This chapter is a continuation of the Israelites crossing the sea. Again this “sea” is either the Red or Reed Sea. These are 2 totally different bodies of water. This is also the chapter where Pharaoh & his army kinda catch karma by the tail & gets smacked with it! Hard, very very hard. I hope y’all enjoy the read!
God tells Moses to make the Israelites turn around & camp near a place called Pi Hahiroth, which is between Migdol & the sea. The Israelites were to camp by the sea, directly opposite Baal Zephon. The idea was that Pharaoh will think that the Israelites are confused, that they’re just wandering around the desert. Then Pharaoh will harden his heart & chase after them. That’s the idea anyway. God also tells Moses this: “But I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh & all his army, & the Egyptians will know that I’m God.” (Exodus 14:4, NIV) (I’ve got 2 things for this line: 1) God is looking a tad on the selfish & self-serving. “…gain glory for myself… know I’m God.” And we’re not suppose be selfish or self-serving. 2) Why is it so important for God to let the Egyptians know that he’s God?! The Israelites are God’s “chosen” people. It shouldn’t matter WHO or WHAT the Egyptians believed in as a higher power. Because for Christ’s sake, the Egyptians worshipped CATS!!! CATS! IT SHOULDN’T MATTER! But for some reason, it does. God could’ve just left them alone. The Israelites were already out of Egypt. Why mess with them more? Why?) The Israelites did as Moses says.
When Pharaoh heard that the Israelites were gone out of Egypt, Pharaoh & his officials had a change of heart. They were like, “What did we do? We had these people working for us & we let them go!” So Pharaoh got his chariot ready & took his army with him. This consisted of 600 of the best charioteers, along with all the other charioteers of Egypt, with all the officers that were over them. God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so that he pursued Israelites. ALL of Pharaoh’s horses & chariots, horsemen, & troops overtook the Israelites near Pi Hahiroth.
As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up & saw the Egyptians marching after them. The Israelites got scared & called out to God, then they started complaining to Moses: “Why did you bring us out here? To die? We told you to leave us alone while we were in Egypt. It would’ve been better for us to serve the Egyptians then die in the desert!” Moses tells them not to be afraid, to be still, & that the Egyptians you see here now today they won’t see them ever again!
God asks Moses why the Israelites are crying out to him. God told Moses to stretch out his hand to the sea & the sea would part.
Then an angel of God, who just happen to be traveling with Israel’s army, (First of all, I doubt the Israelites as a whole knew of this angel. On top of that, why is this is the 1st mention of this angel & when did this angel get to them?) withdrew & went to the back of the group of Israelites. Plus, the pillar of cloud does double duty, it goes in the front & back, providing light in the front & darkness in the back.
Moses stretched his hand out over the sea. All that night, God drove the sea back with a strong east wind & turns the sea bed to dry land. (Here’s the thing that gets me: If God is all-powerful & can do things in the blink of an eye, snap of his finger, then why did it take all night long? God could’ve just said poof done. I’m just saying, that’s all.) The waters parted & the Israelites went through the sea on dry land, there was a wall of water on each side.
The Egyptians went after the Israelites. All of Pharaoh’s horses, chariots, & horsemen followed them into the sea. (It doesn’t actually say that Pharaoh was with them. This will make sense in a moment.) During the last watch of the night, God looked down from the pillar of fire & cloud at the Egyptian army & threw it into confusion. God made the wheels of their chariots fall off. The Egyptians said, “Let’s get away from the Israelites! God is fighting with them!”
God then tells Moses to stretch out his hand over the sea again (once they were on the other side), so that the water flows over the Egyptians & their horses, chariots, & horsemen. (I know this may seem a little morbid but imagine all the archeological finds at the bottom of the sea! I’m sorry.) So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. At daybreak, the sea went back to how it’s suppose to be. The water covered the chariots & horsemen (again, Pharaoh isn’t mentioned being here. Because the bible is very specific about their main “characters.”). None of the them survived.
The Israelites had went through the sea on dry land. That day God saved the Israelites from the hands of the Egyptians. The Israelites saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore. When the Israelites saw the the “great power” of God shown against the Egyptians, the feared God. The Israelites put their trust in him (God) & in Moses, “his servant.”