains over every one of them, [ shaalishiym (H7991), third men; Septuagint, tristatas] - literally, 'and (three) warriors upon each of them.' The principal military force of ancient Egypt consisted in war-chariots. Three men were generally assigned to each chariot, one for driving, and two for fighting. 'Each car contained two persons, like the difros of the Greeks. On some occasions it carried three, the charioteer or driver and two chiefs' (Wilkinson's 'Ancient Egypt.'). On this occasion-the pursuit of Israel-war-chariots were employed, as infantry would have been totally unsuitable for an expedition that required a rapid gallop across the desert. Since the frontier line on the east was constantly exposed to the attacks of Asiatic invaders, provision was made by the erection of fortified towns or military stations on the border for the permanent maintenance of a considerable number of chariots for the protection of the country. Besides, it is distinctly asserted by Herodotus (b. 2:, ch. 158) that the greater proportion of the military force was stationed in the Delta not far from Memphis, and that the whole standing army consisted of 410,000-namely, 250,000 Calasayries and 150,000 Hermotybes.

It could not, then, be difficult quickly to assemble a large force; indeed, that historian gives several instances of the hasty muster of a numerous army upon an emergency. So that, wherever Rameses was situated-whether at Heroopolis, according to the theory of Robinson, or at Basatin, as Niebuhr, Burckhardt, and others place it, it seems more than probable that a detachment of the Egyptian army must have been concentrated near the camp of the Israelites, in order to watch the movements near the capital.

It everywhere appears from the monuments that the Pharaohs headed their armies in person. The 600 chosen chariots, we have said, were most probably the royal guard, which, according to Herodotus (b. 2:, ch. 168) consisted of 2,000 men, selected by turns every year from the entire army. But they did not comprise the whole force which Pharaoh raised for pursuit of the Israelites. He likewise took "all the chariots of Egypt" -

i.e., as many as could in the urgency of the time be mustered.

Josephus says that, along with the 600 chariots, Pharaoh had 50,000 horsemen and 200,000 footmen; and a classical historian (Diodorus Siculus, b. 1:, ch. 54) represents the great Sesostris as bringing to the field 600,000 footmen, 24,000 horsemen, and 27,000 war-chariots. Compared with such evident exaggerations, the moderate number-in harmony with the suddenness of the muster-affords a minute, but strong attestation to the historical truthfulness of this narrative. As to "the chariots of Egypt," the common cars contained only two persons-one for driving and the other for fighting. Sometimes only one person was in the chariot, the driver lashing the reins round his body and fighting. As to the war-chariots employed, these were of light construction, open behind, and hung on small wheels.

Verse 9. And his horsemen [ uwpaaraashaayw (H6571)]. This is a different word from that used, Exodus 14:7. Hengstenberg ('Egypt and Books of Moses,' p. 126), after Champollion, on the alleged evidence of the monuments, maintains that "horsemen," in the sense of cavalry, were not in use among the Egyptians; and also from the general testimony of historians, that although horses were employed in war at a very early period, it was not until long after the time of the Exodus that it became customary to fight on horseback, the horses of the Egyptians being, like those described in Homeric battles, attached to cars or chariots, mounted by one or more warriors. But Wilkinson ('Ancient Egypt,' vol. i p. 292) has shown that mention is made of the Egyptian horses in sacred (2 Chronicles 12:3; Isaiah 36:9) as well as profane history (Diodorus Siculus, b. 1:, ch. 54); nor are the hieroglyphics silent upon the subject; because we learn from them that the command of the cavalry was a very honourable and important post-generally held by the king himself, or by the most distinguished of the king's sons. (See also Havernick's 'Introduction to the Pentateuch,' p. 256).

Verse 10

And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto the LORD.

And when Pharaoh drew nigh. Although the distant sounds from the desert, reverberating through the defiles, announced the approach of their avenging foe, the appearance of the Egyptian army would not be visible until they were near at hand, and were seen emerging from the mountain defiles. The impulsive multitude were now in a state of irrepressible excitement, and, instigated by one and another of the more impetuous spirits, gave vent to their emotions in a loud burst of indignant accusation against their leader.

Absence, brief as it had been, had mollified their remembrance of their oppressive task-masters; and the overwhelming dread of famine and death in the wilderness now filled their minds, to the exclusion of all holier faith in the might of that arm which had already done such wonders in their behalf. The great consternation of the Israelites is somewhat astonishing, considering their vast superiority in numbers; but their deep dismay and absolute despair at the sight of this armed host receives a satisfactory explanation from the fact that the civilized state of Egyptian society required the absence of all arms, except when they were on service. If the Israelites were entirely unarmed at their departure, they could not think of making any resistance (Wilkinson, Hengstenberg).

Verses 11-12

And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt?

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verses 13-14

And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.

Moses said ... Fear ye not. Never, perhaps, was the fortitude of a man so severely tried as that of the Hebrew leader in this crisis, exposed as he was to various and inevitable dangers, the most formidable of which was the vengeance of a seditious and desperate multitude; but his meek, unruffled, magnanimous composure presents one of the sublimest examples of moral courage to be found in history. And whence did his courage arise? He saw the miraculous cloud still accompanying them, and his confidence arose solely from the hope of a divine interposition, although, perhaps, he might have looked for the expected deliverance in every quarter, rather than in the direction of the sea.

Verses 15-18

And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:

The Lord said ... When, in answer to his prayers, he received the divine command to go forward, he no longer doubted by what kind of miracle the salvation of his mighty charge was to be effected.

Verse 19

And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them:

The angel of God - i:e., the pillar of cloud. The slow and silent movement of that majestic column through the air, and occupying a position behind them, must have excited the astonishment of the Israelites (Isaiah 58:8). It was an effectual barrier between them and their pursuers, not only protecting them, but concealing their movements. Thus, the same cloud produced light (a symbol of favour) to the people of God and darkness (a symbol of wrath) to their enemies (cf. Psalms 105:39; 1 Corinthians 10:2; 2 Corinthians 2:16).

Verse 20

And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 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.

Moses stretched out his hand ... The waving of the rod was of great importance on this occasion, to give public attestation, in the presence of the assembled Israelites, both to the character of Moses and the divine mission with which he was charged.

The Lord caused ... a strong east wind all that night, [Septuagint, notos-south wind]. Suppose a mere ebb tide, caused by the wind raising the water to a great height on one side, still, as there was not only "dry land," but, according to the tenor of the sacred narrative, a wall on the right hand and on the left, it would be impossible, on the hypothesis of such a natural cause, to rear the wall on the other. The idea of divine interposition, therefore, is imperative; and assuming the passage to have been made at Mount Attakah, or at the mouth of Wady Tawarik, an east wind would cut the sea in that line.

The Hebrew word kadim, however, rendered in our translation East, means, in its primary signification, previous; so that this verse might perhaps be rendered, 'the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong previous wind all that night'-a rendering which would remove the difficulty of supposing the host of Israel marched over on the sand in the teeth of a rushing column of wind strong enough to heap up the waters as a wall on each side of a dry path, and give the intelligible narrative of divine interference.

Verse 22

And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.

The children of Israel ... It is highly probable that Moses, along with Aaron, first planted his footsteps on the untrodden sand, encouraging the people to follow him without fear of the treacherous walls; and when we take into account the multitudes that followed him, the immense number who through infancy and old age were incapable of hastening their movements, together with all the appurtenances of the camp, the strong and steadfast character of the leaders' faith was strikingly manifested (Joshua 2:10; Joshua 4:23; Psalms 66:6; Psalms 74:13; Psalms 106:9; Psalms 136:13; Isaiah 63:11-13; 1 Corinthians 10:1; Hebrews 11:29).

Verses 23-30

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. The Egyptians pursued. From the darkness caused by the intercepting cloud, it is probable that they were not aware on what ground they were driving: they heard the sound of the fugitives before them, and they pushed on with the fury of the avengers of blood, without dreaming that they were on the bared bed of the sea.

Verse 24. In the morning watch - i:e., at sunrise.

The Lord looked ... through ... cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians. We suppose the fact to have been, that the side of the pillar of cloud toward the Egyptians was suddenly, and for a few moments, illuminated with a blaze of light, which, coming as it were in a refulgent flash upon the dense darkness which had preceded, so frightened the horses of the pursuers that they rushed confusedly together and became unmanageable. Josephus mentions a storm of thunder and lightning (cf. Psalms 77:16-18). "Let us flee," was the cry that resounded through the broken and trembling ranks; but it was too late-all attempts at flight were vain (Bush).

Verse 25. Took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily. The plunging of the terrified horses seems to have thrown the chariots off the axles. This confusion seems to have been produced as if to prevent their overtaking the Israelites, while still in the bed of the sea.

Verse 27. Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength, [ lª'eeytaanow (H386)] - to perpetuating its ceaseless flow. What circumstances could more clearly demonstrate the miraculous character of this transaction than that at the waving of Moses' rod the dividing waters left the channel dry, and on his making the same motion on the opposite side, they returned, commingling with instantaneous fury. Is such the character of any ebb tide?

The Egyptians fled against it; and the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. The east wind would cease first on the western or Egyptian shore, so that, when the waters were rushing back to their accustomed channel, the Egyptians encountered the returning billows.

Verse 28. There remained not so much as one of them. Although the historian does not expressly say that Pharaoh perished, it is surprising that, with such a declaration, some intelligent writers can maintain there is no evidence of the destruction of Pharaoh himself (Exodus 14:17-18; see the note at Exodus 15:19; also, Osburn, 'Mon. Hist.,' 2:, p. 605).

Verse 30. Israel saw the Egyptians ... The tide threw them up, and left multitudes of corpses on the beach, a prey to jackals and other rapacious animals (Psalms 74:13-14) - a result that brought greater infamy on the Egyptians, that tended on the other hand to enhance the triumph of the Israelites, and doubtless enriched them with arms, which they had not before.

The locality of this famous passage has not yet been, and probably never will be, satisfactorily fixed. Some place it in the immediate neighbourhood of Suez-either above it, as Niebuhr and the Rationalists do, across a very narrow inlet, which is fordable at ebb tide, and about two-thirds of a mile wide-or immediately below it, where there are extensive shallows, also fordable at ebb; where, they say, the part of the sea is most likely to be affected by 'a strong northeast wind;' where the road from the defile of Migdol (now Muktala) leads directly to this point, and where the sea, not above two miles broad, could be crossed in a short time. This is Dr. Robinson's theory ('Biblical Researches,' vol. 1:, pp. 81-86) of the passage, which he describes as a semi-miraculous event, produced on the curvature at the head of the gulf, by a northeast wind; because the Hebrew term denotes any wind from the eastern quarter. 'A strong northeast wind, acting here upon the ebb tide,' says he, 'would necessarily have the effect to drive out the waters from the small arm of the sea, which runs up by Suez, and also from the end of the gulf itself, leaving the shallower portions dry; while the more northern part of the arm, which was anciently both broader and deeper than at present, would still remain covered with water.' In this way-namely, by the wind acting with supernatural impetus upon the ebb tide, and driving out the waters during the night to a far greater extent than usual-he thinks the passage was effected.

It was an extraordinary ebb, produced by natural means supernaturally increased. But being nothing more than an unusual ebb, it could not be above three or four hours' duration; and although the Israelites had probably been prepared, the moment the ford promised safe footing, to march forward; yet, as the action of the wind must have been continued a considerable time before that required effect took place, the passage could not be commenced until midnight, and by sunrise it was completed-thus occupying only two hours. 'As the Israelites numbered more than two million persons, besides flocks and herds, they would of course be able to pass but slowly. If the part left dry were broad enough to enable them to cross in a body 1,000 abreast, which would require a space of more than half a mile in width (and is perhaps the largest supposition admissible), still the column would be more than 2,000 persons in depth, and, in all probability could not have extended less than two miles. It would then have occupied at least an hour in passing over its own length, or in entering the sea; and deducting this from the largest time intervening before the Egyptians must also have entered the sea, there will remain only time enough, under the circumstances, for the body of the Israelites to have passed, at the most, over a space of three or four miles.'

With all respect for the opinion of this learned and reflecting traveler, who is supported by Havernick, Ritter, Wilkinson, Stanley, etc., we cannot accept his solution of this important question, which seems to leave out of view a number of circumstances-minute, indeed, but essential to the full consideration of the case. The sea at the point where the passage was made must have been much broader than it is at Suez, because both the Israelites and the Egyptians were on its bared bed at one time. There is no reason to suppose the lapse of a considerable period before the violent action of the wind produced the intended effect; because the result seems to have been immediately consequent on the lifting up of Moses' rod both at the beginning and the end. Instead of the waters being driven out by its resistless impulsion further than during an ordinary ebb, they were divided, or diagonally cut [ yibaaqª`uw (H1234), avert themselves. The word bears the signification of cleaving by a blow or violence. Septuagint, eschisthee to hudoor, seas to be a "wall unto the Israelites on their right hand and on their left."

There is an inscription on the rocks at Sinai which, if Foster renders it aright, is to this effect, 'Turned into dry land the sea, the Hebrews flee through the sea' ('Sinai Photographed'). And although it is said that "a strong east wind was used instrumentally, it seems to have been employed not so much for the separation of the waters, as to dry the wet sand.

Kadim denotes the character rather than the quarter of the gale-a parching wind, a shurkiyeh, and hence, it is rendered Notos by the Septuagint-not an ordinary or periodical wind, but a special miraculous agent. A sufficient time would thus be afforded, from sunset to sunrise, to conduct over the bed of the sea the mighty multitude of men, women, and children, with their flocks and herds.

Influenced by these views, the vast majority who have examined the spot reject the theory of Robinson, and fix the passage about 10 or 12 miles further down the shore, at Wady Tawarik, where the sea, reckoning by a straight line from the base of Jebel Attakah, at the northern corner of the Badiyah to the Ras Mesallah, on the eastern or Arabian shore, is from 6 1/2 to 8 geographical miles. The time of the miracle was the whole night, at the season of the year, too, when the night would be about its average length. There was thus ample time for the passage of the Israelites from any part of the valley, especially considering their excitement and animation by the gracious and wonderful interposition of Providence in their behalf (Wilson's 'Lands,' vol. 1:,

p. 154), Strabo, Diodorus Siculus, Trogus Pompeius in Justin, 36:, 2; Artapanus in Eusebius, 9:, 27, record the tales told by the ancient inhabitants of the place respecting the marvelous passage of the Israelites through the divided waters). Local tradition also confirms this view; because the names still given to the most prominent objects in the neighbourhood bear a direct reference to the passage of the Israelites. Wady Tawarik is called also by the Arabs Wady Musa. Jebel Attakah signifies, in Arabic, 'the mount of deliverance;' the Wady Badiyah, 'the valley of the miraculous;' Wady el Tih, 'the valley of wandering,' etc. The locality of this famous passage, however, it must be acknowledged, is still an unsolved problem; for, from the many geological changes that have taken place in the bed, as well as on the shores, of the Gulf of Suez, even those who have carefully explored the topography of that region, have come to very different conclusions; so that the actual spot at which the Israelites entered on the bared channel remains, and probably will forever remain, a questio vexata in Biblical literature.

It is a favourite idea with Rationalistic writers that this record is not strictly historical. 'The narrative of the passage of the Red Sea must not be viewed as literal history. Later traditions exaggerated the event, surrounding it with wonder' (see Davidson's 'Introduction,' vol. 1:, p. 225). Accordingly, they endeavour in two ways to impugn the miraculous character of this passage, either by averting that Moses took advantage of a strong ebb tide to transport his people to the Arabian strand, or by comparing it with Alexander's crossing over the Bay of Pamphylia, in his Persian Expedition. In regard to the first, who can be so credulous as to suppose that a stranger like Moses possessed a familiar acquaintance with the time and extent of the flux and reflux of the tide, which enabled him to calculate with confidence on profiting by them on a sudden and perilous emergency, while the king of Egypt and his whole army, though native inhabitants of the country, knew nothing of any expected extraordinary subsidence of the waters. With respect to the other point, there was evidently nothing miraculous in the passage of the Macedonian hero, as Josephus, who relates it, clearly insinuates; but Callisthenes, adverting to a favourable breeze from the north, which drove away the water in the shallows, thereby affording an easy passage, represented it, with courtly adulation, as the wind doing homage to Alexander as a demigod, by pioneering his way, (Eustathius, 'Notes on Iliad,' 3:)

Assuming the veracity of Moses, however, it seems impossible for the human mind to evade the force of this miracle; and from the numerous allusions made to it in Scripture-the profound and awe-inspiring impression it produced upon contemporary nations, as well as the figurative use which the bards of Israel make of it in describing the greatness of Almighty power-it must have been a miracle of stupendous character-or unparalleled magnitude.

What was the design of it? There was no absolute need of the Israelites being led through the Red Sea; because there is a route vastly more expeditious, as well as practicable, by which modern travelers are every season penetrating the depths of the Arabian desert. Still there was a necessity for this miracle-not, indeed, a physical, but a moral necessity-the completion of the work which the preceding plagues on Egypt had to a certain extent accomplished, by the revelation of the power and grace of the true God; and the nations were to be taught that the gods of the pagan, even those of the civilized Egyptians, were nothing compared to Yahweh, the Creator and Governor of the whole earth. The Israelites could have been led to Canaan without a miracle; but there would have been no such striking manifestations of God's omnipotence-of His grace and His paternal interest in them.

The divine legation of Moses was authenticated by the silent but emphatic testimony of Heaven. The confidence of the Israelites in his mission and authority was strongly, though with many of them but temporarily awakened; and in the astonishing phenomena of that eventful night terminated by the judicial destruction of the Egyptians, demonstration was made to the senses of two million people, of which the effect described was natural and legitimate. "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" (Exodus 14:31).

The apostle Paul, referring to this memorable fact in the history of the ancient Church, says that the Israelites were all "baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea" (1 Corinthians 10:2). The conjunction of the cloud with the sea suggests that in these words there may be a literal reference to the spray, which might fall upon the people from the o'er-canopying cloud, and from the liquid walls on their right and their left. But the import of this apostolic declaration is, that the Israelites were baptized unto Moses as unto a typical Mediator, and consequently, by that dedication were bound to yield obedience to the divine dispensation which was soon to be inaugurated with them by his ministry.

Further, it also clearly denotes that, in the passage of the literal Israel through the Red Sea, we have a figure of the same kind with the initiatory seal of the covenant of grace-a type of "the washing of regeneration," and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus, of which baptism is only the sign. (See Jamieson's 'Use of Sacred History,' vol. 1:, p. 292.)

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Exodus 14". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/exodus-14.html. 1871-8.