Exodus 14

 

וַיְדַבֵּר יְהֹוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר   14:1

Exod. 14:1  And the Lord spoke to Moses saying,

דַּבֵּר אֶל־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְיָשֻׁבוּ וְיַחֲנוּ לִפְנֵי פִּי הַחִירֹת בֵּין מִגְדֹּל וּבֵין הַיָּם לִפְנֵי בַּעַל צְפֹן נִכְחֹו תַחֲנוּ   14:2

עַל־הַיָּם

Exod. 14:2  “Speak to the children of Israel that they should turn back and encamp before Pi-hahiroth between Migdol and the sea, before Baal-zephon.  You shall encamp opposite it by the sea.”

The fifth word in the verse, Wbvuy"w>, translated as that they should turn back, and the sixth, Wnx]y:w, translated as and encamp, possess non-inverting vav prefixes. Their verbs are both third-person imperfect consequences of a preceding action, Speak.

וְאָמַר פַּרְעֹה לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל נְבֻכִים הֵם בָּאָרֶץ סָגַר עֲלֵיהֶם הַמִּדְבָּר   14:3

Exod. 14:3  “Now Pharoah will say about the children of Israel, ‘They are confused in the land.  The wilderness has closed up about them.’”

וְחִזַּקְתִּי אֶת־לֵב־פַּרְעֹה וְרָדַף אַחֲרֵיהֶם וְאִכָּבְדָה בְּפַרְעֹה וּבְכָל־חֵילֹו וְיָדְעוּ מִצְרַיִם כִּי־אֲנִי יְהוָה   14:4

וַיַּעֲשׂוּ־כֵן

Exod. 14:4  “And I will harden the heart of Pharoah and he will chase after them, and I will gain glory by Pharoah and by all his host, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.”  And they did so.

The phrase “And they did so” apparently refers to Moses and Aaron.  So they must have spoken to the people and told them what the Lord has said to them.  Thus they knew that something was going to happen, but they didn’t know what it was.

The seventh word in this verse, hd'b.K'aiw, translated as and I will gain glory, contains a non-inverting vav prefix. The verb is first-person imperfect.

וַיֻּגַּד לְמֶלֶךְ מִצְרַיִם כִּי בָרַח הָעָם וַיֵּהָפֵךְ לְבַב פַּרְעֹה וַעֲבָדָיו אֶל־הָעָם וַיֹּאמְרוּ מַה־זֹּאת עָשִׂינוּ כִּי־   14:5

שִׁלַּחְנוּ אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵל מֵעָבְדֵנוּ

Exod. 14:5  And it was told to the king of Egypt that the people had fled, and the mind of Pharoah was turned again, as well as of his servants, to the people, and they said, “What is it we have done, that we released Israel from serving us?”

“The people” mentioned in this verse might be the Israelites.  But it might also be the mixed multitude that had fled with the Israelites.

וַיֶּאְסֹר אֶת־רִכְבֹּו וְאֶת־עַמֹּו לָקַח עִמֹּו   14:6

Exod. 14:6  And he harnessed his chariot, and he took his people with him.

וַיִּקַּח שֵׁשׁ־מֵאֹות רֶכֶב בָּחוּר וְכֹל רֶכֶב מִצְרָיִם וְשָׁלִשִׁם עַל־כֻּלֹּו   14:7

Exod. 14:7  And he took six hundred choice chariots, and every chariot of Egypt, with captains over the whole of it.

 וַיְחַזֵּק יְהֹוָה אֶת־לֵב פַּרְעֹה מֶלֶךְ מִצְרַיִם וַיִּרְדֹּף אַחֲרֵי בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וּבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל יֹצְאִים בְּיָד רָמָה  14:8

Exod. 14:8  And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharoah, king of Egypt, and he chased after the children of Israel, and the children of Israel were leaving with a high hand.

I imagine the phrase “with a high hand” refers to the fact that the Israelites had left openly and proudly, with much Egyptian spoil.

וַיִּרְדְּפוּ מִצְרַיִם אַחֲרֵיהֶם וַיַּשִּׂיגוּ אֹותָם חֹנִים עַל־הַיָּם כָּל־סוּס רֶכֶב פַּרְעֹה וּפָרָשָׁיו וְחֵילֹו עַל־פִּי   14:9

הַחִירֹת לִפְנֵי בַּעַל צְפֹן

Exod. 14:9  And the Egyptians chased after them, and every horse, chariot of Pharoah, and his horsemen, and his army, overtook them encamped by the sea at Pi-hahiroth before Baal-zephon.

וּפַרְעֹה הִקְרִיב וַיִּשְׂאוּ בְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת־עֵינֵיהֶם וְהִנֵּה מִצְרַיִם נֹסֵעַ אַחֲרֵיהֶם וַיִּירְאוּ מְאֹד וַיִּצְעֲקוּ   14:10

בְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶל־יְהוָה

Exod. 14:10   When Pharoah drew near, then the children of Israel lifted their eyes and saw the Egyptians were on their way after them, and they were very afraid, and the children of Israel cried out to the Lord.

וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֶל־מֹשֶׁה הַמִבְּלִי אֵין־קְבָרִים בְּמִצְרַיִם לְקַחְתָּנוּ לָמוּת בַּמִּדְבָּר מַה־זֹּאת עָשִׂיתָ לָּנוּ   14:11

 לְהֹוצִיאָנוּ מִמִּצְרָיִם

Exod. 14:11   And they said to Moses, “Have you taken us to die in the wilderness because there were no graves in Egypt?  What is this you have done to us, taking us out of Egypt?”

הֲלֹא־זֶה הַדָּבָר אֲשֶׁר דִּבַּרְנוּ אֵלֶיךָ בְמִצְרַיִם לֵאמֹר חֲדַל מִמֶּנּוּ וְנַעַבְדָה אֶת־מִצְרָיִם כִּי טֹוב לָנוּ   14:12

עֲבֹד אֶת־מִצְרַיִם מִמֻּתֵנוּ בַּמִּדְבָּר

Exod. 14:12   “Was this not the thing that we spoke to you in Egypt saying, ‘Desist from us that we may serve Egypt?’  For serving Egypt was better for us than our dying in the wilderness.”

The sixth word from the end of the top line, hd'b.[;n:w, translated as that we may serve, contains a non-inverting vav prefix.  The verb is both a consequence and first-person imperfect.

וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה אֶל־הָעָם אַל־תִּירָאוּ הִתְיַצְבוּ וּרְאוּ אֶת־יְשׁוּעַת יְהוָה אֲשֶׁר־יַעֲשֶׂה לָכֶם הַיֹּום כִּי אֲשֶׁר   14:13

רְאִיתֶם אֶת־מִצְרַיִם הַיֹּום לֹא תֹסִיפוּ לִרְאֹתָם עֹוד עַד־עֹולָם׃

Exod. 14:13   And Moses said to the people, “You must not be afraid, stand fast and see the salvation of the Lord that He will provide for you today.  For after you have seen the Egyptians today, you will be seeing them no more again forever.”

All the second-person pronouns in this verse are plural (as are those in the next verse).  According to me this indicates that Moses is speaking to each individual.

יְהוָה יִלָּחֵם לָכֶם וְאַתֶּם תַּחֲרִישׁוּן   14:14

Exod. 14:14   “The Lord will fight for you, so you need be still.”

וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה מַה־תִּצְעַק אֵלָי דַּבֵּר אֶל־בְּנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל וְיִסָּעוּ   14:15

Exod. 14:15   And the Lord said to Moses, “Why should you cry out to me?  Speak to the children of Israel that they should go forward.”

What is meant by the Lord’s question?  Its implication is opposite to the explicitly encouraging nature of the previous verses.  Are we being informed that Moses is less certain than he appears to be here?  While he was seemingly speaking confidently to the children of Israel, was he in fact crying out to God for reassurance?  It almost seems as if Moses was doubting, or angry with, God for putting him and the people into this terrifying situation.

Besides the above observation, the last word of the verse, W[S'yIw, translated as that they should go forward, contains a non-inverting vav prefix. The verb is a third-person imperfect consequence of the preceding action, Speak.

וְאַתָּה הָרֵם אֶת־מַטְּךָ וּנְטֵה אֶת־יָדְךָ עַל־הַיָּם וּבְקָעֵהוּ וְיָבֹאוּ בְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּתֹוךְ הַיָּם בַּיַּבָּשָׁה   14:16

Exod. 14:16   “And you lift up your staff and stretch forth your hand over the sea and divide it, so the children of Israel can go into the midst of the sea on dry land.”

The sixth word form the end, Waboy"w, translated as so ... can go into, contains a non-inverting vav prefix. The verb is a third-person imperfect consequence of the preceding actions, lift ... and stretch forth.

וַאֲנִי הִנְנִי מְחַזֵּק אֶת־לֵב מִצְרַיִם וְיָבֹאוּ אַחֲרֵיהֶם וְאִכָּבְדָה בְּפַרְעֹה וּבְכָל־חֵילֹו בְּרִכְבֹּו וּבְפָרָשָׁיו   14:17

Exod. 14:17   “And I, behold, I will be hardening the heart of the Egyptians, so they will go in after them, and I will gain glory by Pharoah and by all his host, by his chariots and by his horsemen.”

The ninth word in the verse, translated as and I will gain glory, is a first-person imperfect verb with a non-inverting vav prefix.

וְיָדְעוּ מִצְרַיִם כִּי־אֲנִי יְהוָה בְּהִכָּבְדִי בְּפַרְעֹה בְּרִכְבֹּו וּבְפָרָשָׁיו   14:18

Exod. 14:18   “Then the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord upon my having gained glory by Pharoah, by his chariots and by his horsemen.”

וַיִּסַּע מַלְאַךְ הָאֱלֹהִים הַהֹלֵךְ לִפְנֵי מַחֲנֵה יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיֵּלֶךְ מֵאַחֲרֵיהֶם וַיִּסַּע עַמּוּד הֶעָןָן מִפְּנֵיהֶם וַיַּעֲמֹד   14:19

מֵאַחֲרֵיהֶם

Exod. 14:19   And the angel of God going in front of the encampment of Israel moved and went behind them.  And the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them.

וַיָּבֹא בֵּין מַחֲנֵה מִצְרַיִם וּבֵין מַחֲנֵה יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיְהִי הֶעָןָן וְהַחֹשֶׁךְ וַיָּאֶר אֶת־הַלָּיְלָה וְלֹא־קָרַב זֶה אֶל־   14:20

זֶה כָּל־הַלָּיְלָה

Exod. 14:20   And it came between the camp of Egyptians and the camp of Israel, and there was the cloud, and the darkness, but it brightened the night, so one did not come near to the other all the night.

While the Hebrew is not completely understandable here, the gist seems to be that the cloud caused darkness for the Egyptians and light for Israel.

וַיֵּט מֹשֶׁה אֶת־יָדֹו עַל־הַיָּם וַיֹּולֶךְ יְהוָה אֶת־הַיָּם בְּרוּחַ קָדִים עַזָּה כָּל־הַלַּיְלָה וַיָּשֶׂם אֶת־הַיָּם   14:21

לֶחָרָבָה וַיִּבָּקְעוּ הַמָּיִם

Exod. 14:21   And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea and the Lord caused the sea to recede by an east wind all the night, and it turned the sea there to dry land and the waters were divided.

Once more we see that Moses does not follow the Lord’s command explicitly (see Exod. 3:18, Exod. 9:23, and Exod. 10:13).  In v. 14:16 God tells Moses to lift up his staff.  In this verse, Moses lifts up only his hand.  Notice also that it appears to have taken some portion of the night, (see v. 14:24 below), for the waters to recede and the land to dry.                                 [Return to Levi. 8:13]           [Return to Levi. 20:14]          [Return to Numb. 20:11]

וַיָּבֹאוּ בְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּתֹוךְ הַיָּם בַּיַּבָּשָׁה וְהַמַּיִם לָהֶם חֹמָה מִימִינָם וּמִשְּׂמֹאלָם   14:22

Exod. 14:22   So the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry land, and the water was a wall for them on their right and on their left.

וַיִּרְדְּפוּ מִצְרַיִם וַיָּבֹאוּ אַחֲרֵיהֶם כֹּל סוּס פַּרְעֹה רִכְבֹּו וּפָרָשָׁיו אֶל־תֹּוךְ הַיָּם   14:23

Exod. 14:23   And the Egyptians followed and went in after them, every horse of Pharoah, his chariots, and his horsemen, to the midst of the sea.

וַיְהִי בְּאַשְׁמֹרֶת הַבֹּקֶר וַיַּשְׁקֵף יְהוָה אֶל־מַחֲנֵה מִצְרַיִם בְּעַמּוּד אֵשׁ וְעָןָן וַיָּהָם אֵת מַחֲנֵה מִצְרָיִם   14:24

Exod. 14:24   And it happened during the watch of the morning that the Lord looked down to the company of Egyptians in the pillar of fire and of cloud and discomfited the company of Egyptians.

וַיָּסַר אֵת אֹפַן מַרְכְּבֹתָיו וַיְנַהֲגֵהוּ בִּכְבֵדֻת וַיֹּאמֶר מִצְרַיִם אָנוּסָה מִפְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל כִּי יְהוָה נִלְחָם לָהֶם   14:25

בְּמִצְרָיִם

Exod. 14:25   And He turned aside a wheel from their chariots and made them drive with difficulty, so Egypt said, “Let us flee from the face of Israel, for the Lord is fighting Egypt for them.”

וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה נְטֵה אֶת־יָדְךָ עַל־הַיָּם וְיָשֻׁבוּ הַמַּיִם עַל־מִצְרַיִם עַל־רִכְבֹּו וְעַל־פָּרָשָׁיו   14:26

Exod. 14:26   And the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea so the waters will turn back upon Egypt, upon its chariots, and upon its horsemen.”

The eighth word form the end, Wbvuy"w, translated as so ... will turn back, contains a non-inverting vav prefix. The verb is a third-person imperfect consequence of the preceding action, Stretch.

וַיֵּט מֹשֶׁה אֶת־יָדֹו עַל־הַיָּם וַיָּשָׁב הַיָּם לִפְנֹות בֹּקֶר לְאֵיתָנֹו וּמִצְרַיִם נָסִים לִקְרָאתֹו וַיְנַעֵר יְהוָה אֶת־   14:27

מִצְרַיִם בְּתֹוךְ הַיָּם

Exod. 14:27   So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea and the sea came back in the early morning to its normal state, and the Egyptians tried to flee against it, but the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.

וַיָּשֻׁבוּ הַמַּיִם וַיְכַסּוּ אֶת־הָרֶכֶב וְאֶת־הַפָּרָשִׁים לְכֹל חֵיל פַּרְעֹה הַבָּאִים אַחֲרֵיהֶם בַּיָּם לֹא־נִשְׁאַר   14:28

בָּהֶם עַד־אֶחָד

Exod. 14:28   And the waters returned and overwhelmed the chariots and the horsemen of the whole company of Pharoah coming after them into the sea.  Not even one remained among them.

Although it was still morning when the waters returned, about one and a half million men, women, children, as well as their livestock, managed to get off the shore and into the dry land of the sea before then. They must have still been crossing as the waters returned.

וּבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל הָלְכוּ בַיַּבָּשָׁה בְּתֹוךְ הַיָּם וְהַמַּיִם לָהֶם חֹמָה מִימִינָם וּמִשְּׂמֹאלָם   14:29

Exod. 14:29   But the children of Israel had walked on dry ground in the midst of the sea and the water had been a wall for them on their right and on their left.

וַיֹּושַׁע יְהוָה בַּיֹּום הַהוּא אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵל מִיַּד מִצְרָיִם וַיַּרְא יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת־מִצְרַיִם מֵת עַל־שְׂפַת הַיָּם   14:30

Exod. 14:30   So the Lord delivered Israel in that day from the hand of Egypt, and Israel saw the Egyptian dead upon the shore of the sea.

וַיַּרְא יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת־הַיָּד הַגְּדֹלָה אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה יְהוָה בְּמִצְרַיִם וַיִּירְאוּ הָעָם אֶת־יְהוָה וַיַּאֲמִינוּ בַּיהוָה   14:31

וּבְמֹשֶׁה עַבְדֹּו

Exod. 14:31   So Israel saw the great power that the Lord brought on the Egyptians and they, the people, revered the Lord, and they trusted in the Lord and in Moses, His servant.

 

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