14:1 1 The Lord spoke to Moses: 14:2 “Tell the Israelites that they must turn and camp 2 before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea; you are to camp by the sea before Baal Zephon opposite it. 3 14:3 Pharaoh will think 4 regarding the Israelites, ‘They are wandering around confused 5 in the land – the desert has closed in on them.’ 6 14:4 I will harden 7 Pharaoh’s heart, and he will chase after them. I will gain honor 8 because of Pharaoh and because of all his army, and the Egyptians will know 9 that I am the Lord.” So this is what they did. 10
14:5 When it was reported 11 to the king of Egypt that the people had fled, 12 the heart of Pharaoh and his servants was turned against the people, and the king and his servants said, 13 “What in the world have we done? 14 For we have released the people of Israel 15 from serving us!” 14:6 Then he prepared 16 his chariots and took his army 17 with him. 14:7 He took six hundred select 18 chariots, and all the rest of the chariots of Egypt, 19 and officers 20 on all of them.
14:8 But the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he chased after the Israelites. Now the Israelites were going out defiantly. 21 14:9 The Egyptians chased after them, and all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh and his horsemen and his army overtook them camping by the sea, beside Pi-hahiroth, before Baal-Zephon. 14:10 When 22 Pharaoh got closer, 23 the Israelites looked up, 24 and there were the Egyptians marching after them, 25 and they were terrified. 26 The Israelites cried out to the Lord, 27 14:11 and they said to Moses, “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the desert? 28 What in the world 29 have you done to us by bringing 30 us out of Egypt? 14:12 Isn’t this what we told you 31 in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone so that we can serve the Egyptians, 32 because it is better for us to serve 33 the Egyptians than to die in the desert!’” 34
14:13 Moses said to the people, “Do not fear! 35 Stand firm 36 and see 37 the salvation 38 of the Lord that he will provide 39 for you today; for the Egyptians that you see today you will never, ever see again. 40 14:14 The Lord 41 will fight for you, and you can be still.” 42
14:15 The Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. 43 14:16 And as for you, 44 lift up your staff and extend your hand toward the sea and divide it, so that 45 the Israelites may go through the middle of the sea on dry ground. 14:17 And as for me, I am going to harden 46 the hearts of the Egyptians so that 47 they will come after them, that I may be honored 48 because 49 of Pharaoh and his army and his chariots and his horsemen. 14:18 And the Egyptians will know 50 that I am the Lord when I have gained my honor 51 because of Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.”
14:19 The angel of God, who was going before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them, and the pillar 52 of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them. 14:20 It came between the Egyptian camp and the Israelite camp; it was a dark cloud 53 and it lit up the night so that one camp did not come near the other 54 the whole night. 55 14:21 Moses stretched out his hand toward the sea, and the Lord drove the sea apart 56 by a strong east wind all that night, and he made the sea into dry land, and the water was divided. 14:22 So the Israelites went through the middle of the sea on dry ground, the water forming a wall 57 for them on their right and on their left.
14:23 The Egyptians chased them and followed them into the middle of the sea – all the horses of Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen. 14:24 In the morning watch 58 the Lord looked down 59 on the Egyptian army 60 through the pillar of fire and cloud, and he threw the Egyptian army 61 into a panic. 62 14:25 He jammed 63 the wheels of their chariots so that they had difficulty driving, 64 and the Egyptians said, “Let’s flee 65 from Israel, for the Lord fights 66 for them against Egypt!”
14:26 The Lord said to Moses, “Extend your hand toward the sea, so that the waters may flow 67 back on the Egyptians, on their chariots, and on their horsemen!” 14:27 So Moses extended his hand toward the sea, and the sea returned to its normal state 68 when the sun began to rise. 69 Now the Egyptians were fleeing 70 before it, but the Lord overthrew 71 the Egyptians in the middle of the sea. 14:28 The water returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen and all the army of Pharaoh that was coming after the Israelites into the sea 72 – not so much as one of them survived! 73 14:29 But the Israelites walked on dry ground in the middle of the sea, the water forming a wall for them on their right and on their left. 14:30 So the Lord saved 74 Israel on that day from the power 75 of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead 76 on the shore of the sea. 14:31 When Israel saw 77 the great power 78 that the Lord had exercised 79 over the Egyptians, they 80 feared the Lord, and they believed in 81 the Lord and in his servant Moses. 82
the horse and its rider 88 he has thrown into the sea.
and he has become my salvation.
This is my God, and I will praise him, 91
my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
the Lord is his name. 93
they went down to the bottom 98 like a stone.
your right hand, O Lord, shattered the enemy.
those who rise up against you. 102
it consumed them 105 like stubble.
the flowing water stood upright like a heap, 107
and the deep waters were solidified in the heart of the sea.
I will divide the spoil;
my desire 109 will be satisfied on them.
They sank 114 like lead in the mighty waters.
Who is like you? – majestic in holiness, fearful in praises, 117 working wonders?
15:12 You stretched out your right hand,
the earth swallowed them. 118
you will guide 121 them by your strength to your holy dwelling place.
trembling will seize 126 the leaders of Moab,
and the inhabitants of Canaan will shake.
until 131 your people pass by, O Lord,
until the people whom you have bought 132 pass by.
in the place you made 135 for your residence, O Lord,
the sanctuary, O Lord, that your hands have established.
15:18 The Lord will reign forever and ever!
15:19 For the horses of Pharaoh came with his chariots and his footmen into the sea,
and the Lord brought back the waters of the sea on them,
but the Israelites walked on dry land in the middle of the sea.”
15:20 Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a hand-drum in her hand, and all the women went out after her with hand-drums and with dances. 136 15:21 Miriam sang in response 137 to them, “Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and its rider he has thrown into the sea.” 138
15:22 139 Then Moses led Israel to journey 140 away from the Red Sea. They went out to the Desert of Shur, walked for three days 141 into the desert, and found no water. 15:23 Then they came to Marah, 142 but they were not able to drink 143 the waters of Marah, because 144 they were bitter. 145 (That is 146 why its name was 147 Marah.)
15:24 So the people murmured 148 against Moses, saying, “What can 149 we drink?” 15:25 He cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him 150 a tree. 151 When Moses 152 threw it into the water, the water became safe to drink. There the Lord 153 made for them 154 a binding ordinance, 155 and there he tested 156 them. 15:26 He said, “If you will diligently obey 157 the Lord your God, and do what is right 158 in his sight, and pay attention 159 to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, then all 160 the diseases 161 that I brought on the Egyptians I will not bring on you, for I, the Lord, am your healer.” 162
16:1 164 When 165 they journeyed from Elim, the entire company 166 of Israelites came to the Desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their exodus 167 from the land of Egypt. 16:2 The entire company 168 of Israelites murmured against Moses and Aaron in the desert. 16:3 The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died 169 by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by 170 the pots of meat, when we ate bread to the full, 171 for you have brought us out into this desert to kill 172 this whole assembly with hunger!”
16:4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “I am going to rain 173 bread from heaven for you, and the people will go out 174 and gather the amount for each day, so that I may test them. 175 Will they will walk in my law 176 or not? 16:5 On the sixth day 177 they will prepare what they bring in, and it will be twice as much as they gather every other day.” 178
16:6 Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “In the evening 179 you will know that the Lord has brought you out of the land of Egypt, 16:7 and in the morning you will see 180 the glory of the Lord, because he has heard 181 your murmurings against the Lord. As for us, what are we, 182 that you should murmur against us?”
16:8 Moses said, “You will know this 183 when the Lord gives you 184 meat to eat in the evening and bread in the morning to satisfy you, because the Lord has heard your murmurings that you are murmuring against him. As for us, what are we? 185 Your murmurings are not against us, 186 but against the Lord.”
16:10 As Aaron spoke 189 to the whole community of the Israelites and they looked toward the desert, there the glory of the Lord 190 appeared 191 in the cloud, 16:11 and the Lord spoke to Moses: 16:12 “I have heard the murmurings of the Israelites. Tell them, ‘During the evening 192 you will eat meat, 193 and in the morning you will be satisfied 194 with bread, so that you may know 195 that I am the Lord your God.’” 196
16:13 In the evening the quail 197 came up and covered the camp, and in the morning a layer of dew was all around the camp. 16:14 When 198 the layer of dew had evaporated, 199 there on the surface of the desert was a thin flaky substance, 200 thin like frost on the earth. 16:15 When 201 the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, 202 “What is it?” because they did not know what it was. 203 Moses said to them, “It is the bread 204 that the Lord has given you for food. 205
16:16 “This is what 206 the Lord has commanded: 207 ‘Each person is to gather 208 from it what he can eat, an omer 209 per person 210 according to the number 211 of your people; 212 each one will pick it up 213 for whoever lives 214 in his tent.’” 16:17 The Israelites did so, and they gathered – some more, some less. 16:18 When 215 they measured with an omer, the one who gathered much had nothing left over, and the one who gathered little lacked nothing; each one had gathered what he could eat.
16:19 Moses said to them, “No one 216 is to keep any of it 217 until morning.” 16:20 But they did not listen to Moses; some 218 kept part of it until morning, and it was full 219 of worms and began to stink, and Moses was angry with them. 16:21 So they gathered it each morning, 220 each person according to what he could eat, and when the sun got hot, it would melt. 221 16:22 And 222 on the sixth day they gathered twice as much food, two omers 223 per person; 224 and all the leaders 225 of the community 226 came and told 227 Moses. 16:23 He said to them, “This is what the Lord has said: ‘Tomorrow is a time of cessation from work, 228 a holy Sabbath 229 to the Lord. Whatever you want to 230 bake, bake today; 231 whatever you want to boil, boil today; whatever is left put aside for yourselves to be kept until morning.’”
16:24 So they put it aside until the morning, just as Moses had commanded, and it did not stink, nor were there any worms in it. 16:25 Moses said, “Eat it today, for today is a Sabbath to the Lord; today you will not find it in the area. 232 16:26 Six days you will gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will not be any.”
16:27 On the seventh day some of the people went out to gather it, but they found nothing. 16:28 So the Lord said to Moses, “How long do you refuse 233 to obey my commandments and my instructions? 16:29 See, because the Lord has given you the Sabbath, that is why 234 he is giving you food for two days on the sixth day. Each of you stay where you are; 235 let no one 236 go out of his place on the seventh day.” 16:30 So the people rested on the seventh day.
16:32 Moses said, “This is what 240 the Lord has commanded: ‘Fill an omer with it to be kept 241 for generations to come, 242 so that they may see 243 the food I fed you in the desert when I brought you out from the land of Egypt.’” 16:33 Moses said to Aaron, “Take a jar and put in it an omer full of manna, and place it before the Lord to be kept for generations to come.” 16:34 Just as the Lord commanded Moses, so Aaron placed it before the Testimony 244 for safekeeping. 245
16:35 Now the Israelites ate manna forty years, until they came to a land that was inhabited; they ate manna until they came to the border of the land of Canaan. 16:36 (Now an omer is one tenth of an ephah.) 246
17:1 247 The whole community 248 of the Israelites traveled on their journey 249 from the Desert of Sin according to the Lord’s instruction, and they pitched camp in Rephidim. 250 Now 251 there was no water for the people to drink. 252 17:2 So the people contended 253 with Moses, and they said, “Give us water to drink!” 254 Moses said to them, “Why do you contend 255 with me? Why do you test 256 the Lord?” 17:3 But the people were very thirsty 257 there for water, and they murmured against Moses and said, “Why in the world 258 did you bring us up out of Egypt – to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?” 259
17:4 Then Moses cried out to the Lord, “What will I do with 260 this people? – a little more 261 and they will stone me!” 262 17:5 The Lord said to Moses, “Go over before the people; 263 take with you some of the elders of Israel and take in your hand your staff with which you struck the Nile and go. 17:6 I will be standing 264 before you there on 265 the rock in Horeb, and you will strike 266 the rock, and water will come out of it so that the people may drink.” 267 And Moses did so in plain view 268 of the elders of Israel.
17:8 270 Amalek came 271 and attacked 272 Israel in Rephidim. 17:9 So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our 273 men and go out, fight against Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.”
17:10 So Joshua fought against Amalek just as Moses had instructed him; 274 and Moses and Aaron and Hur went up to the top of the hill. 17:11 Whenever Moses would raise his hands, 275 then Israel prevailed, but whenever he would rest 276 his hands, then Amalek prevailed. 17:12 When 277 the hands of Moses became heavy, 278 they took a stone and put it under him, and Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side and one on the other, 279 and so his hands were steady 280 until the sun went down. 17:13 So Joshua destroyed 281 Amalek and his army 282 with the sword. 283
17:14 The Lord said to Moses, “Write this as a memorial in the 284 book, and rehearse 285 it in Joshua’s hearing; 286 for I will surely wipe out 287 the remembrance 288 of Amalek from under heaven. 17:15 Moses built an altar, and he called it “The Lord is my Banner,” 289 17:16 for he said, “For a hand was lifted up to the throne of the Lord 290 – that the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.” 291
[14:1] 1 sn The account recorded in this chapter is one of the best known events in all of Scripture. In the argument of the book it marks the division between the bondage in Egypt and the establishment of the people as a nation. Here is the deliverance from Egypt. The chapter divides simply in two, vv. 1-14 giving the instructions, and vv. 15-31 reporting the victory. See among others, G. Coats, “History and Theology in the Sea Tradition,” ST 29 (1975): 53-62); A. J. Ehlen, “Deliverance at the Sea: Diversity and Unity in a Biblical Theme,” CTM 44 (1973): 168-91; J. B. Scott, “God’s Saving Acts,” The Presbyterian Journal 38 (1979): 12-14; W. Wifall, “The Sea of Reeds as Sheol,” ZAW 92 (1980): 325-32.
[14:2] 2 tn The two imperfects follow the imperative and therefore express purpose. The point in the verses is that Yahweh was giving the orders for the direction of the march and the encampment by the sea.
[14:2] 3 sn The places have been tentatively identified. W. C. Kaiser summarizes the suggestions that Pi-Hahiroth as an Egyptian word may mean “temple of the [Syrian god] Hrt” or “The Hir waters of the canal” or “The Dwelling of Hator” (“Exodus,” EBC 2:387; see the literature on these names, including C. DeWit, The Date and Route of the Exodus, 17).
[14:3] 5 sn The word translated “wandering around confused” indicates that Pharaoh thought the Israelites would be so perplexed and confused that they would not know which way to turn in order to escape – and they would never dream of crossing the sea (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 115).
[14:4] 8 tn The form is וְאִכָּבְדָה (vÿ’ikkavÿda), the Niphal cohortative; coming after the perfect tenses with vav (ו) consecutives expressing the future, this cohortative indicates the purpose of the hardening and chasing. Yahweh intended to gain glory by this final and great victory over the strength of Pharaoh. There is irony in this expression since a different form of the word was used frequently to describe Pharaoh’s hard heart. So judgment will not only destroy the wicked – it will reveal the glory and majesty of the sovereignty of God.
[14:7] 20 tn The word שָׁלִשִׁם (shalishim) means “officers” or some special kind of military personnel. At one time it was taken to mean a “three man chariot,” but the pictures of Egyptian chariots only show two in a chariot. It may mean officers near the king, “men of the third rank” (B. Jacob, Exodus, 394). So the chariots and the crew represented the elite. See the old view by A. E. Cowley that linked it to a Hittite word (“A Hittite Word in Hebrew,” JTS 21 : 326), and the more recent work by P. C. Craigie connecting it to Egyptian “commander” (“An Egyptian Expression in the Song of the Sea: Exodus XV.4,” VT 20 : 85).
[14:8] 21 tn Heb “with a high hand”; the expression means “defiantly,” “boldly,” or “with confidence.” The phrase is usually used for arrogant sin and pride, the defiant fist, as it were. The image of the high hand can also mean the hand raised to deliver a blow (Job 38:15). So the narrative here builds tension between these two resolute forces.
[14:10] 25 tn The construction uses הִנֵּה (hinneh) with the participle, traditionally rendered “and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them.” The deictic particle calls attention in a dramatic way to what was being seen. It captures the surprise and the sudden realization of the people.
[14:10] 27 sn Their cry to the
[14:11] 28 sn B. Jacob (Exodus, 396-97) notes how the speech is overly dramatic and came from a people given to using such exaggerations (Num 16:14), even using a double negative. The challenge to Moses brings a double irony. To die in the desert would be without proper burial, but in Egypt there were graves – it was a land of tombs and graves! Gesenius notes that two negatives in the sentence do not nullify each other but make the sentence all the more emphatic: “Is it because there were no graves…?” (GKC 483 §152.y).
[14:12] 32 sn U. Cassuto (Exodus, 164) explains this statement by the people as follows: “The question appears surprising at first, for we have not read previously that such words were spoken to Moses. Nor is the purport of the protest of the Israelite foremen (v 21 [5:21]) identical with that of the words uttered now. However, from a psychological standpoint the matter can be easily explained. In the hour of peril the children of Israel remember that remonstrance, and now it seems to them that it was of a sharper character and flowed from their foresight, and that the present situation justifies it, for death awaits them at this moment in the desert.” This declaration that “we told you so,” born of fright, need not have been strictly accurate or logical.
[14:12] 34 tn Since Hebrew does not use quotation marks to indicate the boundaries of quotations, there is uncertainty about whether the Israelites’ statement in Egypt includes the end of v. 12 or consists solely of “leave us alone so that we can serve the Egyptians.” In either case, the command to Moses to leave them alone rested on the assumption, spoken or unspoken, that serving Egypt would be less risky than what Moses was proposing. Now with the Egyptian army on the horizon, the Israelites are sure that their worst predictions are about to take place.
[14:13] 40 tn The construction uses a verbal hendiadys consisting of a Hiphil imperfect (“you will not add”) and a Qal infinitive construct with a suffix (“to see them”) – “you will no longer see them.” Then the clause adds “again, for ever.”
[14:13] sn U. Cassuto (Exodus, 164) notes that the antithetical parallelism between seeing salvation and seeing the Egyptians, as well as the threefold repetition of the word “see” cannot be accidental; so too the alliteration of the last three words beginning with ayin (ע).
[14:14] 42 tn The imperfect tense needs to be interpreted in contrast to all that Yahweh will be doing. It may be given a potential imperfect nuance (as here), or it may be obligatory to follow the command to stand firm: “you must be still.”
[14:15] 43 tn The text literally says, “speak to the Israelites that they may journey.” The intent of the line, using the imperative with the subordinate jussive or imperfect expressing purpose is that the speaking is the command to move.
[14:16] 45 tn The imperfect (or jussive) with the vav (ו) is sequential, coming after the series of imperatives instructing Moses to divide the sea; the form then gives the purpose (or result) of the activity – “that they may go.”
[14:17] 47 tn The form again is the imperfect tense with vav (ו) to express the purpose or the result of the hardening. The repetition of the verb translated “come” is interesting: Moses is to divide the sea in order that the people may cross, but God will harden the Egyptians’ hearts in order that they may follow.
[14:18] 50 tn The construction is unusual in that it says, “And Egypt will know.” The verb is plural, and so “Egypt” must mean “the Egyptians.” The verb is the perfect tense with the vav consecutive, showing that this recognition or acknowledgment by Egypt will be the result or purpose of the defeat of them by God.
[14:18] 51 tn The form is בְּהִכָּבְדִי (bÿhikkavÿdi), the Niphal infinitive construct with a preposition and a suffix. For the suffix on a Niphal, see GKC 162-63 §61.c. The word forms a temporal clause in the line.
[14:19] 52 sn B. Jacob (Exodus, 400-401) makes a good case that there may have been only one pillar, one cloud; it would have been a dark cloud behind it, but in front of it, shining the way, a pillar of fire. He compares the manifestation on Sinai, when the mountain was on fire but veiled by a dark cloud (Deut 4:11; 5:22). See also Exod 13:21; Num 14:14; Deut 1:33; Neh 9:12, 19; Josh 24:7; Pss 78:14; 105:39.
[14:20] 53 tn The two nouns “cloud” and “darkness” form a nominal hendiadys: “and it was the cloud and the darkness” means “and it was the dark cloud.” Perhaps this is what the Egyptians saw, preventing them from observing Moses and the Israelites.
[14:20] 55 tc The LXX reads very differently at the end of this verse: “and there was darkness and blackness and the night passed.” B. S. Childs (Exodus [OTL], 218) summarizes three proposals: (1) One takes the MT as it stands and explains it along the lines of the Targum and Jewish exegesis, that there was one cloud that was dark to one group and light to the other. (2) Another tries to reconstruct a verb from the noun “darkness” or make some use of the Greek verb. (3) A third seeks a different meaning for the verb “lit,” “gave light” by comparative philology, but no consensus has been reached. Given that there is no easy solution apart from reconstructing the text, and given that the MT can be interpreted as it is, the present translation follows the MT.
[14:21] 56 tn Or “drove the sea back” (NIV, NCV, NRSV, TEV). The verb is simply the Hiphil of הָלַךְ (halakh, “to walk, go”). The context requires that it be interpreted along the lines of “go back, go apart.”
[14:22] sn S. R. Driver (Exodus, 119), still trying to explain things with natural explanations, suggests that a northeast wind is to be thought of (an east wind would be directly in their face he says), such as a shallow ford might cooperate with an ebb tide in keeping a passage clear. He then quotes Dillmann about the “wall” of water: “A very summary poetical and hyperbolical (xv. 8) description of the occurrence, which at most can be pictured as the drying up of a shallow ford, on both sides of which the basin of the sea was much deeper, and remained filled with water.” There is no way to “water down” the text to fit natural explanations; the report clearly shows a miraculous work of God making a path through the sea – a path that had to be as wide as half a mile in order for the many people and their animals to cross between about 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. (W. C. Kaiser, Jr., “Exodus,” EBC 2:389). The text does not say that they actually only started across in the morning watch, however.
[14:24] 58 tn The night was divided into three watches of about four hours each, making the morning watch about 2:00-6:00 a.m. The text has this as “the watch of the morning,” the genitive qualifying which of the night watches was meant.
[14:24] 59 tn This particular verb, שָׁקַף (shaqaf) is a bold anthropomorphism: Yahweh looked down. But its usage is always with some demonstration of mercy or wrath. S. R. Driver (Exodus, 120) suggests that the look might be with fiery flashes to startle the Egyptians, throwing them into a panic. Ps 77:17-19 pictures torrents of rain with lightning and thunder.
[14:25] 63 tn The word in the text is וַיָּסַר (vayyasar), which would be translated “and he turned aside” with the sense perhaps of removing the wheels. The reading in the LXX, Smr, and Syriac suggests a root אָסַר (’asar, “to bind”). The sense here might be “clogged – presumably by their sinking in the wet sand” (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 120).
[14:25] 64 tn The clause is וַיְנַהֲגֵהוּ בִּכְבֵדֻת (vaynahagehu bikhvedut). The verb means “to drive a chariot”; here in the Piel it means “cause to drive.” The suffix is collective, and so the verbal form can be translated “and caused them to drive.” The idea of the next word is “heaviness” or “hardship”; it recalls the previous uses of related words to describe Pharaoh’s heart. Here it indicates that the driving of the crippled chariots was with difficulty.
[14:25] 65 tn The cohortative has the hortatory use here, “Let’s flee.” Although the form is singular, the sense of it is plural and so hortatory can be used. The form is singular to agree with the singular subject, “Egypt,” which obviously means the Egyptian army. The word for “flee” is used when someone runs from fear of immanent danger and is a different word than the one used in 14:5.
[14:27] 68 tn The Hebrew term לְאֵיתָנוֹ (lÿ’etano) means “to its place,” or better, “to its perennial state.” The point is that the sea here had a normal level, and now when the Egyptians were in the sea on the dry ground the water would return to that level.
[14:27] 70 tn The clause begins with the disjunctive vav (ו) on the noun, signaling either a circumstantial clause or a new beginning. It could be rendered, “Although the Egyptians…Yahweh…” or “as the Egyptians….”
[14:30] 74 tn The Hebrew term וַיּוֹשַׁע (vayyosha’) is the key summation of the chapter, and this part of the book: “So Yahweh saved Israel.” This is the culmination of all the powerful works of God through these chapters.
[14:31] 78 tn Heb “the great hand,” with “hand” being a metonymy for work or power. The word play using “hand” contrasts the Lord’s hand/power at work on behalf of the Israelites with the hand/power of Egypt that would have killed them.
[14:31] sn S. R. Driver says that the belief intended here is not simply a crediting of a testimony concerning a person or a thing, but a laying firm hold morally on a person or a thing (Exodus, 122). Others take the Hiphil sense to be declarative, and that would indicate a considering of the object of faith trustworthy or dependable, and therefore to be acted on. In this passage it does not mean that here they came to faith, but that they became convinced that he would save them in the future.
[14:31] 82 sn Here the title of “servant” is given to Moses. This is the highest title a mortal can have in the OT – the “servant of Yahweh.” It signifies more than a believer; it describes the individual as acting on behalf of God. For example, when Moses stretched out his hand, God used it as his own (Isa 63:12). Moses was God’s personal representative. The chapter records both a message of salvation and of judgment. Like the earlier account of deliverance at the Passover, this chapter can be a lesson on deliverance from present troubles – if God could do this for Israel, there is no trouble too great for him to overcome. The passage can also be understood as a picture (at least) of the deliverance at the final judgment on the world. But the Israelites used this account for a paradigm of the power of God: namely, God is able to deliver his people from danger because he is the sovereign Lord of creation. His people must learn to trust him, even in desperate situations; they must fear him and not the situation. God can bring any threat to an end by bringing his power to bear in judgment on the wicked.
[15:1] 83 sn This chapter is a song of praise sung by Moses and the people right after the deliverance from the Sea. The song itself is vv. 1b-18; it falls into three sections – praise to God (1b-3), the cause for the praise (4-13), and the conclusion (14-18). The point of the first section is that God’s saving acts inspire praise from his people; the second is that God’s powerful acts deliver his people from the forces of evil; and the third section is that God’s demonstrations of his sovereignty inspire confidence in him by his people. So the Victory Song is very much like the other declarative praise psalms – the resolve to praise, the power of God, the victory over the enemies, the incomparability of God in his redemption, and the fear of the people. See also C. Cohen, “Studies in Early Israelite Poetry I: An Unrecognized Case of Three Line Staircase Parallelism in the Song of the Sea,” JANESCU 7 (1975): 13-17; D. N. Freedman, “Strophe and Meter in Exodus 15,” A Light unto My Path, 163-203; E. Levine, “Neofiti I: A Study of Exodus 15,” Bib 54 (1973): 301-30; T. C. Butler, “‘The Song of the Sea’: Exodus 15:1-18: A Study in the Exegesis of Hebrew Poetry,” DissAb 32 (1971): 2782-A.
[15:1] 87 tn This causal clause gives the reason for and summary of the praise. The Hebrew expression has כִּי־גָּאֹה גָּאָה (ki ga’oh ga’ah). The basic idea of the verb is “rise up loftily” or “proudly.” But derivatives of the root carry the nuance of majesty or pride (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 132). So the idea of the perfect tense with its infinitive absolute may mean “he is highly exalted” or “he has done majestically” or “he is gloriously glorious.”
[15:1] 88 sn The common understanding is that Egypt did not have people riding horses at this time, and so the phrase the horse and its rider is either viewed as an anachronism or is interpreted to mean charioteers. The word “to ride” can mean on a horse or in a chariot. Some have suggested changing “rider” to “chariot” (re-vocalization) to read “the horse and its chariot.”
[15:2] 90 tn The word וְזִמְרָת (vÿzimrat) is problematic. It probably had a suffix yod (י) that was accidentally dropped because of the yod (י) on the divine name following. Most scholars posit another meaning for the word. A meaning of “power” fits the line fairly well, forming a hendiadys with strength – “strength and power” becoming “strong power.” Similar lines are in Isa 12:2 and Ps 118:14. Others suggest “protection” or “glory.” However, there is nothing substantially wrong with “my song” in the line – only that it would be a nicer match if it had something to do with strength.
[15:2] 91 tn The word נָוָה (navah) occurs only here. It may mean “beautify, adorn” with praises (see BDB 627 s.v.). See also M. Dahood, “Exodus 15:2: ‘anwehu and Ugaritic snwt,” Bib 59 (1979): 260-61; and M. Klein, “The Targumic Tosefta to Exodus 15:2,” JJS 26 (1975): 61-67; and S. B. Parker, “Exodus 15:2 Again,” VT 21 (1971): 373-79.
[15:3] 92 tn Heb “man of war” (so KJV, ASV). “Warrior” is now the preferred translation since “man of war” is more commonly known today as a warship. The expression indicates that Yahweh is one who understands how to fight and defeat the enemy. The word “war” modifies “man” to reveal that Yahweh is a warrior. Other passages use similar descriptions: Isa 42:13 has “man of wars”; Ps 24:8 has “mighty man of battle.” See F. Cross, “The Divine Warrior in Israel’s Early Cult,” Biblical Motifs, 11-30.
[15:4] 95 tn The word is a substantive, “choice, selection”; it is here used in the construct state to convey an attribute before a partitive genitive – “the choice of his officers” means his “choice officers” (see GKC 417 §128.r).
[15:5] 97 tn The verb form is יְכַסְיֻמוּ (yÿkhasyumu) is the Piel preterite. Normally a vav (ו) consecutive is used with the preterite, but in some ancient poems the form without the vav appears, as is the case frequently in this poem. That such an archaic form is used should come as no surprise, because the word also uses the yod (י) of the root (GKC 214 §75.dd), and the archaic suffix form (GKC 258 §91.l). These all indicate the antiquity of the poem.
[15:6] 99 tn The form נֶאְדָּרִי (ne’dari) may be an archaic infinitive with the old ending i, used in place of the verb and meaning “awesome.” Gesenius says that the vowel ending may be an old case ending, especially when a preposition is inserted between the word and its genitive (GKC 253 §90.l), but he suggests a reconstruction of the form.
[15:7] 101 tn Here, and throughout the song, these verbs are the prefixed conjugation that may look like the imperfect but are actually historic preterites. This verb is to “overthrow” or “throw down” – like a wall, leaving it in shattered pieces.
[15:7] 102 tn The form קָמֶיךָ (qamekha) is the active participle with a pronominal suffix. The participle is accusative, the object of the verb, but the suffix is the genitive of nearer definition (see GKC 358 §116.i).
[15:8] 107 tn The word “heap” describes the walls of water. The waters, which are naturally fluid, stood up as though they were a heap, a mound of earth. Likewise, the flowing waters deep in the ocean solidified – as though they were turned to ice (U. Cassuto, Exodus, 175).
[15:9] 108 sn W. C. Kaiser observes the staccato phrases that almost imitate the heavy, breathless heaving of the Egyptians as, with what reserve of strength they have left, they vow, “I will…, I will…, I will…” (“Exodus,” EBC 2:395).
[15:9] 109 tn The form is נַפְשִׁי (nafshi, “my soul”). But this word refers to the whole person, the body and the soul, or better, a bundle of appetites in a body. It therefore can figuratively refer to the desires or appetites (Deut 12:15; 14:26; 23:24). Here, with the verb “to be full” means “to be satisfied”; the whole expression might indicate “I will be sated with them” or “I will gorge myself.” The greedy appetite was to destroy.
[15:10] 114 tn The verb may have the idea of sinking with a gurgling sound, like water going into a whirlpool (R. A. Cole, Exodus [TOTC], 124; S. R. Driver, Exodus, 136). See F. M. Cross and D. N. Freedman, “The Song of Miriam,” JNES 14 (1955): 243-47.
[15:11] 115 tn The question is of course rhetorical; it is a way of affirming that no one is comparable to God. See C. J. Labuschagne, The Incomparability of Yahweh in the Old Testament, 22, 66-67, and 94-97.
[15:12] 118 tn The verb is the prefixed conjugation, the preterite without the vav consecutive. The subject, the “earth,” must be inclusive of the sea, or it may indicate the grave or Sheol; the sea drowned them. Some scholars wish to see this as a reference to Dathan and Abiram, and therefore evidence of a later addition or compilation. It fits this passage well, however.
[15:21] 138 sn This song of the sea is, then, a great song of praise for Yahweh’s deliverance of Israel at the Sea, and his preparation to lead them to the promised land, much to the (anticipated) dread of the nations. The principle here, and elsewhere in Scripture, is that the people of God naturally respond to God in praise for his great acts of deliverance. Few will match the powerful acts that were exhibited in Egypt, but these nonetheless set the tone. The song is certainly typological of the song of the saints in heaven who praise God for delivering them from the bondage of this world by judging the world. The focus of the praise, though, still is on the person (attributes) and works of God.
[15:22] 139 sn The first event of the Israelites’ desert experience is a failure, for they murmur against Yahweh and are given a stern warning – and the provision of sweet water. The event teaches that God is able to turn bitter water into sweet water for his people, and he promises to do such things if they obey. He can provide for them in the desert – he did not bring them into the desert to let them die. But there is a deeper level to this story – the healing of the water is incidental to the healing of the people, their lack of trust. The passage is arranged in a neat chiasm, starting with a journey (A), ending with the culmination of the journey (A'); developing to bitter water (B), resolving to sweet water (B'); complaints by the people (C), leading to to the instructions for the people (C'); and the central turning point is the wonder miracle (D).
[15:22] 140 tn The verb form is unusual; the normal expression is with the Qal, which expresses that they journeyed. But here the Hiphil is used to underscore that Moses caused them to journey – and he is following God. So the point is that God was leading Israel to the bitter water.
[15:22] 141 sn The mention that they travelled for three days into the desert is deliberately intended to recall Moses’ demand that they go three days into the wilderness to worship. Here, three days in, they find bitter water and complain – not worship.
[15:23] 142 sn The Hebrew word “Marah” means “bitter.” This motif will be repeated four times in this passage to mark the central problem. Earlier in the book the word had been used for the “bitter herbs” in the Passover, recalling the bitter labor in bondage. So there may be a double reference here – to the bitter waters and to Egypt itself – God can deliver from either.
[15:23] 145 sn Many scholars have attempted to explain these things with natural phenomena. Here Marah is identified with Ain Hawarah. It is said that the waters of this well are notoriously salty and brackish; Robinson said it was six to eight feet in diameter and the water about two feet deep; the water is unpleasant, salty, and somewhat bitter. As a result the Arabs say it is the worst tasting water in the area (W. C. Kaiser, Jr., “Exodus,” EBC 2:398). But that would not be a sufficient amount of water for the number of Israelites in the first place, and in the second, they could not drink it at all. But third, how did Moses change it?
[15:23] 146 tn The עַל־כֵּן (’al-ken) formula in the Pentateuch serves to explain to the reader the reason for the way things were. It does not necessarily mean here that Israel named the place – but they certainly could have.
[15:24] 148 tn The verb וַיִּלֹנוּ (vayyillonu) from לוּן (lun) is a much stronger word than “to grumble” or “to complain.” It is used almost exclusively in the wilderness wandering stories, to describe the rebellion of the Israelites against God (see also Ps 59:14-15). They were not merely complaining – they were questioning God’s abilities and motives. The action is something like a parliamentary vote of no confidence.
[15:24] sn It is likely that Moses used words very much like this when he prayed. The difference seems to lie in the prepositions – he cried “to” Yahweh, but the people murmured “against” Moses.
[15:25] 150 tn The verb is וַיּוֹרֵהוּ (vayyorehu, “and he showed him”). It is the Hiphil preterite from יָרָה (yarah), which has a basic meaning of “to point, show, direct.” It then came to mean “to teach”; it is the verb behind the noun “Law” (תּוֹרָה, torah).
[15:25] sn U. Cassuto notes that here is the clue to the direction of the narrative: Israel needed God’s instruction, the Law, if they were going to enjoy his provisions (Exodus, 184).
[15:25] sn S. R. Driver (Exodus, 143) follows some local legends in identifying this tree as one that is supposed to have – even to this day – the properties necessary for making bitter water sweet. B. Jacob (Exodus, 436) reports that no such tree has ever been found, but then he adds that this does not mean there was not such a bush in the earlier days. He believes that here God used a natural means (“showed, instructed”) to sweeten the water. He quotes Ben Sira as saying God had created these things with healing properties in them.
[15:25] 156 tn The verb נִסָּהוּ (nissahu, “and he tested him [them]”) is from the root נָסָה (nasah). The use of this word in the Bible indicates that there is question, doubt, or uncertainty about the object being tested.
[15:25] sn The whole episode was a test from God. He led them there through Moses and let them go hungry and thirsty. He wanted to see how great their faith was.
[15:26] 157 tn The construction uses the infinitive absolute and the imperfect tense of שָׁמַע (shama’). The meaning of the verb is idiomatic here because it is followed by “to the voice of Yahweh your God.” When this is present, the verb is translated “obey.” The construction is in a causal clause. It reads, “If you will diligently obey.” Gesenius points out that the infinitive absolute in a conditional clause also emphasizes the importance of the condition on which the consequence depends (GKC 342-43 §113.o).
[15:26] 158 tn The word order is reversed in the text: “and the right in his eyes you do,” or, “[if] you do what is right in his eyes.” The conditional idea in the first clause is continued in this clause.
[15:26] 161 sn The reference is no doubt to the plagues that Yahweh has just put on them. These will not come on God’s true people. But the interesting thing about a conditional clause like this is that the opposite is also true – “if you do not obey, then I will bring these diseases.”
[15:26] 162 tn The form is רֹפְאֶךָ (rofÿ’ekha), a participle with a pronominal suffix. The word is the predicate after the pronoun “I”: “I [am] your healer.” The suffix is an objective genitive – the
[15:26] sn The name I Yahweh am your healer comes as a bit of a surprise. One might expect, “I am Yahweh who heals your water,” but it was the people he came to heal because their faith was weak. God lets Israel know here that he can control the elements of nature to bring about a spiritual response in Israel (see Deut 8).
[15:27] 163 sn Judging from the way the story is told they were not far from the oasis. But God had other plans for them, to see if they would trust him wholeheartedly and obey. They did not do very well this first time, and they will have to learn how to obey. The lesson is clear: God uses adversity to test his people’s loyalty. The response to adversity must be prayer to God, for he can turn the bitter into the sweet, the bad into the good, and the prospect of death into life.
[16:1] 164 sn Exod 16 plays an important part in the development of the book’s theme. It is part of the wider section that is the prologue leading up to the covenant at Sinai, a part of which was the obligation of obedience and loyalty (P. W. Ferris, Jr., “The Manna Narrative of Exodus 16:1-10,” JETS 18 : 191-99). The record of the wanderings in the wilderness is selective and not exhaustive. It may have been arranged somewhat topically for instructional reasons. U. Cassuto describes this section of the book as a didactic anthology arranged according to association of both context and language (Exodus, 187). Its themes are: lack of vital necessities, murmuring, proving, and providing. All the wilderness stories reiterate the same motifs. So, later, when Israel arrived in Canaan, they would look back and be reminded that it was Yahweh who brought them all the way, in spite of their rebellions. Because he is their Savior and their Provider, he will demand loyalty from them. In the Manna Narrative there is murmuring over the lack of bread (1-3), the disputation with Moses (4-8), the appearance of the glory and the promise of bread (9-12), the provision (13-22), the instructions for the Sabbath (23-30), and the memorial manna (31-36).
[16:1] 165 tn The sentence begins with a preterite and vav (ו) consecutive, which can be subordinated to the next clause with the preterite and vav consecutive. Here it has been treated as a temporal clause.
[16:1] 166 tn The word is often rendered “congregation” (so KJV, ASV, NASB, NRSV), but the modern perception of a congregation is not exactly what is in mind in the desert. Another possible rendering is “community” (NAB, NIV, NCV, TEV) or “assembly.” The Hebrew word is used of both good and bad groups (Judg 14:8; Ps 1:5; 106:17-18).
[16:3] 169 tn The text reads: מִי־יִתֵּן מוּתֵנוּ (mi-yitten mutenu, “who will give our dying”) meaning “If only we had died.” מוּתֵנוּ is the Qal infinitive construct with the suffix. This is one way that Hebrew expresses the optative with an infinitive construct. See R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 91-92, §547.
[16:3] 171 sn That the complaint leading up to the manna is unjustified can be seen from the record itself. They left Egypt with flocks and herds and very much cattle, and about 45 days later they are complaining that they are without food. Moses reminded them later that they lacked nothing (Deut 3:7; for the whole sermon on this passage, see 8:1-20). Moreover, the complaint is absurd because the food of work gangs was far more meager than they recall. The complaint was really against Moses. They crave the eating of meat and of bread and so God will meet that need; he will send bread from heaven and quail as well.
[16:3] 172 tn לְהָמִית (lÿhamit) is the Hiphil infinitive construct showing purpose. The people do not trust the intentions or the plan of their leaders and charge Moses with bringing everyone out to kill them.
[16:4] 174 tn This verb and the next are the Qal perfect tenses with vav (ו) consecutives; they follow the sequence of the participle, and so are future in orientation. The force here is instruction – “they will go out” or “they are to go out.”
[16:4] 175 tn The verb in the purpose/result clause is the Piel imperfect of נָסָה (nasah), אֲנַסֶּנוּ (’anassenu) – “in order that I may prove them [him].” The giving of the manna will be a test of their obedience to the detailed instructions of God as well as being a test of their faith in him (if they believe him they will not gather too much). In chap. 17 the people will test God, showing that they do not trust him.
[16:4] 176 sn The word “law” here properly means “direction” at this point (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 146), but their obedience here would indicate also whether or not they would be willing to obey when the Law was given at Sinai.
[16:5] 178 sn There is a question here concerning the legislation – the people were not told why to gather twice as much on the sixth day. In other words, this instruction seems to presume that they knew about the Sabbath law. That law will be included in this chapter in a number of ways, suggesting to some scholars that this chapter is out of chronological order, placed here for a purpose. Some argue that the manna episode comes after the revelation at Sinai. But it is not necessary to take such a view. God had established the Sabbath in the creation, and if Moses has been expounding the Genesis traditions in his teachings then they would have known about that.
[16:6] 179 tn The text simply has “evening, and you will know.” Gesenius notes that the perfect tense with the vav consecutive occurs as the apodosis to temporal clauses or their equivalents. Here the first word implies the idea “[when it becomes] evening” or simply “[in the] evening” (GKC 337-38 §112.oo).
[16:6] sn Moses is very careful to make sure that they know it is Yahweh who has brought them out, and it will be Yahweh who will feed them. They are going to be convinced of this now.
[16:7] 182 tn The words “as for us” attempt to convey the force of the Hebrew word order, which puts emphasis on the pronoun: “and we – what?” The implied answer to the question is that Moses and Aaron are nothing, merely the messengers. The next verse repeats the question to further press the seriousness of what the Israelites are doing.
[16:8] 183 tn “You will know this” has been added to make the line smooth. Because of the abruptness of the lines in the verse, and the repetition with v. 7, B. S. Childs (Exodus [OTL], 273) thinks that v. 8 is merely a repetition by scribal error – even though the versions render it as the MT has it. But B. Jacob (Exodus, 447) suggests that the contrast with vv. 6 and 7 is important for another reason – there Moses and Aaron speak, and it is smooth and effective, but here only Moses speaks, and it is labored and clumsy. “We should realize that Moses had properly claimed to be no public speaker.”
[16:8] 185 tn The words “as for us” attempt to convey the force of the Hebrew word order, which puts emphasis on the pronoun: “and we – what?” The implied answer to the question is that Moses and Aaron are nothing, merely the messengers.
[16:9] 188 tn The verb means “approach, draw near.” It is used in the Torah of drawing near for religious purposes. It is possible that some sacrifice was involved here, but no mention is made of that.
[16:10] 190 sn S. R. Driver says, “A brilliant glow of fire…symbolizing Jehovah’s presence, gleamed through the cloud, resting…on the Tent of Meeting. The cloud shrouds the full brilliancy of the glory, which human eye could not behold” (Exodus, 147-48; see also Ezek 1:28; 3:12, 23; 8:4; 9:3, et al.). A Hebrew word often translated “behold” or “lo” introduces the surprising sight.
[16:12] 193 sn One of the major interpretive difficulties is the comparison between Exod 16 and Num 11. In Numbers we find that the giving of the manna was about 24 months after the Exod 16 time (assuming there was a distinct time for this chapter), that it was after the erection of the tabernacle, that Taberah (the Burning) preceded it (not in Exod 16), that the people were tired of the manna (not that there was no bread to eat) and so God would send the quail, and that there was a severe tragedy over it. In Exod 16 both the manna and the quail are given on the same day, with no mention of quail on the following days. Contemporary scholarship generally assigns the accounts to two different sources because complete reconciliation seems impossible. Even if we argue that Exodus has a thematic arrangement and “telescopes” some things to make a point, there will still be difficulties in harmonization. Two considerations must be kept in mind: 1) First, they could be separate events entirely. If this is true, then they should be treated separately as valid accounts of things that appeared or occurred during the period of the wanderings. Similar things need not be the same thing. 2) Secondly, strict chronological order is not always maintained in the Bible narratives, especially if it is a didactic section. Perhaps Exod 16 describes the initiation of the giving of manna as God’s provision of bread, and therefore placed in the prologue of the covenant, and Num 11 is an account of a mood which developed over a period of time in response to the manna. Num 11 would then be looking back from a different perspective.
[16:12] 195 tn The form is a Qal perfect with the vav (ו) consecutive; it is in sequence with the imperfect tenses before it, and so this is equal to an imperfect nuance. But, from the meanings of the words, it is clear that this will be the outcome of their eating the food, a divinely intended outcome.
[16:12] 196 sn This verse supports the view taken in chap. 6 concerning the verb “to know.” Surely the Israelites by now knew that Yahweh was their God. Yes, they did. But they had not experienced what that meant; they had not received the fulfillment of the promises.
[16:13] 197 sn These are migratory birds, said to come up in the spring from Arabia flying north and west, and in the fall returning. They fly with the wind, and so generally alight in the evening, covering the ground. If this is part of the explanation, the divine provision would have had to alter their flight paths to bring them to the Israelites, and bring them in vast numbers.
[16:14] 199 tn The preterite with vav (ו) consecutive is here subordinated as a temporal clause to the main clause; since that clause calls special attention to what was there after the dew evaporated.
[16:14] 200 sn Translations usually refer to the manna as “bread.” In fact it appears to be more like grain, because it could be ground in hand-mills and made into cakes. The word involved says it is thin, flakelike (if an Arabic etymological connection is correct). What is known about it from the Bible in Exodus is that it was a very small flakelike substance, it would melt when the sun got hot, if left over it bred worms and became foul, it could be ground, baked, and boiled, it was abundant enough for the Israelites to gather an omer a day per person, and they gathered it day by day throughout the wilderness sojourn. Num 11 says it was like coriander seed with the appearance of bdellium, it tasted like fresh oil, and it fell with the dew. Deut 8:3 says it was unknown to Israel or her ancestors; Psalm 78:24 parallels it with grain. Some scholars compare ancient references to honeydew that came from the heavens. F. S. Bodenheimer (“The Manna of Sinai,” BA 10 : 2) says that it was a sudden surprise for the nomadic Israelites because it provided what they desired – sweetness. He says that it was a product that came from two insects, making the manna a honeydew excretion from plant lice and scale insects. The excretion hardens and drops to the ground as a sticky solid. He notes that some cicadas are called man in Arabic. This view accounts for some of the things in these passages: the right place, the right time, the right description, and a similar taste. But there are major difficulties: Exodus requires a far greater amount, it could breed worms, it could melt away, it could be baked into bread, it could decay and stink. The suggestion is in no way convincing. Bodenheimer argues that “worms” could mean “ants” that carried them away, but that is contrived – the text could have said ants. The fact that the Bible calls it “bread” creates no problem. לֶחֶם (lekhem) is used in a wide range of meanings from bread to all kinds of food including goats (Judg 13:15-16) and honey (1 Sam 14:24-28). Scripture does not say that manna was the only thing that they ate for the duration. But they did eat it throughout the forty years. It simply must refer to some supernatural provision for them in their diet. Modern suggestions may invite comparison and analysis, but they do not satisfy or explain the text.
[16:15] 203 tn The text has: מָן הוּא כִּי לאֹ יָדְעוּ מַה־הוּא (man hu’ ki lo’ yadÿ’u mah hu’). From this statement the name “manna” was given to the substance. מָן for “what” is not found in Hebrew, but appears in Syriac as a contraction of ma den, “what then?” In Aramaic and Arabic man is “what?” The word is used here apparently for the sake of etymology. B. S. Childs (Exodus [OTL], 274) follows the approach that any connections to words that actually meant “what?” are unnecessary, for it is a play on the name (whatever it may have been) and therefore related only by sound to the term being explained. This, however, presumes that a substance was known prior to this account – a point that Deuteronomy does not seem to allow. S. R. Driver says that it is not known how early the contraction came into use, but that this verse seems to reflect it (Exodus, 149). Probably one must simply accept that in the early Israelite period man meant “what?” There seems to be sufficient evidence to support this. See EA 286,5; UT 435; DNWSI 1:157.
[16:15] 204 sn B. Jacob (Exodus, 454-55) suggests that Moses was saying to them, “It is not manna. It is the food Yahweh has given you.” He comes to this conclusion based on the strange popular etymology from the interrogative word, noting that people do not call things “what?”
[16:16] 207 tn The perfect tense could be taken as a definite past with Moses now reporting it. In this case a very recent past. But in declaring the word from Yahweh it could be instantaneous, and receive a present tense translation – “here and now he commands you.”
[16:16] 209 sn The omer is an amount mentioned only in this chapter, and its size is unknown, except by comparison with the ephah (v. 36). A number of recent English versions approximate the omer as “two quarts” (cf. NCV, CEV, NLT); TEV “two litres.”
[16:22] 223 tn This construction is an exception to the normal rule for the numbers 2 through 10 taking the object numbered in the plural. Here it is “two of the omer” or “the double of the omer” (see GKC 433 §134.e).
[16:22] 227 sn The meaning here is probably that these leaders, the natural heads of the families in the clans, saw that people were gathering twice as much and they reported this to Moses, perhaps afraid it would stink again (U. Cassuto, Exodus, 197).
[16:23] 228 tn The noun שַׁבָּתוֹן (shabbaton) has the abstract ending on it: “resting, ceasing.” The root word means “cease” from something, more than “to rest.” The Law would make it clear that they were to cease from their normal occupations and do no common work.
[16:28] 233 tn The verb is plural, and so it is addressed to the nation and not to Moses. The perfect tense in this sentence is the characteristic perfect, denoting action characteristic, or typical, of the past and the present.
[16:29] 234 sn Noting the rabbinic teaching that the giving of the Sabbath was a sign of God’s love – it was accomplished through the double portion on the sixth day – B. Jacob says, “God made no request unless He provided the means for its execution” (Exodus, 461).
[16:34] 244 sn The “Testimony” is a reference to the Ark of the Covenant; so the pot of manna would be placed before Yahweh in the tabernacle. W. C. Kaiser says that this later instruction came from a time after the tabernacle had been built (see Exod 25:10-22; W. C. Kaiser, Jr., “Exodus,” EBC 2:405). This is not a problem since the final part of this chapter had to have been included at the end of the forty years in the desert.
[16:36] 246 tn The words “omer” and “ephah” are transliterated Hebrew words. The omer is mentioned only in this passage. (It is different from a “homer” [cf. Ezek 45:11-14].) An ephah was a dry measure whose capacity is uncertain: “Quotations given for the ephah vary from ca. 45 to 20 liters” (C. Houtman, Exodus, 2:340-41).
[16:36] sn The point of this chapter, with all its instructions and reports included, is God’s miraculous provision of food for his people. This is a display of sovereign power that differs from the display of military power. Once again the story calls for faith, but here it is faith in Yahweh to provide for his people. The provision is also a test to see if they will obey the instructions of God. Deut 8 explains this. The point, then, is that God provides for the needs of his people that they may demonstrate their dependence on him by obeying him. The exposition of this passage must also correlate to John 6. God’s providing manna from heaven to meet the needs of his people takes on new significance in the application that Jesus makes of the subject to himself. There the requirement is the same – will they believe and obey? But at the end of the event John explains that they murmured about Jesus.
[17:1] 247 sn This is the famous story telling how the people rebelled against Yahweh when they thirsted, saying that Moses had brought them out into the wilderness to kill them by thirst, and how Moses with the staff brought water from the rock. As a result of this the name was called Massa and Meribah because of the testing and the striving. It was a challenge to Moses’ leadership as well as a test of Yahweh’s presence. The narrative in its present form serves an important point in the argument of the book. The story turns on the gracious provision of God who can give his people water when there is none available. The narrative is structured to show how the people strove. Thus, the story intertwines God’s free flowing grace with the sad memory of Israel’s sins. The passage can be divided into three parts: the situation and the complaint (1-3), the cry and the miracle (4-6), and the commemoration by naming (7).
[17:1] 249 tn The text says that they journeyed “according to their journeyings.” Since the verb form (and therefore the derived noun) essentially means to pull up the tent pegs and move along, this verse would be saying that they traveled by stages, or, from place to place.
[17:1] 250 sn The location is a bit of a problem. Exod 19:1-2 suggests that it is near Sinai, whereas it is normally located near Kadesh in the north. Without any details provided, M. Noth concludes that two versions came together (Exodus [OTL], 138). S. R. Driver says that the writer wrote not knowing that they were 24 miles apart (Exodus, 157). Critics have long been bothered by this passage because of the two names given at the same place. If two sources had been brought together, it is not possible now to identify them. But Noth insisted that if there were two names there were two different locations. The names Massah and Meribah occur alone in Scripture (Deut 9:22, and Num 20:1 for examples), but together in Ps 95 and in Deut 33:8. But none of these passages is a clarification of the difficulty. Most critics would argue that Massah was a secondary element that was introduced into this account, because Exod 17 focuses on Meribah. From that starting point they can diverge greatly on the interpretation, usually having something to do with a water test. But although Num 20 is parallel in several ways, there are major differences: 1) it takes place 40 years later than this, 2) the name Kadesh is joined to the name Meribah there, and 3) Moses is punished there. One must conclude that if an event could occur twice in similar ways (complaint about water would be a good candidate for such), then there is no reason a similar name could not be given.
[17:2] 253 tn The verb וַיָּרֶב (vayyarev) is from the root רִיב (riv); it forms the basis of the name “Meribah.” The word means “strive, quarrel, be in contention” and even “litigation.” A translation “quarrel” does not appear to capture the magnitude of what is being done here. The people have a legal dispute – they are contending with Moses as if bringing a lawsuit.
[17:2] 254 tn The imperfect tense with the vav (ו) follows the imperative, and so it carries the nuance of the logical sequence, showing purpose or result. This may be expressed in English as “give us water so that we may drink,” but more simply with the English infinitive, “give us water to drink.”
[17:2] sn One wonders if the people thought that Moses and Aaron had water and were withholding it from the people, or whether Moses was able to get it on demand. The people should have come to Moses to ask him to pray to God for water, but their action led Moses to say that they had challenged God (B. Jacob, Exodus, 476).
[17:2] 256 tn The verb נָסָה (nasah) means “to test, tempt, try, prove.” It can be used of people simply trying to do something that they are not sure of (such as David trying on Saul’s armor), or of God testing people to see if they will obey (as in testing Abraham, Gen 22:1), or of people challenging others (as in the Queen of Sheba coming to test Solomon), and of the people in the desert in rebellion putting God to the test. By doubting that God was truly in their midst, and demanding that he demonstrate his presence, they tested him to see if he would act. There are times when “proving” God is correct and required, but that is done by faith (as with Gideon); when it is done out of unbelief, then it is an act of disloyalty.
[17:3] 258 tn The demonstrative pronoun is used as the enclitic form for special emphasis in the question; it literally says, “why is this you have brought us up?” (R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 24, §118).
[17:3] 259 sn Their words deny God the credit for bringing them out of Egypt, impugn the integrity of Moses and God by accusing them of bringing the people out here to die, and show a lack of faith in God’s ability to provide for them.
[17:5] 263 tn “Pass over before” indicates that Moses is the leader who goes first, and the people follow him. In other words, לִפְנֵי (lifney) indicates time and not place here (B. Jacob, Exodus, 477-78).
[17:6] sn The reader has many questions when studying this passage – why water from a rock, why Horeb, why strike the rock when later only speak to it, why recall the Nile miracles, etc. B. Jacob (Exodus, 479-80) says that all these are answered when it is recalled that they were putting God to the test. So water from the rock, the most impossible thing, cleared up the question of his power. Doing it at Horeb was significant because there Moses was called and told he would bring them to this place. Since they had doubted God was in their midst, he would not do this miracle in the camp, but would have Moses lead the elders out to Horeb. If people doubt God is in their midst, then he will choose not to be in their midst. And striking the rock recalled striking the Nile; there it brought death to Egypt, but here it brought life to Israel. There could be little further doubting that God was with them and able to provide for them.
[17:6] 267 tn These two verbs are also perfect tenses with vav (ו) consecutive: “and [water] will go out…and [the people] will drink.” But the second verb is clearly the intent or the result of the water gushing from the rock, and so it may be subordinated.
[17:6] sn The presence of Yahweh at this rock enabled Paul to develop a midrashic lesson, an analogical application: Christ was present with Israel to provide water for them in the wilderness. So this was a Christophany. But Paul takes it a step further to equate the rock with Christ, for just as it was struck to produce water, so Christ would be struck to produce rivers of living water. The provision of bread to eat and water to drink provided for Paul a ready analogy to the provisions of Christ in the gospel (1 Cor 10:4).
[17:7] 269 sn The name Massah (מַסָּה, massah) means “Proving”; it is derived from the verb “test, prove, try.” And the name Meribah (מְרִיבָה, mÿrivah) means “Strife”; it is related to the verb “to strive, quarrel, contend.” The choice of these names for the place would serve to remind Israel for all time of this failure with God. God wanted this and all subsequent generations to know how unbelief challenges God. And yet, he gave them water. So in spite of their failure, he remained faithful to his promises. The incident became proverbial, for it is the warning in Ps 95:7-8, which is quoted in Heb 3:15: “Oh, that today you would listen as he speaks! Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, in the day of testing in the wilderness. There your fathers tested me and tried me, and they saw my works for forty years.” The lesson is clear enough: to persist in this kind of unbelief could only result in the loss of divine blessing. Or, to put it another way, if they refused to believe in the power of God, they would wander powerless in the wilderness. They had every reason to believe, but they did not. (Note that this does not mean they are unbelievers, only that they would not take God at his word.)
[17:8] 270 sn This short passage gives the first account of Israel’s holy wars. The war effort and Moses’ holding up his hands go side by side until the victory is won and commemorated. Many have used this as an example of intercessory prayer – but the passage makes no such mention. In Exodus so far the staff of God is the token of the power of God; when Moses used it, God demonstrated his power. To use the staff of God was to say that God did it; to fight without the staff was to face defeat. Using the staff of God was a way of submitting to and depending on the power of God in all areas of life. The first part of the story reports the attack and the preparation for the battle (8,9). The second part describes the battle and its outcome (10-13). The final section is the preservation of this event in the memory of Israel (14-16).
[17:9] 273 tn This could be rendered literally “choose men for us.” But the lamed (ל) preposition probably indicates possession, “our men,” and the fact that Joshua was to choose from Israel, as well as the fact that there is no article on “men,” indicates he was to select some to fight.
[17:10] 274 tn The line in Hebrew reads literally: And Joshua did as Moses had said to him, to fight with Amalek. The infinitive construct is epexegetical, explaining what Joshua did that was in compliance with Moses’ words.
[17:11] 275 tn The two verbs in the temporal clauses are by וְהָיָה כַּאֲשֶׁר (vÿhaya ka’asher, “as long as” or, “and it was that whenever”). This indicates that the two imperfect tenses should be given a frequentative translation, probably a customary imperfect.
[17:12] 278 tn The term used here is the adjective כְּבֵדִים (kÿvedim). It means “heavy,” but in this context the idea is more that of being tired. This is the important word that was used in the plague stories: when the heart of Pharaoh was hard, then the Israelites did not gain their freedom or victory. Likewise here, when the staff was lowered because Moses’ hands were “heavy,” Israel started to lose.
[17:12] 280 tn The word “steady” is אֱמוּנָה (’emuna) from the root אָמַן (’aman). The word usually means “faithfulness.” Here is a good illustration of the basic idea of the word – firm, steady, reliable, dependable. There may be a double entendre here; on the one hand it simply says that his hands were stayed so that Israel might win, but on the other hand it is portraying Moses as steady, firm, reliable, faithful. The point is that whatever God commissioned as the means or agency of power – to Moses a staff, to the Christians the Spirit – the people of God had to know that the victory came from God alone.
[17:14] 287 tn The construction uses the infinitive absolute and the imperfect tense to stress the resolution of Yahweh to destroy Amalek. The verb מָחָה (makhah) is often translated “blot out” – but that is not a very satisfactory image, since it would not remove completely what is the object. “Efface, erase, scrape off” (as in a palimpsest, a manuscript that is scraped clean so it can be reused) is a more accurate image.
[17:14] 288 sn This would seem to be defeated by the preceding statement that the events would be written in a book for a memorial. If this war is recorded, then the Amalekites would be remembered. But here God was going to wipe out the memory of them. But the idea of removing the memory of a people is an idiom for destroying them – they will have no posterity and no lasting heritage.
[17:15] 289 sn Heb “Yahweh-nissi” (so NAB), which means “Yahweh is my banner.” Note that when Israel murmured and failed God, the name commemorated the incident or the outcome of their failure. When they were blessed with success, the naming praised God. Here the holding up of the staff of God was preserved in the name for the altar – God gave them the victory.
[17:16] 290 tn The line here is very difficult. The Hebrew text has כִּי־יָד עַל־כֵּס יָהּ (ki yad ’al kes yah, “for a hand on the throne of Yah”). If the word is “throne” (and it is not usually spelled like this), then it would mean Moses’ hand was extended to the throne of God, showing either intercession or source of power. It could not be turned to mean that the hand of Yah was taking an oath to destroy the Amalekites. The LXX took the same letters, but apparently saw the last four (כסיה) as a verbal form; it reads “with a secret hand.” Most scholars have simply assumed that the text is wrong, and כֵּס should be emended to נֵס (nes) to fit the name, for this is the pattern of naming in the OT with popular etymologies – some motif of the name must be found in the sentiment. This would then read, “My hand on the banner of Yah.” It would be an expression signifying that the banner, the staff of God, should ever be ready at hand when the Israelites fight the Amalekites again.
[17:16] 291 sn The message of this short narrative, then, concerns the power of God to protect his people. The account includes the difficulty, the victory, and the commemoration. The victory must be retained in memory by the commemoration. So the expositional idea could focus on that: The people of God must recognize (both for engaging in warfare and for praise afterward) that victory comes only with the power of God. In the NT the issue is even more urgent, because the warfare is spiritual – believers do not wrestle against flesh and blood. So only God’s power will bring victory.