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Moses 13 – The Song Of Moses


Can you picture the jubilant Israelites on the eastern shore of the Red Sea? Safe at last. They are on their way to the promised land.

As morning broke it revealed to the multitudes of Israel all that remained of their mighty foes–the mail-clad bodies cast
upon the shore.

Flavius Josephus said they collected the weapons from the Egyptian soldiers who washed out.

From the most terrible peril, one night had brought complete deliverance. That vast, helpless throng–bondmen unused to battle, women, children, and cattle, with the sea before them, and the mighty armies of Egypt pressing behind–had seen their path opened through the waters and their enemies overwhelmed in the moment of expected triumph.

Jehovah alone had brought them deliverance, and to Him their hearts were turned in gratitude and faith. Their emotion found utterance in songs of praise. The Spirit of God rested upon Moses, and he led the people in a triumphant anthem of thanksgiving, the earliest and one of the most sublime that are known to man.

Listen to the words of the very first song they sang:

Exodus 15:1 Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song to the LORD, and spoke, saying, I will sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider has he thrown into the sea.

The majestic theme of this song echoes through all the songs of Israel, in praise to God for His glorious works on their behalf.

We can only imagine the joy, the tears of gratitude and indescribable jubilant emotions.

But guess what? The song of Moses the servant of God will be sung again, with the song of the Lamb, by heroes of faith standing upon the “sea of glass,” victorious over the beast and his image (Rev. 15:3).

The song is composed of three climactic stanzas, each of which begins with praise to the Lord and ends with a description of the overthrow of the Egyptian host (Ex. 15:2-5, 6-10, 11–18). The theme announced in v. 1 is treated in three different ways, in each of which, however, the omnipotence of God is dominant.

With clear prophetic insight, the third stanza especially, points to the glory of Israel in its future homeland, and to the sanctuary as God’s dwelling place.

He has triumphed gloriously. or “gloriously glorious,” as the LXX has rendered this common Hebrew verb

The words of verse 1 were repeated by a chorus of women, led by Miriam (see 20, 21).

It is repeated to convey the thought of exaltation in the most emphatic way possible.

Verse 2 The LORD gives me strength. I sing about him. He has saved me. He is my God. I will praise him. He is my father’s God. I will honor him.

Verses 3-5 The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name.
Pharaoh’s chariots and his host has he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea. The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone.

What is going to happen at the end of the first stanza?

The greatest ever ladies choir repeat the theme of verse one:

Verse 21 And Miriam answered them, Sing you to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider has he thrown into the sea

Can you hear the sweetest melody of gratitude and triumph? It glides over the Red Sea and into the desert.

Verse 6 “LORD, your right hand was majestic and powerful. LORD, your right hand destroyed your enemies

With this verse a new stanza begins. For the most part it expands and explains the preceding one, presenting more details and drawing a sharp contrast between the pride and arrogance of the Egyptians and their miserable fall. All this was accomplished by the “right hand” of the Lord.

Verses 7,8 Because of your great majesty, you threw down those who opposed you. Your burning anger blazed out. It burned them up like straw. The powerful blast from your nose piled up the waters. The rushing waters stood firm like a wall. The deep waters stood up in the middle of the sea.

A highly poetic description of the east wind, which had in part been responsible for the dividing of the waters.

Moses stretched out his rod, and the piled-up waters, hissing, roaring, and eager for their prey, rushed together and swallowed the Egyptian army in their black depths.
{PP 287.4}

Verses 9,10 Your enemies bragged, ‘We will chase Israel. We will catch them. We’ll divide up what we take from them. We’ll eat them alive. Our powerful hands will destroy them.’ But you blew with your breath. The Red Sea covered your enemies. They sank like lead in the mighty waters.

By short clauses, following one another without connecting particles, the confidence of the Egyptians as they pursued the Israelites, breathing vengeance, is graphically depicted. The broken speech imitates the exclamations of the king’s soldiers, who were at once eager and out of breath. This description is an unusual departure from the usual stately order of Hebrew poetry.

You blew

What is meant by God blowing? This statement presents another fact not mentioned in the direct narrative of the destruction of the Egyptians, though it is in complete harmony with it.

As a strong east wind had separated the waters and held them back for the Israelites, now a wind from the west or northwest brought the waters back upon the Egyptians. In obedience to its Creator, wind effectively served to rescue one people and to destroy another.

Don’t you think we serve an awesome God?

Sank as lead.

The first stanza ended, verse 5, by comparing the drowning Egyptians with sinking stones.

The second stanza ends with sinking like lead. A little heavier and sinking a little faster.

The waters into which they sank are called “mighty” because of the mighty proof of the Creator’s glory provided by the waves rushing majestically back to fill their usual space.

What kind of music can we expect at the end of the second stanza?

Maybe the ladies choir under Miriam’s baton sang with more harmony and decibels.

Verse 21 And Miriam answered them, Sing you to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider has he thrown into the sea

Then the male choir continues their song in beautiful deep tones.

Verse 11 Who is like to you, O LORD, among the gods? who is like you, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?

Who is like You?

Once more Moses takes up his song of praise and victory. The third strophe assures God’s people that He will finish the work of salvation, already begun, will fill their enemies with terror, and will bring them to His holy dwelling place and plant them on the mountain of His inheritance.

What the Lord has done thus far is regarded as a pledge of what the future yet has in store for those who follow where He leads.

Verse 12-14 You stretched out your right hand, the earth swallowed them. You in your mercy have led forth the people which you have redeemed: you have guided them in your strength to your holy habitation. The people shall hear, and be afraid: sorrow shall take hold on the inhabitants of Palestina.

The people shall hear.

The Hebrew word translated “people” is in the plural and includes the tribes, or nations, of Philistia, Edom, and Moab, and the other inhabitants of Canaan (v. 15).
Moses speaks now in the role of a prophet (see Deut. 18:15), as he looks forward to the effects of their own miraculous deliverance from the armies of Egypt.

The peoples of Palestine would not only hear of this event but be terrified by gloomy forebodings of what lay in store for them, and thus not have the courage to offer effective opposition to Israel

Verse 15 Then the dukes of Edom shall be amazed; the mighty men of Moab, trembling shall take hold on them; all the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away.

Who was the father of the Edomites?

The mighty men of Moab.

The alarm of the Moabites was indicated by Balak’s efforts to induce Balaam to curse the Israelites (Num. 22 to 24).

All the inhabitants of Canaan.

This prophecy was strikingly fulfilled when “all the kings of the Canaanites … heard that the Lord had dried up the waters of Jordan from before the children of Israel, … their heart melted, neither was there spirit in them any more” (Joshua 5:1).

Verse 16 Fear and dread shall fall on them; by the greatness of your arm they shall be as still as a stone; till your people pass over, O LORD, till the people pass over, which you have purchased.

Till your people pass over.

Not the passing through the Red Sea, for that had already taken place. What would you say is the passing over? The cruel uninhabitable desert; crossing national borders and eventually the Jordan River in flood.

Do think God is able to help us pass over the hot sands of life’s deserts? To help us cross over the borders of enemy territory?

Verse 17 You shall bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of your inheritance, in the place, O LORD, which you have made for you to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O LORD, which your hands have established

Where is this place where God wants to plant His people? The land without death and pain. The land where sorrow and disappointments will not uproot us from the soil of happiness.

Verse 18 The LORD shall reign for ever and ever. Please tell me how long is this?

Would you like to spend eternity with a God of love like our God?

Like the two preceding stanzas, which ended with a statement concerning the destruction of the Egyptians (see vs. 5, 10), the third is brought to a close in a similar way.

Instead of directing attention to the defeated Egyptians, however, Moses turns to their own triumphant Deliverer. The song, therefore, does not close with a gloomy picture of the destruction of God’s enemies, but on a note of victory and praise.

This same theme will characterize the song of Moses and the Lamb, which the redeemed will sing upon the sea of glass (Rev. 15:2–4).

And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are your works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are your ways, you King of saints. Who shall not fear you, O Lord, and glorify your name? for you only are holy: for all nations shall come and worship before you; for your judgments are made manifest.

Every victory we gain over our selfish fallen natures, produces a tune. Every victory gained by God’s grace prepares us to learn the words of the great song to be sung we Jesus finally delivers His people.

By God’s grace I want to sing in that choir. May I invite to come and join me?

Verse 19 For the horse of Pharaoh went in with his chariots and with his horsemen into the sea, and the LORD brought again the waters of the sea on them; but the children of Israel went on dry land in the middle of the sea.

Verse 20,21 And 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.

And Miriam answered them, Sing you to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider has he thrown into the sea.

How old was Miriam when she conducted the mighty ladies choir on the shores of the Red Sea?

Miriam is the first woman whom the Bible honors with this title – prophetess.

Aaron and Miriam had occupied a position of high honor and leadership in Israel. Both were endowed with the prophetic gift, and both had been divinely associated with Moses in the deliverance of the Hebrews. “I sent before thee Moses, Aaron, and Miriam” (Micah 6:4), are the words of the Lord by the prophet Micah.

Miriam’s force of character had been early displayed when as a child she watched beside the Nile the little basket in which was hidden the infant Moses. Her self-control and tact God had made instrumental in preserving the deliverer of His people. Richly endowed with the gifts of poetry and music, Miriam had led the women of Israel in song and dance on the shore of the Red Sea. In the affections of the people and the honor of Heaven she stood second only to Moses and Aaron.

Ladies. The Lord is looking for some more Miriams in these last days to influence other women to praise God.

Verse 22 So Moses brought Israel 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.

This is the desert region reaching from the eastern border of Egypt to the southern border of Palestine, and touching in the south the mountains of the Sinai Peninsula.

It was through the southern part of this desert that Israel marched, in a southeasterly direction along the shores of the Red Sea.


What are your expectations?

How do you cope when your expectations are not met?

After the break we will be looking at expectations in the history of Israel that were not met.

We will then study their reactions at their disappointments.

Maybe you expected your partner to be true to you, but then the unexpected happened.

Who did you blame? Did you involve God in your game of blame? Is there a way in which we can cope with broken dreams?

What lessons does God want us to learn? How can we become sweet when we drink the waters of this life’s bitter disappointments?

Updated on 21st Mar 2022

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