Exodus 15


Moses and the Israelites sing a song of praise to God for their

late deliverance, in which they celebrate the power of God,

gloriously manifested in the destruction of Pharaoh and his host, 1;

express their confidence in him as their strength and protector, 2, 3;

detail the chief circumstances in the overthrow of the Egyptians, 4-8;

and relate the purposes they had formed for the destruction of God's

people, 9,

and how he destroyed them in the imaginations of their hearts, 10.

Jehovah is celebrated for the perfections of his nature and his

wondrous works, 11-13.

A prediction of the effect which the account of the destruction

of the Egyptians should have on the Edomites, Moabites, and

Canaanites, 14-16.

A prediction of the establishment of Israel in the promised land, 17.

The full chorus of praise, 18.

Recapitulation of the destruction of the Egyptians, and the

deliverance of Israel, 19.

Miriam and the women join in and prolong the chorus, 20, 21.

The people travel three days in the wilderness of Shur, and find no

water, 22.

Coming to Marah, and finding bitter waters, they murmur against

Moses, 23, 24.

In answer to the prayer of Moses, God shows him a tree by which the

waters are sweetened, 25.

God gives them statutes and gracious promises, 26.

They come to Elim, where they find twelve wells of water and

seventy palm trees, and there they encamp, 27.


Verse 1. Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song]

POETRY has been cultivated in all ages and among all people, from

the most refined to the most barbarous; and to it principally,

under the kind providence of God, we are indebted for most of the

original accounts we have of the ancient nations of the

universe. Equally measured lines, with a harmonious collocation of

expressive, sonorous, and sometimes highly metaphorical terms, the

alternate lines either answering to each other in sense, or ending

with similar sounds, were easily committed to memory, and easily

retained. As these were often accompanied with a pleasing air

or tune, the subject being a concatenation of striking and

interesting events, histories formed thus became the amusement of

youth, the softeners of the tedium of labour, and even the solace

of age. In such a way the histories of most nations have been

preserved. The interesting events celebrated, the rhythm or

metre, and the accompanying tune or recitativo air, rendered

them easily transmissible to posterity; and by means of tradition

they passed safely from father to son through the times of

comparative darkness, till they arrived at those ages in which the

pen and the press have given them a sort of deathless duration and

permanent stability, by multiplying the copies. Many of the

ancient historic and heroic British tales are continued by

tradition among the aboriginal inhabitants of Ireland to the

present day; and the repetition of them constitutes the chief

amusement of the winter evenings. Even the prose histories, which

were written on the ground of the poetic, copied closely their

exemplars, and the historians themselves were obliged to study all

the beauties and ornaments of style, that their works might become

popular; and to this circumstance we owe not a small measure of

what is termed refinement of language. How observable is this in

the history of Herodotus, who appears to have closely copied the

ancient poetic records in his inimitable and harmonious prose;

and, that his books might bear as near a resemblance as possible

to the ancient and popular originals, he divided them into nine,

and dedicated each to one of the muses! His work therefore seems

to occupy the same place between the ancient poetic compositions

and mere prosaic histories, as the polype does between plants

and animals. Much even of our sacred records is written in

poetry, which God has thus consecrated to be the faithful

transmitter of remote and important events; and of this the song

before the reader is a proof in point. Though this is not the

first specimen of poetry we have met with in the Pentateuch, (see

Lamech's speech to his wives, Ge 4:23, 24; Noah's prophecy

concerning his sons, Ge 9:25-27; and Jacob's blessing to the

twelve patriarchs, Ge 49:2-27, and the notes there,) yet it is

the first regular ode of any considerable length, having but one

subject; and it is all written in hemistichs, or half lines, the

usual form in Hebrew poetry; and though this form frequently

occurs, it is not attended to in our common printed Hebrew Bibles,

except in this and three other places, (De 32:1-43;

Jud 5:1-31; and 2Sa 22:1-51,)

all of which shall be noticed as they occur. But in

Dr. Kennicott's edition of the Hebrew Bible, all the poetry,

wheresoever it occurs, is printed in its own hemistich form.

After what has been said it is perhaps scarcely necessary to

observe, that as such ancient poetic histories commemorated great

and extraordinary displays of providence, courage, strength,

fidelity, heroism, and piety; hence the origin of EPIC poems, of

which the song in this chapter is the earliest specimen. And on

the principle of preserving the memory of such events, most

nations have had their epic poets, who have generally taken for

their subject the most splendid or most remote events of their

country's history, which either referred to the formation or

extension of their empire, the exploits of their ancestors,

or the establishment of their religion. Hence the ancient HEBREWS

had their Shir Mosheh, the piece in question: the GREEKS, their

Ilias; the HINDOOS, their Mahabarat; the ROMANS, their AEneis;

the NORWEGIANS, their Edda; the IRISH and SCOTCH, their Fingal and

Chronological poems; the WELSH, their Taliessin and his Triads;

the ARABS, their Nebiun-Nameh (exploits of Mohammed) and Hamleh

Heedry, (exploits of Aly;) the PERSIANS, their SHAH Nameh, (book

of kings;) the ITALIANS, their Gerusalemme Liberata; the

PORTUGUESE, their Lusiad; the ENGLISH, their Paradise Lost; and,

in humble imitation of all the rest, (etsi non passibus aequis,)

the FRENCH, their Henriade.

The song of Moses has been in the highest repute in the Church

of God from the beginning; the author of the Book of Wisdom

attributes it in a particular manner to the wisdom of God, and

says that on this occasion God opened the mouth of the dumb, and

made the tongues of infants eloquent; Wisdom 10:21. As if he had

said, Every person felt an interest in the great events which had

taken place, and all laboured to give Jehovah that praise which

was due to his name. "With this song of victory over Pharaoh,"

says Mr. Ainsworth, "the Holy Ghost compares the song of those who

have gotten the victory over the spiritual Pharaoh, the beast,

(Antichrist,) when they stand by the sea of glass mingled with

fire, (as Israel stood here by the Red Sea,) having the harps of

God, (as the women here had timbrels, Ex 15:20,)

and they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song

of the Lamb, the Son of God," Re 15:2-4.

I will sing unto the Lord] Moses begins the song, and in the

two first hemistichs states the subject of it; and these two first

lines became the grand chorus of the piece, as we may learn from

Ex 15:21. See Dr. Kennicott's arrangement and translation of

this piece at the end of this chapter.

See Clarke on Ex 15:26.

Triumphed gloriously] ki gaoh gaah, he is

exceedingly exalted, rendered by the Septuagint, ενδοξωςγαρ

δεδοξασται, He is gloriously glorified; and surely this was one of

the most signal displays of the glorious majesty of God ever

exhibited since the creation of the world. And when it is

considered that the whole of this transaction shadowed out the

redemption of the human race from the thraldom and power of

sin and iniquity by the Lord Jesus, and the final triumph

of the Church of God over all its enemies, we may also join in the

song, and celebrate Him who has triumphed so gloriously, having

conquered death, and opened the kingdom of heaven to all


Verse 2. The Lord is my strength and song] How judiciously are

the members of this sentence arranged! He who has God for his

strength, will have him for his song; and he to whom Jehovah is

become salvation, will exalt his name. Miserably and untunably,

in the ears of God, does that man sing praises, who is not saved

by the grace of Christ, nor strengthened by the power of his


It is worthy of observation that the word which we translate

LORD here, is not JEHOVAH in the original, but JAH; "as if

by abbreviation," says Mr. Parkhurst, "for yeheieh or

yehi. It signifies the Essence οων, He who IS, simply,

absolutely, and independently. The relation between Jah and

the verb to subsist, exist, be, is intimated to us the first

time Jah is used in Scripture, (Ex 15:2:) 'My strength and my

song is JAH, and he is become ( vajehi) to me

salvation.'" See Ps 68:5; 89:6; 94:7; 115:17, 18; 118:17.

JAH is several times joined with the name Jehovah so

that we may be sure that it is not, as some have supposed, a mere

abbreviation of that word. See Isa 12:2; 26:4. Our blessed Lord

solemnly claims to himself what is intended in this Divine name

JAH, Joh 8:58: "Before Abraham was,

(γενεσθαι, was born,) εγωειμι, I AM," not I was, but I

am, plainly intimating his Divine eternal existence. Compare

Isa 43:13. And the Jews appear to have well understood him,

for then took they up stones to cast at him as a blasphemer.

Compare Col 1:16,17, where the Apostle Paul, after asserting that

all things that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible and

invisible, were created, εκτισται, by and for Christ, adds And HE

IS (αυτοςεστι, not ην, was) before all things, and by him all

things συνεστηκε, have subsisted, and still subsist. See


From this Divine name Jah the ancient Greeks had their ιη

ιη, in their invocations of the gods, particularly of Apollo

(the uncompounded ONE) the light; and hence EI, written after the

oriental manner from right to left, afterwards IE, was inscribed

over the great door of the temple at Delphi!

See Clarke on Ex 3:14,

and the concluding observations there.

I will prepare him a habitation] veanvehu. It has

been supposed that Moses, by this expression, intended the

building of the tabernacle; but it seems to come in very

strangely in this place. Most of the ancient versions understood

the original in a very different sense.

The Vulgate has et glorificabo eum; the Septuagint δοξασω

αυτον, I will GLORIFY him; with which the Syriac, Coptic, the

Targum of Jonathan, and the Jerusalem Targum, agree. From the

Targum of Onkelos the present translation seems to have been

originally derived; he has translated the place

veebnei leh makdash, "And I will build him a sanctuary," which

not one of the other versions, the Persian excepted, acknowledges.

Our own old translations are generally different from the present:

Coverdale, "This my God, I will magnify him;" Matthew's,

Cranmer's, and the Bishops' Bible, render it glorify, and the

sense of the place seems to require it. Calmet, Houbigant,

Kennicott, and other critics, contend for this translation.

My father's God] I believe Houbigant to be right, who

translates the original, Elohey abi, Deus meus, pater

meus est, "My God is my Father." Every man may call the Divine

Being his GOD; but only those who are his children by adoption

through grace can call him their FATHER. This is a privilege which

God has given to none but his children. See Ga 4:6.

Verse 3. The Lord is a man of war] Perhaps it would be better

to translate the words, Jehovah is the man or hero of the battle.

As we scarcely ever apply the term to any thing but first-rate

armed vessels, the change of the translation seems indispensable,

though the common rendering is literal enough. Besides, the

object of Moses was to show that man had no part in this victory,

but that the whole was wrought by the miraculous power of God, and

that therefore he alone should have all the glory.

The LORD is his name.] That is, JEHOVAH. He has now, as the

name implies, given complete existence to all his promises.

See Clarke on Ge 2:4, and "Ex 6:3".

Verse 4. Pharaoh's chariots-his host-his chosen captains] On

such an expedition it is likely that the principal Egyptian

nobility accompanied their king, and that the overthrow they met

with here had reduced Egypt to the lowest extremity. Had the

Israelites been intent on plunder, or had Moses been influenced by

a spirit of ambition, how easily might both have gratified

themselves, as, had they returned, they might have soon overrun

and subjugated the whole land.

Verse 6. Thy right hand] Thy omnipotence, manifested in a most

extraordinary way.

Verse 7. In the greatness of thine excellency] To this wonderful

deliverance the Prophet Isaiah refers, Isa 63:11-14: "Then he

remembered the days of old, Moses and his people, saying, Where is

he that brought them up out of the sea with the shepherd of his

flock? Where is he that put his Holy Spirit within him? That led

them by the right hand of Moses with his glorious arm, dividing

the water before them, to make himself an everlasting name? That

led them through the deep, as a horse in the wilderness, that they

should not stumble? As a beast goeth down into the valley, the

Spirit of the LORD caused him to rest; so didst thou lead thy

people, to make thyself a glorious name."

Verse 8. The depths were congealed] The strong east wind

(Ex 14:21) employed to dry the bottom of the sea, is here

represented as the blast of God's nostrils that had congealed or

frozen the waters, so that they stood in heaps like a wall on

the right hand and on the left.

Verse 9. The enemy said] As this song was composed by Divine

inspiration, we may rest assured that these words were spoken by

Pharaoh and his captains, and the passions they describe felt, in

their utmost sway, in their hearts; but how soon was their

boasting confounded? "Thou didst blow with thy wind, and the sea

covered them: they sank as lead in the mighty waters!"

Verse 11. Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods?] We

have already seen that all the Egyptian gods, or the objects of

the Egyptians' idolatry, were confounded, and rendered completely

despicable, by the ten plagues, which appear to have been directed

principally against them. Here the people of God exult over them

afresh: Who among these gods is like unto THEE? They can neither

save nor destroy; THOU dost both in the most signal manner.

As the original words mi chamochah baelim

Yehovah are supposed to have constituted the motto on the ensign

of the Asmoneans, and to have furnished the name of Maccabeus to

Judas, their grand captain, from whom they were afterwards

called Maccabeans, it may be necessary to say a few words on this

subject It is possible that Judas Maccabeus might have had this

motto on his ensign, or at least the initial letters of it, for

such a practice was not uncommon. For instance, on the Roman

standard the letters S. P. Q. R. stood for Senatus Populus Que

Romanus, i.e. the Senate and Roman People, and M. C. B.

I. might have stood for Mi Chamochah Baelim Jehovah, "Who among

the gods (or strong ones) is like unto thee, O Jehovah!" But it

appears from the Greek μακκαβαιος, and also the Syriac [Syriac]

makabi, that the name was written originally with koph, not

caph. It is most likely, as Michaelis has observed, that the name

must have been derived from makkab, a hammer or mallet;

hence Judas, because of his bravery and success, might have been

denominated the hammer or mallet by which the enemies of God had

been beaten, pounded, and broken to pieces. Judas, the hammer

of the Lord.

Glorious in holiness] Infinitely resplendent in this attribute,

essential to the perfection of the Divine nature.

Fearful in praises] Such glorious holiness cannot be approached

without the deepest reverence and fear, even by angels, who veil

their faces before the majesty of God. How then should man, who

is only sin and dust, approach the presence of his Maker!

Doing wonders?] Every part of the work of God is wonderful; not

only miracles, which imply an inversion or suspension of the laws

of nature, but every part of nature itself. Who can conceive how

a single blade of grass is formed; or how earth, air, and water

become consolidated in the body of the oak? And who can

comprehend how the different tribes of plants and animals are

preserved, in all the distinctive characteristics of their

respective natures? And who can conceive how the human being is

formed, nourished, and its different parts developed? What is the

true cause of the circulation of the blood? or, how different

ailments produce the solids and fluids of the animal machine?

What is life, sleep, death? And how an impure and unholy soul is

regenerated, purified, refined, and made like unto its great

Creator? These are wonders which God alone works, and to himself

only are they fully known.

Verse 12. The earth swallowed them.] It is very likely there

was also an earthquake on this occasion, and that chasms were made

in the bottom of the sea, by which many of them were swallowed up,

though multitudes were overwhelmed by the waters, whose dead

bodies were afterward thrown ashore. The psalmist strongly

intimates that there was an earthquake on this occasion: The voice

of thy thunder was in the heaven; the lightnings lightened the

world; the EARTH TREMBLED and SHOOK; Ps 77:18.

Verse 13. Thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy

habitation.] As this ode was dictated by the Spirit of God, It is

most natural to understand this and the following verses, to the

end of the 18th, as containing a prediction of what God would do

for this people which he had so miraculously redeemed. On this

mode of interpretation it would be better to read several of the

verbs in the future tense.

Verse 15. The dukes of Edom] Idumea was governed at this time

by those called alluphim, heads, chiefs, or captains.

See Clarke on Ge 36:15.

Verse 16. Till thy people pass over] Not over the Red Sea, for

that event had been already celebrated; but over the desert and

Jordan, in order to be brought into the promised land.

Verse 17. Thou shalt bring them in] By thy strength and mercy

alone shall they get the promised inheritance.

And plant them] Give them a fixed habitation in Canaan, after

their unsettled wandering life in the wilderness.

In the mountain] Meaning Canaan, which was a very mountainous

country, De 11:11; or probably Mount Zion, on which the temple

was built. Where the pure worship of God was established, there

the people might expect both rest and safety. Wherever the purity

of religion is established and preserved, and the high and the low

endeavour to regulate their lives according to its precepts, the

government of that country is likely to be permanent.

Verse 18. The Lord shall reign for ever and ever.] This is

properly the grand chorus in which all the people joined. The

words are expressive of God's everlasting dominion, not only in

the world, but in the Church; not only under the law, but also

under the Gospel; not only in time, but through eternity. The

original leolam vaed may be translated, for ever and

onward; or, by our very expressive compound term, for EVERMORE,

i.e. for ever and more-not only through time, but also through all

duration. His dominion shall be ever the same, active and

infinitely extending. With this verse the song seems to end, as

with it the hemistichs or poetic lines terminate. The 20th and

beginning of the 21st are in plain prose, but the latter part of

the 21st is in hemistichs, as it contains the response made by

Miriam and the Israelitish women at different intervals during the

song. See Dr. Kennicott's arrangement of the parts at the end of

this chapter.

Verse 20. And Miriam the prophetess] We have already seen that

Miriam was older than either Moses or Aaron: for when Moses was

exposed on the Nile, she was a young girl capable of managing the

stratagem used for the preservation of his life; and then Aaron

was only three years and three months old, for he was fourscore

and three years old when Moses was but fourscore, (see Ex 7:7;)

so that Aaron was older than Moses, and Miriam considerably older

than either, not less probably than nine or ten years of age.

See Clarke on Ex 2:2.

There is great diversity of opinion on the origin of the name of

Miriam, which is the same with the Greek μαριαμ, the Latin Maria,

and the English Mary. Some suppose it to be compounded of mar,

a drop, (Isa 40:15,) and

yam, the sea, and that from this etymology the heathens formed

their Venus, whom they feign to have sprung from the sea. St.

Jerome gives several etymologies for the name, which at once show

how difficult it is to ascertain it: she who enlightens me, or

she who enlightens them, or the star of the sea. Others, the

lady of the sea, the bitterness of the sea, &c. It is probable

that the first or the last is the true one, but it is a matter of

little importance, as we have not the circumstance marked, as in

the case of Moses and many others, that gave rise to the name.

The prophetess] hannebiah. For the meaning of the

word prophet, nabi, See Clarke on Ge 20:7.

It is very likely that Miriam was inspired by the Spirit of God to instruct

the Hebrew women, as Moses and Aaron were to instruct the men; and

when she and her brother Aaron sought to share in the government

of the people with Moses, we find her laying claim to the

prophetic influence, Nu 12:2:

Hath the Lord indeed spoken only by Moses? Hath he not SPOKEN

ALSO BY US? And that she was constituted joint leader of the

people with her two brothers, we have the express word of God by

the Prophet Micah, Mic 6:4:

For I brought thee up out of the land of Egypt-and I sent before

thee Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. Hence it is very likely that she

was the instructress of the women, and regulated the times,

places, &c., of their devotional acts; for it appears that from

the beginning to the present day the Jewish women all worshipped


A timbrel] toph, the same word which is translated

tabret, Ge 31:27, on which the reader is desired to consult the

note. See Clarke on Ge 31:27.

And with dances.] mecholoth. Many learned men suppose

that this word means some instruments of wind music, because the

word comes from the root chalal, the ideal meaning of which is

to perforate, penetrate, pierce, stab, and hence to wound.

Pipes or hollow tubes, such as flutes, hautboys, and the

like, may be intended. Both the Arabic and Persian understand it

as meaning instruments of music of the pipe, drum, or sistrum

kind; and this seems to comport better with the scope and design

of the place than the term dances. It must however be allowed

that religious dances have been in use from the remotest times;

and yet in most of the places where the term occurs in our

translation, an instrument of music bids as fair to be its meaning

as a dance of any kind. Miriam is the first prophetess on record,

and by this we find that God not only poured out his Spirit upon

men, but upon women also; and we learn also that Miriam was not

only a prophetess, but a poetess also, and must have had

considerable skill in music to have been able to conduct her part

of these solemnities. It may appear strange that during so long

an oppression in Egypt, the Israelites were able to cultivate the

fine arts; but that they did so there is the utmost evidence from

the Pentateuch. Not only architecture, weaving, and such

necessary arts, were well known among them, but also the arts that

are called ornamental, such as those of the goldsmith, lapidary,

embroiderer, furrier, &c., of which we have ample proof in the

construction of the tabernacle and its utensils. However

ungrateful, rebellious, &c., the Jews may have been, the praise of

industry and economy can never be denied them. In former ages,

and in all places even of their dispersions, they appear to have

been frugal and industrious, and capable of great proficiency in

the most elegant and curious arts; but they are now greatly


Verse 22. The wilderness of Shur] This was on the coast of the

Red Sea on their road to Mount Sinai. See the map.

Verse 23. Marah] So called from the bitter waters found

there. Dr. Shaw conjectures that this place is the same as that

now called Corondel, where there is still a small rill which, if

not diluted with dews or rain, continues brackish. See his

account at the end of Exodus. See Clarke on Ex 40:38.

Verse 24. The people murmured] They were in a state of great

mental degradation, owing to their long and oppressive vassalage,

and had no firmness of character.

See Clarke on Ex 13:17.

Verse 25. He cried unto the Lord] Moses was not only their

leader, but also their mediator. Of prayer and dependence on the

Almighty, the great mass of the Israelites appear to have had

little knowledge at this time. Moses, therefore, had much to bear

from their weakness, and the merciful Lord was long-suffering.

The Lord showed him a tree] What this tree was we know not:

some think that the tree was extremely bitter itself, such as the

quassia; and that God acted in this as he generally does,

correcting contraries by contraries, which, among the ancient

physicians, was a favourite maxim, Clavus clavo expellitur. The

Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem say that, when Moses prayed,

"the WORD of the Lord showed him the tree ardiphney, on

which he wrote the great and precious name of (JEHOVAH,) and then

threw it into the waters, and the waters thereby became sweet" But

what the tree ardiphney was we are not informed.

Many suppose that this tree which healed the bitter waters was

symbolical of the cross of our blessed Redeemer, that has been the

means of healing infected nature, and through the virtue of which

the evils and bitters of life are sweetened, and rendered

subservient to the best interests of God's followers. Whatever

may be in the metaphor, this is true in fact; and hence the

greatest of apostles gloried in the cross of our Lord Jesus

Christ, by which the world was crucified to him and he unto the


It appears that these waters were sweetened only for that

occasion, as Dr. Shaw reports them to be still brackish, which

appears to be occasioned by the abundance of natron which prevails

in the surrounding soil. Thus we may infer that the natural cause

of their bitterness or brackishness was permitted to resume its

operations, when the occasion that rendered the change necessary

had ceased to exist. Thus Christ simply changed that water into

wine which was to be drawn out to be carried to the master of the

feast; the rest of the water in the pots remaining as before. As

the water of the Nile was so peculiarly excellent, to which they

had been long accustomed, they could not easily put up with what

was indifferent. See Clarke on Ex 7:18.

There he made for them] Though it is probable that the

Israelites are here intended, yet the word lo should not be

translated for them, but to him, for these statutes were given to

Moses that he might deliver them to the people.

There he proved them.] nissahu, he proved HIM. By this

murmuring of the people he proved Moses, to see, speaking after

the manner of men, whether he would be faithful, and, in the midst

of the trials to which he was likely to be exposed, whether he

would continue to trust in the Lord, and seek all his help from


Verse 26. If thou wilt diligently hearken] What is contained in

this verse appears to be what is intended by the statute and

ordinance mentioned in the preceding: If thou wilt diligently

hearken unto 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, &c. This statute and ordinance implied the three

following particulars: 1. That they should acknowledge Jehovah

for their God, and thus avoid all idolatry. 2. That they should

receive his word and testimony as a Divine revelation, binding on

their hearts and lives, and thus be saved from profligacy of every

kind, and from acknowledging the maxims or adopting the customs of

the neighbouring nations. 3. That they should continue to do so,

and adorn their profession with a holy life. These things being

attended to, then the promise of God was, that they should have

none of the diseases of the Egyptians put on them; that they

should be kept in a state of health of body and peace of mind; and

if at any time they should be afflicted, on application to God the

evil should be removed, because he was their healer or physician-I

am the Lord that healeth thee. That the Israelites had in general

a very good state of health, their history warrants us to believe;

and when they were afflicted, as in the case of the fiery

serpents, on application to God they were all healed. The Targum

of Jonathan ben Uzziel states that the statutes which Moses

received at this time were commandments concerning the observance

of the Sabbath, duty to parents, the ordinances concerning wounds

and bruises, and the penalties which sinners should incur by

transgressing them. But it appears that the general ordinances

already mentioned are those which are intended here, and this

seems to be proved beyond dispute by Jer 7:22, 23: "For I spake

not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I

brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt-offerings

or sacrifices: but this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my

voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people; walk ye

in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well

unto you."

Verse 27. They came to Elim] This was in the desert of Sin,

and, according to Dr. Shaw, about two leagues from Tor, and thirty

from Marah or Corondel.

Twelve wells of water] One for each of the tribes of Israel,

say the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem.

And threescore and ten palm trees] One for each of the seventy


Dr. Shaw found nine of the twelve wells, the other three having

been choked up with sand; and the seventy palm trees multiplied

into more than 2000, the dates of which bring a considerable

revenue to the Greek monks at Tor. See his account at the end of

this book, See Clarke on Ex 40:38. and see also the map.

Thus sufficient evidence of the authenticity of this part of the

sacred history remains, after the lapse of more than 3000 years.

IN the preceding notes the reader has been referred to Dr.

Kennicott's translation and arrangement of the song of Moses. To

this translation he prefixes the following observations:-

"This triumphant ode was sung by Moses and the sons of Israel:

and the women, headed by Miriam, answered the men by repeating the

two first lines of the song, altering only the first word, which

two lines were probably sung more than once as a chorus.

"The conclusion of this ode seems very manifest; and yet, though

the ancient Jews had sense enough to write this song differently

from prose; and though their authority has prevailed even, to this

day in this and three other poems in the Old Testament,

(De 32:1-43; Jud 5:1-31; 2Sa 22:1-51,)

still expressed by them as

poetry; yet have these critics carried their ideas of the song

here to the end of Ex 15:19. The reason why the same has been

done by others probably is, they thought that the particle for,

which begins Ex 15:19, necessarily connected it with the

preceding poetry. But this difficulty is removed by translating

when, especially if we take Ex 15:19-21 as being a

prose explanation of the manner in which this song of triumph

was performed. For these three verses say that the men singers

were answered in the chorus by Miriam and the women, accompanying

their words with musical instruments. 'When the horse of Pharaoh

had gone into the sea, and the Lord had brought the sea upon

them; and Israel had passed, on dry land, in the midst of the sea;

then Miriam took a timbrel, and all the women went out after her

with timbrels and dances; and Miriam (with the women) answered

them ( lahem, the men, by way of chorus) in the words,

O sing ye, &c.' That this chorus was sung more than once is thus

stated by Bishop Lowth: Maria, cum mulieribus, virorum choro

IDENTIDEM succinebat.- Praelect. 19.

"I shall now give what appears to me to be an exact translation

of this whole song:-


1. I will sing to JEHOVAH, for he hath triumphed


The horse and his rider hath he thrown into

the sea.

2. My strength and my song is JEHOVAH;

And he is become to me for salvation:

This is my God, and I will celebrate him;

The God of my father, and I will exalt him.

3. Jehovah is mighty in Perhaps a

battle! - chorus sung

Jehovah is his name! by the men.

Chorus, by Miriam and the women.

Perhaps sung first in this place.

O sing ye to Jehovah, for he hath triumphed


The horse and his rider hath he thrown into the



4. Pharaoh's chariots and his host hath he

cast into the sea;

And his chosen captains are drowned in the

Red Sea.

5. The depths have covered them, they went


(They sank) to the bottom as a stone.

6. Thy right hand, Jehovah, is become glorious

in power;

Thy right hand, Jehovah, dasheth in pieces

the enemy.

7. And in the greatness of thine excellence

thou overthrowest them that rise against


Thou sendest forth thy wrath, which consumeth

them as stubble.

8. Even at the blast of thy displeasure the

waters are gathered together;

The floods stand upright as a heap,

Congealed are the depths in the very heart

of the sea.

O sing ye to JEHOVAH, &c. Chorus by the



9. The enemy said: 'I will pursue, I shall


I shall divide the spoil, my soul shall be

satiated with them;

I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy


10. Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea

covered them;

They sank as lead in the mighty waters.

11. Who is like thee among the gods, O


Who is like thee, glorious in holiness!

12. Fearful in praises; performing wonders!

Thou stretchest out thy right hand, the

earth swalloweth them!

13. Thou in thy mercy leadest the people whom

thou hast redeemed;

Thou in thy strength guidest to the

habitation of thy holiness!

O sing ye to JEHOVAH, &c. Chorus by the



14. The nations have heard, and are afraid;

Sorrow hath seized the inhabitants of


15. Already are the dukes of Edom in


And the mighty men of Moab, trembling

hath seized them;

All the inhabitants of Canaan do faint

16. Fear and dread shall fall upon them;

Through the greatness of thine arm they

shall be still as a stone.

17. Till thy people, JEHOVAH, pass over


Till the people pass over whom thou hast


18. Thou shalt bring them and plant them in

the mount of thine inheritance:

The place for thy rest which thou, JEHOVAH,

hast made;

The sanctuary, JEHOVAH, which thy hands

have established.

Grand chorus by ALL.


1. When poetry is consecrated to the service of God, and

employed as above to commemorate his marvellous acts, it then

becomes a very useful handmaid to piety, and God is honoured by

his gifts. God inspired the song of Moses, and perhaps from this

very circumstance it has passed for current among the most

polished of the heathen nations, that a poet is a person Divinely

inspired; and hence the epithet of προφητης, prophet, and

vates, of the same import, was given them among the Greeks and


2. The song of Moses is a proof of the miraculous passage of the

Israelites through the Red Sea. There has been no period since

the Hebrew nation left Egypt in which this song was not found

among them, as composed on that occasion, and to commemorate that

event. It may be therefore considered as completely authentic as

any living witness could be who had himself passed through the Red

Sea, and whose life had been protracted through all the

intervening ages to the present day.

3. We have already seen that it is a song of triumph for the

deliverance of the people of God, and that it was intended to

point out the final salvation and triumph of the whole Church of

Christ; so that in the heaven of heavens the redeemed of the Lord,

both among the Jews and the Gentiles, shall unite together to sing

the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb. See Re 15:2-4.

Reader, implore the mercy of God to enable thee to make thy

calling and election sure, that thou mayest bear thy part in this

glorious and eternal triumph.

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