Bible Commentaries
Exodus 15

Hawker's Poor Man's CommentaryPoor Man's Commentary

Verse 1


This is a very memorable chapter, for it contains not only the most ancient of all holy songs, but that which, considered spiritually and with an eye to Jesus, is to be the most lasting. The Holy Ghost causeth the sacred writers of the Old Testament frequently to refer to it: and to leave the impression of it in strong characters on the minds of New Testament believers, it is again spoken of in the close of the canon of scripture as the Song 1-8. In this chapter we have the words of this song, and the joy of Israel in singing of it. Beside these: here is an account of Moses conducting Israel into the wilderness of Shur: their arrival at Marah: and at Elim.

Exodus 15:1

I beg the Reader to admire with me, not only the piety, but the sublimity of this song. If it had been found in any other book but the Bible how lavish would have been the praises of some men upon it. But passing this by, let the Reader observe, the several precious things in this song. It is ascribed unto the Lord. God is the first cause and the final end of all mercy. Reader! It is a sweet thing to rejoice in God's mercies. But far sweeter to rejoice in the God of our mercies. The scripture is full of this. Isaiah 61:10 ; Joel 2:23 ; Philippians 4:4; Philippians 4:4 , etc.

Verse 2

The praise here riseth to a note still higher. In the former, Moses adores God for his salvation. But here for the covenant relations into which the Lord hath condescended to bring himself: Reader! do you know anything of this? Can you say he is my God. Isaiah 12:2 . What a sweet scripture to this amount is that of the people's call, and God's answer? Zechariah 13:9 . Reader! do not overlook the children's covenant blessings in this verse, for it is very precious. We have authority to remind God of his covenant promises to our fathers. The church frequently did so, and found the sweetness of it. Deuteronomy 9:27 ; 2 Chronicles 6:42 , etc. And God himself condescends to put the children in remembrance of the same, when referring his mercies to this source. Leviticus 26:42 ; Micah 6:5 . And the mercy of mercies, is ascribed in after ages to the same. Luke 1:72-75 .

Verse 3

This character given to the Lord, is a striking one. Psalms 24:8 . Reader! contemplate this, and then read Isaiah 45:9; Isaiah 45:9 .

Verse 4

If we consider the subject all along spiritually, which undoubtedly, in order to enter into the full enjoyment of it, we ought, what a refreshing thought is it to consider, that as Pharaoh is a type of the great enemy of souls, and is here with all his retinue destroyed, so ultimately will be that foe of God and man. See Exodus 14:28 , compared with Revelation 12:9-11 .

Verse 5

Doth not this afford an awful image of the load of unpardoned sin? Revelation 18:20-21 . But what a subject of joy when sin is pardoned. See Micah 7:18-19 .

Verse 6

Psalms 118:15-16 .

Verses 7-8

2 Thessalonians 2:8 .

Verse 9

The church hath found great cause, in all ages, to plead with her God of the enemy's vauntings. See Psalms 74:0 throughout.

Verse 10

There is a great beauty in repeating mercies. It shows that they dwell upon the mind. See Exodus 15:5 .

Verse 11

Perhaps this expression of God is in reference to the idol gods of Egypt, which were very numerous. Reader! do not hastily pass over these glorious characters in Jehovah: He is glorious in holiness. The unspotted holiness of God is peculiarly praised, in the realms of the blessed. Isaiah 6:3 ; Revelation 4:8 . And it is by this character the Lord Jesus addressed his Father, in that memorable prayer, John 17:11 . By the expression, fearful in praises, may perhaps be meant, the humbleness of soul with which even privileged believers draw nigh: or, that even what is matter of praise to his people, is full of fear to his enemies. Psalms 2:11; Psalms 2:11 . And as to doing wonders: everything is wonderful in the kingdoms both of providence and of grace. The Great Author of all is himself wonderful. Isaiah 9:6 .

Verse 12

Reader! observe, if God be at enmity with sinners, all creation is at variance with them also. Read that scripture, Deuteronomy 28:23 , etc.

Verse 13

How sweet is it to remark distinguishing grace! Exodus 8:22 ; Matthew 13:49 ; Isaiah 65:13 .

Verses 14-16

See this fulfilled, Deuteronomy 2:4 ; Numbers 22:3 ; Joshua 2:9-10 .

Verse 17

Reader! pray consider this spiritually. If the Lord bring you out of spiritual Egypt, depend upon it he will bring you into the heavenly Canaan. John 10:27-28 .

Verse 18

What an everlasting cause for joy, amidst all the disappointments of life. Psalms 97:1 ; Revelation 11:15 .

Verses 19-20

Miriam, an Old Testament name, is the same as Mary in the New. As in fasting, all mourn, see Joel 2:16 , so in praising should all partake. It was a common thing in the Church, in after ages, so to celebrate the praises of the Lord. See Jdg 5:1 ; 1 Samuel 18:6 .

Verse 21

Jeremiah 31:4 .

Verse 22

Shur over against Egypt. Genesis 25:18 . There is somewhat worthy remark in those three days travelling. You will find similar examples in other parts of scripture. Numbers 10:33 . So they were commanded at first, to obtain leave from Pharaoh. See Exodus 3:18 . And is not this, in a spiritual sense, sometimes the case of the seeking soul? They found no water.

Verse 23

Is not this a spiritual lesson also? When we obtain creature comforts, are they not sometimes, nay, for the most part, bitter? Marah means bitter. Ruth 1:20 .

Verse 24

Alas! See here what human nature is. Such, my soul, is unbelief in every heart. Matthew 6:25 .

Verse 25

See the sweet effect of prayer. Observe, the Lord showed him relief is not of man, but of the Lord. The Jews, in their tradition of this providence, remark, that the tree itself was bitter, but the effect of its operations was sweet. Whether this be so, or not, yet spiritually considered, if we suppose as some have, that this tree was a type of the cross of Christ, we know, that out of that bitter came forth sweet, Reader! depend upon it, Jesus, and his cross, will make all your troubled waters calm, and all your waters of affliction sweet. Dearest Lord! be thou my portion, in everything, and then everything will be sweetened by thee.

Verse 26

Leviticus 26:3-13 ; Deuteronomy 7:15 .

Verse 27

Marah dispensations will be succeeded by Elim comforts. How happy Paul felt himself under both. Philippians 4:12 . Are these wells, which were twelve in number, typical of the tribes of Israel, and the apostles of the Lord Jesus? Revelation 21:12 . Is not this also a type of the church? Zechariah 3:10 .


Reader! In the contemplation of this deliverance to Israel, shall not you and I, while we consider it as a type of a far greater deliverance from sill and everlasting death, call upon our souls to join in the celebration of God's mercies? I would say to the drowsy faculties of my heart, Awake, awake, utter a song. Did the Lord bring his people out of Egyptian bondage, and did Israel sing his mercies at the Red sea, and shall not I, whom he hath brought out of nature's darkness, and out of the bondage of sin and Satan, shout alike the Salvation of the Lord! Oh! thou blessed and only Potentate, King of Kings, and Lord of Lord's: thou infinite and eternal Jehovah, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost: fain would my awakened soul look up to thee, under each and all of those glorious distinctions of person, and power, and praise thee with unfeigned lips. Thou hast indeed, as thou didst to Israel of old, brought me out of the iron furnace, out of the horrible pit, the mire, and the clay, and hast set my feet upon a rock and established my goings: hast put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: so that many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.

But blessed Lord! Oh grant me faith, and grace, in full exercise, that in all the after stages of a wilderness dispensation, whether in the sweet enjoyment of Palm trees at Elim, or the bitter waters of affliction at Marah, I may still by living upon thee and thy fulness, be never cast down in unbelief, and repining in the emptiness, or unsatisfying nature, of all creature enjoyments. Oh! lead me on to Canaan: and till the happy hour shall come when I shall have done with all things here below, enable me by faith, amidst all changing providences, to live upon an unchangeable God. Let faith give me a present enjoyment of the good things to come. Let me see Jesus in everything; and his wisdom, and love, and faithfulness, mingled with every dispensation. And let my experience resemble his of old, who thus expressed himself: For this cause we faint not: while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Bibliographical Information
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Exodus 15". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". 1828.