Exodus Chapter 14 Parting of the Red Sea and Destruction of the Egyptian Army

Sep 27, 2012  |  Exodus, Old Testament  |  No Comments

The Parting of the Red Sea and the Destruction of the Egyptian Army

Exodus 14:1-4 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, that they turn and camp before Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, opposite Baal Zephon. Before it, you shall camp by the sea. For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, ‘They are entangled in the land, the wilderness has shut them it.’ And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, that he will pursue them, and I will gain honor over Pharaoh, and over all his army, that the Egyptians may know that I am the LORD.” And they did so.

Pharaoh and his officials regretted letting the Israelites go, so he called together his army with all their chariots and horsemen and pursued the Israelites.

Exodus 14:8 And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt and he pursued after the children of Israel as the children of Israel were going out defiantly.

Pharaoh’s army pursued the Israelites intensely and caught up with them where they were camped.

Exodus 14:10-12 And when Pharaoh drew near, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians marched after them. And they were very afraid and the children of Israel called out to the LORD and they said to Moses, “Because there were no graves in Egypt have your taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt? Is this not what we said to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians?  For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness.’”

Exodus 14:13-14 But Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid, stand firm and see the salvation of the LORD, that He will show to you today.  For the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you shall never see again. The LORD shall fight for you and you shall hold your peace.”

Exodus 14:15-16 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Why do you cry out to me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward. But lift up your rod and stretch out your hand over the sea, and divide it. And the children of Israel will go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.

Exodus 14:17-18 And I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they will follow them.  And I will gain honor over Pharaoh and on all his army, on his chariots and on his horsemen.  And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gained honor for Myself over Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen.”

Exodus 14:19-20 And the angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them. And the pillar of cloud went from before them and stood behind them. And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. And it was a cloud of darkness to one and it gave light to the other, so that the one did not come near the other all that night.

Exodus 14:21 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.

Exodus 14:22 And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on the dry ground, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.

Exodus 14:23 And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots and his horsemen.

Exodus 14:24-25 At the morning watch, the LORD in the pillar of fire and cloud, looked down on the Egyptian army and threw the Egyptian army into panic, clogging their chariot wheels so they drove heavily, and the Egyptians said, “Let us flee from the face of Israel, for the LORD fights for them against the Egyptians.”

Exodus 14:26 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea, that the waters may come back on the Egyptians, on their chariots, and on their horsemen.”

Exodus 14:27-28 And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its full depth when the morning appeared, and the Egyptians fled against it, and the LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. And the waters returned, and covered the chariots and the horsemen, and all the army of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them. Not so much as one of them remained.

Exodus 14:29 But the Israelites walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters forming a wall on their right hand and on their left.

Exodus 14:30 So the LORD saved Israel that day out of  the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the sea shore.

Exodus 14:31 And Israel saw that great work that the LORD did on the Egyptians, and the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD, and his servant Moses.

Amazing Acts of God in Exodus Chapter 14

The parting of the Red Sea is an amazing miracle that God performs, but I had missed some of the nuances surrounding this miracle, despite having heard it countless times.

  • The angel of the LORD and the pillar of cloud moved behind the children of Israel, going from leading her to protecting her.
  • This also enabled the children of Israel to cross the Red Sea unimpeded, because the Egyptians saw only dark cloud that night, while the Israelites had light to cross by. (Tradition holds that references to the angel of the LORD refer to the pre-incarnate Jesus. I like that thought.)
  • God directed every move of the Israelites here – from directing where they would camp, to leading them across the parted waters of the Red Sea.
  • God, of course, performed the great miracle of parting the Red Sea, directing it to return to its full depth only when the Israelites were safely across and the Egyptians were too far to turn back.
  • God almost lured the Egyptians to pursue the Israelites, making it appear that they were lost and trapped in the wilderness and hardening the hearts of Pharaoh and his officials. Ultimately, God destroyed the Egyptian army led by the arrogant Pharaoh. Not one of the Egyptian army who pursued the Israelites survived.
  • In this chapter, God shows who He is.  Before destroying the Egyptian army, God says that His actions will result in the Egyptians knowing that He is the LORD. We have two choices – acknowledge and worship God voluntarily now or wait until we have no choice.  The Egyptians chose the latter.  I choose the former and fear the LORD and worship Him now, voluntarily. What is your choice?

What God Asks from Us Based on This Passage

  • Follow God’s guidance. Too often we rely on our own direction – this is a sin and a trap.
  • Obey God.  When God told the people to camp at a particular place, they did so.  When He directed them across the parted waters of the Red Sea, they obeyed, even though it must have been terrifying.
  • Trust in God and be courageous.  I can’t help but empathize with the Israelites when they saw the Egyptian army bearing down on them, a helpless mass of people laden with all their personal possessions, not to mention a great deal of Egypt’s wealth.
  • Fear the LORD. He is the LORD, the Almighty. Remember that and fear Him. Do not take Him lightly.  He is not your buddy, He is the God of the universe.
  • Believe in God. Know that He is the LORD.

As I read the first books of the Bible, what amazes me more that anything is that God wants to be with us.  It’s almost incomprehensible to me. What arrogance and foolishness when we turn our backs on the Almighty God!

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