Parashat Beshalach – The Song of the Sea

Oil painting of Miriam's Song (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

The reading of the Torah this week is from Exodus 13:17-17:16. The major event in this reading is the crossing of the Red Sea and the song of Moses that follows it. The song of Moses is an epic song. It describes the battle and the battle between Israel and its enemies is a battle that God is fighting and the victory is God’s victory. The Champion of this battle is not Moses or Aaron or Israel, they are recipients of the victory that God has championed.

I will make commentary on this song in italics.

“Then Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to the LORD, and spoke, saying: “I will sing to the LORD, For He has triumphed gloriously! [All the credit is given to the LORD.] The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea! The LORD is my strength and song, [You see a process developing in this verse and in the next: the LORD is my strength is a usual and normal relationship between God and man. Every ancient religion could claim this. The LORD is my song is already very special. A song is an expression of the soul and an outpouring of emotion.] And He has become my salvation; He is my God, and I will praise Him; [There is a progressive relationship that the end of that progress is that the LORD becomes my personal salvation.]  My father’s God, and I will exalt Him. [God is not only my LORD but also the historical God of our fathers. He is not a new suddenly emergent diety, but our historical God who has a family history.] The LORD is a man of war; The LORD is His name. [Our God is not a pacifist or shy to wage war against His enemies and our enemies. We see Yeshua portrayed as an emaciated, weak, a persona with no muscles and skinny to the bone. This is not the God of Israel – the God os Israel is a man of war.]  Pharaoh’s chariots and his army He has cast into the sea; His chosen captains also are drowned in the Red Sea. The depths have covered them; They sank to the bottom like a stone. [The evidence of God’s strength is the way he dealt with pharaoh and the Egyptian army. We must remember that Egypt was the greatest empire in the world in those days. Egypt ruled from Tunisia in the west to Somalia in Africa. A vast and rich empire that had access and colonies from Mesopotamia to the south of Lake Victoria.] “Your right hand, O LORD, has become glorious in power; Your right hand, O LORD, has dashed the enemy in pieces. [If we take that the right hand of God is Yeshua then we must accept that Yeshua is also not a pacifist and knows how to do war, and in fact the right hand of God is the one who has dashed the enemy.] And in the greatness of Your excellence You have overthrown those who rose against You; You sent forth Your wrath; It consumed them like stubble. And with the blast of Your nostrils The waters were gathered together; The floods stood upright like a heap; The depths congealed in the heart of the sea. [The ancient battle between the land and the sea (see Is. 51) is totally under God’s control and His is victorious over the power of the sea.] The enemy said, “I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; My desire shall be satisfied on them. I will draw my sword, My hand shall destroy them.’ You blew with Your wind, The sea covered them; They sank like lead in the mighty waters. [God has full control of the forces of nature and the waters of the sea. The sea is fighting on God’s side and is obedient to His command.] “Who is like You, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like You, glorious in holiness, Fearful in praises, doing wonders? You stretched out Your right hand; The earth swallowed them. You in Your mercy have led forth the people whom You have redeemed; You have guided them in Your strength To Your holy habitation. [God takes care of His children and leads them to His holy mountain (Mt. Zion – the place of the temple).] “The people will hear and be afraid; Sorrow will take hold of the inhabitants of Philistia. Then the chiefs of Edom will be dismayed; The mighty men of Moab, Trembling will take hold of them; All the inhabitants of Canaan will melt away. Fear and dread will fall on them; [All of the neighbors of Israel, the Philistines, Moab, Edom, are all full of fear and hate.] By the greatness of Your arm They will be as still as a stone, Till Your people pass over, O LORD, Till the people pass over Whom You have purchased. [This statement is a revelation that hints at the redemptive power of the LORD. Something that is purchased means that there is a belonging, a position that has ownership of God of His people. This a major New Testament theme but not emphasized enough.]  You will bring them in and plant them In the mountain of Your inheritance, In the place, O LORD, which You have made For Your own dwelling, The sanctuary, O LORD, which Your hands have established. [God is bringing His people whom he purchased to the holy mountain (Jerusalem).] “The LORD shall reign forever and ever.”” [God is king and He is going to reign as king eternally.] – Exodus 15:1–18

This article originally appeared as a part of The Jerusalem Prayer List by Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, February 9, 2017, and reposted with permission.