Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Exodus 14

Verses 1-31

Exodus 14:2. Before Pi-hahiroth. The Lord led the people into the straits between the hills, in order that Pharaoh and his hosts might be overwhelmed in the sea; and that Israel might see his salvation, and find a quiet passage in the desert.

Exodus 14:7. Six hundred chariots. A captain or valiant man was in each chariot, his armour bearer, a man of valour also, besides a man to guide the horses, who had a shield, and probably other weapons. The army of Pharaoh is estimated by Josephus at 50,000 horse, and 200,000 foot. All the host of Pharaoh was there, Exodus 14:28. How bitter are the dregs of the cup to hardened men!

Exodus 14:19. The Angel of God. The Messiah, as in other places, showing a dark and frowning aspect on the Egyptians, and a cheering light of joy on the Hebrews.

Exodus 14:21. The waters were divided, as the Jordan on another occasion; they stood on a heap. Psalms 78:13. It was not a driving back of the tongue of the sea, but a real division by Jehovah’s presence. The bottom of the sea became dry, and formed a wide opening like the wilderness.

Exodus 14:25. Took off the chariot wheels; that is, he entangled or overthrew their chariots.

REFLECTIONS.

In this chapter we see the Israelites saved, and the Egyptians destroyed; and consequently the whole land brought to the verge of ruin for its wicked counsel against the Lord’s people, and for rejecting the ministry and miracles of Moses. These things are written that all ages might fear; for a course of crimes, and the habitual neglect of devotion, originating in hardness of heart and unbelief, will surely bring families and nations to destruction. And it is very awful to add, that when once individuals, or nations, are in the full route of ruin, they seldom pause till precipitated into the gulph their wickedness has prepared.

In the weak faith and great fears of the Hebrews, on seeing themselves pursued, we see that the weakness of man is such as needs support every moment. The idea of danger seemed to banish even the recollection of past miracles. Conscious therefore of our utter insufficiency, let us for ourselves and children, live every moment dependent on providence and grace.

But their case was extraordinary, human means were insufficient; therefore they were exhorted to stand still, and see the salvation of God. In the treasures of his wisdom he had a salvation in store far above their expectation; and in all the calamities and exigencies of life, when our own counsel and efforts fail, let us calmly give up our affairs into the hands of providence. It is good that a man should hope, and quietly wait for the salvation of God.

In a moment the Lord dissipated their fears; the cloud removed from the head to the rear of their camp, and kept the enemy in awe. In like manner God has often stood between his trembling church and danger. Often would Zion have been destroyed, had not God become her shield and high defence. Often should we have run into ruin, had not the Lord interposed for our safety. Oh how much we owe to the arm of strength, and to the everlasting presence of God with his church.

The Israelites, notwithstanding all their fears, were commanded to go forward. What, go forward when the sea was before them, and the mountains on either hand! Yes, oh my soul, do not fear to obey the Lord under a dark and beclouded providence. There is nothing in this world but the alien host, armed against the Lord and against righteousness. Go forward, surrounded with mountains and hills; go forward through the deep, the Lord will open thy way, and the enemies thou seest today thou shalt see no more for ever.

The Lord saw the presumption of the Egyptian host, accustomed now to despise his word and miracles, till at length they despised them to their total destruction. He looked through the cloud. The fire of his countenance assailed their souls with the terrors of hell. Now they were entangled in the deep, and surrounded with the net of the Almighty. Now the oppression and murder of the Hebrews would obtrude on their sight. Now they would curse their gods, their magicians, and make no scruple to kill one another in efforts to escape. Now Pharaoh received the answer of his insolence, Who is the Lord that I should obey him? Oh what rage—what horrors— what fury! What cutting down with their swords of every man that stood in their way! Sinners, unless you get a new heart, this is the company with whom you must for ever dwell. All may see what awaits the ungodly in the great day, when the Lord Jesus shall look from heaven through his cloud, and be revealed in flaming fire, with his mighty angels, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel. Then Christ shall be glorified in his saints, and admired in all them that believe. Israel also, when they saw this great work, believed the Lord, and Moses his servant. Let past deliverances strengthen our faith, and encourage us to hope for future mercies.

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Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Exodus 14". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/exodus-14.html. 1835.