14.10. The Song of the Sea (15:1-19)

 (1) Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord. They said: I will sing to the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously; Horse and driver He has hurled into the sea.

(2) The Lord is my strength and might; He is become my deliverance. This is my God and I will enshrine Him; The God of my father, and I will exalt Him.

(3) The Lord, the Warrior — Lord is His name!

(4) Pharaoh’s chariots and his army He has cast into the sea; And the pick of his officers Are drowned in the Sea of Reeds.

(5) The deeps covered them; They went down into the depths like a stone.

(6) Your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power, Your right hand, O Lord, shatters the foe!

(7) In Your great triumph You break Your opponents; You send forth Your fury, it consumes them like straw.

(8) At the blast of Your nostrils the waters piled up, The floods stood straight like a wall; The deeps froze in the heart of the sea.

(9) The foe said, “I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; My desire shall have its fill of them. I will bare my sword — My hand shall subdue them.”

(10) You made Your wind blow, the sea covered them; They sank like lead in the majestic waters.

(11) Who is like You, O Lord, among the celestials; Who is like You, majestic in holiness, Awesome in splendor, working wonders!

(12) You put out Your right hand, The earth swallowed them.

(13) In Your love You lead the people You redeemed; In Your strength You guide them to Your holy abode.

(14) The peoples hear, they tremble; Agony grips the dwellers in Philistia.

(15) Now are the clans of Edom dismayed; The tribes of Moab — trembling grips them; All the dwellers in Canaan are aghast.

(16) Terror and dread descend upon them; Through the might of Your arm they are still as stone — Till Your people cross over, O Lord, Till Your people cross whom You have ransomed.

(17) You will bring them and plant them in Your own mountain, The place You made to dwell in, O Lord, The sanctuary, O Lord, which Your hands established.

(18) The Lord will reign for ever and ever!

(19) For the horses of Pharaoh, with his chariots and horsemen, went into the sea; and the Lord turned back on them the waters of the sea; but the Israelites marched on dry ground in the midst of the sea.

(1) Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord. They said: A “song” is an expression on one’s profound inner experience, of an emotional uplift and feelings of gratitude. Such expression is so important for every individual, and for society as a whole.

A song also expresses one’s understanding of events that have taken place. The Song of the Sea as reported in the Torah serves also this purpose, giving us insight into how the Jewish people at that moment understood what they had experienced.

The deliverance at the Sea of Reeds could be explained either by natural causes (the wind drove the water away) or by miraculous intervention (the waters parted, forming a wall on either side). Having chosen, under Moses’ direction, to sing a song of gratitude to the Almighty, the Jews clearly demonstrate their realization that what had happened was nothing less than a Divine miracle. This is evidence of a very significant advancement for the Jewish people along their path of spiritual development.

(15) Now are the clans of Edom dismayed; The tribes of Moab — trembling grips them; All the dwellers in Canaan are aghast: The annihilation of the Egyptians made a deep impression on all the surrounding peoples. This was very important for the conquest of Canaan and for the future destiny of the Jewish nation.

(17) You will bring them and plant them in Your own mountain, The place You made to dwell in, O Lord, The sanctuary, O Lord, which Your hands established: The entire Promised Land (God’s “own mountain”) is God’s dwelling place, and His sanctuary, in which the Jewish people are to settle. The purpose of the Exodus is to conquer and take possession of the Land, and thus to forge a direct connection with God. The giving of the Torah at Sinai is not mentioned here.

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Bible Dynamics, VOL. 2. EXODUS Copyright © by Orot Yerushalaim / P. Polonsky / English translation of the Torah by the Jewish Publication Society, New JPS Translation, 1985. With sincere gratitude for the permission to use. All Rights Reserved.

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