442. EXODUS - CHAPTER FIFTEEN
In this chapter the sighs of Israel are turned into song. What is more pleasing than singing songs of praise when God has wrought a great deliverance? After a time of dark depression, plunging one into the abyss of despair, what joy when relief comes to draw us out of the previous gloom. Israel now experiences this. The people rejoice on the other side of the Red Sea in the realisation that victory had been won. Moses leads them in singing, and the people enthusiastically respond in recognition of the goodness ofYahweh to them.
The song, however, is not merely an expression of joy; it is prophetic in its teaching. It sweeps the reader forward to a greater victory, a greater deliverance of the future, when the types and shadows of the past will merge into the glorious triumph of the Redeemed.
This song of Moses forms the basis of many psalms and prophetic visions of future glory. It is cited time and again throughout Scripture. Deborah used it to express her joy at the triumph of Israel over their enemies (Judges 5:1); Hannah borrowed from it to express her joy when her time of sighing was turned into singing (ISam. 2:1); David quoted from it as he sang of the future glory of the Messiah (Psalm 68); Mary turned to it as expressive of the victory to be accomplished through her son (Luke 1:46-55); the Redeemed are yet to sing it when they stand victorious and triumphant in the presence of the Lord (Rev. 15:3).
In commenting upon it, John Thomas wrote: uSuch is the song of Moses, admirable for the boldness of its imagery, the sublimity of its sentiments, and the dignity of its style, which was sung by the Hebrew people standing upon the shore of Edom's sea. They were now a people saved by Yahweh: a national salvation coeval with the signal overthrow of their enemies, and the destruction of their power. They had just put on Moses, having been all baptised in him in the cloud and in the sea (1Cor. 10:2).
"They are constituted the one body of Moses, and the Firstborn son of Yahweh (Exo. 4:22; Zech. 3:2; Jude 9), and when they arrived at Sinai, fifty days after the institution of the Passover, they became the Kingdom of the Deity (Exo. 19:5, 6, 8).
"It is a memorial of the nation's deliverance from the Egyptians, and prophetic of its future salvation under the lead of the prophet like unto Moses, and the saints" (Eureka, vol. 5, p. 87).
Moses' Song Of Deliverance — vv. 1-21
Consider first the Time. It is sung on the equivalent of a Sunday morning, the morning in which the apostles had cause to rejoice because they saw the risen Christ (Mat. 28). The Passover was slain on Wednesday (see note Exo. 12:8); on Thursday the Israelites left Egypt for Succoth (Exo. 12:37); on Friday they moved on to Etham (ch. 13:20); on Saturday they arrived at Pi-hahiroth (ch. 14:1); on Sunday they moved across the Red Sea to the scene of rejoicing on the other side (ch. 14:24).
Consider next the Circumstances. The song is closely connected with the passover, thus impressing the lesson of deliverance; but also emphasising the significance of baptism. This, together with the slaughter of Pharaoh's host, foreshadowed the salvation through water and blood effected by the Lord Jesus Christ (1John 5:6-8).
Consider then the Prophecy. The song is prophetic of the redemption in Christ, and of the ultimate and complete deliverance he will accomplish through war against the enemy of Sin. It sets out the background of the triumph of the Apocalypse: The sea of glass (the calmed Red Sea); mingled with fire (the bodies of the destroyed Egyptian host on the shore); the harps of God (the timbrels of the women); victory over the beast (the triumph over Egypt). The setting of the psalm in the past, will be represented when it is again sung in the future (Rev. 15:3).
Meanwhile, Moses leads the people in praise, and Miriam "the prophetess," leads them in dancing. The song begins with redemption, and ends in glory. The tragedy, however, is this that those who sung it, with few exceptions, never entered the Land, so"let him who thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall" (1 Cor. 10:12).
"Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto Yah weh, and spake, saying" — There had been no singing in Egypt; only sighing and groaning (cp. ch. 2:23-24). But a change was wrought by the mighty deliverance effected.
"I will sing unto Yahweh" — This Song of Moses anticipates the "new song" (or song with new meaning, as the phrase signifies) to be sung in the future when the full prophetic significance of it is manifested in the earth. Note the prophetic power of these "new songs" of Zion (Psa. 33:3,7; 95:1; 96:1; 98:1-2; 149:1; Rev. 14:3; 15:2).
"For He hath triumphed gloriously" — These words express the theme or refrain of the song. It commemorates the deliverance of Israel from the slavery that had been experienced in Egypt. In Scripture, a visit to Egypt is always referred to as "going down" implying a decline (Gen. 12:9-10; Isa. 30:2; 31:1). Now Israel had come up out of it. The final snapping of the Egyptian chains of slavery was effected by their national baptism, and a remarkable outpouring of power that foreshadowed the victory of Christ as expressed in Heb. 2:14; Rom. 15:2. Thus all who are called to the Truth can thrill to the wonder of that triumph. The song, therefore, lives on throughout the ages, and its terms are reproduced in the utterances of the prophets in relation to the impending second Exodus (cp. Isa. 11:11; e.g. Isa. 12:2; etc.). In Moses' day, the whole world was startled by the amazing manifestation of power at the defeat of Pharaoh (Josh. 2:9-10; Jer. 32:20), which also revealed the twofold aspect of Yahweh: His goodness and severity (Rom. 11:22; Exo. 34:5-7).
The words "triumphed gloriously" are expressed in Hebrew by the repetition of the word goah, thus goah goah. The word signifies "to mount up, rise, be exalted." The play upon words indicated by the repetition is rendered by some "exceedingly exalted," by others "gloriously glorified." The emphasis denotes that Yahweh is elevated in majestic exaltation by one of the most complete victories of all time: a manifestation of divine power that brought salvation to Israel, that purchased the redeemed from the thraldom of sin and death they experienced in Egypt; and foreshadowed a grander triumph by the Greater than Moses, to the rejoicing of all who benefit thereby.
"The horse and his rider hath He thrown into the sea" — In Scripture the term "horse and his rider" are used to symbolise those in control of Gentile powers (Rev. 6:5 etc.). The horse was only used for war (Job 39:18-25), and was identified with Egypt (1Kings 10:28-29). It was used also as a symbol of fleshly pride (Psa. 147:10). Consequently, the kings of Israel were warned against placing their trust upon horses (Deu. 17:16; cp. Josh. 11:6). Through Jeremiah, Yahweh instructed Israel that He would use the nation to "break in pieces the horse and his rider" of the nations (Jer. 51:21). In describing the triumph of Israel in the future, Zechariah drew upon the imagery of this section of the song (Zech. 10:5).
The Egyptian chariots were overthrown in the sea, for they typed the strength of sin's dominion. Baptism into Christ is the appointed way for deliverance from the shackles of sin today (Rom. 6:12, 14), and the imagery of Moses' song is used by Micah to describe the salvation of Israel in the future: "He will turn again, He will have compassion upon us; He will subdue our iniquities: and Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea" (Micah 7:19).
"Yah is my strength and song" — The Hebrew word for "strength" in this place is 'oz, which represents the security and confidence that stems from the manifestation of strength. The believer whose confidence stems from Yahweh will have Him for his song (see Isa. 51:11; Psa. 1 18:6, 14, 21, and note that the expressions of Moses' song have been incorporated into these other parts of Scripture).
"And He is become my salvation" — The verb is havah, as in Exo. 3:14, the root of the name Yahweh. "Salvation" is yeshuwayh, the feminine, passive, participle of yasha, "salvation." The use of the term denotes something done for the Bride of Yahweh, of which she was the passive beneficiary (note the comments of Eze. 16:5 and Isa. 54:5), and by means of which Yah becomes Yahshua, the masculine form of "Salvation," a word familiar by its rendition of "Jesus." Rotherham expresses the phrase as: "He became mine by salvation." So, through the words of Moses, the Bride acknowledged her union with Yahweh (cp. Eph. 5:25-27).
"He is my God, and I will prepare Him an habitation" — "God" is El, a Hebrew title affirming strength and might in bold relief. Moses disclaimed any personal ability or power, and relied exclusively upon the strength of El.
The rest of the line is rendered by Rotherham: "I will glorify Him." The RV has "praise Him." To glorify Yahweh is to rightly acclaim Him, and in doing so, revealing that the one praising is worthy of the salvation wrought on his behalf. Isaiah declares: "Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of My planting, the work of My hands, that I may be glorified" (Isa. 60:21).
"My father's God, and I will exalt Him" — The title "God" is Elohim, a plural word, translated "angels" in Psa. 8:5, and expressive of the multitudinous manifestation of Yahweh's power (el). Yahweh is the "God of the fathers of Israel," the "God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob" (Exo. 3:6, 15), for, as Paul comments, He is not "ashamed to be surnamed their God" (Heb. 11:16).
"Yahweh is a man of war" — The Hebrew reads: Yahweh ish milkamah, the military title of the Deity, found only here and in Isa. 42:13: He who shall be [is] a [great] man of war.
The word for "man" is ish, not adam. Ish is always used to describe an exalted, or upright, man. Yahweh manifested Himself as "a man of war" by overthrowing the might of Egypt; He shall do so again by manifesting Himself belligerently against the powers that be through the Lord Jesus Christ and the saints (Psa. 149). In doing so, He will reveal Himself as "mishty in battle" (Psa. 24:8).
"Yahweh is His name" — The divine name, though pronounced at the bush, was not properly understood until vindicated in the amazing victory of Pharaoh. It will be even more so, in the impending conquest of Gentile power headed by Gog (see Psa. 83:18; Jer. 16:21). This line of the song implies that, for the first time, the full significance of the Name was revealed in the amazing deliverance of Israel. Certainly it dramatised the two aspects of the Name: its goodness and severity (Rom. 1 1:22). For Israel there was "goodness" in the mercy, grace, and longsuffering extended to the people (Exo. 34:6). For Pharaoh and for Egypt there was "severity," in that God would "by no means clear the guilty" (v. 7).
The Name itself proclaimed the purpose of Yahweh to manifest Himself in those whom He would call out for that object. The manner in which this was to be achieved was dramatised by the deliverance granted Israel. It was by endorsement of the Truth, by submitting to the leadership of God's appointed servant, by repudiating Egypt and all that it stood for, and by following their leader through the waters of baptism on to the Law and the Kingdom.
This was graphically brought home to the people on the other side of the Red Sea. In the Egyptian corpses that littered its shores, there was represented what should be done to sin's flesh: "the crucifixion of the flesh with the affections and lusts" (Gal. 5:24).
In the amazing deliverance, the people were shown the vindication of the Name of Yahweh. Isaiah declared that "He led them by the right hand of Moses with His glorious arm, dividing the waters before them, to make Himself an everlasting name7' (Isa. 63:12 — see also Jer. 32:20; Eze.20:9, 14,22).
"Pharaoh's chariots and his host hath He cast into the sea" — Pharaoh's chariots and army represented the strength of the nation of sin. This was destroyed in the sea, as the power of sin is overthrown in the waters of baptism. The word "cast" (Heb. yarah, "to flow forth") expresses the violence by which this was done, and, perhaps, is better rendered as "hurled into the sea." It speaks of the ruthlessness by which sin is to be cut off in baptism: the believer is called upon to crucify the flesh with its affections and lusts (Gal. 5:24). This was dramatically illustrated by the violence with which the forces of Pharaoh were overwhelmed on this occasion.
"His chosen captains also are drowned in the Red Sea" — The choicest nobility of Egypt, its most skilful warriors, the flower of its strength, were involved in the disaster, to the wonder of the ancient world, as Rahab testified forty years later (Josh. 2:9-10; see also Jer. 32:20).
The site of the destruction was in the "Red Sea," or Yam Suph, "Sea of weeds." This expression puzzles commentators who look for literal weeds, and claim that they do not grow profusely in the Red Sea. But weeds are used symbolically in Scripture for the sins of humanity (Heb. 6:8), and it could be because of this that the sea was given this name in Scripture.
The most likely crossing spot of crossing Nuweiba is the Gulf of Aqaba where chariot wheels have been found under the sea (See notes on Genesis 3 verse 1).
There has been much controversy through the years over “which” Red Sea is being referred to in the Exodus account. You will see here, that “Red Sea” is used to refer to all section of that sea– the main body, the Gulf of Suez and the Gulf of Aqaba.
If you will get a large map of Egypt, you will note that the Red Sea is quite large– beginning at Ethiopia on the southwest and Yemen on the southeast. It separates northern Africa from Arabia. At its northern end, it splits into 2 arms- the Gulf of Suez and the Gulf of Aqaba.
Let’s go to the first reference to the Red Sea in the Bible– the plague of the locusts had covered all the land of Egypt. If you go the map, you will see that Egypt extended far south of the Suez arm of the Red Sea. Thebes, the ancient capital of Egypt, lay a good 150 miles south of the beginning of the Gulf of Suez (as the crow flies.) Now, these locusts were in all the “coasts” of Egypt, including Thebes and beyond.
EXO 10:19 “And Yahweh turned a mighty strong west wind, which took away the locusts, and cast them into the Red sea; there remained not one locust in all the coasts of Egypt.”
A west wind, blowing the locusts into the “Red Sea”, would blow them into the main body of the sea and the Gulf of Suez.
The second reference is:
EXO 13:18 “But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt.”
This “wilderness” was the land between the 2 arms of the Red Sea.
Now, we will go to a scripture concerning Solomon’s navy: 1KI 9:26 “And king Solomon made a navy of ships in Eziongeber, which is beside Eloth, on the shore of the Red sea, in the land of Edom.”
This reference is definitively speaking of the Gulf of Aqaba, because we know where Eloth (Eilat) was. And this is the same Red Sea that Moses led the great multitude across.
The Red Sea of Moses’ day was the same Red Sea we know today– the main body of the lower Red Sea, the Gulf of Suez and the Gulf of Aqaba.
Again, we can only marvel at how Yahweh has preserved these sites throughout history. If the true location had been known all along, there would be no evidence left. We live in a time when people simply don’t believe the Red Sea crossing ever really happened, and God tells us that He knew that time would come:
JER 16:14 “Therefore, behold, the days come, saith Yahweh, that it shall no more be said, Yahweh liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt;”
But He does “liveth”, and before its all over with, He will vindicate His Word to the world.
"The depths have covered them" — Rotherham renders the lines: Roaring deeps covered them. They went down in the raging depths as a stone.
"The depths covering them" is appropriate to the bodily immersion in water that true baptism requires. The present tense indicated in the Hebrew (see Interlinear Bible), is if the people were actually witnessing the scene taking place before their eyes.
"They sank into the bottom as a stone" — The Egyptian armour, designed to destroy Israel, and typical of the strength of sin's flesh, proved the undoing of the Egyptian soldiers. Weighted down by it, they had no hope of escape from the onslaught of the water. It is typical of those who imitate the Egyptian spirit by embracing "sin which does so easily beset" (Heb. 12:1), but which the man of faith will 'lay aside" in his race for life.
"Thy right hand Ο Yahweh, is become glorious in power" — In those days, Moses acted as the "right hand" of Yahweh (Isa. 63:1 1-14; Exo. 14:16, 26). At present, Christ is at His right hand (Psa. 80:17; Psa. 1 10:5; Acts 2:33). Soon he will be manifested as such, in power on earth, when he returns to consummate the divine purpose (Acts 3:19-21).
"Thy right hand, Ο Yahweh, hath dashed in pieces the enemy" — The "right hand" is the place of power and authority (cp. ch. 15:12; 29:20; see also ch. 14:27).
"And in the greatness of Thine excellency Thou hast overthrown them that rose up against Thee" —
Rotherham gives "excellency" as "exaltation." The expression also shows that in attacking Israel, Pharaoh attacked Yahweh.
"Thou sentest forth Thy wrath which consumed them as stubble" — Stubble represents the inflammable nature of dried grass, to be destroyed in an instant (cp. 1Cor. 3:12). Malachi uses the same expression in describing the effect of Christ's judgments in the earth (Mal. 4:1).
"And with the blast of Thy nostrils the waters were gathered together" — The word "blast" is ruach, a word frequently rendered "spirit." The nations are likened to a troubled sea (Isa. 57:20), and are destined to be "gathered together" (Zech. 14:2) by the storm of Armageddon.
"The floods stood upright as an heap" — The wind drove them into this position, and they remained like it.
"And the depths were congealed in the heart of the sea" — "Congeal" is from qapha, "to thicken, freeze, congeal."
The use of this word suggests that the water solidified in some way, perhaps by being turned to ice. Only Yahweh is capable to perform this, which makes the miracle unique.
"The enemy said" — This verse expresses the uncontrollable hate and rage of the Egyptians. The language is very abrupt, the broken speech, the short, staccato statements, imitate the utterances of one at once eager for destruction, and panting with the exertion of pursuing and proclaiming at the same time.
Hatred for Israel had developed in Egypt with the outpouring of the plagues, and especially with the final one — the slaying of the firstborn. Now the Egyptians express an insane obsession to destroy Israel. For the antitype see Jer. 30:14-16; Eze. 38:16.
"I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil" — The "spoil" to which the song makes reference, had been acquired in Egypt from Egyptians (Exo. 12:35-36).
"My lust shall be satisfied upon them" — The word "lust" is nephesh in Hebrew, elsewhere rendered "soul." It represents the emotion and intent of Pharaoh: the very desire of his "life."
"I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them" — The margin renders "destroy" as "repossess," as in the Septuagint version. The Hebrew yarash has the idea of "to occupy, to seize, by expelling its previous tenants" (see AV mg.)
"Thou didst blow with Thy wind, the sea covered them" — "Wind" is ruach, as in other parts of the song. The latter part of the line is literally "are covering them," the imperfect tense graphically describing the event as though it was taking place before the eyes of the singers.
"They sank as lead in the mighty waters" — The armour and weapons of the soldiers assisting to that end.
"Who is like unto Thee, Ο Yahweh, among the gods?" — This expresses the continued praise of the Redeemed as they viewed the goodness and the purpose of Yahweh.
Moses gave expression to it as he contemplated the future in the light of God's purpose (Deu. 33:26-27); Hannah did so in her triumph (ISam. 2:2); David when given the covenant (2Sam. 7:22); Solomon at the dedication of the temple (1Kings 8:23); the Psalmist in view of the experiences of everyday life (Psa. 35:10) in the light of the future purposes of Yahweh (Psa. 86:8), and because of His manifestation of power (Psa. 89:6), when He condescends to help man in his need (Psa. 113:5); Jeremiah did so when comparing Yahweh's might with the powerless idols of the heathen (Jer. 10:6).
The victory at the Red Sea was the crowning point of Yahweh's controversy with Egypt; revealing that He, alone, has the power to save (Eze. 7:4-5; 14:4, 8). The same salutary lesson shall be brought prominently before the notice of all mankind in the future (Eze. 38:23).
"Who is like Thee, glorious in holiness" — In this song, Moses elevates Yahweh on three main counts:  The praise due to His name (the section of the verse already considered);  His status of holiness (the present line), which is the basic theme of Leviticus (see Lev. 19:2);  His mighty power in performing wondrous works (the next line of the song).
"Fearful in praises, doing wonders?" — God is to be revered in the praises offered Him, and not reduced to a common familiarity. Flesh needs to exercise restraint in its approaches to Him, and in praising Him, we must ever elevate and respect Him. The wonders He performs, and of which Israel had received visible evidence that day, provide concrete evidence of His power. See also Psa. 77:14.
"Thou stretchedst out Thy right hand" — The "right hand" is the hand of strength and occurs three times in the song (see v. 6). It is a phrase used to describe Moses on this occasion, and Christ in the future.
"The earth swallowed them" — An earthquake broke forth, evidently swallowing up many Egyptians, though sufficient bodies remained to be cast up onto the shore (Exo. 14:31). The Psalmist also speaks of earthquakes when referring to the upheavals that took place at this time (Psa. 77:14-20). There was earthquake at the burial and resurrection of Christ (Mat. 27:52-53; 28:2), and there will be earthquake again at the second coming of the Lord (Eze. 38:19; Zech. 14:4), when once again, "Yahweh shall arise to shake terribly the earth" (Isa. 2:21).
"Thou in Thy mercy hast led forth the people which Thou hast redeemed" — Yahweh did this as the "Great Shepherd of Israel" (Psa. 77:20; 78:53; 80:1; Isa. 63:1 1-14). In doing so, He manifested lovingkindness or grace toward Israel (which is what is meant by "mercy"), at the same time as He revealed wrath and punishment toward Egypt. Thus the twofold manifestation of Yahweh was apparent in that He manifested goodness to Israel, but severity to Egypt (Rom. 11:22). Moses' words show that Israel was led forth in mercy, redeemed in grace, and guided by strength.
The word "redeemed" signifies "purchased" (see Exo. 6:6; Psa. 77:15; Isa. 51:11). The price paid was the humiliation of Egypt, and the death of its firstborn and its warriors. At this point of the song, having praised Yahweh for all that He had done, Moses' words become prophetic of the future of the nation.
"Thou hast guided them in Thy strength unto Thy holy habitation" — This refers to the "people" of the previous verse. The Hebrew is 'am in the singular, and as such relates to the nation. With prophetic insight Moses anticipated the nation entering the land, established in its tribal territory, and worshipping in the temple yet to be built. See Deu. 12:5, 1 1, 14; 14:23, 24; 16:6, 11; 26:2; Cp. Psa. 132:13-14. The nation was established in the Land in fulfilment of Moses' song, though most of those who sang the song that day did not enter therein, because of lack of faith (Heb. 3:18).
It is important to notice, therefore, that the song moves on from recalling the deliverance of the past, to embrace the future. Significantly, the occupation of Canaan by the Israelites under Joshua, prophetically described by Moses, is typical of the future when Christ, instead of Moses, and the glorified Redeemed instead of natural Israel, will fulfil the prophecy, and bring the purpose of Yahweh to its glorious consummation through deliverance by water.
"The people shall hear and be afraid" — The Hebrew word for "people" is the plural form of the word used in verse 13, and as such invariably relates to the Gentiles, and not to "the one people of Israel." The word is rendered "peoples" in the RV. Gentile nations heard of the destruction of Pharaoh's host, and feared accordingly, as Rahab declared (Josh. 2:9-10, 24). The Gentile powers of the latter days will have even more cause to fear the judgments of Armageddon.
"Sorrow shall take hold on the inhabitants of Palestina" — The word is phelasheth in Hebrew, denoting the land of Wanderers or Shepherds, from a common root with the title of "Philistines." This is the first time that Palestina occurs in Scripture, but it is also found in Isa. 14:29, 31; Joel 3:4. In the prophetic sense, the term relates to Israel after the flesh, the wanderers returned to the Land. They will be caused to sorrow at the "time of Jacob's trouble" they are yet to experience (Jer. 30:7; Zech. 13:8), and to mourn their past blindness in relation to their Messiah (Zech. 12:10). These verses of the song show how completely the vision of the future, based upon the deliverance at the sea, took hold of Moses, enabling him to predict the setting up of Yahweh's holy habitation in the city of His choice (v. 13), the regret of the people of the land at their past blindness (v. 14), the complete overthrow of Gentile powers (v. 15), and so forth. In like manner, the prophets used the imagery of the past, as in the Red Sea crossing, as the basis of their predictions of the future. For example, Isaiah recorded the words of Yahweh: "When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee, and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee" (Isa. 43:2).
"Then the dukes of Edom shall be amazed" — The word "amazed" is better rendered "terrified" (see Interlinear Hebrew English Greek Bible). The Hebrew bahal signifies "to tremble, to palpitate," thus to be in sudden fear. Edom will have good cause to tremble at the manifestation of Christ and the glorified Redeemed in the land, for Edom types the flesh in political manifestation, and as such is to be utterly destroyed (Obad. 10). At Christ's coming, Gog's confederation is representative of Edom, whose hosts will be terrified at the manifestations of divine power accompanying the appearance of Christ and the Redeemed at Armageddon (Eze. 38:18-23; Zech. 14:1-5). Their absolute terror will be justified, for the flesh in political manifestation is to be completely overwhelmed.
It is significant that the song should refer to the "dukes" of Edom. Dukes ruled in Edom before its kings were set up; today Russia has deposed its kings and instead set up its "dukes," its statesmen of power! (see Expositor: Genesis, on Gen. 36).
"The mighty men of Moab, trembling shall take hold upon them" — The song divides Gentiles into two specific groups: Edom and Moab. Whereas the prophetic destiny of antitypical Edom is complete destruction, that of Moab is subjection at the hands of Christ, to be incorporated into his kingdom as mortals (Jer. 48:47). Balaam spake of the Star of Jacob, "smiting the corners of Moab," at the time that he shall "destroy all the children of Sheth" (Num. 24:17). The prophecy seems to relate to the Western Powers. Certainly Brother Thomas viewed the latter-day prophetic Moab in that light (see Elpis Israel, p. 443).
The word "trembling" is a different word in Hebrew from that rendered "amazed" in the previous line of the song. Here it is raad, to shudder, and indicates additional fear and anguish. So the former fear now gives way to continued agitation.
"All the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away" — Historically, Edom and Moab opposed the approach of Israel under Moses to the promised Land. Their opposition proved ineffectual, and Israel marched forward and entered the land. Under Joshua, the Canaanites were brought into subjection, and the children of Israel received their inheritance.
Who are the latter-day "inhabitants of Canaan"? The reference is applicable to the Arabs, who will be removed from the Land of Promise, and given their inheritance in Arabia. This will permit Israel to occupy the whole of the territory promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Thus the type of Gen. 25:5-6, and the prophecy of Isa. 21:13-15, will be fulfilled. Isaiah reveals that the Arabs will be converted, and will bring their offerings from Arabia to Jerusalem, to be received upon the altar of Yahweh with acceptance (Isa. 60:6-7). Their territory in Arabia will then flourish as the rose. By that means, the two sons of Abraham will live in peace with each other.
For the meaning of the word "Canaan" see our notes on Gen. 12:6 in Expositor: Genesis. Bible prophecy reveals that whereas "the Canaanite dwelt in the land" when Abraham first entered it, this will not be the case when Abraham is brought again from the dead (Zech. 14:21). The word "Canaanite" signifies a trader, a term frequently applied to the Arabs today. Similarly all spiritual trading shall cease in the complete overthrow of Babylon the Great (Rev. 18:11-19).
"Fear and dread shall fall upon them" — This occurred when the new generation of Israelites moved towards the Land of Promise (the previous generation having fallen in the wilderness), and fear swept the surrounding nations (Josh. 5:1). The unexpected appearance of the multitudinous Christ in belligerent manifestation in the future age shall cause even greater fear (Isa. 30:27-30).
"By the greatness of Thine arm they shall be as still as a stone" — The "arm of Yahweh" is a title given to Christ by Isaiah (40:10). The effect of his power at his second coming will bring about a state of political paralysis (see the expression used in ISam. 25:37), so that the nations will be compelled to submit.
"Till Thy people pass over, Ο Yahweh" — The "people of Yahweh" are the Redeemed.
"Till the people pass over, which Thou hast purchased" — In Isa. 51:9-l1, the prophet describes the joyous Redeemed entering Zion in the future, in terms that align the circumstances to the crossing of the Red Sea. He prays that Yahweh shall "put on strength" as He did at the Crossing, and, in consequence, cause the Redeemed to enter Zion with singing. Thus, once again, the historic details provide the type for the future.
"Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them" — To plant a thing is to establish it deep in the soil with the object of it bringing forth fruit. Unfortunately, the generation that came out of Egypt was never "planted" in the Land; it perished in the wilderness. It is true that the next generation did enter therein, and that in so doing, Yahweh planted the "vine out of Egypt" in the field selected by Him (Psa. 80:8), but because of evil circumstances that arose, He permitted the wild beasts (Gentile nations) to ravage it (Psa. 80:12-13). David, however, was promised that the people would be "planted" in the land so securely that they would never be removed therefrom (2Sam. 7:10, see also Jer. 24:6; Amos 9:15). In Isa. 60:21, the term is applied to the true Israel of God, the glorified Redeemed.
"In the mountain of Thine inheritance" — This statement shows that the vision of Moses took in the future. The place of planting is declared to be "the mountain of Thine inheritance." It is significant that although the site of God's future temple was not then declared (see Deu. 33:19) Moses was able to describe it as a "mountain," and speak of the Redeemed as being planted there. Later, it was revealed that Zion, Jerusalem, was the place selected (Psa. 132:13-14). In the age to come, that "mountain" shall be the site of Christ's glorious "house of prayer for all nations." The top of the mountain is to be the Most Holy (Eze. 43:12), and only the immortal Redeemed shall be permitted there. Thus, the question and answer supplied by the Psalmist, as to who shall "dwell in Yahweh's holy hill?" (Psa. 15:1).
Five hundred years before the building of Solomon's temple, Moses was privileged to see in vision, and so incorporate into this national anthem of Israel, reference to the "holy mountain" which Yahweh would select as His particular inheritance.
"In the place, Ο Yahweh, which Thou hast made for Thee to dwell in" — That place is Jerusalem (Psalm 132). Yahweh will "dwell" therein, not personally by descending from heaven, but in manifestation through the Redeemed (2Thes. 1:10). A similar expression is used in Exo. 29:46, relating to Yahweh "dwelling in Israel" in the past. Israel was called out of Egypt, and delivered from the wrath of Pharaoh, for the purpose of God manifestation (see Deu. 28:9-10). Unfortunately the nation failed, causing God to turn to the Gentiles in order "to take out of them a people for His name" (Acts 15:14). Such a people must go through the same process as did Israel in Egypt, and by separation from their former associations, by the cutting off in baptism of the old way, and by dedication of the mind and person to the will of God, become the dwelling place of Yahweh (2Cor. 6:16). The process will not be complete until such a people, physically as well as morally, manifest the divine characteristics, and associate with their Lord in Jerusalem.
"In the Sanctuary, Ο Lord, which Thy hands have established" — According to The Companion Bible, the word "Lord" in this place should be "Yahweh," it being "one of the 134 places where it was altered by the Sopherim to Adonai." It is difficult to know why the word should be altered in this place. Actually, Adonai makes good sense. It indicates that at the time to be fulfilled by this statement of the song, Yahweh will be manifested in a multitude of the Redeemed who shall be elevated as the lords and rulers of humanity. In speaking of the Sanctuary, Moses looked forward to the temple of the Age to come (Isa. 56:5-7), when the sons and daughters He will beget, are be given "the everlasting name" He got for Himself as the result of the Crossing (cp. Isa. 56:5; 63:12; Acts 15:14).
His hands "will establish" the temple of the future, as the tabernacle and temple of the past were constructed through human agency. In each case, the plans were supplied by Yahweh, first to Moses, then to David, and finally to Ezekiel; and from those plans, the sanctuaries of the past were established, as that of the future will be also. The temple in Jerusalem, in the Age to come, will provide the basis for a true and lasting peace among the nations (Zech. 6:12). To it they will ascend for worship and instruction (Zech. 14:17; Isa. 2:2-4), and there the true Israel of God shall be seen in glory.
"Yahweh shall reign for ever and ever" — The Hebrew expressions are olam and ad, literally, according to Brother Thomas: "for the hidden period and beyond." The "hidden period," is the millennium whilst "beyond" relates to the epoch of absolute perfection that will follow it. Christ's kingdom will last "forever" (Luke 1:33), but it will be revealed in two stages: during the millennium when sin shall be restrained, yet mortality continues; and afterwards, when the final enemy of death has been vanquished, and a perfected kingdom is delivered unto the Father (ICor. 15:24-28). The prophetic vision of Moses took in that glorious consummation.
And, at that point, the song concludes.
The lines of poetry commenced from verse 1: "I will sing...," finish at the declaration that "Yahweh shall reign for ever."
The record now returns to prose. In our exposition, each line we have commented upon, and which is set out in bold type above, represents a line of poetry as shown in the RV. It is helpful to mark the individual lines in the Bible, perhaps by bracketing them in colour.
"For" — The preposition which introduces this statement, shows that this verse is explanatory of the preceding song.
"The horse of Pharaoh went in" — Pharaoh's cavalry is here depicted. There is no direct statement that Pharaoh personally perished in the sea; in fact, the stele of Merneptah implies otherwise. See noteExo. 14:23.
The statement in Psa. 136:15 does not contradict our comments. The word there translated "overthrew" comes from a root signifying "to rustle, to shake," and hence the AV margin, "shaked off." In consequence the Psalm implies that Pharaoh's power to hurt Israel was finished at that point. The Red Sea "shaked off the pursuit of the Egyptians.
"With his chariots and his horsemen into the sea" — Both cavalry and chariots plunged recklessly into the path driven through the sea.
"And Yahweh brought again the waters of the sea upon them" — The crossing of the Red Sea is represented by Paul as the national baptism of Israel "into Moses" (ICor. 10:1-2). This would require that the entire nation be under the water and cloud at the same time, and, therefore, in view of the large numbers of Israelites, demands a considerable breadth and depth of water for that purpose. It also necessitates water deep enough to violently overthrow and drown the Egyptian warriors on horseback or in chariots.
The ebb and flow of tidal waters adjacent to Bitter Lakes would be adequate for such purposes, in contrast to what is claimed by those who would rationalise the miracle. See our comments onch. 14: 21.
As the miracle of baptism into Christ blots out past sins (cp. Acts 2:38), so the miracle of the crossing destroyed the hosts of Pharaoh, representative of the oppressor in the land of sin.
"But the children of Israel went on dry land in the midst of the sea" — Once again the descriptive words of Moses are an embarrassment to those who would rationalise the miracle. The suggestion that the children of Israel merely waded through receding tidal waters cannot be described as "walking on dry land in the midst of the sea." The application of the miracle as a national baptism is appropriate to the description before us. The waters saved Israel, but destroyed Pharaoh's power; as the waters of the Flood saved Noah in the ark, whilst they destroyed the antediluvians. In the antitype, the waters of baptism render the "old man" powerless, whilst providing the means of salvation for the person himself (see Rom. 6:3-8).
"And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron" — This is the first time reference is made to the name Miriam. Previously, in ch. 2:7 it is to Moses' "sister," and as no other sister is referred to in Scripture, it is presumed that this also was Miriam.
Both name and title are significant. It is normal to derive "Miriam" (Gr. Mary, from mar ah, signifying bitterness, which Miriam had experienced during the period of the oppression), or Rebellion (which she later manifested toward Moses — see Num. 12:1). The waters of bitterness were called Marah (Exo. 15:23), and Naomi changed her name to Mara when she returned to Bethlehem bereft of her husband and sons (Ruth 1:20). Others derive the name from mar signifying "a drop" as in Isaiah 40:15, and yam, the "sea." This derivation gives her name as denoting Those taken out of the sea of nations (Isa. 57:20). This meaning of the name would be appropriate to the circumstances of the deliverance of Israel, and suggests why Miriam's name was not disclosed before the incident now recorded. As Moses in the drama enacted upon the eastern shore of the Red Sea, typed the Lord, Miriam and the women with her, represented the Bride of Christ, the cloud of witnesses which will reflect the glory of the rainbow in the Age to come (Rev. 1:7). A cloud is formed of minute drops of water drawn into the heavens, appropriate to the suggested meaning of Miriam's name. Perhaps, by a play upon words, both meanings are implied, and this, too, is appropriate, for it is "through much tribulation" that those who make up the Bride of Christ "will enter the kingdom."
Miriam's title, "the prophetess," is equally significant. It is hanebiyah in Hebrew, the feminine form of nabi or "prophet." The word is derived from the verb naba, "to boil or bubble over." It is taken from the metaphor of a fountain bursting forth from the heart of a person into whom God has poured His spirit (2Pet. 1:21; Jer. 20:7-9). A prophet was one whoforth-told as well as/<9r<?-told the will and purpose of Yahweh (see ICor. 14:3). That Miriam is given such a title suggests the status she held among the people, and implies that during the absence of Moses she had laboured among them in support of the true worship. Other women, mentioned in the Bible, who prophesied, or were given the title, are Rachel (Gen. 30:24), Deborah (Jud. 4:4), Huldah (2Kings 22:14), Noadiah (Neh. 6:14), Isaiah's wife (Isa. 8:3), Elizabeth (Luke 1:41-45), Mary (Luke 1:46-55), and Philip's four daughters (Acts 21:9).
"Took a timbrel in her hand" — The Hebrew toph denotes a hand drum, a torn torn or a tambourine. It was an instrument used to accompany dancing in a time of rejoicing. It is translated tabret (see Gen. 31:27; ISam. 10:5; 18:6; 2Sam. 6:5; Isa. 5:12; 24:8; 30:32; Jer. 31:4; Eze. 28:13), as well as timbrel (Jud. 11:32; 2Sam. 6:5; IChr. 13:8; Job 21:12; Psa. 81:2; 149:3; 150:4).
"And all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances" — Typically, Miriam and the women of Israel represented the multitudinous Bride of Christ. They danced in excess of joy at the great deliverance and salvation effected. The Hebrew word mecholoth is the feminine form of machowI, "to twirl around," and hence a round dance. In a Psalm prophetic of the great joy that shall follow the resurrection (Psa. 30:3), the Psalmist wrote: "Thou has turned for me my mourning into dancing" (v. 1 1). Again, speaking prophetically of the joy of the millennium, he wrote: "Praise Him with the timbrel and dance" (Psa. 150:4), repeating the action of Miriam and her associates when they commemorated the great deliverance from Egypt by timbrel and dance on the eastern shores of the Red Sea. The circumstances reveal the significance of the name of Yahweh, and the style of dancing (which should not be confused with modern forms of dancing) was designed to honour His name. Hence the Psalmist declared (Psa. 149:3).
Let them praise His name in the dance; Let them sing praises unto Him with the timbrel and harp.
"And Miriam answered them" — The pronoun is in the masculine gender, indicating that it was the singing of Moses and the "sons of Israel" that Miriam and the women answered (cp. v.1). Rotherham renders "them" as "the men."
"Sing ye to Yahweh, for He hath triumphed gloriously" — See note, v.1.
"The horse and his rider hath He thrown into the sea" — This is the refrain of the "song of Moses" (cp. v. 1). It may have been sung by Miriam and the women at appropriate pauses during the song by the men, during which time the women would have moved gracefully in a stately and solemn dance in tune with the instruments and the voices of the players and singers.
Exodus: A Pattern of Redemption
Chapters 15:22 to 24:18
Though delivered from the slavery of Egypt, the people are not free to please themselves. They must not confuse liberty for licence. In fact they have merely changed masters. The autocrats of Egypt had reduced them into a state of abject bondage which ended in death with little compensation for their hard work. Now their new Master, Yahweh, requires their obedience, though setting before them the promise of life. Thus their status on the eastern shore of the Red Sea foreshadowed the condition of believers in Christ. Prior to accepting him in baptism they were "slaves to sin," a metonym for the lusts of the flesh (Rom. 6:6) but, in Christ they are accounted as "dead to sin," but servants of God (Rom. 6:16-22). Delivered from Egypt, Israel now must be educated in principles of consecration, and, accordingly, they are brought under test and trial to that end. They are taught that faith is necessary to successfully encounter the problems that inevitably face the man or woman of God. They are shown, in a series of dramatic events, what is required of those who would please God, whilst they learn that He provides all the necessities of life. At the same time, they are taught that though He will supply all needs, He may deny them some wants.
The events narrated in this portion of Exodus, constitute an education through experience for the children of Israel.
They set forth the principles of consecration in three parts, following the pattern of the other sub-sections of the book:
 Proposed: in the typical significance of the incidents of the journey recorded in ch. 15:22-27.
 Resisted: by the faithlessness of the Israelites in their murmurings for food and the complaints they level against Moses, as well as the opposition they experience from the Amalekites on the way to Sinai (chs. 16:1 to 17:16).
 Accomplished: when the people were successfully brought to Horeb, and accepted the terms of the covenant set before them (ch. 18:1 to 24:18).
 - SANCTIFICATION PROPOSED Chapter 15:22-27
The principles of sanctification are set forth in type in the incidents that follow the crossing of the Red Sea and the destruction of Pharaoh's hosts. Moving three days' journey into the wilderness ofShur, east of the Red Sea, the people lack water and find none. As supplies become ever more depleted, and they begin to feel the pangs of hunger and of thirst, their faith is put to the test. At last they arrive at Marah where there is water, but their high hopes of assuaging their thirst are disappointed as they find the water bitter. They are not equal to the test thus imposed upon them. Made more impatient through disappointment, they commence to murmur against Moses. But they are taught the lesson of faith as Yahweh, through Moses, miraculously sweetens the water. The opportunity is used by God to teach Israel what He requires of them as a sanctified (separated) people. He establishes a statute and an ordinance, and proclaims Himself as Yahweh Ropheka, the Giver of health, who will care for them if they put their trust in Him. Israel is then led to Elim where further parabolic lessons are impressed upon them, pointing to the kingdom of the future.
From The Red Sea To The Wilderness Of Shur - v. 22.
After the triumph there always comes the testing. From singing songs of victory and joy, and from praising Yahweh with timbrel and dance, the Israelites are brought into "a dry and thirsty7 land where no water is" (Psa. 63:1). Their faith is about to be tested again.
"So Moses brought Israel from the Red Sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur" — The word Shur signifies wall. It was the name given to a great line of forts that stretched from Migdol in the Delta along the Sinaitic Peninsula, designed as a bastion or wall to protect the border of Egypt. The site is also given the name of The wilderness of Etham (Num. 33:8), for Etham (signifying Edge) was situated on the edge of the wilderness. Previously, the Israelites had reached this spot, but had been turned south to the Red Sea (cp. Exo. 13:20).
"And they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water" — The Wilderness of Shur was described by Rawlinson as "treeless, waterless, and, except in the early spring, destitute of heritage. Today the Mitla Pass moves through this area, which remains a monotonous, sandy waste, calculated to test the endurance of any. Mile after mile of small sandhills or hummocks stretch into the distance; and though it was early spring when the Israelites passed through the land, the east winds that then can blow, could drive the sand into their faces. Supplies began to run short, water had to be rationed, and the people became anxiously aware of this vital necessity of life.
The Bitter Waters of Marah Healed - vv. 23-26.
A profound parable is set forth in the next incident that takes place. The Children of Israel come to Marah where, to their relief they discover ample water. But on drinking it, they find to their great disappointment, that it is bitter. This is too much. Already feeling the effects of thirst, unable to replenish their dwindling supplies, caught in a wilderness that offers no hope, they again begin to murmur. It is natural for them to do so. But by a remarkable miracle the bitter waters are made sweet, and the thirst of the people assuaged. On the basis of that miracle, which reveals that faith should never give way to murmuring when Yahweh leads the way, a divine statute and ordinance are proclaimed, and a new name for God is set forth for the people to consider and heed.
"And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter" — Imagine the keen disappointment of a thirsty people finding water, only to learn that it is undrinkable.
"Therefore the name of it was called Marah" — "Marah" signifies bitterness (see margin, Ruth 1:20). An important lesson was being impressed upon the people. They were being taught that life's journey to the kingdom is studded with moments of bitterness that Yahweh alone is capable of sweetening. Paul laid down the principle that it is "through much tribulation" that saints "will enter into the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22). Let us bear this in mind when trials become our lot, and therefore learn to endure them patiently. Characters acceptable to God are formed under test and chastisement. Israel had to be hardened by such experiences in order to find sufficient strength and determination to wrest the Promised Land from the Canaanites. Hence it was "through much tribulation" that they were brought out of Egypt, a tribulation that many saints have had to endure throughout the ages. The Israelites experienced bitterness in Egypt (Exo. 1:14); Naomi did so when she wandered from the House of Bread (Ruth 1:20); Hannah endured it through the mocking of Peninnah (ISam. 1:6-10); Job discovered its depths through personal disaster and suffering (Job 7:1 1; 9:18; 10:1); the Psalmist knew of it through the mocking voice of folly raised against him (Psa. 42:3); Mordecai discovered it as he was opposed by the extreme antisemitism of his enemy (Est. 4:1). In every age, through many circumstances, Yahweh tests His people by these means, "proves them" (Exo. 15:25), humbles them so as to develop in them His strength through weakness (2Cor. 12:7). His children must learn that through faith, out of the bitter experiences of life, there can come great sweetness. So Paul testifies that he could "glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience (endurance)" (Rom. 5:3).
"And the people murmured against Moses" — This is the first time that the people are described as "murmuring" against Moses, but, unfortunately, it is not the last. In this verse, the word in the Hebrew is liyn and signifies to stop, thus to be obstinate (or, in words, to complain). The people evidently refused to proceed any further because of the tediousness of the way, so that Moses was faced with the threat of outright rebellion. In his distress he could only turn to Yahweh.
Murmuring is a negative capitulation to depressing circumstances. It accomplishes nothing, but can adversely affect others, causing them also to complain, and is condemned by the apostles (ICor. 10:10; Phil. 2:14). Some ten cases of murmuring are recorded against the children of Israel:
 For water (Exo. 15:24-26);
[2J For food (ch. 16:2-8);
 For water (ch. 17:3-7);
 Out of jealousy, by Miriam and Aaron (Num. 12: 1-5);
 Through fear and cowardice, at the spies' report (ch. 14:2-38);
 Out of jealousy, against Moses by Korah (ch. 16:1-35);
 Through bitterness (ch. 16:41-50);
 Through jealousy, against Aaron (ch. 17:1-1 1);
 For water (ch. 20:1-13);
 Because of the monotony of food (ch. 21:4-9).
Half of the murmurings were for this world's goods; three arose out of personal jealousy; two were prompted by bitterness, fear or cowardice. All of them stemmed from lack of faith. This analysis shows against what we should be on our guard, and what we should develop (i.e., faith) in order to overcome life's problems. But, in considering this theme, let the extreme trials that Israel had to endure be ever brought to mind, in order that we might consider them in the light of our comparatively easy circumstances. In modern days, trials are often induced through the ease and affluence of the age.
The murmuring of the people against Moses foreshadowed that of the leaders of the Jews against Christ, some 1,500 years later (John 6:41). They first flocked to him, but afterwards condemned him.
"Saying, What shall we drink?" — The people eagerly rushed the oasis to drink of its water, but when they found that it was bitter, they spat it out with disgust, crying: "Marah! What shall we drink? "
"And he cried unto Yahweh" — Whereas the people, in their lack of faith, complained to Moses, he turned to Yahweh in prayer. The word "cried" indicates the urgency of his appeal. Rotherham renders it as "outcry!" The waterless desert, the rebellious nation, the murmuring Israelites, sent Moses hurrying to Yahweh, earnestly beseeching His help.
"And Yahweh shewed him a tree" — The same word is rendered "gallows" in Est. 5:14, where it types the "tree" upon which the Lord was crucified (Acts 5:30; 10:39; 13:29). Here it also types the cross of Christ, which is capable of changing the bitterness of life into sweetness, if we identify ourselves with it.
"Which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet" — At first sight, the Mosaic Covenant had the appearance of the water of the oasis: refreshing and attractive in the wilderness of life. It was, declared Paul, "holy, just and good" (Rom. 7:12), but in its enactments, it demonstrated the reality of sin, and therefore became bitter with the curse (Rom. 7:9-13). The sacrifice of Christ, however, removed the curse, and made the water sweet and refreshing (John 4:14; Isa. 12:3).
"There He made for them a statute and an ordinance" — A statute (Heb. chaq) is a command or law; an ordinance (Heb. mishpat) is the verdict or sentence pronounced when it is broken.
"And there He proved them" — The purpose was to humble them, to teach them to place greater confidence in Him, and to reveal what was in their heart, so that they might recognise the enormity of their acts of faithlessness (Deu. 8:2,16).
"And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of Yahweh thy God" — In the Hebrew, "diligently hearken" is the word shama, repeated. In itself it signifies to hearken intelligently. It is repeated for added emphasis, and therefore is rendered as in the A.V.
"And wilt do that which is right in His sight" — The full scope of the Law had not then been given, but the people knew sufficient to recognise that all that Yahweh might command would be in accordance with His righteous character.
"And wilt give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes" — This requires the concentration of the mind on what He might command, and an endorsement of the statutes that He might set down (see note v. 25). The exhortation of this verse obviously was in preparation for the formal presentation of the Law to the people a few days later, and their acceptance of it.
"I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians" — At Marah, the Israelites found themselves threatened with one of the plagues of Egypt: undrink-able water. Yahweh delivered them from this, and so demonstrated His power to afflict or to save. If they proved obedient. He would protect them from the disease which had afflicted the Egyptians. But, if otherwise, they would suffer in kind (see Deu. 28:27, 60). The most dreaded disease of Egypt was leprosy: and every case of such recorded in Scripture was to either punish or teach a lesson. When Miriam rebelled against her brother, she was afflicted with leprosy (Num. 12:10); when Uzziah unlawfully forced his way into the temple, he was smitten with leprosy (2Chr. 26:21). Therefore, if an Israelite became a leper, he needed to consider the cause, and seek a cure from Yahweh. When a suspected case of leprosy was discovered, the party concerned was to call for the priest, rather than the physician, to determine as to whether, in fact, it was a case of leprosy, and what should be done in the circumstances (see Lev. 13). He was thereby taught the religious principles involved.
"For I am Yahweh that healeth thee" — This is a new divine title, superimposed by the Creator upon Himself, to illustrate yet another aspect of divine grace. The Hebrew is Yahweh Ropheka, or Yahweh thy Physician as Rotherham renders it. The verb rapha signifies "to heal thoroughly, to repair, to stitch together, to mend by stitching." It is similar in meaning to the word "religion," which also denotes "a binding together." This new title, now proclaimed to Israelites, identifies Yahweh as the Restorer of the soul (Psa. 23:3). In Psalm 103:3, forgiveness of sins is associated with the healing of disease:
"Whoforgiveth all thine iniquities, Who healeth all thy diseases."
Again: (Psa. 147:2-3):
"Yahweh doth build up Jerusalem; He gathereth together the outcasts of Israel. He healeth the broken in heart, And bindeth up their wounds."
In conformity with this new title, Yahweh told Moses: "Ye shall serve Yahweh your God, and He shall bless thy bread, and thy water: and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee" (Exo. 23:25). Yahweh's ability to heal is expressed in Num. 12:13; Deu. 32:39; 2Kings 20:5-8; and Psa. 107:20. Examples of Him doing so are revealed in the cases of Abimelech (Gen. 20:17), Miriam (Num. 12:13), the Psalmist (Psa. 30:2), Hezekiah (2Kings 20:8); Jeremiah (Jer. 17:14). Promises to heal the wounds of nations, involving their forgiveness and restoration to favour, are proclaimed to Israel (Isa. 57:18-19); Ephraim (Hos. 11:3); Zion (Jer. 30:17); Egypt (Isa. 19:22). Even Babylon could have been healed (Jer. 51:8-9).
The healing work of Yahweh Ropheka is manifested in various ways: in healing the land which has suffered drought through the sin of the nation (2Chr. 7:14; cp. also Psa. 60:2); in curing the unfaithfulness of the people (Hos. 14:4-5); in sweetening polluted springs (2Kings 2:19-22); even in restoring the waters of the Dead Sea (Eze. 47:8-9).
Yahweh Ropheka has promised to heal individual distresses or failings (Psa. 147:3). Even in circumstances when His people have turned from Him to the vain association with Gentiles, He has extended His healing power, when they have returned to Him (Hos. 5:13; Jer. 17:13-14).
The process of such healing is through His Word (Psa. 107:20), and by the stripes of the One appointed to endure them to that end (Isa. 53:5).
As the manifestation of Yahweh, the Lord Jesus is the medium by which the healing balm becomes truly effective. He demonstrated this ability as He who would be the physician by "healing the leper" (Luke 5:14), curing people of their diseases (Mat. 15:30), and raising the dead (Luke 7:14,16).
In the light of this divine title, a very significant statement is made in Lk. 5:17. Referring to the Pharisees and doctors of the law who had accosted the Lord in Galilee, Luke the physician records: "and the power of the Lord [Yahweh] was present to heal them." The "them" relates to the leaders of the Jews and implies that they were spiritually sick (John 9:39-40; Luke 11:42, 52; Mark 2:17). Only through the stripes of Yahweh Ropheka in manifestation, could they be healed of such illness.
This indicates the significance of the new title of Yahweh, proclaimed by Him at that moment of crisis in the wilderness. Yahweh Ropheka, is not only capable of inflicting sickness, but can cure men of the dread disease of mortality, and grant them the heavenly health of eternal life.
The Wells of Elim- v.27.
From Marah, the Israelites move on to Elim. Here they obtain renewed strength and refreshment from twelve oases of water which are overshadowed by seventy palm trees. The experience suggests a parable of redemption. The sweetening of the bitter waters of Marah by sacrifice, as indicated by the felled tree, and the proclamation of the title of Yahweh Ropheka as the giver of perfect health, consummates in the camping of Israel by the twelve oases of Elim (which means Powers) under the shade of the seventy palm trees. The picture presented is symbolic of the future when the powerful ones of Israel will provide wells of salvation (Isa. 12:1-2) to the Gentiles, whose figurative number is seventy.
"And they came to Elim" — The name "Elim" denotes Powers or Powerful Ones.
"Where there were twelve wells of waters" — The site provided a well for each of the twelve tribes, pointing to the water of life (John 4:14), identified with the hope of Israel (Acts 28:20), and revealed in Christ. Isaiah predicted of the millennium: "With joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation" (Isa. 12:3). The rejoicing that will then occur was typically enjoyed at Elim after deliverance from the oppression of Egypt.
"And threescore and ten palm trees" — Seventy palm trees, drawing their sustenance up from the twelve wells, type the future, when under the universal rule of Christ and the saints as the powers (Elim) of the age to come, shall nourish the Gentiles with the hope of Israel.
Seventy is a number associated with the Gentiles. In Gen. 10, the family of nations descended from Noah, Shem, Ham and Japheth number seventy, and there were seventy people who went down into Egypt with Jacob (Deu. 10:22). Thus, Moses' prophetic song of witness, identifies them with the Gentiles. He declared (Deu. 32:8): "When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance. When He separated the sons of Adam, He set the bounds of the people
According to the number of the children of Israel."
At Elim, therefore, the children of Israel enacted a parable of the future when Gentiles will be nourished by their hope.
"And they encamped there by the waters" — The freedom from trouble and frustration, that the Israelites experienced at Elim, together with the ample supply of the necessities of life, foreshadowed the peace and prosperity of the kingdom Age.
It is said that, today, "only nine of the twelve wells remain, the missing ones having been filled with blown sands throughout the years; but the seventy palm trees have multiplied into more than two thousand" (Dake' s Reference Bible).