Bible Commentary

Exodus 15

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

<< Exodus 14 | Exodus 15 | Exodus 16 >>
(Read all of Exodus 15)

Verse 1

[1] Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.

Then sang Moses — Moses composed this song, and sang it with the children of Israel. Doubtless he wrote it by inspiration, and sang it on the spot. By this instance it appears that the singing of psalms, as an act of religious worship, was used in the church of Christ before the giving of the ceremonial law, therefore it is no part of it, nor abolished with it: singing is as much the language of holy joy, as praying is of holy desire.

I will sing unto the Lord — All our joy must terminate in God, and all our praises be offered up to him, for he hath triumphed - All that love God triumph in his triumphs.

Verse 2

[2] The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him.

Israel rejoiceth in God, as their strength, song, and salvation - Happy therefore the people whole God is the Lord: They are weak themselves, but he strengthens them, his grace is their strength: they are oft in sorrow, but in him they have comfort, he is their song: sin and death threaten them, but he is, and will be, their salvation. He is their fathers God - This they take notice of, because being conscious of their own unworthiness, they had reason to think that what God had now done for them was for their fathers sake, Deuteronomy 4:37.

Verse 3

[3] The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name.

The Lord is a man of war — Able to deal with all those that strive with their maker.

Verse 4

[4] Pharaoh's chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea.

He hath cast — With great force, as an arrow out of a bow, so the Hebrew word signifies.

Verse 7

[7] And in the greatness of thine excellency thou hast overthrown them that rose up against thee: thou sentest forth thy wrath, which consumed them as stubble.

In the greatness of thine excellency — By thy great and excellent power.

Verse 8

[8] And with the blast of thy nostrils the waters were gathered together, the floods stood upright as an heap, and the depths were congealed in the heart of the sea.

With the blast of thy nostrils — By thine anger: The depths were congealed - Stood still, as if they had been frozen: In the heart of the sea - The midst of it.

Verse 9

[9] The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my lust shall be satisfied upon them; I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them.

My lust — My desire both of revenge and gain.

Verse 11

[11] Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?

The gods — So called: Idols, or Princes: Glorious in holiness - In justice, mercy and truth: Fearful in praises - To be praised with reverence.

Verse 12

[12] Thou stretchedst out thy right hand, the earth swallowed them.

The earth swallowed them — Their dead bodies sunk into the sands on which they were thrown, which sucked them in.

Verse 13

[13] Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation.

Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the People — Out of the bondage of Egypt, and out of the perils of the Red-sea.

Thou hast guided them to thy holy habitation — Thou hast put them into the way to it, and wilt in due time bring them to the end of that way.

Verse 17

[17] Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O LORD, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established.

Thou shalt bring them in — If he thus bring them out of Egypt, he will bring them into Canaan; for has he begun, and will he not make an end? Thou wilt plant them in the place which thou hast made for thee to dwell in - It is good dwelling where God dwells, in his church on earth, and in his church in heaven.

In the mountains — In the mountainous country of Canaan: The sanctuary which thy hands have established - Will as surely establish as if it was done already.

Verse 18

[18] The LORD shall reign for ever and ever.

The Lord shall reign for ever and ever — They had now seen an end of Pharaoh's reign, but time itself shall not put a period to Jehovah's reign, which like himself is eternal.

Verse 20

[20] And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances.

Miriam (or Mary, it is the same name) presided in an assembly of the women, who (according to the common usage of those times) with timbrels and dances, sung this song. Moses led the psalm, and gave it out for the men, and then Miriam for the women. Famous victories were wont to be applauded by the daughters of Israel, 1 Samuel 18:6,7, so was this. When God brought Israel out of Egypt, it is said, Micah 6:4, he sent before them Moses, Aaron, and Miriam; though we read not of any thing remarkable that Miriam did but this. But those are to be reckoned great blessings to a people, that go before them in praising God.

Verse 21

[21] And Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.

And Miriam answered them — The men: They sung by turns, or in parts.

Verse 23

[23] And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah.

The name of it was called Marah — That is, Bitterness.

Verse 25

[25] And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them,

And he cried unto the Lord — It is the greatest relief of the cares of magistrates and ministers, when those under their charge make them uneasy, that they may have recourse to God by prayer; he is the guide of the church's guides, and to the chief shepherd, the under shepherds must on all occasions apply themselves: And the Lord directed Moses to a tree, which he cast into the waters, and they were made sweet - Some think this wood had a peculiar virtue in it for this purpose, because it is said, God shewed him the tree. God is to be acknowledged, not only in the creating things useful for man, but in discovering their usefulness. But perhaps this was only a sign, and not a means of the cure, no more than the brazen serpent.

There he made a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them — That is, there he put them upon trial, admitted them as probationers for his favour. In short he tells them, Exodus 15:26, what he expected from them, and that was, in one word, obedience. They must diligently hearken to his voice, and give ear to his commandments, and must take care, in every thing, to do that which was right in God's sight, and to keep all his statutes. Then I will put none of these diseases upon thee - That is, I will not bring upon thee any of the plagues of Egypt. This intimates, that if they were disobedient, the plagues which they had seen inflicted on their enemies should be brought on them. But if thou wilt be obedient, thou shalt be safe, the threatening is implied, but the promise is expressed, I am the Lord that healeth thee - And will take care of thee wherever thou goest.

<< Exodus 14 | Exodus 15 | Exodus 16 >>