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Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament

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EXODUS 14

This great chapter records the event of the passage of the Red Sea by the children of Israel and the overthrow of Pharaoh and his chariots on the same day. Asimov's concise statement of what happened here is: "The waters of the Red Sea miraculously parted for them, and then returned in time to drown the pursuing Egyptians."F1 The place where this great wonder occurred cannot now be accurately determined. It is evident that it took place opposite the place called Pi-hahiroth, but that tells us nothing, since nobody knows where that place was.

Again, with Asimov, we may eliminate the main body of the Red Sea proper, some 150 miles in width and more than a mile deep, because, if Israel had crossed that, they would have crossed on to the main portion of the Arabian peninsula, a thing which they evidently did not do. All of their subsequent activity is represented in the holy text as being in the Sinai Peninsula, and that is separated from Egypt by the northwestern extension of the Red Sea now known as the Gulf of Suez. "There is little doubt that at the time of the exodus the Gulf of Suez extended much further north than it does now, and that the modern Lake Timsah and the Bitter Lakes were connected with each other and with the Gulf of Suez."F2 If there was any portion of that extension called the "Reed Sea," it also would have been, like the whole extension, a portion of the Red Sea, fully justifying the ancient designation for the body of water that they crossed. That it was not merely a "swampland" as affirmed by critics is certain, being proved by the facts: (1) that Pharaoh considered it impassable; (2) that the Israelites themselves considered their position hopeless; (3) that the normal strength (or depth) of the waters was sufficient to drown Pharaoh's army; and (4) that it is unequivocally represented in the Bible as a sovereign act of Almighty God that enabled Israel to cross.

The employment of secondary and natural forces in this wonder is fully witnessed by the Word itself. A mighty east wind blew all night. According to Ps. 77:17-20, there were also employed other natural forces including: (1) a violent storm; (2) thunders and lightnings; and (3) an earthquake. In very recent history, an earthquake caused the Mississippi river to flow northward for about 24 hours, resulting in the creation of Reelfoot Lake. However, we do not for one moment accept any of the natural forces that were connected with this Deliverance as being in any manner the explanation. We are here dealing with a miracle. It is encouraging that even some of the very critical scholars see this. The sacred author is here, "clearly speaking of a divine miracle," and it is extremely questionable whether it is "appropriate to look for a `natural parallel' for the events he describes."F3 Noth also stated that when the author of Exodus mentioned the "clogging" or "breaking" or "removal" of the chariot wheels, "a further inexplicable divine act was the reason why!"F4

In this chapter introduction is also an appropriate place to note the usual critical allegations regarding "prior sources." Canon George Harford analyzed the passage by splitting it into fragments attributed to J, E, P, J, Jr, E, P, E, P, J, J, J, J, P, J, P, J, J, and Rje! No scholar ever known agreed with that! However, he did state one extremely important thing:

"The escape of the Israelites from the Egyptians, by passing dryshod over the water barrier that seemed to hem them in, is unanimously presented by all the narrators!"F5

This admitted unity of the so-called various sources on so important an event is an overwhelming testimony that the alleged sources themselves are unified, not merely in their alleged divisions, but also, with the whole of the Pentateuch.

The great significance of this Red Sea passage applies both to Israel and to Christianity.

FOR ISRAEL

"That victory at the Red Sea was the birth of a nation."F6

It was the defeat of their enemy.

It was their entry into a new way of life.

It separated them irrevocably from slavery in Egypt.

It confirmed them in their belief in God.

It confirmed them in their belief in Moses.

It was God's initiation of a chain of events that, in time, would deliver the Messiah to mankind.

It was the triumph of monotheism over paganism.

It was the establishment of a type that would be fulfilled, in the future, by the salvation of every person.

The Red Sea destroyed and disarmed Egypt.

The Red Sea saved and armed Israel.

Only those who crossed over to Moses were delivered.

Until they crossed over, they were still in the domain of and subject to their enemy Pharaoh.

THE GRAND ANALOGY

As DeHoff said, "The story of the Israelites and their journey from Egypt to Canaan is a type of our journey from the Egypt of sin into the everlasting Canaan."F7

Egypt is a type of sin and bondage in the service of Satan.

Pharaoh is a type of Satan.

God's sending Moses to deliver Israel is a type of God's sending Christ to deliver Christians.

Moses is a remarkable type of Christ in scores of particulars.

The compromises that Pharaoh suggested are exactly those that Satan employs to dissuade would-be Christians (See under Exo. 8:28).

Israel's crossing the Red Sea represents the Christian's baptism into Christ (1 Corinthians 10:1-10).

Israel's entering the wilderness is a figure of the Christian's probation in the church.

The wilderness is a type of the church.

That Israel sinned and that many of them did not enter Canaan is a warning that all "Christians" may not enter heaven.

Canaan is a type of heaven.

The Jordan river is a type of death.

Some of the Israelites at last entering Canaan is a type of the ultimate redemption and eternal bliss of the faithful.

These citations are merely the fringes of that extensive fabric of type and antitype extending throughout Exodus. Another extensive area of this was cited under Exo. 12:51, regarding the Passover lamb as a type of Christ. There will be other very extensive analogies regarding the tabernacle and many of the things pertaining to it and its related services. It is ALL THIS that defies any rationalistic view of Exodus. The hand of the eternal God is in every line of it, and there cannot be any intelligent way to explain ALL THIS as the result of fraud, caprice, pseudonymous writings, prior sources such as the alleged sources of the Pentateuch, or as resulting from the "post eventum" interpolation of a self-seeking priesthood. In particular, the Israelite priesthood was incapable spiritually of having conceived any of these remarkable events in Exodus. No! We stand right here at the kernel and the center of God's revealed religion.

Therefore, we shall waste no further time with the skeptical and detrimental postulations directed at this glorious chapter. Let us behold the Sacred Text itself!


 
Verses 1-4
And Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn back and encamp before Pihahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, before Baal-zephon: over against it shall ye encamp by the sea. And Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, They are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in. And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and he shall follow after them; and I will get me honor upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host: and the Egyptians shall know that I am Jehovah. And they did so.

All of the place names, not merely here, but in Exo. 14:9 as well, are impossible of any certain identification as to exactly where they were. "These cannot be surely identified."F8 Nevertheless, the strategy is clear enough. God deliberately ordered Moses to signal confusion and uncertainty to Pharaoh by changing directions and taking up a very vulnerable position "by the sea." That this was merely some kind of a marshy swamp is ridiculous! The judgment of Pharaoh as to the vulnerability of Israel proves this. From the human viewpoint, it did appear that Israel was trapped, hemmed in by mountains on either side and a formidable arm of the Gulf of Suez in front of them, and Pharaoh would promptly supply the rest of the trap himself (so he thought) by moving in to their rear with a well-equipped army!

And I will get me honor upon Pharaoh…
God was not through with this evil man, but in one more judgment would meet out to him the punishment that he deserved. He had thrown infant children in the waters. Very well, God would cast him and his army into the sea! He had promised again and again to let the people go, but he never had any determined intention of doing so. This time he will indeed let the people go!


 
Verses 5-9
And it was told the king of Egypt that the people were fled: and the heart of Pharaoh and of his servants was changed towards the people, and they said, What is this we have done, that we have let Israel go from serving us? And he made ready his chariot, and took his people with him: and he took six hundred chosen chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt, and captains over all of them. And Jehovah hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel: for the children of Israel went out with a high hand. And 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 Baal-zephon.

It was told that the people had fled…
Some try to make a contradiction out of this by construing the word fled with the sense of going away secretly, but this is disproved by what the people said, What is this that we have done ... we have let Israel go ... etc. Besides that, as Fields pointed out fled does not invariably imply secrecy.F9 It is easily seen here what caused Pharaoh to change his mind. The stupendous size of their loss had now been fully realized by the people, and they were all, including Pharaoh, utterly unwilling to face the consequences of it.

How strange it is that Pharaoh, after all the pain and loss he had endured by means of the ten plagues, would now determine once again to test his own strength against the will of God! What a blind and irresponsible folly was his! As Jamieson said, "Those whom the Lord has doomed to destruction are first infatuated by sin.F10

He made ready his chariot. etc…
This indicates that Pharaoh himself participated in this attempt, that he took his people, that he pursued; and from this it is demanded that we understand Pharaoh himself to have been drowned by the returning waters of the sea. Clement of Rome in his First Epistle affirmed that:

"Pharaoh and his army with all the princes of Egypt, and the chariots with their riders, were sunk in the depths of the Red Sea, and perished, for no other reason than that their foolish hearts were darkened, after so many signs and wonders had been wrought in the land of Egypt by Moses the servant of God."F11

Josephus and all the ancients were of the same opinion. "Horsemen ..." (Exodus 14:9) is called an anachronism by Harford,F12 but his mistake came about from misunderstanding of the text. Rawlinson noted that:

"`Horses and chariots' should be read `all the chariot horses.' There is no `and' in the original. `His rider' refers to those who rode in the chariots."F13

By the sea…
The sea is mentioned three times in these first nine verses, and it is a matter of the most remarkable interest that God was about to effect the second great deliverance of mankind by means of water. Thus, the Israelites would take their place along with Noah and his house who were saved by water. Thus:

Noah and his house were saved through water.

The children of Israel were saved through water.

A bride for Isaac was chosen in a water test.

Jacob also found his bride at a well.

The water delivered Israel from Pharaoh, and the water destroyed Pharaoh.

The waters of the Jordan delivered them into Canaan.

Gideon's three hundred were selected in a water test.

Jesus' first miracle changed water to wine.

The waters of Bethesda were the scene of another sign.

The Pool of Siloam saw the blind man healed.

Jesus walked on the Sea of Galilee (Thus, four of the seven signs of John were water signs)

Christ declared himself to be the Water of Life.

Christ declared that men must be born of the water.

Baptism doth now save us (as Peter declared).

The pierced side of Christ yielded water and blood.

The ancients made a great deal out of this emphasis. Tertullian, for example, wrote:

"The nations are set free from the world by means of the water (their baptism), and the devil they leave quite behind overwhelmed in the water. How mighty is the grace of water. Christ himself was baptized in water, demonstrated his power in water when invited to the nuptials, invited the sinful to drink of the living water, cited a cup of water as glorious among the works of charity, recruited his strength at a well, and walked over the water; and even as he approached the cross, the water witnessed his innocence when Pilate washed his hands!"F14


 
Verses 10-14
And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians were marching after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto Jehovah. 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 bring us forth out of Egypt? Is not this the word that we spake unto thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it were better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness. And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of Jehovah, which he will work for you to-day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to-day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. Jehovah will fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.

They were sore afraid…
From the human standpoint, they had every right to be afraid. The situation, apart from God's intervention, was absolutely hopeless.

The children of Israel cried unto Jehovah…
They not only did this; they murmured and complained bitterly against Moses; and from this, we must assume that some of them cried unto Jehovah, and that others among them did the complaining.

Wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us.?
Moses was to hear a lot of complaining before his leadership of Israel was concluded, but Moses was a man of magnificent patience, understanding, and forgiveness. His great love for Israel was to reach its climax later, when he offered himself to die in the place of Israel, prevailing with God Himself to spare them when they richly deserved the death with which God threatened them.

This murmuring at the Red Sea was sufficiently serious to evoke the words in Ps. 106:7,8:

"Our fathers understood not thy wonders in Egypt; they remembered not the multitude of thy loving-kindnesses, but were rebellious at the sea, even at the Red Sea. Nevertheless, He saved them for His name's sake, that He might make His mighty power to be known."

Better to serve the Egyptians. than ... die in the wilderness ..…
The people of Israel had been too long in slavery to have much of the attitude that has always characterized free men. Today (as of June 5, 1984) the license plates for automobiles issued by the State of New Hampshire carry the motto, Live free or die. What the Israelites were saying to Moses was an ancient equivalent of Better Red than Dead!

Moses' response to the situation actually had five elements: (1) Fear not; (2) Stand firm; (3) See God's salvation; (4) Jehovah will fight for you; and (5) Shut up! i.e., "Hold your peace!" It should be noted that "Stand still" had no reference whatever to an order to "Do nothing." We cannot believe that Moses meant anything like that; but, even if he did, God thundered it into his ears at once, "Command the people to `Go Forward.'" One of the basic meanings of "stand still" is that of "stationing one's self, or taking a stand."F15

PASSAGE OF THE RED SEA

(THE COMMAND GIVEN)


 
Verses 15-18
And Jehovah said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward. And lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thy hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go into the midst of the sea on dry ground. And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall go in after them: and I will get me honor upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen. And the Egyptians shall know that I am Jehovah, when I have gotten me honor upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.

Wherefore criest thou unto me.?
Moses did not record his prayer to Jehovah in this situation, but we surely know that he did pray a most fervent and urgent prayer, as we can conclude from God's answer to it, which Moses did relate.

Go forward…
No better motto for any time or people than this one, and yet what a hopeless order it might have seemed to some when God gave it! God's commands require only an affirmative human response to be effective. The means and ability are always supplied by God Himself, and so it was here. It was the responsibility of the people to go forward, and it was God's part to divide the seas and provide the dry land.

We cannot tell how long Israel remained camped by the sea near Pi-hahiroth before the divine order to cross the sea was given. The Israelites would not have moved until the pillar of cloud and of fire moved, and it had taken them a day to come from Etham, that being the point at which the spies of Pharaoh doubtless sent their lord the message of Israel's apparent "wandering," an impression they surely received from the reversal of directions there. Then, as Rawlinson calculated it, it would have taken Pharaoh one day to get the message, another day to assemble his chariots, and another three or four days to overtake the Israelites. From this, he observed that, "The Jewish tradition that the Red Sea was crossed on the night of the 21st of Abib (Nisan) is, therefore, a true one.F16

PASSAGE OF THE RED SEA

(THE WAY OPENED)


 
Verses 19, 20
And the angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud removed from before them, and stood behind them: and it came between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel; and there was the cloud and the darkness, yet gave it light by night: and the one came not near the other all the night.

In these few enigmatical words stands the record of one of the greatest events since the Great Deluge. No words were wasted. There is not a word about how the exodus began, or whether they moved in one massive body of people three miles wide, or if they went by hundreds, fifties, thousands, or tens of thousands. The order to "go forward" had been given. God made it possible, and they did it! Just a few details are recorded. In these verses, we have: (1) the positioning of the Angel of Jehovah between the two encampments; (2) the positioning of the pillar to correspond with that, indicating that the pillar was a visible manifestation of the Angel of Jehovah; and (3) the fact of darkness resting upon the Egyptians and light enabling the Israelites to go forward at night, suggesting that this was to be a night-time deliverance. Regarding the Angel of Jehovah: "The Angel of Jehovah, previously mentioned as the Lord himself, is the pre-incarnated Christ; he moved ahead to deliver his people."F17

PASSAGE OF THE RED SEA

(THEY CROSS OVER)


 
Verses 21-25
And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and Jehovah caused the sea to go [back] by a strong east wind all the night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. 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. And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them into the midst of the sea, all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. And it came to pass in the morning watch, that Jehovah looked forth upon the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of cloud, and discomfited the host of the Egyptians. And he took off their chariot wheels, and they drove them heavily; so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for Jehovah fighteth for them against the Egyptians.

Now, there are all kinds of rationalistic "explanations" about how the returning waters turned the dry ground into quicksand or mud, but, to us, such aids of our understanding are in the class with those arguments about how Lazarus had been embalmed, whether by the Egyptian or some other method, all such speculations being for the purpose of helping the Lord Jesus Christ get Lazarus out of the tomb, when he called, "Lazarus, Come forth!" It seems never to occur to such "explainers," that what they are trying to do is help the Lord get a man out of the grave after he had just raised him from the dead! It is absolutely immaterial how God defeated the Egyptians; the fact remains that he did so; and that not a one of them escaped death by drowning in an area "in the midst of the sea," which only shortly before had been dry ground!

Let us glee…
Alas, when it was too late, they decided to cease their struggle against the will of God.

A strong east wind…
See the chapter introduction (above) for the note on God's use of natural forces in the achievement of the great wonder here. To us, it seems certain that whatever natural forces were brought into the event here, it still remains an unqualified miracle of the greatest magnitude. Of course, God used natural means, as in practically all, if not all, of the great wonders seen in the plagues, and, therefore, it should have been expected that the great forces of nature, eternally under God's control, would have been deployed by Him in the achievement of His will here.

It went before the camp. and there was darkness and blackness ..…
This is the Septuagint (LXX) rendition of Exo. 14:20, followed also by the RSV, and if this is correct, it would mean that the ordinary darkness of the night was accompanied by and intensified by an even greater darkness emanating from the cloud. The effect was to make it impossible for the Egyptians to know what was going on until daybreak.

The sea returned to its strength…
(Exodus 14:27) This means that it returned to its usual depth. In the light of this, what becomes of the Reed Sea or swampland speculations? This text says that, at the place where Israel crossed and all the Egyptians drowned, The sea-bed was always covered with strong waters.F18

The waters were a wall unto them…
Misunderstanding this metaphor has resulted in all kinds of bizarre statements about perpendicular walls of water, but nothing like that is here. The metaphor is no more to be taken literally than when Ezra 9:9 says that God has given him a wall (same word) in Israel.F19 The meaning is that both the left and right flanks of Israel were protected by the waters. It was only a passageway that God cleared. The heaps of waters, right and left, were of the same character of the heap of waters at high tides or in front of a hurricane. Throughout this narrative we have been repeatedly reminded of the great natural wonder in the Bay of Fundy, where some of the highest tides on earth occur. In one hour ships may be seen, mighty freighters unloading or loading at the docks along the shore, and after the tide goes out, the same ships may be seen resting upon their keels in the soft sea-bed thirty feet below the level only a few hours previously, and the area covered by this phenomenon is thousands of square miles! What occurs there regularly and naturally is similar to what occurred here supernaturally!

PASSAGE OF THE RED SEA

(ACCOMPLISHED)


 
Verses 26-31
And Jehovah said unto Moses, Stretch out thy hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen. And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and Jehovah overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, even all the host of Pharaoh that went in after them into the sea; there remained not so much as one of them. 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. Thus Jehovah saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea-shore. And Israel saw the great work which Jehovah did upon the Egyptians, and the people feared Jehovah: and they believed in Jehovah, and in his servant Moses.

The alleged moral problem. How could God have destroyed mercilessly such a great host of people? Is this consistent with the revelation of God which has come to us through the Lord Jesus Christ? The answer is certainly YES. The current notion, held by many, that Almighty God will eternally overlook and tolerate human wickedness, cruelty, oppression, and violence is NOT a true understanding of God. God is angry with the wicked every day, and there is sure to come a time when God in righteous wrath shall rise and cast evil out of His universe. As for those "poor Egyptians," think of the mission upon which they were engaged. Every one of them was armed with military weapons. They were intent on killing whatever thousands or hundreds of thousands of Israel that they might have found necessary to their purpose of returning all of them to work perpetually in the brickyards of Egypt as slaves! We have no respect at all for the silly quibble that it was immoral for God to have destroyed the Egyptian death squad in the very act of their ruthless mission. If one wishes to discover "immorality" somewhere, it is in such thoughts that question the righteousness of God.

Most of the specifics in this paragraph have already been noted in the comments above, and what we have here is somewhat a recapitulation and summary of the mighty act of Jehovah. The result is stated in Exo. 14:31, where faith in God and in his servant Moses was established in Israel. It is a sorrow that this faith did not continue unabated. Wherever and whenever the occasion came, Israel always seemed ready to murmur and complain.

The horsemen…
(Exodus 14:26). The text requires that these be understood, not as mounted cavalry, but as drivers of the chariot horses.F20

"The Hebrew text is remarkably in accordance with the native monuments of the time, which represent the army of Pharaoh as composed of only two descriptions of troops, a chariot, and an infantry force."F21

The sea returned to its strength…
This clearly means that the portion of the sea crossed by Israel was normally of sufficient depth to cover completely an entire division of chariots, horses, drivers, riders and all. The picture here is not of some marsh covered with reeds, or of some type of shallow swamp, but of a body of water called a sea 17 times in the 31 verses of this chapter!

There remained not so much as one of them…
This loss by Pharaoh of the entire striking force of his army, i.e., the chariot divisions, alone accounts for the fact that, Israel enjoyed an undisturbed retreat through a district then subject to Egypt and easily accessible to their forces (if they had had any!).F22 During the whole period of the forty years in the wilderness, no Egyptian offered one breath of opposition to Israel.

Did Pharaoh himself perish in this disaster? We believe that he did. (See the notes above.) Of course, this is disputed on the basis of its not being specifically mentioned in this summary, and also upon the basis of there having been found no reference to any such death of a Pharaoh on any of the ancient monuments thus far discovered. However, it is a naive and foolish supposition that any Egyptian government would have memorialized a fiasco like Pharaoh's Red Sea adventure on a public monument. Until the U.S.A. erects a monument to Benedict Arnold, it would seem impossible to expect such a thing. The death of Pharaoh in the Red Sea can neither be proved nor disproved by the archeologists.

When any scholar comes up with a name for the Pharaoh who PROBABLY perished in the pursuit of Israel, the critics always counter with an objection to it. Such an objection was dealt with by Dummelow as follows:

"The supposed discovery in modern times of the mummy of Merenptah is no argument against his being the Pharaoh of the Exodus, or against the truth of this narrative. Even though he did lead his host into the midst of the sea and perish with the others, his body might have been recovered and preserved."F23

Jehovah saved Israel that day out of the hands of the Egyptians…
The Biblical record is always at great pains to ascribe the power, and the glory, and the victory, not to Moses, but to Jehovah the God of Israel. Likewise, men should, at all times, be careful to ascribe the glory and the honor and the power, not to themselves or to their fellows, but to Almighty God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Unto the Lamb be the blessing, and the honor, and the glory, and the dominion, forever and ever. (Revelation 5:13).

And they saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea-shore…
An appropriate comment on this clause in Exo. 14:31 is the following quotation from Josephus:

"On the next day Moses gathered together the weapons of the Egyptians, which were brought to the camp of the Hebrews by the current of the sea, and the force of the winds; and he conjectured that this also happened by Divine Providence, that so they might not be destitute of weapons. So, when he had ordered the Hebrews to arm themselves with them, he led them to Mount Sinai to offer sacrifice to God, and to render oblations for the salvation of the multitude, as he was charged to do beforehand.F24

When the Great Seal of the United States was being designed, Benjamin Franklin proposed the following design for the reverse:

"Pharaoh sitting in an open chariot, a crown on his head and a sword in his hand, passing through the divided waters of the Red Sea in pursuit of the Israelites. Rays from the pillar of fire in the cloud, expressive of the Divine Presence beaming upon Moses, who stands on the shore, extending his hand over the sea, causing it to overflow Pharaoh. With the inscription "Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God!"F25

The marvelous events of this chapter declare in tones of thunder that Israel did not just happen; it was created by a sovereign act of the eternal God. That what happened here actually occurred is certain. One would be as justified in denying the American Revolution as in denying this. It is memorialized in the song and story of nearly thirty-five centuries, and commemorated by the continuous observance throughout those millenniums of the Jewish Passover with its attendant rites, and the unbroken preaching of it for almost 2,000 years of Christianity. The sacred religion of Jesus Christ has deep roots in the historical types of this Mighty Deliverance; and the Divine promises to the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, are witnessed and confirmed as truthful and authentic by the thunders of Exodus.

Spiritually, this event is unsurpassed by anything else in the O.T. Here we see faith rewarded, and unbelief defeated and destroyed. We see proud tyranny and oppression cast down to oblivion and death. We see the mightiest military machine on earth broken, defeated, and destroyed by a shepherd's crook. We see a nation of slaves given their liberty and we see the great pantheon of pagan gods yield their dominion unequivocally to the one true and Almighty Living God, Jehovah, the God of the Hebrews. The experience in the wilderness of that liberated nation of slaves has become a type for all ages to come of the struggles of the true people of God against the temptations and hardships of earthly probation. And we see in their final entry into the Promised Land the pledge of Divine Promise that at last the faithful "in Christ" shall enter into that upper and better kingdom where all the problems of earth shall be solved in the light and bliss of Heaven! Blessed be the name of the Lord. Amen.


Footnotes for Exodus 14
1: Isaac Asimov, Asimov's Guide to the Bible, Exodus, Vol. 1 (Garden City, N. Y.: Doubleday and Company, 1968), p. 142.
2: J. R. Dummelow, Commentary on the Holy Bible (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1937), p. 60.
3: Martin Noth, Exodus (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1962), p. 116.
4: Ibid, p. 117.
5: Canon George Harford, Peake's Old Testament Commentary (London: T. C. and E. C. Jack, 1924), p. 180.
6: Ralph H. Langley, Teacher's Bible Commentary (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1972), p. 63.
7: George W. DeHoff, Sermons on First Corinthians (Murfreesboro: The Christian Press, 1947), p. 79.
8: Henton G. Davies, 20th Century Commentary (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1932), p. 135.
9: Wilbur Fields, Exodus (Joplin: College Press, 1976), p. 300.
10: Robert Jamieson, Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown's Commentary (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Reprint, 1982), p. 325.
11: Clement of Rome, First Epistle in Ante-Nicene Fathers (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company), Vol, 1, p. 19.
12: George Harford, op. cit., p. 180.
13: George Rawlinson, The Pulpit Commentary, Vol. 1, Exodus (Grand Rapids: Wn. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1950), p. 321.
14: Tertullian, Types of the Red Sea, in Ante-Nicene Fathers (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company), Vol. III, p. 673.
15: Roy L. Honeycutt, Jr., Broadman Bible Commentary, Vol. 1 (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1969), p. 367.
16: George Rawlinson, op. cit., p. 324.
17: Merrill F. Unger, Unger' s Commentary on the Old Testament, Vol. 1 (Chicago: Moody Press, 1981), p. 118.
18: Wilbur Fields, op. cit., p. 307.
19: Robert P. Gordon, The New Layman's Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1979), p. 188.
20: George Rawlinson, op. cit., p. 321.
21: Ibid.
22: F. C. Cook, Barnes' Notes, Exodus (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, Reprint, 1983), p. 40.
23: J. R. Dummelow, Commentary on the Holy Bible (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1937), p. 61.
24: Flavius Josephus, Life and Works of, translated by William Whiston (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston), p. 87.
25: Carl Van Doren, Benjamin Franklin (New York: Viking Press, 1938), p. 558.

Copyright Statement
James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Exodus 14". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". <http://classic.studylight.org/com/bcc/view.cgi?book=ex&chapter=014>. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.  

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