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Bible Commentaries

Peake's Commentary on the Bible

Exodus 14

Verses 1-31

Exodus 14. ( Exodus 14:1-4 P, Exodus 14:5 f. J, Exodus 14:7 a(b) E, Exodus 14:8 P Exodus 14:9 a E, Exodus 14:9 (b)c – Exodus 14:10 a (“ afraid” ) J, Exodus 14:10 b E, Exodus 14:11-14 J, Exodus 14:15 a E, Exodus 14:15 b P, Exodus 14:16 a (“ rod” ) E, Exodus 14:16 b – Exodus 14:18 P, Exodus 14:19 a E, Exodus 14:19 b J, Exodus 14:21 a P, Exodus 14:21 b (“ dry land” ) J, Exodus 14:21 c – Exodus 14:23 P, Exodus 14:24 a (“ cloud” ) J, Exodus 14:24 b E, Exodus 14:25 J, Exodus 14:26-27 a P, Exodus 14:27 b (“ and the sea” ) J, Exodus 14:28 a (“ sea” ) P, Exodus 14:28 b J, Exodus 14:29 Rp, Exodus 14:30 J, Exodus 14:31 Rje).— The dramatic last phase of the escape of Israel from the Egyptians, by passing dryshod over the water barrier that seemed to hem them in, is unanimously presented by all the narrators. Space will not allow any display of the disentangling process by which the threads of narrative are identified. In J once more the scene, though wonderful, is built up of every-day elements. No sooner is Israel gone than Pharaoh ( Exodus 14:5) sees what he has lost. So the hard fact constantly belies the merely fancied future. He and his men pursue and bring terror ( Exodus 14:10). The Faintheart family give eloquent tongue ( Exodus 14:11 f.). Moses calms them ( Exodus 14:13) with a word, “ Stand firm (not “ still” ) and see the salvation ( i.e. “ deliverance” ) of Yahweh.” The pillar of fiery cloud moved to guard their rear ( Exodus 14:19 b); the east wind drove back the ebb tide till the shallows were dry; at dawn Yahweh flashed defiance from the cloud upon the pursuing foes, and “ bound ( mg.) their chariot wheels and made them drive heavily ( mg.), and Egypt said, Let me flee” ; the tide coming back to its wonted flow ( mg.) caught and destroyed them ( Exodus 14:27 b) ; “ and Israel saw Egypt (so Heb.) dead upon the sea-shore” ( Exodus 14:30). Of E’ s story we have less: the pursuit ( Exodus 14:7; Exodus 14:9 a); the Israelites’ frenzied prayer, apparently ( cf. Exodus 14:15 a) echoed by Moses; the order to lift up his wonder-working rod (vv. Exodus 14:16 a); “ the angel of God” as rear-guard ( Exodus 14:19 a, Exodus 14:20 a); and the discomfiting of the Egyptians ( Exodus 14:24 b) . In P we find a seeming precision about places ( Exodus 14:2) which is of no avail since we cannot identify them; the purpose of Israel’ s peril is the enhancement of Yahweh’ s “ honour” ( Exodus 14:4); the pursuit is the result of Divine hardening, and Israel does not escape in haste but goes out defiantly ( Exodus 14:8); no wind, but the hand of Moses, like the mantle of Elijah, must divide the sea ( Exodus 16:6); the waters are “ a wall” on either hand ( Exodus 14:22), in this writer perhaps not a mere metaphor for a barrier on either flank; and the pursuers are enveloped at the signal of the outstretched hand ( Exodus 14:26). The locality of this “ baptism unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea” ( 1 Corinthians 10:2) has sometimes been fixed on either side of Suez, where there is a ford at low tide; but not a little historical and scientific evidence goes to prove that the sea penetrated far across the isthmus ( cf. Exodus 13:18 *), and that at several points S. of L. Timsã h, or N. or S. of the Bitter Lakes, the conditions would then have made the crossing possible. Driver discusses the evidence and alternatives fully (CB, 122– 128). Gressmann thoroughly carries through his idea ( cf. Exodus 13:21 *) of a volcanic explanation. He refers to an eruption of Monte Nuovo near Naples in 1538, when the sea was laid bare for 200 paces, and waggon-loads of fish were gathered before the water returned. This attractive theory demands the further assumption that the crossing was over the Gulf of Akaba, as only there are volcanic rocks to be found. For the bearing of this on the site of Sinai, see Exodus 19:1 *.

Exodus 14:4 . follow after: pursue ( Exodus 14:8 f., Exodus 14:23).

Exodus 14:7 . captains: rather “ knights” ( cf. Driver’ s note for the Heb. term).

Exodus 14:9 . all the horses . . . army: omit as a gloss. “ Horsemen” here and elsewhere are an anachronism: Egyptians did not ride till much later, cf. Isaiah 31:1.

Exodus 14:20 b. The text seems corrupt, cf. Joshua 24:7 E.

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Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Exodus 14". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pfc/exodus-14.html. 1919.