King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

Exodus > Old Testament > Home

Exodus 14

God directs the Israelites to Pihahiroth, Pharaoh pursues after them. (1-9) The Israelites murmur, Moses comforts them. (10-14) God instructs Moses, The cloud between the Israelites and the Egyptians. (15-20) The Israelites pass through the Red sea, which drowns the Egyptians. (21-31)

Exodus 14 Audio:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

God directs the Israelites to Pihahiroth, Pharaoh pursues after them

1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

2 Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp before Pihahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baalzephon: before it shall ye encamp by the sea.

3 For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, They are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in.

4 And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, that he shall follow after them; and I will be honoured upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host; that the Egyptians may know that I am the LORD. And they did so.

5 And it was told the king of Egypt that the people fled: and the heart of Pharaoh and of his servants was turned against the people, and they said, Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us?

6 And he made ready his chariot, and took his people with him:

7 And he took six hundred chosen chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt, and captains over every one of them.

8 And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel: and the children of Israel went out with an high hand.

9 But the Egyptians pursued after them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen, and his army, and overtook them encamping by the sea, beside Pihahiroth, before Baalzephon.

The Israelites murmur, Moses comforts them

10 And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto the LORD.

11 And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt?

12 Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.

13 And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.

14 The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.

God instructs Moses, The cloud between the Israelites and the Egyptians

15 And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:

16 But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.

17 And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.

18 And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gotten me honour upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.

19 And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them:

20 And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night.

The Israelites pass through the Red sea, which drowns the Egyptians

21 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.

22 And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.

23 And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.

24 And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the LORD looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians,

25 And took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the LORD fighteth for them against the Egyptians.

26 And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.

27 And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.

28 And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them.

29 But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.

30 Thus the LORD saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore.

31 And Israel saw that great work which the LORD did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD, and his servant Moses.

« »

G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Beelsephon, means “the lord of the watch-tower.” Some think an idol was thus denominated, whose office it was to prevent people from quitting the country. How vain were his efforts against God’s people!

Ver. 3. In. Between craggy mountains and the Red Sea. H.

Ver. 4. And he will. Protestants falsely translate, “that he may,” &c. contrary to the Heb. and other versions. W.

Ver. 6. People, fit for war, who could be got ready on such short warning. Ezechiel (ap. Eus.) makes the number amount to a million.

Ver. 7. Captains. Sept. “Tristatas.” Three men rode on every chariot, which was armed with scythes, to cut down all that came within contact, the chief warrior, with his armour bearer and charioteer. S. Greg. Nys. H. — Or these three captains may very probably be the three chief officers of state, (C.) or the generals of cavalry, and of infantry, and the chief treasurer, or receiver of taxes, principes equitum peditumque erant, & tributorum. S. Jer.

Ver. 8. Hand. Without any dread. Num. xv. 30. C. — All the army of Egypt could do nothing against them. Yet presently, at their approach, the Hebrews were suffered to fall into dismay, that they might learn not to confide in their multitudes, and might pray with greater earnestness for protection, v. 10.

Ver. 12. Wilderness. This is the language of dastardly souls. They had begun to be almost in love with their chains. Every difficulty gives them occasion to repine at the gracious purposes of God, and the exertions of his servant Moses. But God bears patiently with the defects of a carnal and long-oppressed nation. H. v. 13. — The wiser sort pray to God, while others thus upbraid Moses.

Ver. 13. Ever. They saw their floating carcasses the following morning. Heb. “you shall not see the Egyptians any more as you see them at present.” They were not in the same condition.

Ver. 14. Peace. You will not have to draw a sword. The Syriac subjoins, “Therefore Moses cried unto the Lord,” which connects this with the following verse. C.

Ver. 15. Criest. — “A vehement desire is a cry, which reaches the ears of the Lord.” S. Bern.

Ver. 17. To pursue. God did not restrain the perverse will of the Egyptians; but suffered them to be guided by their blind passions, and to rush presumptuously into the bed of the sea. If the retiring of its waters had been owing to any natural cause, this wise nation could not be ignorant but that, at the stated time, the ebbing would cease, and consequently that they would be overtaken by the waters. But the waters stood up like walls on both sides, and they were so infatuated as to suppose that the miracle would be continued for their protection. H.

Ver. 20. A dark cloud, and enlightening the night. It was a dark cloud to the Egyptians; but enlightened the night to the Israelites, by giving them a great light.

Ver. 21. Wind. This served to dry up the sandy channel of the Red Sea, which was mixed with mud and weeds. It blew from the east, Kodim, or from Arabia. — Divided, some say into 12 parts or divisions, Ps. cxxxv. 13. But the words of the psalmist may be verified by the sea opening a spacious passage, such as was requisite for so many millions to travel through, (H.) e.g. a distance of perhaps 18 miles, in so short a space of time. Silara Adrichomius thinks the breadth of the division would not be less than nine miles.

Ver. 24. Watch. About four o’clock. The Hebrews divided the night into three equal parts, (C.) or four, consisting each of three hours, (M.) which varied in length as the night was longer. H. — Slew many by his thunderbolts, as Artapanus relates, and the Scripture elsewhere insinuates. C. xv. 6. 12. Ps. lxxvi. 16. 18. Josep. ii. 7.

Ver. 25. Lord. thus they reluctantly confess his might, and are forced to glory Him in their destruction. Their change is only the effect of fear and temporal danger, v. 18. H.

Ver. 31. Sea-shore. The Hebrews would thus again be enriched by their spoils. C. — Servant. Those who believe God, submit to the directions of his ambassadors. S. Jerom in Philem. 5. In this merited catastrophe of the Egyptians, which fixed the last seal to the mission of Moses, the fathers contemplate how God’s servants are rescued by baptism, and by the merits of Jesus Christ, from Satan and from all sin. 1 Cor. x. 1. 4. Orig. hom. 5. H.