King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Exodus 15

The song of Moses for the deliverance of Israel. (1-21) The bitter waters at Marah, The Israelites come to Elim. (22-27)

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The song of Moses for the deliverance of Israel

1 Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.

2 The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him.

3 The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name.

4 Pharaoh’s chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea.

5 The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone.

6 Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy.

7 And in the greatness of thine excellency thou hast overthrown them that rose up against thee: thou sentest forth thy wrath, which consumed them as stubble.

8 And with the blast of thy nostrils the waters were gathered together, the floods stood upright as an heap, and the depths were congealed in the heart of the sea.

9 The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my lust shall be satisfied upon them; I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them.

10 Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them: they sank as lead in the mighty waters.

11 Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?

12 Thou stretchedst out thy right hand, the earth swallowed them.

13 Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation.

14 The people shall hear, and be afraid: sorrow shall take hold on the inhabitants of Palestina.

15 Then the dukes of Edom shall be amazed; the mighty men of Moab, trembling shall take hold upon them; all the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away.

16 Fear and dread shall fall upon them; by the greatness of thine arm they shall be as still as a stone; till thy people pass over, O LORD, till the people pass over, which thou hast purchased.

17 Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O LORD, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O LORD, which thy hands have established.

18 The LORD shall reign for ever and ever.

19 For the horse of Pharaoh went in with his chariots and with his horsemen into the sea, and the LORD brought again the waters of the sea upon them; but the children of Israel went on dry land in the midst of the sea.

20 And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances.

21 And Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.

The bitter waters at Marah, The Israelites come to Elim

22 So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water.

23 And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah.

24 And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?

25 And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them,

26 And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.

27 And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Canticle. Origen reckons this to be the most ancient piece of poetry. It is truly sublime, and calculated to fill the souls of those, who say their late cruel masters, now prostrate at their feet in death, with sentiments of the greatest gratitude and piety towards their almighty benefactor. H. — God miraculously gave utterance to the dumb on this occasion, (Widsom x. 21.) and taught the whole congregation of Israel to join in harmonious concert. (De Mirab. S. S. inter. op. S. Aug.) This mode of perpetuating the memory of past benefits by canticles, is very common in Scripture. C. — Let us sing. So the Sept. The Heb. has “I will sing…for he hath triumphed gloriously.” This canticle was composed by Moses, about 1491 years B.C. H.

Ver. 2. Praise. The printed Heb. is here irregular, but some MSS. agree with the Vulg. Chal. and Arab. Ken. i. p. 400. — To him my praise is due on all titles. H. — God. Hebrew el, “the strong one.” M.

Ver. 3. The Lord. Sept. “breaking wars in pieces,” a man of war, a conqueror. C. — Almighty. Jehova, I am. This is the most awful and incommunicable name. H.

Ver. 4. Captains. Lit. Princes. Heb. shalishim, chiefs. The three great officers. C. xiv. 7. We find three were entrusted with the highest power in the empire of Chaldea, (Ezec. xxiii. 15. Dan. v. 7.) as well as at the court of David. 2 K. xxiii. 8. 1 Par. xi. 10. Hadino, Eleazar, and Semma, had various other princes under them. C.

Ver. 7. Wrath. A tempest of lightning. See Isai. lxiii. 11. Habac. iii. 15.

Ver. 8. Together. “Congealed on either side,” as the Chal. and Sept. express it. C.

Ver. 9. Enemy. Miracles make but small impression upon the wicked. They pursue their schemes of destruction, which end in their own ruin! — Slay. Heb. “despoil.” Sept. “bring them into subjection.” H.

Ver. 10. Wind. Sept. “spirit,” which S. Amb. and S. Aug. understand as the Holy Ghost. C.

Ver. 11. Who…Lord. The initials of these four Hebrew letters, which the Maccabees placed on their banners, (m c b i) probably gave that title to those stout heroes, who rose up in defence of their religion. H. — Strong, may be applied either to men, or to the pretended gods of the Gentiles, which seems to agree best with the sequel. Sept. “among the gods…wonderful in praises.” — Terrible and. Heb. “terrible to praise,” requiring that we should perform that duty with awe. C.

Ver. 12. Earth. When their carcasses were corrupted, such as were not eaten by fishes, mixed with the earth at the bottom, or on the shore of the sea.

Ver. 13. Hast been. This is a prophecy of what should happen to the Hebrews till they should be put in quiet possession of Chanaan, (C.) of which they had an earnest, in the protection which they had already experienced. H. — Holy, on account of the temple, and of the patriarchs, and Jesus Christ, who dwelt there. M.

Ver. 15. Stiff, with consternation. See Jos. ix. 9. The nations of Chanaan found auxiliaries even among the near relations of the Hebrews, the children of Esau, (who were not governed by princes, Alphim, as Gen. xxxvi.) and of Lot. We easily forget our relations, when our interest is at stake! Heb. instead of being stiff, says, they “melted away.” Both words insinuate, that their heart was under such a violent struggle, that they could perform no duty.

Ver. 16. In the, &c. When they shall behold thy wonders, wrought in our defence. — Let them cease to make opposition. Heb. “let them be silent as a stone.” H.

Ver. 17. Mountain. Chanaan was very mountainous, and different from Egypt. C. — Sion was the peculiar mountain of God, consecrated to his worship. M.

Ver. 18. And ever. Lit. et ultra, “and beyond;” holam, which denotes a long duration, is often used to mean a time that will have an end. To add the greater emphasis to it, the latter term is sometimes used when eternity is meant. The Sept. “The Lord shall reign over this generation, or age of the Mosaic law, and over an age lasting from Christ to the end, and still.” His kingdom shall extend over all eternity. C.

Ver. 19. For, &c. He is not tired with repeating this wonderful judgment, which gave him reason to hope that God would complete his work; and at the same time, give a sanction to his mission. If the most potent of the monarchs of the earth could so little withstand his power, what had he to fear from a few jarring clans of barbarians and shepherds? H.

Ver. 20. Mary, or Mariam, as it was formerly pronounced, though the Masorets now read Miriam: may signify one “exalted, lady, star, bitterness of the sea.” — Prophetess; having revelations from God, (Num. xii. 1,) and singing his praises. — Of Aaron. Moses passes over himself out of modesty. She is known by this title, whence it is supposed she never married. S. Amb. C. — Timbrels, which were already used in solemn worship. — And dances. Choris may mean companies of women, singing and dancing in honour of God. The men repeated what Moses had entoned, and the women did the same after Mary; unless, perhaps, the multitude of both sexes, respectively, repeated only the first verse by way of chorus; or Mary and her band took up each verse “in answer” to the men, as the Heb. insinuates. This divine canticle will afford joy even to the elect. Apoc. xv. 3.

Ver. 22. Sur, which is called Etham, “Pough,” (Num. xxxiii. 7,) on which account both sides of the Red Sea are described by the same name; hence some have groundlessly asserted that the Hebrews came out of the Red Sea by the same way they entered it. H.

Ver. 23. Mara, about halfway between Suez and M. Sinai. The waters are said to be still potable, though of a disagreeable nitrous taste. C.

Ver. 25. A tree; (lignum) or piece of wood, which had the natural property here ascribed to it. Eccli. xxxviii. 4. C. — Though we can hardly suppose, that all the collection of waters would be thus rendered sweet, unless God had given it a miraculous efficacy. H. — It foreshewed the virtue of the cross. Theodoret ix. 26. — Him, Moses, and the people of Israel, of which he was now the sole head or king. H. — God proved on this occasion the disposition of the Hebrews to enter into the alliance, of which he proposes to them the heads, v. seq. Josue xxiv. 25, makes use of nearly the same words. God begins to take upon himself the administration of the republic, appointing the forms of judicature. Jer. vii. 22. What regarded sacrifices, was given upon occasion of their idolatry. D.

Ver. 26. Healer. God delivered his people from every infirmity, which might prevent any one from joining the rest of their tribes on the night of the exit. Ps. civ. 37.

Ver. 27. Elim, to the north-west of Sinai. Shaw says there are now only nine fountains. H. — Strabo mentions a place of this description, five days’ journey from Jericho, which was consecrated to the gods. B. xvi. p. 511. C. — We might here, (at the conclusion of the third age, according to those who call the deluge the first, and Abraham’s call, the second,) pause, with Dr. Worthington, to take a view of the progress of the Church, and of the true doctrine, which has at all times been believed. But the attentive reader of the sacred text, and of these notes, will find this to his hand almost every page. Meditate upon these things…Take heed to thyself and to doctrine, be earnest in them. 1 Tim. iv. 15. The holy Job probably lived about this time, so that his book may serve to corroborate those truths, which were the objects of faith to some good men living among the Gentiles, as well as to the more favoured nation of the Jews. H.