- In this chapter, I. Israel looks back upon Egypt with a song of praise for their deliverance. Here is, 1. The song itself, verse 1-19.
- 2. The solemn singing of it, verse 20, 21.
- II. Israel marches forward in the wilderness, verse 22.
- Their discontent at the waters of Marah, verse 23, 24.
- and the relief granted them, verse 25, 26.
- Their satisfaction in the waters of Elim, verse 27.
Then sang Moses - Moses composed this song, and sang it with the children of Israel. Doubtless he wrote it by inspiration, and sang it on the spot. By this instance it appears that the singing of psalms, as an act of religious worship, was used in the church of Christ before the giving of the ceremonial law, therefore it is no part of it, nor abolished with it: singing is as much the language of holy joy, as praying is of holy desire. I will sing unto the Lord - All our joy must terminate in God, and all our praises be offered up to him, for he hath triumphed - All that love God triumph in his triumphs.
Israel rejoiceth in God, as their strength, song, and salvation - Happy therefore the people whole God is the Lord: They are weak themselves, but he strengthens them, his grace is their strength: they are oft in sorrow, but in him they have comfort, he is their song: sin and death threaten them, but he is, and will be, their salvation. He is their fathers God - This they take notice of, because being conscious of their own unworthiness, they had reason to think that what God had now done for them was for their fathers sake, Deuteronomy 4:37.
The Lord is a man of war - Able to deal with all those that strive with their maker.
He hath cast - With great force, as an arrow out of a bow, so the Hebrew word signifies.
In the greatness of thine excellency - By thy great and excellent power.
With the blast of thy nostrils - By thine anger: The depths were congealed - Stood still, as if they had been frozen: In the heart of the sea - The midst of it.
My lust - My desire both of revenge and gain.
The gods - So called: Idols, or Princes: Glorious in holiness -In justice, mercy and truth: Fearful in praises - To be praised with reverence.
The earth swallowed them - Their dead bodies sunk into the sands on which they were thrown, which sucked them in.
Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the People - Out of the bondage of Egypt, and out of the perils of the Red-sea. Thou hast guided them to thy holy habitation - Thou hast put them into the way to it, and wilt in due time bring them to the end of that way.
Thou shalt bring them in - If he thus bring them out of Egypt, he will bring them into Canaan; for has he begun, and will he not make an end? Thou wilt plant them in the place which thou hast made for thee to dwell in - It is good dwelling where God dwells, in his church on earth, and in his church in heaven. In the mountains - In the mountainous country of Canaan: The sanctuary which thy hands have established - Will as surely establish as if it was done already.
The Lord shall reign for ever and ever - They had now seen an end of Pharaoh's reign, but time itself shall not put a period to Jehovah's reign, which like himself is eternal.
Miriam (or Mary, it is the same name) presided in an assembly of the women, who (according to the common usage of those times) with timbrels and dances, sung this song. Moses led the psalm, and gave it out for the men, and then Miriam for the women. Famous victories were wont to be applauded by the daughters of Israel, 1 Samuel 18:6,7, so was this. When God brought Israel out of Egypt, it is said, Micah 6:4, he sent before them Moses, Aaron, and Miriam; though we read not of any thing remarkable that Miriam did but this. But those are to be reckoned great blessings to a people, that go before them in praising God.
And Miriam answered them - The men: They sung by turns, or in parts.
The name of it was called Marah - That is, Bitterness.
And he cried unto the Lord - It is the greatest relief of the cares of magistrates and ministers, when those under their charge make them uneasy, that they may have recourse to God by prayer; he is the guide of the church's guides, and to the chief shepherd, the under shepherds must on all occasions apply themselves: And the Lord directed Moses to a tree, which he cast into the waters, and they were made sweet - Some think this wood had a peculiar virtue in it for this purpose, because it is said, God shewed him the tree. God is to be acknowledged, not only in the creating things useful for man, but in discovering their usefulness. But perhaps this was only a sign, and not a means of the cure, no more than the brazen serpent. There he made a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them - That is, there he put them upon trial, admitted them as probationers for his favour. In short he tells them, Exodus 15:26, what he expected from them, and that was, in one word, obedience. They must diligently hearken to his voice, and give ear to his commandments, and must take care, in every thing, to do that which was right in God's sight, and to keep all his statutes. Then I will put none of these diseases upon thee - That is, I will not bring upon thee any of the plagues of Egypt. This intimates, that if they were disobedient, the plagues which they had seen inflicted on their enemies should be brought on them. But if thou wilt be obedient, thou shalt be safe, the threatening is implied, but the promise is expressed, I am the Lord that healeth thee - And will take care of thee wherever thou goest.