Ex. 15:1 Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.
Ex. 15:2 The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
The Israelites were so filled with relief, awe, fear, wonder etc. that they sang a song of praise. In the very first line they identify the LORD as the object of their praise and the source of their salvation. This term for the LORD is YHWH (self-existent, creator) or Jehovah, and is the most reverent name of God used by the Jews. They recognized His work on their behalf by destroying the Egyptians in the sea. It is His strength alone that provided their salvation.
In verse 2b God is made personal—“my God.” The NIV and KJV differ in their translations. The NIV says, “I will praise Him.” The KJV says, “I will prepare Him an habitation.” I think the idea that both have in common is the idea that God deserves special honor and consideration. Of course, the best honor we believers today can give Him is to prepare our lives and bodies as vessels of honor since we are the “temple” (habitation/dwelling place) of His Spirit. To exalt Him is to emphasize His position of honor.
Ex. 15:3 The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name.
Ex. 15:4 Pharaoh’s chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea.
Ex. 15:5 The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone.
Ex. 15:6 Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy.
Ex. 15:7 And in the greatness of thine excellency thou hast overthrown them that rose up against thee: thou sentest forth thy wrath, which consumed them as stubble.
Ex. 15:8 And with the blast of thy nostrils the waters were gathered together, the floods stood upright as an heap, and the depths were congealed in the heart of the sea.
Ex. 15:9 The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my lust shall be satisfied upon them; I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them.
Ex. 15:10 Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them: they sank as lead in the mighty waters.
The LORD is a warrior on behalf of His children. The Pharaoh, who represented great power on earth, was no match for the LORD. The right hand is a reference to God’s power which is described as “majestic” in the NIV (kingly) and “glorious” in the KJV (of great renown; magnificence). The enemy is no match for Him. It was the power of His breath (the wind) that separated the waters. The pride of the enemy caused them to pursue the Israelites with confidence of overtaking—but they were no match for the God who had but to breathe on the waters to cause them to fall into place again and drown the enemy in the process.
Ex. 15:11 Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?
Ex. 15:12 Thou stretchedst out thy right hand, the earth swallowed them.
Ex. 15:13 Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation.
Ex. 15:14 The people shall hear, and be afraid: sorrow shall take hold on the inhabitants of Palestina.
Ex. 15:15 Then the dukes of Edom shall be amazed; the mighty men of Moab, trembling shall take hold upon them; all the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away.
Ex. 15:16 Fear and dread shall fall upon them; by the greatness of thine arm they shall be as still as a stone; till thy people pass over, O LORD, till the people pass over, which thou hast purchased.
In verse 11 they acknowledge the “gods” of the other nations—but realize that none of them compare in any way to the Lord, who is holy, awesome and a worker of wonders. Even the forces of nature are under His control. In verse 13 the NIV and KJV differ again. He is recognized as having redeemed (freed from bondage) His people. The KJV says because of His “mercy” and the NIV because of His “unfailing love.” Mercy brings to mind the position of “need” on the part of the recipient. For God to “love” us indicates our worth to Him, and the fact that it is unfailing indicates that it is not dependent on our response to Him. That love requires our chastisement and correction but never changes our “worth” or value to Him. In the last part of verse 13 I think they are walking confidently in His leadership to the “promised land.” (Oh, how fickle they prove to be.) They are confident that the people living in the lands they will pass through and conquer will be terrified because of the power of the God of Israel. (3/10 - What happened to this confidence at Kadesh-Barnea?)
Ex. 15:17 Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O LORD, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established.
Ex. 15:18 The LORD shall reign for ever and ever.
In verses 17 and 18 the people appear to recognize where they are headed. They identify “the mountain of thine inheritance” and His sanctuary. Their expectation is to be established in this place forever. Verse 18 emphasizes that YHWH will be their ruler forever—whether they acknowledge Him or not.
(3/10) I think they knew the destination of “the mountain of thine inheritance” was according to God’s plan in the land of Canaan, but I don’t think they identified it specifically with Jerusalem at this time.
Ex. 15:19 For the horse of Pharaoh went in with his chariots and with his horsemen into the sea, and the LORD brought again the waters of the sea upon them; but the children of Israel went on dry land in the midst of the sea.
Ex. 15:20 And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances.
Ex. 15:21 And Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.
In the next few verses we are reminded again what prompted this song of praise—their deliverance from the Egyptians at the Red Sea by the hand of God. Then Miriam, a prophetess and the sister of Aaron and Moses, took a tambourine and led the women in singing and dancing this song of praise.
I think music is the language of the soul. It is a shame that a pure expression of joy has been degraded to the forms current today. When I think of how I danced as a teen and see how much worse it has gotten today, it shames me. I love music and to respond naturally to its rhythm. But because I have been a part of the misuse of this expression, it was hard for me to feel the freedom of that expression in church. I’m still “thawing out” in that regard. I think it is obvious throughout the scripture that any response to the LORD in praise and worship is blessed in His sight and a sweet fragrance before Him. I’m thankful to know I have the freedom of pure expression and am blessed to see that expression from others. If others saw more pure expression of joy and praise in the lives of believers in their everyday lives, I am sure we would have great revival because everyone would want what we have.
Ex. 15:22 So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water.
Ex. 15:23 And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah.
Ex. 15:24 And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?
Ex. 15:25 And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them,
After this, Moses led Israel from the Red Sea to the Desert of Shur. They traveled for three days without finding water. When they finally found water at Marah, it was bitter and not fit to drink. So 72 hours later we find the people grumbling again. So Moses cried out to the LORD who showed him a piece of wood to throw in the water to make it sweet.
Ex. 15:26 And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.
Then we are told that the LORD issues another law for the people to test them. (The LORD never tempts us, but He knows that testing is necessary for growth/improvement. Be thankful for testings.) He says basically, “If you will listen carefully (not in one ear and out the other; listening with understanding and intent to obey) to the voice of the LORD thy God (your Creator, Deliverer, Strength, Provider, etc.), and will do what is right in His sight (WWJD, have to separate from self to discern), and will listen to His commandments (hear with understanding), and obey Him (ALL of His laws/commands/instructions), I will not allow any of the diseases that afflicted the Egyptians affect you. (This is a strong statement that leaves no doubt as to who controls all the forces of nature and uses them as He deems necessary for punishment or testing.) How can He promise this? Because He is the LORD (the one and only, all-powerful). He is the one with the power to heal; He is the source of everything that is good in our life—including our health.
Ex. 15:27 And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters.
Then they came to Elim, a place with 12 wells of water and 70 palm trees, and they camped near the waters.