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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible

Exodus 15

 

 

Verses 1-21

Exodus 15:1-10. Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him. The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name. Pharaoh’s chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea. The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone. Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy. And in the greatness of thine excellency thou hast overthrown them that rose up against thee: thou sentest forth thy wrath, which consumed them as stubble. And with the blast of thy nostrils the waters were gathered together, the floods stood upright as an heap, and the depths were congealed in the heart of the sea. The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my lust shall be satisfied upon them; I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them. Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them: they sank as lead in the mighty waters.

They were all noise, and bluster, and boast; but observe the sublime attitude of God, how readily he eased himself of his adversaries: “Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them: they sank as lead in the mighty waters.”

Exodus 15:11-14. Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders? Thou stretchedst out thy right hand, the earth swallowed them. Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation. The people shall hear, and be afraid: sorrow shall take hold on the inhabitants of Palestina.

That is, the heathen nations who, at that time, inhabited the land of Palestine: “Sorrow shall take hold on the inhabitants of Palestina.”

Exodus 15:15. Then the dukes of Edom shall be amazed; the mighty men of Moab, trembling shall take hold upon them; all the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away.

This great deed of God would be told, and told again, all over Palestine; and the inhabitants would feel that their end was come, for who could stand against Israel’s mighty God?

Exodus 15:16. Fear and dread shall fall upon them; by the greatness of thine arm they shall be as still as a stone; till thy people pass over, O LORD, till the people pass over, which thou hast purchased.

And how still they were! All the forty years that the Israelites were in the wilderness, they were scarcely ever attacked; and even then, it was not by the inhabitants of Canaan, but by the wandering Bedouin tribe of the Amalekites, who slew the hindmost of them. It was wonderful that no troops ever came out of Egypt to molest God’s people after the destruction at the Red Sea; neither out of Canaan did any come to block their way. When God strikes, he makes his adversaries dread all future conflicts.

Exodus 15:17-21. Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O LORD, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O LORD, which thy hands have established. The LORD shall reign for ever and ever. For the horse of Pharaoh went in with his chariots and with his horsemen into the sea, and the LORD brought again the waters of the sea upon them, but the children of Israel went on dry land in the midst of the sea. And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances. And Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously! the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.

They sang as in an oratorio, Miriam singing the solo, and all the women joining in the jubilant chorus; and well might they rejoice after the great deliverance which the Lord had wrought for them.

This exposition consisted of readings from Hosea 2:14-15; and Exodus 15:1-21.


Verses 1-27

Exodus 15:1. Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.

Note, that they were singing, singing a very loud and triumphant song; and you would have thought that they would have kept on singing for the next forty years. It was such a triumph, such a deliverance, God’s arm was made so bare before their eyes, that you would have thought that their jubilation would have lasted throughout a lifetime, at the least. On the contrary, it lasted a very little while. Yet what a song it was that they sang! “I will sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.” What a song of triumph that is which is sung by souls saved from sin, and death, and hell, by the great atoning sacrifice of Christ! Oh, when we first realize that we are redeemed by the precious blood of Christ, we do, indeed, “feel like singing all the time”, for our sins are washed away, and we have a notion that we shall always keep on singing till we join in the song of the glorified in heaven. So it ought to be; but, alas, from sad experience we know that it is not so! However, the song of Moses and the children of Israel goes on:

Exodus 15:2. The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him.

The heart is prompted by gratitude to think of doing something for God. It thinks of preparing him a habitation; but what habitation shall we prepare for him whom the heaven of heavens cannot contain? All that we can possibly do is too little for the greatness of his grace and his glory. “Thou didst well that it was in thine heart,” said the Lord to David, though he might not prepare God a habitation. It is well that it is in our heart today to do some little thing for the glory of God. As an old Puritan says, we give for love-tokens a cracked sixpence, or a flower that soon fades. It is accepted as a love-token, not for its intrinsic value, but as an emblem of what our heart feels, and would do if it could. Even so it is with the Lord and the service his people seek to render to him. He takes our trifles, and makes much of them.

Exodus 15:3-5. The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name. Pharaoh’s chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea. The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone.

And this is what has happened to all the powers that were against us. Our sins, where are they? Has not the Lord cast them into the depths of the sea? Yes, blessed be his name for ever! We, like Israel on the other side of the Red Sea, praise the Lord that we have escaped out of the hand of the oppressor, and that Pharaoh holds us as servants no longer. To the Lord alone is due the glory of our deliverance.

Exodus 15:6-8. Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy. And in the greatness of thine excellency thou hast overthrown them that rose up against thee: thou sentest forth thy wrath, which consumed them as stubble. And with the blast of thy nostrils the waters were gathered together, the floods stood upright as an heap, and the depths were congealed in the heart of the sea.

What cannot God do? The liquid becomes solid; nature itself changes when the God of nature puts forth his power. Trust thou in God, and he will do wonders for thee also, as he did for his ancient people Israel.

Exodus 15:9. The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my lust shall be satisfied upon them; I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them.

How the powers of darkness rage and rave! What a flurry they are in! What big words they speak! What cruel designs they harbour against God’s people! See how still and calm is the Lord amid all their raging.

Exodus 15:10. Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them: they sank as lead in the mighty waters.

God has only to use his breath to blow upon them, and away they go, and all their boastings, too. One word from the mouth of God can destroy all our doubts and fears. The breath of his Spirit can sink all our enemies, and make us sing for joy of heart at our great deliverance.

Exodus 15:11-13. Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders? Thou stretchedst out thy right hand, the earth swallowed them. Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation.

The song becomes prophetic. All joy gets to be prophetic; at least, the joy of earth when once it is touched with the live coal from off the heavenly altar. We begin to praise God “for all the grace we have not tasted yet,” as Israel here does. They praise the Lord for leading his people through the wilderness, and bringing them unto his holy habitation, even while they are only at the beginning of their journey.

Exodus 15:14. The people —

That is, the Canaanites, —

Exodus 15:14-15. Shall hear, and be afraid: sorrow shall take hold on the inhabitants of Palestina. Then the dukes of Edom shall be amazed; the mighty men of Moab, trembling shall take hold upon them; all the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away.

When they hear of the great things that Jehovah has done for his people, they shall feel that the day of their doom is come. Who can stand against so mighty a God? Yet there are some, in our day, whose hearts are stouter and harder than the hearts of the dukes of Edom and the mighty men of Moab. They hear of God’s judgments upon the wicked, and of the terrible doom of the ungodly, and yet they dare to defy the Lord, and to continue in their evil ways.

Exodus 15:16-18. Fear and dread shall fall upon them; by the greatness of thine arm they shall be as still as a stone; till thy people pass over, O LORD, till the people pass over, which thou hast purchased. Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O LORD, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O LORD, which thy hands have established. The LORD shall reign for ever and ever.

How grandly that last note must have pealed forth from the hundreds of thousands of male voices! The women must also have sung it with the utmost conceivable joy as they struck their timbrels, and danced before the Lord.

Exodus 15:19-22. For the horse of Pharaoh went in with his chariots and with his horsemen into the sea, and the LORD brought again the waters of the sea upon them; but the children of Israel went on dry land in the midst of the sea. And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances. And Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water.

At first, they were afraid of too much water, from the waves of the sea; now they are afraid of too little. Will their songs be over in three days? Ah, yea! At the end of the third day they came to some springs of water, but they were brackish or bitter.

Exodus 15:23-24. And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah. And the people murmured —

Ah, these singers had sadly changed their notes! Where are the timbrels now? “The people murmured”

Exodus 15:24-27. Against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? And he cried unto the LORD and the LORD shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them, and said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee. And they came to Elim,

They did not stop long at Marah, probably only a few hours.

Exodus 15:27. Where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees and they encamped there by the waters.

That Elim must have been prepared on purpose for Israel. Twelve springs of water — that was the number of the tribes. Threescore and ten palm trees that was the number of the elders. I do not wonder that Moses noted these numbers. It must have seemed remarkable that, long before they came there, there were the wells and there were the palm trees all ready for their encampment. It was most significant that these things should have been prepared according to the number of the children of Israel; but everything else is arranged by the same rule. When the Lord divided the people, he set the bounds of the nations according to the number of the children of Israel. It is by this line that he builds his Church still. It is according to his thoughts of his own people that he rules everything in his providence. There are a few verses in the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah, at the seventh chapter, which we will read concerning this subject.

This exposition consisted of readings from Exodus 15; and Jeremiah 7:21-26.

 


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Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Exodus 15:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/exodus-15.html. 2011.

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