Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

Exodus 14

Verses 1-31

Israel Crosses the Red Sea - Exodus 14:1-31 records the story of Israel crossing the Read Sea. The crossing of the Red Sea served as a way to cut Israel off from the advancement of Pharaoh's army. It also served to cut Israel off from returning back into Egypt; for this had been a concern to the Lord as Moses led them out of Egypt and into the wilderness ( Exodus 13:17).

Exodus 13:17, "And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt:"

The Principle of Sowing and Reaping- Just as the Egyptians has been drowning the Hebrew babies in the waters of the Nile, so did God choose to drown the Egyptian army in the depths of the Red Sea. This very likely sent a message to a superstitious people that the God of the Israel had taken vengeance upon act of cruelty by the Egyptians.

A Type and Figure of the Tribulation Period- After looking at the Exodus, the Lord quickened to me Luke 21:21. The children of Israel were fleeing God"s wrath upon Egypt much like God tells believers in Luke 21:21 to flee God's wrath upon Israel during the Tribulation Period.

Luke 21:21, "Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto."

Exodus 14:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

Exodus 14:2 Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp before Pihahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baalzephon: before it shall ye encamp by the sea.

Exodus 14:2Word Study on "Pihahiroth" - Gesenius says the Hebrew name "Pihahiroth" ( הַחִירֹות פִּי) (H 6367) means, "the mouth of caverns." He says in the Egyptian language this name means, "a place adorned with green grass." Strong translates it to mean, "mouth of the gorges." PTW translates the word to mean, "the mouth." It comes from two words; the Hebrew word ( פֶּה) (H 6310), meaning, "mouth," and the Hebrew word ( חֹר) (H 2356), meaning, "a cave, or hole." This word is used only four times in the Scriptures, the other uses being:

Exodus 14:9, "But the Egyptians pursued after them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen, and his army, and overtook them encamping by the sea, beside Pihahiroth, before Baalzephon."

Numbers 33:7, "And they removed from Etham, and turned again unto Pihahiroth, which is before Baalzephon: and they pitched before Migdol."

Numbers 33:8, "And they departed from before Pihahiroth, and passed through the midst of the sea into the wilderness, and went three days' journey in the wilderness of Etham, and pitched in Marah."

Since the third century A.D, the location of Mount Sinai has traditionally been located in the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula. However, if Mt. Sinai were located in Midian, which was located in Arabia, as archeological evidence is now indicating, then the crossing of the Red Sea could have taken place in the Gulf of Aqaba, on the east side of the Sinai Peninsula and not at one of five traditional sites located on the west or north side of the Sinai and the Gulf of Suez. Since the Sinai Peninsula was under the domain of Egypt during the time of the Exodus, this location in Arabia would have placed Moses and the children of Israel just outside Egyptian ancient territory and thus, outside of their diplomatic reach.

Regarding the route of the Exodus, Moses could have crossed through the middle of the Sinai Peninsula following a familiar east-west trade route in a three-week period, which matches the biblical time period of these events (see Exodus 16:1).

Exodus 16:1, "And they took their journey from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came unto the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departing out of the land of Egypt."

Just before reaching the northern tip of the Gulf of Aqaba along this route, Moses could have veered due south, following a dry river bed, which empties into the Red Sea midway up the Gulf of Aqaba. Exodus 14:2 says, "that they turn and encamp before Pihahiroth," an indication of veering from the common path. Philo goes into more detail explaining this alternate route:

"Therefore, turning aside from the direct road he found an oblique path, and thinking that it must extend as far as the Red Sea, he began to march by that road…But when the king of Egypt saw them proceeding along a pathless track, as he fancied, and marching through a rough and untrodden wilderness, he was delighted with the blunder they were making respecting their line of march, thinking that now they were hemmed in, having no way of escape whatever." (Philo Judaes, A Treatise On the Life of Moses, 129-30) 69]

69] C. D. Young, The Works of Philo Judaes vol 3 (London: Henry G. Bohn, 1855), 37.

At the place where this dry riverbed enters the Gulf of Aqaba is a dry, sandy bank, hedged in by two tall mountain peaks. This gorge, which passes between two high mountainous peaks, would fit the biblical description of Pihahiroth, "the mouth of the gorges." It is at this site that scientists searched for archeological evidence of the events of the biblical Exodus in 2000 to support this site. Therefore, these archeologists searched the underwater terrain of the Gulf of Aqaba at this location for signs of Egyptian wreckage, primarily the six hundred chariots ( Exodus 14:7). In their search, they found sea coral shaped into the circular forms of chariot wheels and axles. Metal detectors were used on these circular corals to confirm that there was metal content within the coral, which metal was circular in shape. They actually filmed several 4-spoke and 6-spoke metal wheels encrusted with coral, and one shiny wheel untouched by coral. These chariot wheels were determined to be of Egyptian design for this period of their history. Unfortunately, strict Egyptian law forbids the removal of these coral and artifacts.

In addition, although the Gulf of Aqaba is deep, reaching one mile in depth, it is at this crossing that the Gulf is relatively shallow. The sea bottom is not made up of silt as is the Gulf of Suez, but is a layer of sand. This relatively shallow, sandy bottom would have allowed for the passing of the children of Israel. Although the five proposed sites north of the Gulf of Suez are all relatively shallow, this location in the Gulf of Aqaba would better fit the biblical description of these mighty, deep waters ( Exodus 15:8; Exodus 15:10, Psalm 106:9). 70]

70] Ron Wyatt, The Exodus Revealed: Search for the Red Sea Crossing, prod. Discovery Media Productions, Portland, Oregon, 82min, 2000, 2004, DVD See also Colin Humphreys, The Miracles of Exodus: A Scientist"s Discovery of the Extraordinary Natural Causes of the Biblical Stories (New York: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2004).

Exodus 15:8, "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."

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

Psalm 106:9, "He rebuked the Red sea also, and it was dried up: so he led them through the depths, as through the wilderness."

Exodus 14:2Word Study on "Migdol" - PTW says the name "Migdol" means "tower."

Exodus 14:2Word Study on "Baalzephon" - PTW says the name "Baalzephon" means "lord of the North."

Exodus 14:3 For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, They are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in.

Exodus 14:4 And I will harden Pharaoh"s heart, that he shall follow after them; and I will be honoured upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host; that the Egyptians may know that I am the LORD. And they did so.

Exodus 14:4Comments- Pharaoh's heart hardened for the twelfth time in Exodus 14:5; Exodus 14:8. We can list the previous references to his hardened heart:


Exodus 7:14



Exodus 9:7



Exodus 7:22-23

(Water to Blood)


Exodus 9:12



Exodus 8:15



Exodus 9:34-35



Exodus 8:19



Exodus 10:20



Exodus 8:32



Exodus 10:27


Why did God harden Pharaoh's heart: so that God might be glorified ( Exodus 14:4) and "that the Egyptians may know that I am the LORD."

Exodus 14:13-14Comments - The Salvation of the Lord- Note a similar situation in 2 Chronicles 20:15, "And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God"s. To morrow go ye down against them: behold, they come up by the cliff of Ziz; and ye shall find them at the end of the brook, before the wilderness of Jeruel."

Exodus 14:16 — "lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea," - Comments- Moses has been doing this as a way of starting almost every plague.

The first plague of water turned to blood:

Exodus 7:19, "And the LORD spake unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and stretch out thine hand upon the waters of Egypt, upon their streams, upon their rivers, and upon their ponds, and upon all their pools of water, that they may become blood; and that there may be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood, and in vessels of stone."

The second plague of frogs:

Exodus 8:5, "And the LORD spake unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch forth thine hand with thy rod over the streams, over the rivers, and over the ponds, and cause frogs to come up upon the land of Egypt."

The third plague of lice:

Exodus 8:16, "And the LORD said unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch out thy rod, and smite the dust of the land, that it may become lice throughout all the land of Egypt."

The seventh plague of hail:

Exodus 9:23, "And Moses stretched forth his rod toward heaven: and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and the fire ran along upon the ground; and the LORD rained hail upon the land of Egypt."

The eighth plague of locusts:

Exodus 10:13, "And Moses stretched forth his rod over the land of Egypt, and the LORD brought an east wind upon the land all that day, and all that night; and when it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts."

Exodus 14:19Comments- Note other references to the angel of the Lord's presence with the children of Israel:

Exodus 23:20, "Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared."

Exodus 23:23, "For mine Angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites: and I will cut them off."

Exodus 32:34, "Therefore now go, lead the people unto the place of which I have spoken unto thee: behold, mine Angel shall go before thee: nevertheless in the day when I visit I will visit their sin upon them."

Exodus 33:2, "And I will send an angel before thee; and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite."

Exodus 14:20Comments- Note how the cloud gave darkness to the Egyptians, but light to God's people. We see a similar example of how God uses nature to protect His children and to confound the enemy in the story of the kings of Israel and Judah when they fought against the king of Edom ( 2 Kings 3:20-23). In this story the pools of water refreshed the children of Israel and of Judah, but it confused the Edomites.

2 Kings 3:20-23, "And it came to pass in the morning, when the meat offering was offered, that, behold, there came water by the way of Edom, and the country was filled with water. And when all the Moabites heard that the kings were come up to fight against them, they gathered all that were able to put on armour, and upward, and stood in the border. And they rose up early in the morning, and the sun shone upon the water, and the Moabites saw the water on the other side as red as blood: And they said, This is blood: the kings are surely slain, and they have smitten one another: now therefore, Moab, to the spoil."

We also see that the Ark of the Covenant brought blessings upon the nation of Israel, but it brought curses upon the land of the Philistines when they stole it from the Israelites ( 2 Samuel 5:1-12).

God's ways act in a similar manner today ( 2 Samuel 22:26-27, Psalm 18:26). His ways bless His children and confuse the ungodly. God"s ways are foolish and not understood by the world, but give revelation to His people. For example, the foolishness of preaching confounds the wise and noble, but brings salvation to the poor in spirit ( 1 Corinthians 1:17-31). The gifts of the Spirit, such as praying in tongues, confound the wise, but bless and strengthen the believer ( 1 Corinthians 14:4; 1 Corinthians 14:23).

2 Samuel 22:26-27, "With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful, and with the upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright. With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself unsavoury."

Psalm 18:26, "With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward."

Exodus 14:22Word Study on "Pihahiroth" - Gesenius says the Hebrew "Pihahiroth" ( הַחִירֹות פִּי) (H 6367) means, "the mouth of caverns." He says in the Egyptian language this name means, "a place adorned with green grass." Strong translates it to mean, "mouth of the gorges." PTW translates the word to mean, "the mouth." It comes from two words; the Hebrew word ( פֶּה) (H 6310), meaning, "mouth," and the Hebrew word ( חֹר) (H 2356), meaning, "a cave, or hole."

Exodus 14:28Comments- As I was praying in the spirit and with the interpretation one day ( 1 Corinthians 14:13-15), I began to say that Pharaoh's army was forewarned of God's pending wrath before they were destroyed in the Red Sea. They had seen the ten plagues upon the land of Egypt. They knew that God was mighty to judge. Yet, in the hardness of their hearts, they chose to persecute the people of God.

Scripture References- Note Proverbs 29:1, " Hebrews, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy."

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Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Exodus 14". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. 2013.