Parashah 16: B'shallach “After he had let go”
Sh'mot “names” (Exodus) 13:17-17:16 Psalm 66
Shof'tim (Judges) 4:5-5:31 Revelation 19:1-20:6
by Messianic Teacher Dr. Daniel Boley
17 After Pharaoh had let the people go, God did not guide them to the highway that goes through the land of the P'lishtim, because it was close by – God thought that the people, upon seeing war, might change their minds and return to Egypt. 18 Rather, God led the people by a roundabout route, through the desert by the Sea of Suf. The people of Isra'el went up from the land of Egypt fully armed.
The bulk of the Philistines migrated to the area shortly before this from the Aegean.
Moderns react negatively to the word “Philistine.” Remembering the terrifying Goliath and the treacherous Delilah, the Philistines are commonly viewed as uncultured, uncivilized, and cruel - the barbarians of the ancient world. Modern research disputes this stereotype, however. Archeological findings reveal that the Philistines were cultured and sophisticated. The Israelites, God’s chosen people, were quite primitive by contrast. Understanding this fact makes the Bible stories of the conflict between these two cultures more vivid.
The Philistines were part of a seafaring people from the Aegean who appeared in the Near East around 1400 BC. After a period of conflict with the Egyptians to the south, the Philistines settled on the coastal plain of Israel. The culture around them was in decline because of the collapse of empires, natural disasters, and hostilities between the small nations of the region.
About the time the Philistines arrived, the Israelites entered Israel from the east. The historical drama that subsequently unfolded would determine which of the two cultures would dominate the other. The battles that erupted from this conflict fill the pages of the Old Testament.
The Bible’s description of the Philistines was controversial for many years. Philistine cities such as Ekron, Gath, Ashkelon, Ashdod, and Gaza did not fit the political culture of the Middle East at that time. Also champion-to-champion (“one-on-one”) combat and the armor Goliath wore were unknown in Canaan. Recent discoveries, however, have shown the Greek (Aegean) background of these highly civilized people. The political structure of their cities was similar to the city-states of the Aegean, and combat between champions fills Greek mythology.
Egyptian descriptions of the Philistines support biblical ones. Reliefs and inscriptions found in the temple of Ramses III in Egypt give us insight into the Philistines’ appearance and technology. Their soldiers were quite tall and clean shaven. They wore breastplates and short kilts, and their superior weapons included chariots drawn by two horses. They carried small shields and fought with straight swords and spears. These details affirm our faith in the Bible’s descriptions found in Judges 1:19, 1 Samuel 13:19-22, and 1 Samuel 17:4-7.
The artifacts discovered in archaeological excavations of Philistine cities show great artistic and technological skill. Their pottery is more aesthetically pleasing than that of neighboring cultures. The Philistines painted their pottery with red and black geometric designs (loops, crossed lines, concentric circles, even birds) on white backgrounds. Unlike the Israelite remains of the period, Philistine pottery, in its shape and intricacy of design, reveals a culture concerned about appearance as well as function. In Philistine excavations, bottles with long cylindrical bodies and gracefully curved necks are common. Archaeologists have also found bell-shaped bowls and beer mugs with strainer spouts that bring to mind the drinking party attended by Samson the Israelite.
The Philistines were successful in several key industries. The Bible affirms their ability to work with the latest in metal technology - iron. Iron tools and weapons, absent from Israelite sites of the same period, are common in Philistine ruins. Philistine cities give evidence of careful town planning, including industrial zones. The olive industry of Ekron alone includes about 200 olive oil installations. Engineers estimate that the city’s production may have been more than 1,000 tons; 30 percent of Israel’s present-day production. Certainly, the sophisticated Philistines represented the latest in technology and culture to the less advanced peoples around them.
The religion of the Philistines appears sophisticated and modern as well. Carefully planned temples and worship centers abound in their cities. Their main god was Dagon, thought to be the god of grain (though some scholars believe Dagon was the fish god). Temples in honor of the god of fertility have been found in Gaza, Ashdod, and Beth Shean. The mistress of this god, and a frequent target of biblical writers, was Ashtoreth, who was associated with war and fertility (1 Samuel 31:8-13). Worship of this goddess involved the most immoral practices imaginable. Baal or Beelzebul, thought to be the son of Dagon, was worshiped at the Philistine city of Ekron (2 Kings 1:1-6). The worship of this deity involved “sacred prostitution” and even child sacrifice.
The practices were so horrible that the followers of Yahweh changed the name from Beelzebub (meaning “Lord, or Prince, Baal”) to Beelzebul (with the derogatory meaning “lord of the flies”). By New Testament times, the name Beelzebul - long used to describe the most evil and perverted practices and people of the Middle East - had become a synonym for the devil. More than once Jesus Himself used this term to describe Satan (Matthew 10:25 and 12:24).
Unfortunately, the values of a culture accompany its benefits and products. So the Israelites faced a dilemma. They wanted the benefits and products of the Philistines, but how could they have these things without adopting the values and practices that God so detested?
Samson later wrestled with this problem and eventually lost. Being devoted to Yahweh, he certainly recognized the ungodliness in Philistine culture and the danger it posed to God’s people. But the lifestyle of the Philistines was so attractive! The Bible describes the outcome of Samson's moral battle in geographic terms: “ .... he fell in love with a woman in the Valley of Sorek whose name was Delilah” (Judges 16:4).
The Sorek, an area controlled by the very culture God had called Samson to confront, became the place of his compromise. He became one with the Philistines and could no longer help the world to know that Yahweh is the one true God.
(Raynard Vaander Laan, That The World May Know, set one)
How often does the LORD lead us by some “roundabout route through the desert,” while all along it's for our own good?! And how do we respond to that leading?
Isra'el went up from Egypt fully armed … but they were not ready for war.
There's an old adage, don't enter a fight with a weapon that can be taken away from you.
Having tools, knowing how to use them, and being proficient with them are not the same things.
19 Moshe took the bones of Yosef with him, for Yosef had made the people of Isra'el swear an oath when he said, “God will certainly remember you; and you are to carry my bones up with you, away from here.”
Joseph had proven himself to be a godly man, who listened to the LORD, and was used by Him in prophetic ways. Yosef gave the people a word, a promise if you will, that, come what may, “God will certainly remember you.”
The Hebrew here is not that God would “remember” [יִזְכֹּר - yiz-kor] them, but that He would פָּקֹד יִפְקֹד [pa-qod yiph-qod] them:
פָּקַד [pa-qad] (the root of both these words) means primarily to visit
Strong's: to visit (with friendly or hostile intent); by analogy, to oversee, muster, charge, care for ….
BDB: to attend to, to muster, to number, to reckon, to visit, to punish, to appoint, to look after, to care for
being doubled is a way of making something emphatic
we might also see here something prophetic – that the LORD would visit His people twice as we see in Yeshua the son of Joseph, the son of David
coming once as the suffering Servant / Messiah (Isa. 53), fulfilling God's purposes as His sacrificial lamb (John 1:29), providing redemption and salvation for all who will call on Him, for the Jew first and also for the Gentile (Romans 1:16, 2:9-10)
coming again at the end of the age as the ruling, conquering King of all kings and Lord of all lords (Rev. 19:6), consummating the establishment of His eternal kingdom (Dan. 7:14)
“carry my bones up with you, away from here”
With a quick read it sounds like Yosef is simply telling his descendants to take his bones away from Egypt: away from “here.” There is more in the Hebrew, however:
he made them swear an oath - הַשְׁבֵּעַ הִשְׁבִּיעַ [hahsh-beh-a hish-biy-ah] being a doubled word with the same root meaning
שָׁבַע [sha-va]: to be complete, but used only as a denominative from שֶׁבַע [sheh-va] (the number seven); to seven oneself, i.e. swear (as if by repeating a declaration seven times)
This was serious, solemn, and strongly emphatic.
says he made them swear an oath to carry his bones, his essence, “from this” [מִזֶּה – mi-zeh], which begs the question, “From what?”
Yosef had everything the world could offer: fame, fortune, power, prestige, etc. but he yearned to be in the Land – in the place of the promises of HaShem: nothing in this world can compete with that!
[HaShem is transliterated Hebrew for “The Name,” meaning the holy name by which the LORD revealed Himself to Moses in Ex. 3:15. Out of honor and respect for the pure, holy, righteous, just +++ character of the LORD, many will use a substitute such as HaShem, Adonai, or Ado-Shem rather than even attempt to pronounce the tetragrammaton יהוה.]
20 They traveled from Sukkot and set up camp in Etam, at the edge of the desert. 21 Adonai went ahead of them in a column of cloud during the daytime to lead them on their way, and at night in a column of fire to give them light; thus they could travel both by day and by night. 22 Neither the column of cloud by day nor the column of fire at night went away from in front of the people.
The LORD's presence in the pillar or column of cloud and fire can be related to the presence of a shepherd with his flock. The good shepherd leads, guides, protects, and provides for his sheep. He cares for them, tends to them, and at times may carry or discipline them. As the sheep graze, nibbling a little here and there, they glance up to see the feet of their shepherd and follow where he leads. In the same ways the LORD was with His people as He led them through the wilderness, guiding, protecting, and providing for them. He cared for them, tended to them, and at times carried them along and even disciplined them. He does the same today for those who are His sheep, and He does whatever it takes to shepherd His people (see Jn. 10).
1 Adonai said to Moshe, 2 “Tell the people of Isra'el to turn around and set up camp in front of Pi-Hachirot, between Migdol and the sea, in front of Ba'al-Tz'fon; camp opposite it, by the sea.
This is the first time the LORD has turned the people around, this is something new. And then He has them camp out until Pharaoh and his troops arrive.
As with the names of individuals, place names in Hebrew have meaning. The name may refer to the character of the place, some prominent feature, or even something significant that happened there.
“Pi-Hachirot” is not hyphenated in the Hebrew, but is rather two words: פִּי הַחִירֹת
פִּי [piy: “pee”] is the word pair (or construct chain) form of פֶּה [peh] meaning
Strong's: the mouth (as the means of blowing), whether literal or figurative (particularly speech); specifically edge, portion or side; adverbially (with preposition) according to
BDB: the mouth (of a man; as organ of speech; of animals); a mouth, an opening, an orifice (used of a well, a river, etc); an extremity, an end
הַ [hah] is the definite article: “the”
חִירֹת [khiy-rōt] appears to be the feminine plural of חוֹר meaning
Strong's: a cavity, socket, den
BDB: a hole, a cave
so might be translated along the lines of “the mouth of the holes,” or “the edge of the caves”
“Migdol” is either מִגְדֹּל or מִגְדּוֹל in Hebrew; both are pronounced the same: “meeg-dōl.”
Strong's: probably of Egyptian origin; Migdol, a place in Egypt
BDB: “tower” as a proper noun, masculine: a fortified city on the Egyptian border
Broken down, we can see the word גָּדוֹל [gah-dōl] with the prefixed מִ (shortened from the word מִן). Together we have “from” a thing “big” or “great,” hence the ideas that BDB brings out. From the fortifications of this city the Egyptians could see for miles in any direction and quickly send word to Pharaoh, i.e. by homing pigeon.
“Ba'al-Tz'fon” (בַּעַל צְפוֹן) comes from
בַּעַל [bah-ahl] meaning “lord,” the supreme male divinity of the Phoenicians or Canaanites
Strong's: properly, hidden, i.e. dark; used only of the north as a quarter (gloomy and unknown)
BDB: north (of direction), northward
Note that this city was not necessarily “in the north,” but “northward,” or “north of” another place. It may be that the primary mission of Ba'al-Tz'fon was to guard a northward route, or to monitor the road that led north from their location.
Or it may simply be that the city, site, lookout, monument, statue, etc., whatever Ba'al-Tz'fon was, that it was known for being dark and gloomy.
Baal-zephon or Baalzephon, properly Baʿal Zaphon or Ṣaphon (Hebrew: בעל צפון; Akkadian: dim Be-el ḫur.sag Ḫa-zi; Hurrian: Tšb Ḫlbğ), was the form of the Canaanite storm god Baʿal (lit. "The Lord") in his role as lord of Mount Zaphon; he is identified in the Ugaritic texts as Hadad. Because of the mountain's importance and location, it came to metonymously signify "north" in Hebrew; the name is therefore sometimes mistakenly given in translation as Lord of the North. He was equated with the Greek god Zeus in his form Zeus Kasios and later with the Roman Jupiter Casius.
Because Baʿal Zaphon was considered a protector of maritime trade, sanctuaries were constructed in his honor around the Mediterranean by his Canaanite and Phoenician devotees. "Baal-zephon" thereby also became a placename, most notably a location mentioned in the Hebrew Scriptures' Book of Exodus as the location where the Israelites miraculously crossed the Red Sea during their exodus from Egypt.
The name Baʿal Zaphon never appears in the mythological texts discovered at Ugarit. Instead, it occurs in guides to ritual and in letters, where it is used to differentiate this form of Baʿal from others such as Baʿal Ugarit. The earliest discovered depiction of the god—where he stands astride two mountains in a smiting posture—dates to the 18th century bc. Other depictions show him crowned and bearing a scepter. As a protector of maritime trade, his temples also received votive stone anchors. The treaty between Asarhaddon and King Baʿal of Tyre ranks Baʿal Zaphon third behind Baʿal Shamem and Baʿal Malage. In addition to his temple at Jebel Aqra and Ugarit, Baʿal Zaphon is known to have been worshipped at Tyre and Carthage and served as the chief god of the colony at Tahpanes.
A 14th-century letter from the king of Ugarit to the Egyptian pharaoh places Baʿal Zaphon as equivalent to Amun. Temples to Zeus Kasios are attested in Egypt, Athens, Epidauros, Delos, Corfu, Sicily, and Spain, with the last mention occurring on Rome's German border in the 3rd century. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baal-zephon, accessed 20Jan16)
Confronting Baal-Zephon: The Spiritual Message of the Meeting of Israel and the Armies of Egypt, by Scott Lanser, MA, Executive Director of ABR (Associates for Biblical Research)
"Then the Lord said to Moses, 'Tell the Israelites to turn back and encamp near Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea...directly opposite Baal Zephon...'" (Exodus 14:1).
It would be a gross understatement to say that the issues of the locations of the crossing of the Red Sea and of Mt. Sinai have gotten quite a bit of attention lately. Many articles have been written (some of the best by ABR scholars!), and the debate and discussion goes on. The pursuit of truth is a most noble task and its importance cannot be overestimated. Even within the subject of biblical geography, the researchers' theological assumptions impact both the research and the conclusions drawn from that research.
You may ask, "you mean it’s actually important to know where the Israelites crossed the Red Sea?" or "Does it really matter which mountain is Mt. Sinai?" Such questions belie a set of assumptions that many Christians hold today, that historical or geographical precision is unimportant compared to the "spiritual meaning" of the biblical text. This form of reasoning is not necessarily found among just liberal scholars with an axe to grind with evangelicals. It is found among many evangelicals, and sadly among our young adults who have been trained to understand the Christian faith in experiential and subjective forms devoid of the historical and geographical foundations that give their faith actual meaning. Let me be clear, my intent is not to cloud the important discussion of the actual locations of these events in any way, or to suggest that, by looking to the spiritual meaning and application, that our search is unimportant. Indeed, the archaeological research that is helping us understand the locations of these momentous events is of paramount importance, led by the sovereign will of God.
With that said, I want to call the reader to the Exodus text, chapters 13 and 14. We find the Israelites being led by God out of Egypt, by the desert road toward the Red Sea and armed for battle. God's leading is miraculous: "By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light..." (v. 21). It is significant that the writer informs us that the pillar of cloud and fire never "left its place in front of the people" (v. 22). Why is this significant? Because God is about to do something apparently strange and unexpected. God wants us to know that He led them every step of the way to this point, and now He stops the Israelites and tells them to turn back! "Tell the Israelites to turn back and encamp near Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea. They are to encamp by the sea, directly opposite Baal Zephon." God shows us that the confrontation with the Egyptians at Baal Zephon is not by accident, or a coincidence. He shows us that He intentionally turns the Israelites around and leads them to a place that He has chosen for the great spiritual conflict with the Egyptians.
Yes...I said spiritual conflict. Even though the Israelites had left Egypt "armed for battle" (13:18), they were told, "you only need to be still" because "the Lord will fight for you" (14:14). And lest we think the impending battle is just a physical battle between armies with swords, armor and chariots, let us remember that our God had been triumphing over not only the Pharaoh and the Egyptians, but also the supposed power of their gods. The plagues were a drumbeat of victory as the gods of Egypt were, one by one, displayed to be impotent and powerless. And even more importantly, Yahweh wanted the Egyptians to know that He is the Lord (14:4).
The study of the history and background of Baal Zephon is utterly fascinating. The worship of Baal was known throughout the Fertile Crescent, the Levant, and down into Egypt. Upon this mountain, Baal Zephon, it was believed that Zephon reigned in power and was lord over the sea. Here, Pharaoh may have sensed that the idol Zephon was going to display his power over the Israelites. God tells us some of Pharaoh’s reasoning: "Pharaoh will think, 'The Israelites are wandering around the land in confusion, hemmed in by the desert.' And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and he will pursue them" (v. 3, 4a). Indeed he did, and I believe that Pharaoh considered that Zephon would finally rout the Israelites and that Yahweh would be shown to be inferior in power. (Did Pharaoh still think that he and his Egyptian gods had power to subdue the God of Israel unaided by a still more powerful deity?) And it is no surprise that the Lord stopped Israel and turned them around to meet and defeat not only Pharaoh and his army, but also to display his power over Zephon and defeat him at the mountain of his glory and power. Not only this, but Yahweh would lead His people directly through the sea...the sea which the Egyptians believed were under the control of Zephon! And further, that instead of the Israelites being destroyed, showing Zephon's lordship of the sea, it would be the Egyptians who would discover who was both Lord of the mountain, but also Lord over the sea! There were many ways that God could have chosen to eliminate the Egyptian army; it was no accident that He chose to bring this conflict into the sharpest spiritual focus and to a climax of incredible proportions.
In the end we are left awestruck at the wisdom and power of our God. We can see clearly that God was showing His people, in the most amazing and startling ways, not only that He was Lord over all other gods and over nature, but was teaching His people Israel what happens to those who worship false gods. And lest we forget His love for the Egyptians, we must remember His words, that ultimately, "the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord" (v. 4). Can we not also conclude, that in the end, God showed His grace to the Egyptians who were in the bondage of following gods who were empty, without power, and unable to save them?
The Lord said: "...I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord." God's glory is at stake in all these things. May we praise and glorify our great God, who delivers his people and triumphs over all our enemies! (http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2006/07/12/Confronting-Baal-Zephon-The-Spiritual-Message-of-the-Meeting-of-Israel-and-the-Armies-of-Egypt-at-the-Mountain-Before-the-Sea.aspx, accessed 19Jan16)
For an interesting discussion on the probable Exodus route that includes maps, photographs, and satellite images see http://www.bible.ca/archeology/bible-archeology-exodus-route-baal-zephon.htm, accessed 21Jan16.
3 Then Pharaoh will say that the people of Isra'el are wandering aimlessly in the countryside, the desert has closed in on them.
When Pharaoh got the word that the of Isra'el had turned around and then stopped to set up camp, his conclusion would be that they were wandering aimlessly in the countryside and that the desert had closed in on them.
They are lost, they don't know what they are doing, they don't know where they are going, etc.
4 I will make Pharaoh so hardhearted that he will pursue them; thus I will win glory for myself at the expense of Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will realize at last that I am Adonai.” The people did as ordered.
“Hardhearted,” or more literally, “I will harden the heart of Pharaoh.” This is the last of a series of times we are told about Pharaoh's heart being hard. Harden here comes from the Hebrew word חָזַק [kha-zaq]:
Strong's: fasten upon; hence, to seize, be strong (figuratively, courageous, causatively strengthen, cure, help, repair, fortify), obstinate; to bind, restrain, conquer
BDB: to strengthen, to prevail, to harden, to be strong, to become strong, to be courageous, to be firm, grow firm, to be resolute, to be sore
This is one of three different Hebrew words that are translated “harden” in these chapters of Exodus in referring to Pharaoh's heart.
The people did as ordered: and they did so ( וַיַּעֲשׂוּ כֵן [va-ya-a-su kān])
כֵן = set upright; hence (figuratively as adjective) just; but usually (as adverb or conjunction) rightly or so
The LORD gave them directions “and they did so” - they did rightly
Following the LORD's explicit directions is always “right” - e.g. following His written Word.
Following any other directions may or may not be “right”; to know, it needs to be compared with the LORD and His written revelation (see The Steps of Truth attached to see how)
5 When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, Pharaoh and his servants had a change of heart toward the people. They said, “What have we done, letting Isra'el stop being our slaves?”
As long as it would stop a problem or help him, Pharaoh would say, “I have sinned” (e.g. Ex 9:27; 10:16), ask for prayer (e.g. Ex 8:8, 28; 9:28), or even a blessing (Ex 12:32) … but, in time, what is in the heart will show itself and bear fruit – either to life or death.
Mt. 12:33 If you make a tree good, its fruit will be good: and if you make a tree bad, its fruit will be bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.
Gal. 5:19 And it is perfectly evident what the old nature does. It expresses itself in sexual immorality, impurity and indecency; 20 involvement with the occult and with drugs; in feuding, fighting, becoming jealous and getting angry; in selfish ambition, factionalism, intrigue 21 and envy; in drunkenness, orgies and things like these. I warn you now as I have warned you before: those who do such things will have no share in the Kingdom of God! 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 humility, self control. Nothing in the Torah stands against such things.
Rom. 8:6 Having one's mind controlled by the old nature is death, but having one's mind controlled by the Spirit is life and shalom.
6 So he prepared his chariots and took his people with him – 7 he took 600 first-quality chariots, as well as all the other chariots in Egypt, along with their commanders. 8 Adonai made Pharaoh hardhearted, and he pursued the people of Isra'el, as they left boldly. 9 The Egyptians went after them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, with his cavalry and army, and overtook them as they were encamped by the sea, by Pi-Hachirot, in front of Ba'al-Tz'fon.
One ancient and reliable means of relaying messages over long distances is the homing or carrier pigeon:
The elevation of the Migdol is 500 meters. The Migdol located at the three way intersection of the Red Sea, gulf of Suez and gulf of Aqaba was one of the most important. From the vantage point on the ridge of mountains near the sea, you could get a view for 30 miles each way. It was of huge military and defensive importance.
Homing pigeons had been used for communications in Egypt since 2500 BC, a full 1000 years before the exodus. Large numbers of pigeons were taken to each Migdol and kept captive, until they were needed to fly back "home" to Pharaoh in Egypt. Homing pigeons fly at a cruising speed of 100 km per hour. It would take less than 5 hours for a pigeon to send a message back to Pharaoh.
Scripture says that Israel came to a dead end at Etham, then God told them to turn back and retrace their steps and camp directly beside the "Migdol" in order for pharaoh to say, "Now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, "Tell the sons of Israel to turn back and camp before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea; you shall camp in front of Baal-zephon, opposite it, by the sea. "For Pharaoh will say of the sons of Israel, 'They are wandering aimlessly in the land; the wilderness has shut them in.' "Thus I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and he will chase after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord." And they did so." Exodus 14:1-4
Israel spent 8 days camped beside the Red Sea waiting for Pharaoh to arrive. It would take only five hours for the message to get to Pharaoh that Israel was back tracking. Then it took the army only.
So God was deliberately baiting Pharaoh who knew the terrain. Etham was the end of the 200 mile long coastal plain. When Israel started back towards Egypt, Pharaoh chased towards them with his 600 chariots.
Pharaoh's Migdol (one of many military watchtowers located on top of mountains) sent a homing pigeon to Egypt. The first known use of passenger pigeons in Egypt was 2400 BC. They fly at 60 miles per hour for up to 600 miles. It is 250 miles back to Egypt from the Migdol and a pigeon would have got there in 5 hours travelling at a casual 50 miles per hour. The army need only travel 35 miles per day on return. total time: 8 days. The sandy coastline would make travel easy and fast. (http://www.bible.ca/archeology/bible-archeology-exodus-route-migdol.htm ,accessed 22Jan16)
10 As Pharaoh approached, the people of Isra'el looked up and saw the Egyptians right there, coming after them. In great fear the people of Isra'el cried out to Adonai 11 and said to Moshe, “Was it because there weren't enough graves in Egypt that you brought us out to die in the desert? Why have you done this to us, bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Didn't we tell you in Egypt to let us alone, we'll just go on being slaves for the Egyptians? I would be better for us to be the Egyptians' slaves than to die in the desert!”
For better or for worse, when we are under pressure what is inside will come out; here it was great fear.
They had seen God's mighty acts and even that He made a distinction between them and the Egyptians, but did they really see the LORD behind those acts? They had known His hand, but did they really know His heart? Do we?
God is perfect and without fault (e.g. Mt. 5:48), God is love (e.g. 1 Jn. 4:8) and therefore His love is perfect; perfect love casts out fear (e.g. 1 Jn. 4:18)
The longer we are away from a bad or harsh situation, the more it might be romanticized; especially if we are in another situation which is hard, uncomfortable, unfamiliar, or uncertain.
13 Moshe answered the people, “Stop being so fearful! Remain steady, and you will see how Adonai is going to save you. He will do it today – today you have seen the Egyptians, but you will never see them again! 14 Adonai will do battle for you. Just calm yourselves down!”
“Stop being so fearful!”
The root of the Hebrew word for “fearful” here is יָרֵא [ya-ray] meaning: to fear, to be afraid, to stand in awe of, to be awed, to show reverence, to honor, to respect.
“Stop” here is derived from אַל [al] which means: not, no, nor, neither, nothing (as wish or preference); do not, let not (with a verb); let there not be (with a verb understood); not, no (with a substantive); nothing (as a substantive).
“Remain steady” comes from the Hebrew word יָצַב [ya-tsav] meaning: to place, to set, to stand, to set or station oneself, to present oneself (Hithpael) to station oneself, to take one's stand, to stand, to present oneself, to stand with someone.
“ you will see how Adonai is going to save you” might be more literally translated, “see the salvation of the LORD which He will show you”
“the salvation of the LORD” or “the LORD's salvation” is אֶת־ יְשׁוּעַת יהוה [et yeshuat yud-hay-vav-hay]
אֶת־ = the direct object marker (not translated in English)
יְשׁוּעַת is a construct of יְשׁוּעַה = Yeshua = salvation, deliverance; welfare, prosperity; victory
יהוה = YHWH in English / Latin letters. Religiously observant Jews are forbidden to pronounce this name of God, out of honor and respect for the holiness, purity, and awesomeness of the LORD, and when reading Torah will use Adonai instead. Many others follow the same, or a similar practice, using Adonai, HaShem, Ado-Shem, or simply reading the Hebrew letters. From lack of use over the last two millennia the exact pronunciation is unknown and sometimes debated, but as one rabbi said, it is more important to know the LORD and His Word than to simply know how to pronounce His name. These four letters are sometimes called the “tetragrammaton” (from Greek τετραγράμματον, meaning “[consisting of] four letters).
• If we will stop being fearful, if we will not allow ourselves to give in to fear, and will take a stand on our reasoned faith in the LORD and His Word we will see יהוה 's Yeshua!
14 Adonai will do battle for you. Just calm yourselves down!
“do battle” or “shall fight” from the Hebrew לָחַם [lah-khahm] meaning:
Strong's: to feed on; figuratively, to consume; by implication, to battle (as destruction)
BDB: to fight, to do battle, to make war; to engage in battle, to wage war; to eat, to use as food
“Just calm yourselves down!” comes from תַּחֲרִישׁוּן [tah-khah-ri-shūn], the Hiphil imperfect 2nd person masculine plural of חָרַשׁ [khah-rahsh]. The Hiphil verb form is the form of causation. חָרַשׁ means:
Strong's: to scratch, i.e. (by implication) to engrave, plough; hence (from the use of tools) to fabricate (of any material); figuratively, to devise (in a bad sense); hence (from the idea of secrecy) to be silent, to let alone; hence (by implication) to be deaf (as an accompaniment of dumbness)
to cut in, to plow, to engrave, to devise
(Qal) to cut in, to engrave, to plow, to devise
(Niphal) to be plowed
(Hiphil) to plot evil
to be silent, to be dumb, to be speechless, to be deaf
(Qal) to be silent; to be deaf
(Hiphil) to be silent, to keep quiet; to make silent; to be deaf, to show deafness
(Hithpael) to remain silent
cause yourselves to be silent; cause yourselves to keep quiet
I'm reminded of a particular time I was seeking the LORD and direction in my life. A minister told me that instead of running here and there I needed to “sit down, shut up, and listen.”
Ps. 46:11(10) Desist, (be still, cease striving) and learn (know) that I am God, supreme over the nations, supreme over the earth.