Bible Commentaries

Arno Gaebelein's Annotated Bible

Exodus 14

Verses 1-31

CHAPTER 14 The Pursuit of the Enemy and Redemption by Power

1. The coming of Pharaoh announced (Exodus 14:1-4)

2. The pursuit and Israel troubled (Exodus 14:5-12)

3. Moses speaks to the people (Exodus 14:13-14)

4. The Lord speaks to Moses (Exodus 14:15-18)

5. The passages through the Red Sea (Exodus 14:19-22)

6. The Egyptians overthrown (Exodus 14:23-29)

7. The great work accomplished (Exodus 14:30-31)

While the marching host of Israel was ignorant of Pharaoh’s device and the threatening danger, Jehovah’s eye was watching every move the enemy made. He knew what Pharaoh would do and Jehovah had planned how to deliver Israel completely by His power from the Egyptians. That Jehovah might be honored upon Pharaoh and all his host, He told His people to encamp in a place which made their position, from a human standpoint, almost hopeless. They were hemmed in by mountains and the sea was in front of them and behind them the Egyptian host was soon to appear. Only the outlook upward to heaven was unobstructed. From there help had to come. Pharaoh appeared to bring them back into bondage. Then the unbelief of the redeemed people, whom Jehovah had so marvelously led forth, is manifested. Though their lot had been so severe in Egypt and Jehovah’s power upon Egypt had been seen in the terrible judgments, yet they regretted that they had left Egypt . It was unbelief. They feared that the God who had taken such pains to deliver them out of Egypt, who had led them out and was visibly present with them, would now abandon them, so that they would die in the wilderness. How many Christians give way again and again to such an unreasonable doubt. “Unbelief leads to interpret God in the presence of the difficulty, instead of interpreting the difficulty in the presence of God. Faith gets behind the difficulty and there finds God in all His faithfulness, love and power.”

Exodus 14:13 and Exodus 14:14 are the words to faith. The Lord was now taking up their case and fighting their battles. It was no longer the question of Pharaoh and Israel, but Pharaoh and Jehovah. But notice the words are Moses’ words, as given to him by the Spirit of God. After he had spoken them and assured the people that all their enemies were to be wiped out, he began to pray, for the Lord said to him, “wherefore criest thou unto Me?” This is followed by the command to go forward, to stretch out the rod over the sea and the assurance that the sea would be divided so that they should pass through to the other side.

In Exodus 14:19 we learn that the Angel of God--that is Jehovah--who went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them. Thus the pillar of cloud descended between them and their enemies; they were involved in the deepest darkness, while Israel had light throughout the night. Moses did according to the word of the Lord. The east wind from the Lord caused the sea to go back; a strong wind, which blew all night, divided the sea. Higher criticism has tried to explain this miracle as a natural occurrence, but they overlooked the fact that on the right and on their left the waters were a wall. It was a grave; so to speak; into which Israel passed, when God’s power had made the way through it. It was faith which led them through. “By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land; which the Egyptians assaying to do, were drowned” (Hebrews 11:29).

When Pharaoh and his army followed to pursue them, Jehovah acted in judgment. “in the morning watch Jehovah looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire.” It was not a thunderstorm which confused them, but they saw the Lord in His majesty and the fearful judgment overtook them after Moses had stretched out his hand over the sea. The overthrow of the Egyptians came “when the morning appeared.” Not one of them remained, but Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the seashore.

This great deliverance by the power of God has many lessons. It foreshadows the future judgment which is in store for the enemies of Israel, when the Lord “in the morning watch” looks upon them. Greater still are the typical lessons in connection with our redemption “in Christ.” The Red Sea is a type of the death of Christ. Deliverance from sin by being dead with Christ is the aspect which the Red Sea passage illustrates. It is the truth so fully brought out in Romans 6, 7 and 8. When Israel had passed through the Red Sea and reached the other side, we have a type of resurrection. Dead with Christ and risen with Him; our old enemy is gone, and we can look upon our enemies as dead. Many pages of annotations could be given in following this story. We must leave the fuller application to our readers. Victory is on our side. Redeemed by blood, God’s power is with us, the power of His Spirit, who is given to us of God. We are not asked to fight our enemy, the old man, or to subdue him. God has done this for us in the death of Christ.

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Bibliographical Information
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Exodus 14". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gab/exodus-14.html. 1913-1922.