Exodus 14:10-31 & 15:20-21

Exodus 14:10-31 & 15:20-21
Easter Vigil C


10 As PharaohA drew near, the IsraelitesB lookedC back,D

Notes on verse 14:10a

A “Pharaoh” = paroh. From Egyptian pr (palace, pharaoh; literally house + great). This is Pharaoh, a title for Egyptian kings.
B “Israelites” = ben + yisrael. Literally “children of Israel.” Yisrael is from sarah (to persist, exert oneself, contend, persevere, wrestle, prevail) + el (God or god). This is God strives or one who strives with God; new name for Jacob and for his offspring. This refers to the people and to the land.
C “looked” = nasa + et + ayin. Literally “lifted…their eyes. Nasa is to lift in a broad sense, literally and figuratively. So it could be to carry, take, or arise. It could also be bring forth, advance, accept. Ayin is eye in a literal or figurative sense so eye, appearance, favor, or a fountain (the eye of the landscape).
D {untranslated} = hinneh. From hen (lo! Behold! If, though; an expression of surprise). This is to draw attention, show suddenness or surprise, or to emphasize the importance of the coming statement. See! Lo! Behold!

and there were the EgyptiansE advancingF on them. In great fearG the Israelites cried outH to the Lord.I 

Notes on verse 14:10b

E “Egyptians” = mitsri. From the same as mitsrayim (Egypt); perhaps from matsor (besieged or fortified place, bulwark, entrenchment; something hemmed in; a siege or distress or fastness); from tsur (to confine, besiege, to cramp). This is Egyptian.
F “advancing” = nasa. Not the same as nasa in v14:10 (note C). This is properly pulling up as when one pulls up tent pegs or stakes. This would imply striking tents in order to start a journey. So this could be bring, pullout, set out, journey, or cause to go away.
G “fear” = yare. From the same as yare (to fear, be afraid, dreadful; also fearful reverence – to fear in a moral sense is to say to revere, respect). This is fearful or morally reverent.
H “cried out” = tsaaq. This is to cry out or call together, to shriek. It can mean, by implication, calling for an assembly.
I “Lord” = YHVH. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (to come to pass, become, be). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place.

11 They said to Moses,J “Was it becauseK there were no graves in EgyptL that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness?M What have you done to us, bringing us out of Egypt? 

Notes on verse 14:11

J “Moses” = mosheh. From mashah (to pull out in a literal or figurative sense, to draw out) OR from Egyptian mes or mesu (child, son i.e. child of…). This is Moses – the one drawn out from the water, which is to say, rescued. If derived from the Egyptian, his name would share a root with Rameses and Thutmose.
K “because” = beli. From balah (to grow old, wear out, waste away, consume, spend). This is properly a failure. So, it could mean without, not yet, unawares, lacking, something that wears out, or because not.
L “Egypt” = mitsrayim. Related to “Egyptians” in v14:10. See note E above.
M “wilderness” = midbar. From dabar (to speak, command, declare). This is mouth or speech. It can also be desert or wilderness. Additionally, it can be used for a pasture to which one drives cattle.

12 Is this not the very thingN we toldO you in Egypt, ‘Let us aloneP and let us serveQ the Egyptians’? For it would have been betterR for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.” 

Notes on verse 14:12

N “thing” = dabar. Related to “wilderness” in v14:11. From dabar (see note M above). This is speech, a word, a matter, an affair, charge, command, message, promise, purpose, report, request. It is a word, which implies things that are spoken of in a wide sense.
O “told” = dabar. Related to “wilderness” in v14:11 & “thing” in v14:12. See note M above.
P “let…alone” = chadal. This is properly to be flabby – it implies, to stop, fall, end, rest, leave alone, forsake, or desist. Figuratively this can be lacking or idle.
Q “serve” = abad. This is to work, serve, or compel. It can describe any kind of work or service (including religious devotion).  Also, till or cultivate. Used causatively, it can mean to enslave or keep in bondage.
R “better” = tob. This is good, beautiful, pleasant, agreeable, bountiful, at ease. This word is used for goodness as a concept, a good thing, a good person. This can refer to prosperity and welfare as well as joy, kindness, sweetness, and graciousness. So, this is ethically good, but also enjoyably good.

13 But Moses said to the people,S “Do not be afraid, stand firm,T and see the deliveranceU that the Lord will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you see today you shall never see again.V 14 The Lord will fightW for you, and you have only to keep still.”X

Notes on verses 14:13-14

S “people” = am. From amam (to darken, hide, associate; creating shadows by huddling together). This is people or nation. It can be used specifically for a tribe, collectively of troops or armies, or figuratively to refer to a flock of animals.
T “stand firm” = yatsab. This is to set oneself, take a stand, remain, continue, to station or set something in place.
U “deliverance” = yeshuah. From yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue, be safe. Properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. Used causatively, it means to free). This is salvation, deliverance, health, victory, prosperity.
V {Untranslated} = ad + olam. Literally “even to forever.” Olam is a long scope of time whether in the past (antiquity, ancient time) or in the future (eternal, everlasting).
W “fight” = lacham. This is to eat or feed on. Figuratively, it is to battle as a kind of consumption/destruction.
X “keep still” = charash. This is to scratch, which implies etching or plowing. It can mean to manufacture regardless of materials used. Figuratively, it can be to devise or conceal. It can also have a sense of secrecy. Hence, being silent or left alone. It can also be speechless.

15 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry out to me? Tell the Israelites to go forward. 16 But you lift up your staff,Y and stretch outZ your hand over the seaAA and divide it, that the Israelites may go into the sea on dry ground. 

Notes on verses 14:15-16

Y “staff” = matteh. From natah (to stretch or spread out, extend, bend). This is a staff, rod, branch, or tribe. It could be a rod for discipline or correction. It could be a scepter to indicate authority, a throwing lance, or a walking staff. Figuratively, it could also be something that supports life (like bread).
Z “stretch out” = natah. Related to “staff” in v14:16. See note Y above.
AA “sea” = yam. Root may mean to roar. This is the sea, often referring to the Mediterranean. It comes from the root in the sense of the roar of crashing surf. This word is sometimes used for rivers or other sources of water. It can mean to the west or to the south.

17 Then IBB will hardenCC the heartsDD of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them;

Notes on verse 14:17a

BB {Untranslated} = hen. This is a remark of surprise or excitement: lo! Behold! It can also mean if or though.
CC “harden” = chazaq. This is to strengthen, seize, be courageous, repair, bind, heal, conquer, harden.
DD “hearts” = leb. May be related to labab (to encourage; properly, to be encased as with fat; used in a good sense, this means to transport someone with love; used in a bad sense, it can mean to dull one’s senses). This is the heart, courage, one’s inner self, the mind, or the will. Heart is only used in a figurative sense in the Old and New Testaments.

and so I will gain gloryEE for myself over Pharaoh and all his army,FF his chariots,GG and his chariot drivers.HH 18 And the Egyptians shall knowII that I am the Lord, when I have gained glory for myself over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his chariot drivers.”

Notes on verses 14:17b-18

EE “gain glory” = kabad. To be heavy, weighty, or severe. It can also be positive abounding in, rich, or honorable. The Hebrew word for “glory,” kabod, is taken from this root.
FF “army” = chel. From chul (whirling around so dancing as in a circle or writhing in pain; used particularly for the pain of childbirth or from writhing due to fear; can also be falling in pain or waiting) OR from chayil (strength, wealth, ability, activity; a soldier or a company of soldiers; goods; a force of people, means, or goods; valor, virtue, or strength); from chul (to be firm, strong, prosperous; to endure). This is an army, entrenchment, fortress, wall, or host.
GG “chariots” = rekeb. From rakab (to ride an animal or in some vehicle; also, bringing on a horse). This is a vehicle, wagon, or chariot. It can be cavalry or an individual rider.
HH “chariot drivers” = parash. From parash (to make distinct, separate, scatter; can also imply to wound). This is a horse or a person who rides a horse. A chariot driver or cavalry as a collective.
II “know” = yada. This is to know, acknowledge, advise, answer, be aware, be acquainted with. Properly, this is to figure something out by seeing. It includes ideas of observation, recognition, and care about something. It can be used causatively for instruction, designation, and punishment.

19 The angelJJ of GodKK who was going before the Israelite armyLL moved and went behind them; and the pillarMM of cloudNN moved from in front of them and took its placeOO behind them. 

Notes on verse 14:19

JJ “angel” = malak. This is a messenger, an angel, or a deputy of some kind. Can be used for human messengers literally or for prophets, priests, or teachers as messengers of God. Also used for supernatural messengers i.e. angels.
KK “God” = Elohim.
LL “army” = machaneh. From chanah (to decline, bending down, or living in tents; can be camping to create a home or camping as a part of battle). This is an encampment, whether of people traveling together or soldiers. So, it can be a camp band, or company as well as an army of soldiers. Also can be used of other groups like animals, angels or stars.
MM “pillar” = ammud. From amad (to stand up in a literal or figurative sense; to establish, continue, endure, take a stand, act, be a servant, stand still, remain, stand against an enemy). This is a pillar, stand, or platform.
NN “cloud” = anan. May be from anan (cover, cloud over; figuratively, acting in a secret way, practicing magic or soothsaying). This is a cloud as something that covers the sky.
OO “took its place” = amad. Related to “pillar” in v14:19. See note MM above.

20 It came between the army of Egypt and the army of Israel. And so the cloud was there with the darkness,PP and it lit upQQ the night;RR one did not come near the other all night.

21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. The Lord drove the sea back by a strong eastSS windTT all night, and turned the sea into dry land; and the waters were divided. 22 The Israelites went into the sea on dry ground, the waters forming a wall for them on their rightUU and on their left.VV 

Notes on verses 14:20-22

PP “darkness” = choshek. From chashak (to be or become dark). This is literal darkness is contrast to light. Figuratively, it can be obscurity, sorrow, misery, blindness, wickedness, destruction, death. It can also be hiding places. Additionally, it can mean judgment, mourning, ignorance, evil, or sin.
QQ “lit up” = or. This is to be light, shine, set on fire. It is becoming luminous in a literal or figurative sense.
RR “night” = layil. Properly, this refers to light twisting away. It is used for night or midnight. Figuratively, this can mean adversity.
SS “east” = qadim. From the same as qedem (front, formerly, before, east, eternal, everlasting, antiquity). This is the front part and so eastward. Sometimes used as a shorthand for the east wind.
TT “wind” = ruach. This is breath, wind, air, cool, spirit. This is wind, which resembles the breath and so this can be used figuratively for life itself or being frail/mortal/impermanent. It can refer to the air of the sky or the spirit.
UU “right” = yamin. May be from yamam (to go or choose the right, use the right hand; to be physically fit or firm). This can mean right hand, right side, or south. Since most people are right-handed, the metaphorical usage of this word presumes that the right hand is stronger and more agile. Thus, it is the instrument of power and action.
VV “left” = semol. Perhaps from the same as simlah (clothes, garment, wrapper); perhaps from semel (image, statue, figure, likeness). This is left, left hand, or north.

23 The Egyptians pursued,WW and went into the sea after them, all of Pharaoh’s horses,XX chariots, and chariot drivers. 24 At the morningYY watchZZ the Lord in the pillar of fire and cloud looked downAAA upon the Egyptian army, and threw the Egyptian army into panic.BBB 

Notes on verses 14:23-24

WW “pursued” = radaph. This is to chase after, pursue, hunt, or persecute. It is running after someone or something, generally with hostile motives.
XX “horses” = sus. Root may mean to skip as in jump for joy. This is a crane or a swift bird. It is also a horse as leaping.
YY “morning” = boqer. From baqar (to seek, plow, break forth, admire, care for). This refers to the break of day. So it is dawn, early, morning, or morrow.
ZZ “watch” = ashmoreth. 7x in OT. From shamar (to keep, watch, or preserve; to guard something or to protect it as a thorny hedge protects something). This is a watch.
AAA “looked down” = shaqaph. This is to look down or look out. Properly, it is looking by leaning out a window. It can be peeping or gazing.
BBB “threw…into panic” = hamam. 14x in OT. This is being noisy, confused, thrown into confusion, trouble, cause a commotion, disturb, rout, damage, destroy.

25 He cloggedCCC their chariotDDD wheels so that they turnedEEE with difficulty.FFF The Egyptians said, “Let us flee from the Israelites, for the Lord is fighting for them against Egypt.”

26 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea, so that the water may come backGGG upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots and chariot drivers.” 

Notes on verses 14:25-26

CCC “clogged” = sur. This is to turn aside in a literal or figurative sense – to depart, decline, rebel, remove, or withdraw.
DDD “chariot” = merkabah. Related to “chariots” in v14:17. From merkab (chariot, saddle, covering, seat in a vehicle); from rakab (see note GG). This is chariot.
EEE “turned” = nahag. This is to drive as in driving flocks, but also driving in animal or vehicle like a chariot. It can mean to carry away, lead, drive away, proceed, or guide. It can also relate to behavior and what one is accustomed to.
FFF “difficulty” = kebeduth. Related to “gain glory” in v14:17. 1x in OT. From kabad (see note EE above). This is heaviness or difficulty.
GGG “come back” = shub. To turn back, return, turn away – literally or figuratively. Doesn’t necessarily imply going back to where you started from. This is also the root verb for the Hebrew word for repentance “teshubah.”

27 So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at dawn the sea returned to its normal depth.HHH As the Egyptians fled before it, the Lord tossed the Egyptians into the sea. 28 The waters returned and covered the chariots and the chariot drivers, the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed them into the sea; not one of them remained. 

29 But the Israelites walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left.

30 Thus the Lord savedIII Israel that day fromJJJ the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. 31 Israel saw the greatKKK work that the Lord did against the Egyptians. So the people feared the Lord and believedLLL in the Lord and in his servantMMM Moses.

Notes on verses 14:27-31

HHH “normal depth” = ethan. 13x in OT. Root might mean to continue. This is mighty, strong, ever-flowing, enduring, or permanence.
III “saved” = yasha. Related to “deliverance” in v14:13. See note U above.
JJJ “from” = yad. Literally “from the hand of.”
KKK “great” = gadol. From gadal (to grow up, become great, become wealthy – to advance. The root meaning may be to twist in the sense of the process of growing). This is great, high, bigger, noble, old, marvelous. It can also refer to someone who is powerful or distinguished.
LLL “believed” = aman. This is to believe, endure, fulfill, confirm, support, be faithful. It is to put one’s trust in, be steadfast. Figuratively, this is to be firm, steadfast, or faithful, trusting, believing, being permanent, morally solid. This is where the word “amen” comes from.
MMM “servant” = ebed. Related to “serve” in v14:12. See note Q above.

15 20 Then the prophetNNN Miriam,OOO Aaron’sPPP sister, took a tambourineQQQ in her hand;

Notes on verse 15:20a

NNN “prophet” = nebiah. 6x in OT – of Miriam, Deborah, Huldah, Noadiah, and Isaiah’s wife. From nabi (prophet, prophecy, speaker; someone inspired). This is to prophesy. Older usages referred to raving, religious ecstasy that sometimes went along with music. In later usage, it was religious teachings that sometimes held prediction. Prophesying is speaking the truth of what is and where it will lead. This word is specifically used for female prophet.
OOO “Miriam” = miryam. 15x in OT. From marah (to be contentious, rebellious, bitter, provoking, disobedient; to be or make bitter or unpleasant; figuratively, to rebel or resist; causatively to provoke). This is Miriam.
PPP “Aaron’s” = aharon. Derivation uncertain. May mean “bearer of martyrs” OR be related to Ancient Egyptian ꜥḥꜣ rw (warrior lion) OR elevated, exalted, high mountain. This is Aaron. See https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Aaron
QQQ “tambourine” = toph. 17x in OT. This is a timbrel or tambourine.

and all the womenRRR went out after her with tambourines and with dancing.SSS 21 And Miriam sang to them:

“Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously;TTT
horse and riderUUU he has thrown into the sea.”

Notes on verses 15:20b-21

RRR “women” = ishshah. From ish (man); perhaps from enosh (human, humankind, mortal); from anash (to be weak, sick, or frail). This is woman, wife, or female.
SSS “dancing” = mechoolah. Related to “army” in v14:17. 8x in OT. From machol (a round dance); from chul (see note FF above). This is a spiral or circular dance.
TTT “triumphed gloriously” = gaah + gaah.7x in OT. This is to rise up, grow, lift, exalt, triumph, be majestic.The word is repeated twice – the first time as an Infinitive Absolute. The Infinitive Absolute serves to emphasize the sentiment of the word. It is rather like Foghorn Leghorn’s speech pattern, “I said, I said.”.
UUU “rider” = rakab. Related to “chariots” in v14:17 & “chariot” in v14:25. See note GG above.

Image Credit: “Splitting the Red Sea” by Lidia Kozenitzky, available from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Effib.

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