Exodus 15

1 Then Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to the LORD, and said, “I will sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously. The horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea. 2 The LORD is my strength and song. He has become my salvation. This is my God, and I will praise him; my father’s God, and I will exalt him. 3 The LORD is a man of war. The LORD is his name. 4 He has cast Pharaoh’s chariots and his army into the sea. His chosen captains are sunk in the Red Sea. 5 The deeps cover them. They went down into the depths like a stone. 6 Your right hand, LORD, is glorious in power. Your right hand, LORD, dashes the enemy in pieces. 7 In the greatness of your excellency, you overthrow those who rise up against you. You send out your wrath. It consumes them as stubble. 8 With the blast of your nostrils, the waters were piled up. The floods stood upright as a heap. The deeps were congealed in the heart of the sea. 9 The enemy said, ‘I will pursue. I will overtake. I will divide the plunder. My desire shall be satisfied on them. I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them.’ 10 You blew with your wind. The sea covered them. They sank like lead in the mighty waters. 11 Who is like you, LORD, amongst the gods? Who is like you, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders? 12 You stretched out your right hand. The earth swallowed them. 13 “You, in your loving kindness, have led the people that you have redeemed. You have guided them in your strength to your holy habitation. 14 The peoples have heard. They tremble. Pangs have taken hold on the inhabitants of Philistia. 15 Then the chiefs of Edom were dismayed. Trembling takes hold of the mighty men of Moab. All the inhabitants of Canaan have melted away. 16 Terror and dread falls on them. By the greatness of your arm they are as still as a stone— until your people pass over, LORD, until the people pass over who you have purchased. 17 You shall bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of your inheritance, the place, LORD, which you have made for yourself to dwell in; the sanctuary, Lord, which your hands have established. 18 The LORD shall reign forever and ever.” 19 For the horses of Pharaoh went in with his chariots and with his horsemen into the sea, and the LORD brought back the waters of the sea on them; but the children of Israel walked on dry land in the middle of the sea. 20 Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a tambourine in her hand; and all the women went out after her with tambourines and with dances. 21 Miriam answered them, “Sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously. The horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea.” 22 Moses led Israel onward 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 When they came to Marah, they couldn’t drink from the waters of Marah, for they were bitter. Therefore its name was called Marah. 24 The people murmured against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” 25 Then he cried to the LORD. The LORD showed him a tree, and he threw it into the waters, and the waters were made sweet. There he made a statute and an ordinance for them, and there he tested them; 26 and he said, “If you will diligently listen to the LORD your God’s voice, and will do that which is right in his eyes, and will pay attention to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you, which I have put on the Egyptians; for I am the LORD who heals you.” 27 They came to Elim, where there were twelve springs of water, and seventy palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–21

This song is the most ancient we know of. It is a holy song, to the honour of God, to exalt his name, and celebrate his praise, and his only, not in the least to magnify any man. Holiness to the Lord is in every part of it. It may be considered as typical, and prophetical of the final destruction of the enemies of the church. Happy the people whose God is the Lord. They have work to do, temptations to grapple with, and afflictions to bear, and are weak in themselves; but his grace is their strength. They are often in sorrow, but in him they have comfort; he is their song. Sin, and death, and hell threaten them, but he is, and will be their salvation. The Lord is a God of almighty power, and woe to those that strive with their Maker! He is a God of matchless perfection; he is glorious in holiness; his holiness is his glory. His holiness appears in the hatred of sin, and his wrath against obstinate sinners. It appears in the deliverance of Israel, and his faithfulness to his own promise. He is fearful in praises; that which is matter of praise to the servants of God, is very dreadful to his enemies. He is doing wonders, things out of the common course of nature; wondrous to those in whose favour they are wrought, who are so unworthy, that they had no reason to expect them. There were wonders of power and wonders of grace; in both, God was to be humbly adored.

Verses 22–27

In the wilderness of Shur the Israelites had no water. At Marah they had water, but it was bitter; so that they could not drink it. God can make bitter to us that from which we promise ourselves most, and often does so in the wilderness of this world, that our wants, and disappointments in the creature, may drive us to the Creator, in whose favour alone true comfort is to be had. In this distress the people fretted, and quarrelled with Moses. Hypocrites may show high affections, and appear earnest in religious exercises, but in the time of temptation they fall away. Even true believers, in seasons of sharp trial, will be tempted to fret, distrust, and murmur. But in every trial we should cast our care upon the Lord, and pour out our hearts before him. We shall then find that a submissive will, a peaceful conscience, and the comforts of the Holy Ghost, will render the bitterest trial tolerable, yea, pleasant. Moses did what the people had neglected to do; he cried unto the Lord. And God provided graciously for them. He directed Moses to a tree which he cast into the waters, when, at once, they were made sweet. Some make this tree typical of the cross of Christ, which sweetens the bitter waters of affliction to all the faithful, and enables them to rejoice in tribulation. But a rebellious Israelite shall fare no better than a rebellious Egyptian. The threatening is implied only, the promise is expressed. God is the great Physician. If we are kept well, it is he that keeps us; if we are made well, it is he that recovers us. He is our life and the length of our days. Let us not forget that we are kept from destruction, and delivered from our enemies, to be the Lord’s servants. At Elim they had good water, and enough of it. Though God may, for a time, order his people to encamp by the bitter waters of Marah, that shall not always be their lot. Let us not faint at tribulations.

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