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Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
INTRODUCTION TO Exodus 15
This chapter contains the song of Moses, and of the children of Israel, on the banks of the Red sea; in which they celebrate their passage through it, the destruction of Pharaoh and his host in it, and the glory of the divine perfections displayed therein, interspersed with prophetic hints of things future, Exodus 15:1 which same song was sung by the women, with Miriam at the head of them, attended with timbrels and dances, Exodus 15:20, an account is given of the march of the children of Israel from the Red sea to the wilderness of Shur, and of the bitter waters found at Marah, which occasioned a murmuring, and of their being made sweet by casting a tree into them, Exodus 15:22 when they were told by the Lord, that if they would yield obedience to his commandments, they should be free from the diseases the Egyptians had been afflicted with, Exodus 15:26, and the chapter is concluded with their coming to Elim, where they found twelve wells of water, and seventy palm trees, and there encamped, Exodus 15:27.
1Then 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 and the children of Israel this song unto the Lord,.... Which is the first song recorded in Scripture, though no doubt before this time songs of praise were sung to the Lord; the people of God having occasion in all ages more or less to sing his praises. The Jews (n) speak of ten songs, the first of which was sung by Adam, when his sins were forgiven him, and this song of Moses is the second; though sometimes they say (o), from the creation of the world to the standing of Israel by the Red sea, we do not find that ever any man sung a song but Israel; God created the first man, but he sang no song: however, this is the first on record, and is a typical one; Moses the composer of it, and who bore a principal part in it, and was the deliverer of the people of Israel, was a type of Christ, the Redeemer of his church: and Israel that joined with him in it, and were the persons delivered, were typical of the spiritual Israel of God redeemed by Christ; and the deliverance here celebrated bore a great resemblance to the redemption wrought out by him; and Christ, the Angel of the Lord, that went before the Israelites through the Red sea, and fought for them, is the principal person concerned in it, and who is meant by the Lord throughout the whole of it, and to whom it is sung; and a song upon a similar occasion to this will be sung in the latter day, upon the destruction of spiritual Egypt, or antichrist, and is called the song of Moses and the Lamb in allusion to it, Revelation 15:3 The Jews (p) say, this shall be sung at the time, when the wicked shall perish out of the world, and observe that it is not written "then sung", but "then shall sing", &c. Moses had reason to sing, since God had heard his prayer, and had done him honour before the people, and he was both an instrument of and a sharer in the salvation wrought; and the children of Israel had reason to sing, inasmuch as they were a people chosen of God, and distinguished by him; were redeemed from bondage, called out of Egypt, and now saved out of the hands of their enemies, who were all destroyed, and they brought safely through the Red sea, and landed on firm ground. And the time when they sung this song was then, when they had passed through the sea on dry land; and when they had seen the Egyptians their enemies dead on the sea shore; and when they were in a proper frame of spirit to sing, when they had taken notice of and considered what great and wonderful things the Lord had done for them, and their minds were suitably impressed with a sense of them; when they were in the exercise of the graces of the fear of God, and faith in him, and which is necessary to the performance of all religious duties, and particularly this of singing the praises of God:
and spake, saying, I will sing unto the Lord: that went before them in a pillar of cloud and fire; who had led them safely through the Red sea, and troubled and destroyed the host of the Egyptians; even the same Jehovah, who has undertook the salvation of his people, is become the author of it, and to whom the song of redeeming grace is due:
for he hath triumphed gloriously; over Pharaoh and all the Egyptians, the enemies of Israel, as Christ has over sin, in the destruction of it by his sacrifice, and over Satan, and his principalities and powers, when he spoiled them on the cross, and over death the last enemy, and all others; over whom he has made his people more than conquerors, through himself: or, "in excelling he excels" (q); all the angels of heaven, in his name, and nature, relation, and office; and all the sons of men, even the greatest among them, being King of kings, and Lord of lords; in the wonderful things done by him, no such achievements having ever been wrought by any of them: or, "in magnifying, he is magnified" (r); appears to be what he is, great in his nature, perfections, and works; and to be magnified, or declared to be great, and extolled as such by all that know and fear him:
the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea; the horses and horsemen of Pharaoh; and which is not amiss allegorically applied, by Tertullian (s), to the world and the devil; the world is the horse, and the rider the devil; that being under his power and direction, he being the god of it, and working effectually in it; spurring and exciting the men of it to every sinful lust and pleasure; and may be put for all the spiritual enemies of God's people, especially their sins; which are cast by the Lord into the midst of the sea, never to be seen and remembered any more, and which is to them matter of a song of praise and thanksgiving.
(n) Targum in Cant. i. 1. (o) Shemot Rabba, sect. 23. fol. 107. 3.((p) Tikkune Zohar, correct. 10. fol. 20. 2.((q) "excellendo excelluit", Piscator. (r) "Magnificando magnificatus est", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus. (s) Contr. Marcion, l. 4. c. 20.
2The 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.
The Lord is my strength and song,..... The strength of Moses and the children of Israel against the fears of the Egyptians, and of entrance into the Red sea; who inspired them with courage, and strengthened their faith, neither to fear being destroyed by the one, or drowned in the other; and so in the glory of his nature, and of his divine perfections, of his justice, holiness, faithfulness, truth, and goodness, he was the subject matter of their song. As Christ is the strength of his spiritual Israel, the author and giver of strength unto them, the strength of their lives, their hearts, and graces; and who strengthens them to do his will and work, to exercise every grace, withstand corruptions, resist temptations, bear afflictions, and overcome every enemy; and who on the account of the glory of his person, the beauty, fitness, and fulness of it, and because of his offices of Mediator, Saviour, prophet, priest, and King, as well as by reason of what he has done for them, the righteousness he has brought in, and the salvation he has wrought out, is the sum and substance of their song of praise:
and he is become my salvation; the salvation of Israel in a temporal sense, having saved them out of the hands of the Egyptians their enemies; and the salvation or Saviour of his spiritual Israel, who are saved by him with an everlasting salvation; he is not only their Saviour, but salvation itself; being not only the author of it, and that being in him for them, but made that itself unto them, even their all in all; their righteousness, atonement, peace, light, life, food, health, comfort, and joy; all their grace being in him, and from him, as well as their eternal glory and happiness: and this he is to them now, he is their salvation by impetration having obtained it by his obedience, sufferings, and death; and by application, they being convinced of their need of salvation by him, and the suitableness of it to them, seek to him for it, desire that and no other, which is brought nigh unto them by the Spirit of God, and witnessed to by him as theirs; so that they are already saved by grace, through faith and hope in Christ; and of their particular interest in it, they have knowledge by the same Spirit, which fills them with joy unspeakable and full of glory. This and the preceding clause are words so very expressive, and contain such fulness of matter, and such interesting things, that both the psalmist David, and the church, in the times of the evangelic prophet Isaiah, have borrowed them to express their sense of the great things the Lord was to them, and had done for them, Psalm 118:14.
he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; Christ is God, truly God, as appears from the names given him, particularly Jehovah; from the perfections ascribed to him, from the works done by him, and from the worship of him both by angels and men; and he is his people's God, their Immanuel, God in their nature, the God in whom they believe, and in whom they have an interest; he is the God of their salvation, the Lord their righteousness; their Lord, head, and King; their husband, beloved, Father, brother, friend; their God and guide, even unto death; their portion and exceeding great reward, now and hereafter: wherefore Moses, or the people of Israel, or both, determine to "prepare" him an "habitation", being concerned that he had no better dwelling place among them than he had; and seem to have some respect unto, and knowledge of an habitation hereafter to be built, the tabernacle and temple; which were typical of the human nature of Christ, and of his church; but then they were both of God's preparing, and not men's; wherefore an habitation in the hearts of, his people may be chiefly designed; the preparation of which, though it is principally and efficaciously of the Spirit of God, yet in some sense may be said to be prepared by the saints, when they show a concern for grace to be in exercise; to have duty regularly and constantly performed in a manner acceptable to him, and that no disturbance be given to occasion his departure from them. The Septuagint version is, "I will glorify him"; with soul and body, which are both his; and so much to the same purpose other versions, "I will decorate or beautify" (t) him; declare his beauty and glory, and speak in praise of it: "my father's God, and I will exalt him"; Christ was not only the God of Amram, the father of Moses, who was a good man; but the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as he declared himself to be, Exodus 3:6, the ancestors not only of Moses, but of all the children of Israel. This shows the antiquity of Christ, that he was their fathers' God, and that he is to be trusted and depended on, as he was by their fathers, and to be regarded, and highly valued and esteemed, having been their fathers' friend, and is a reason why he should be exalted by them; for though he cannot be raised higher than he is, being the Son of the Highest, God over all, blessed for ever, whose kingdom ruleth over all, and is now as man ascended on high, and is highly exalted by his Father, and at his right hand, and glorified by him with himself; yet he may be said to be exalted and lifted up by us, when we celebrate and set forth the height of his glory and excellency, by asserting his proper deity, ascribing the same perfections, worlds, and worship to him, as to his Father, by attributing distinct divine personality to him, confessing his eternal sonship, owning him in all his offices, and giving him the glory due unto him on account of them, and for salvation wrought out by him; the whole honour and praise of it belong to him: he may and should be exalted in the hearts of his people, in their thoughts and affections, and with their lips in songs of praise; and in the house of God, and the ordinances of it, where everyone should speak of his glory; the reasons are, because he is above all in his person and perfections, is the only Mediator, Saviour, and Redeemer, and to exalt him is the way to be exalted, Proverbs 4:8.
(t) Sept. "glorificabo eum", V. L. "laudabo eume", Syr. Samar. "hunc decorabo", Tigurine version; "condecorabo eum", Piscator.
3The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name.
The Lord is a man of war,.... A "man", which has respect to the future incarnation of Christ, for as yet he was not really man; though it was purposed, covenanted, agreed to, and prophesied of, that he should, as he after was; not a mere man, as appears by the following clause: "a man of war"; or a warrior; being engaged in war, and inured to it; having to do with very powerful enemies, Satan and his principalities and powers, the world, and the great men of it, antichrist, and all the antichristian states. A warrior well versed in all the arts of war, and abundantly qualified for it, having consummate wisdom, strength, and courage, and thoroughly furnished and accoutred for it; having on the breastplate of righteousness, the helmet of salvation, the garment of vengeance, and cloak of zeal, and a vesture dipped in blood; and with a sword girt on his thigh, or drawn, or coming out of his mouth; and with a bow and arrows, going forth conquering, and to conquer; for he is a victorious one, who has conquered sin, Satan, and the world, and will subdue all others, and make his people more than conquerors, through him. He is not a common man of war or warrior; he is the Captain of the Lord's host, the Leader and Commander of the people, the Generalissimo of the armies in heaven and earth, and is a Prince and King at the head of them:
the Lord is his name; or Jehovah, which proves him to be more than a man; and being so, it is no wonder that he is so mighty, powerful, and victorious.
4Pharaoh's chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea.
Pharaoh's chariots and his hosts hath he cast into the sea,.... Which was done by the Angel of the Lord, who was Jehovah himself, our Immanuel, and man of war, as appears from Exodus 14:17, an emblem of the destruction of antichrist, and all the antichristian states, of which Pharaoh and his host were types:
his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea: who were appointed over his chosen chariots, which all perished in the sea together. In the carnage that will be made by Christ, the warrior and conqueror, among the followers of antichrist, the man of "sin", the antitypical Pharaoh, the flesh of captains is mentioned for the fowls of heaven to feed upon, Revelation 19:18.
5The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone.
The depths have covered them,.... The depths of the sea covered Pharaoh and his host, so as to be seen no more; and in like manner will mystical Babylon, or antichrist, be destroyed, and be no more found and seen; as likewise the sins of God's people, being cast into the depths of the sea, and covered with the blood of Christ, will be seen no more; when they are sought for, they shall not be found:
they sunk into the bottom as a stone; into the bottom of the sea, as a stone thrown into anybody of water sinks and rises not up again; this circumstance is observed by Nehemiah 9:11.
their persecutors thou threwest into the deep, as a stone into the mighty waters; and thus a stone like a millstone being taken by an angel and cast into the sea, is made an emblem of the irrecoverable ruin and destruction of Babylon, or antichrist, Revelation 18:21.
6Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy.
Thy right hand, O Lord, is become glorious in power,.... In bringing the children of Israel out of Egypt, and through the Red sea, and in the destruction of Pharaoh and the Egyptians; and so the right hand of Christ, expressive of his power, he has in and of himself, and is the same with his Father's, and is mighty, yea, almighty, is become glorious, famous, and illustrious, in the redemption and salvation of his people, by bearing their sins, and working out a righteousness for them; and in the destruction of their enemies, sin, Satan, the world, and death, as is more fully expressed in the next clause:
thy right hand, O Lord, hath dashed in pieces the enemy; in a literal sense, Pharaoh and his host, the avowed enemies of Israel; and, in a spiritual sense, those before named, together with all the antichristian party, those enemies of Christ, and his people, whom he wilt break to shivers as a potter's vessel, Revelation 2:27.
7And 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.
And in the greatness of thine excellency,.... Christ has an excellency in him, a greatness of excellency, a superlative one; he has a more excellent name and nature than the angels, being a divine Person; and a more excellent ministry, as man and Mediator, than any of the sons of men, as prophet, priest, and King; and is superlatively excellent in his operations, has wrought out a most excellent righteousness, offered up a more excellent sacrifice than ever was offered, and obtained a great, glorious, and excellent salvation for his people; in consequence of which is what is next asserted:
thou hast overthrown them that rose up against thee; against his person and his people, who are in such strict union with him as to be reckoned as himself; and those that rise up against them, he reckons as rising up against him, or as his enemies; and both the one and the other are overthrown by him, as were those that rose up against him in person when on earth, as Herod, Pontius Pilate, the people of the Jews, with the Gentiles, and as will be antichrist and his followers, and all the spiritual enemies of the people of God:
thou sentest forth thy wrath, which consumed them as stubble; the wrath of the Lord God Almighty is like fire, and wicked men are as chaff and stubble; and as those cannot stand before fire, but are suddenly and quickly consumed with it; so neither can the wicked, the enemies of Christ and his people, stand before the wrath of the Lamb, when the great day of it is come, but must be presently destroyed by it; see Isaiah 51:20.
8And 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.
And with the blast of thy nostrils the waters were gathered together,.... From the bottom of the sea, and divided and laid on heaps; and this by a strong east wind, called the blast of the nostrils of the Lord, because as easily brought by him as a man's breath or wind is drawn through his nostrils; and thus Christ with the breath of his mouth, and the brightness of his coming, will destroy antichrist, 2 Thessalonians 2:8.
the floods stood upright as an heap; though a fluid body, yet by the power of Christ were raised up and continued upright, firm and consistent; as things dry and solid may be laid and heaped up on one another, and remain firm and stable; and so did the waters of the sea, they stood like a wall, and were as firm as a rock; while the Israelites passed between them, they stood upright, and lift up their hands, as if they blessed them; or blessed God for the deliverance of them, or in admiration of it; see Exodus 14:22,
9The 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.
The enemy said,.... That is, Pharaoh, who repented that he had let Israel go; an emblem of Satan, who when the people of God are taken out of his hands is uneasy at it, and seeks to recover them again into his possession; or of antichrist breathing out threatening and slaughter to the saints, the reformers departed from him, and delivered out of his captivity:
I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; which words being expressed without the copulative "and", show the passion he was in, the hastiness of his expressions, and the eagerness of his mind; and being delivered in such an absolute manner, "I will", "I will", &c. denote not only the fixed resolution and determination he had made to pursue, but the assurance he had of carrying his point; he thought as surely, as he pursued he should overtake, and overtaking should conquer, and get into his hands all the riches the people of Israel went out of Egypt with:
my lust shall be satified upon them; both his lust of covetousness to possess himself of the wealth the people had of their own, and which they had spoiled the Egyptians of, by borrowing of them; and also his lust of revenge and cruelty upon them; as appears from what follows:
I will draw my sword; out of its scabbard, and sheathe it in them:
my hand shall destroy them; which he made no doubt of, they being an unarmed people; and therefore, though numerous, were unable to engage with him, and defend themselves; see Revelation 6:14 and with it compare Isaiah 10:11.
10Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them: they sank as lead in the mighty waters.
Thou didst blow with thy wind,.... A strong east wind, Exodus 14:22 which is the Lord Christ's, who has it in his treasury, holds it in his fists, sends it out as he pleases, and it fulfils his word and will:
the sea covered them; which stood up in an heap as a wall to let Israel pass through, and fell down with all its waves and billows with great force upon the Egyptians, and covered and drowned them:
they sunk as lead in the mighty waters; which is a very heavy metal, and, being cast into the water, sinks to the bottom at once, as did the Egyptians in the Red sea, and as Babylon the great will, and never rise more, Revelation 18:21.
11Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?
Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods?.... For the perfections of his nature, for the blessings of his goodness, and for the works of his hands; and especially for the greatness and excellency of his power, seen in the salvation of his people, and the ruin of their enemies: there is none like him "among the mighty ones", as it may be rendered; among the mighty angels, who excel in strength, and are sometimes called gods; or among the mighty ones on earth; or the sons of the mighty, kings, princes, judges, and civil magistrates of every rank and order; especially for the following things:
who is like thee, glorious in holiness? some understand this of the holy place, either heaven, where Christ is glorious above all created beings; or the church, where he shows himself glorious to his people: others, of holy persons, either holy angels, among whom he was at Sinai, and when he ascended on high, and will be when he comes again, in his own and his Father's glory; or the saints, when he will bring them with him, and be glorified in them; but rather it is to be understood of the attribute of his holiness, which is eminently and perfectly in him; in his person, with respect to both his natures, divine and human; the glory of which is displayed in all the works he has wrought, especially in the great work of redemption, which was undertook both for the honour of the holiness and righteousness of God, and to redeem his people from sin, and make them righteous and holy: it appears in the holy doctrines he taught, and in the holy commandments and ordinances he enjoined his people, and in his judgments on his enemies; in all which it is plainly seen that he loves righteousness and hates iniquity, and there is none like him for it; there is none holy as the Lord among angels or men, 1 Samuel 2:2.
fearful in praises; or, in the things for which he is to be praised; as the glories and excellencies of his person, the blessings received from him, and through him, both temporal and spiritual; grace, and all the blessings of it here, now communicated, and glory and happiness promised and expected: and many things, for which he is to be praised, he is "fearful", awful, and tremendous in them; there are some things his right hand teaches him, and it does, deserving of praise, which yet are terrible, and such were they which are here literally, referred to; the plagues upon the Egyptians, and the destruction of Pharaoh and his host, called the wondrous works done in the land of Ham, and terrible things by the Red sea, Psalm 106:22 and yet these were matter of praise to Israel, and gave occasion for this song; and such are they, in a spiritual sense, which he has done to his and our enemies: when the year of his redeemed was come, it was a day of vengeance in his heart, and he exercised it; he made an end of sin, abolished death, destroyed him which had the power of it, and spoiled principalities and powers; and a dreadful slaughter will be made of antichrist and his followers, when the song of Moses and the Lamb will be sung on account of it; and such dispensations of Providence, and judgments on men, as on Pharaoh and antichrist, as they are terrible to wicked men, they strike an awe on the people of God, at the same time they furnish out a song of praise to them: moreover, this may respect not only the matter of praise, but the reverend manner in which it is performed by good men; who, as they have a concern that they cannot sufficiently praise the Lord, and fear they shall not perform it aright, and sensible of their weakness and imperfection, like the seraphim, cover their faces while they applaud his perfections, particularly that of his holiness, and declare the earth is full of his glory; so they desire to perform this, as all their other services, with a holy fear and trembling, with reverence and godly fear since holy and reverend is his name: it follows:
doing wonders; and for which there is none like him; wonders Christ did before his incarnate state, both in eternity, in the goings forth of his heart, in acts of love to his people, in asking for them, and betrothing them, in becoming the surety of them, in proposing to be a sacrifice in their stead, in entering into a covenant with his Father on their account, in taking the care and charge of their persons, and in being the treasury of all grace and glory for them; and likewise in time, being concerned in the wondrous works of creation, which are a wonderful display of divine wisdom, power, and goodness, and in all the affairs of Providence; for there was not any remarkable occurrence, from the beginning of the world to the time of his coming in the flesh, but he was concerned therein; as the drowning of the old world, to whom previously he preached by his Spirit in Noah; the burning of Sodom and Gomorrah, the plagues of Egypt, and the destruction of Pharaoh and his host, the deliverance of the children of Israel, both out of Egypt and Babylon, and many others: and when he became incarnate, how many wonders were wrought by him? the incarnation itself was a wonderful instance of his grace and condescension, to take upon him the nature of man, be made flesh, and dwell among them; and during his incarnate state on earth many wonders were done by him; the doctrines he taught, the miracles he wrought, and especially the great work of our redemption and salvation, which will be for ever the wonder of men and angels; his raising himself from the dead, his ascension to heaven, and his appearance there for his people, as well as his second coming to judgment, are all marvellous things; and on account of all this, and more, he may well be called "wonderful"; for working wonders there is none like him.
12Thou stretchedst out thy right hand, the earth swallowed them.
Thou stretchedst out thy right hand,.... That is, exerted his power, and gave a display and proof of it; of which the right hand is an emblem:
the earth swallowed them; meaning Pharaoh and his host; for though they were drowned in the sea, that being a part of the terraqueous globe, they may be said to be swallowed in the earth; as Jonah, when in the depth of the sea, the earth and its bars are said to be about him, Jonah 2:6 and besides, many of Pharaoh's army might be swallowed up in the mud at the bottom of the sea: nor is it improbable that those that were cast upon the banks and sand, whom the Israelites stripped, might be afterwards swallowed up therein.
13Thou 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 which thou hast redeemed,.... From their servitude and bondage in Egypt; and so they were the Lord's people, peculiar to him, and distinct from all others: those he led forth, as out of Egypt, so through the Red sea onward towards Canaan's land; which was owing to his mercy, pity, and compassion to them in their affliction and distress: thus the spiritual Israel are a people redeemed by Christ from the bondage of sin, Satan, and the law, and are his property, special and peculiar to him, and distinguished from all others: those he leads forth out of the state of nature in which they are, which is a very uncomfortable one, dark, bewildered, and forlorn, and out of their own ways, both of sin and self-righteousness; he leads them in himself the true way to eternal life, and in the paths of faith, truth, and holiness; and he leads to himself, his blood, righteousness, and fulness, and into his Father's presence, into his house and ordinances, and at last to heaven, the city of their habitation: and though it is sometimes in a rough way he leads them thither, yet always in a right one; and this must be ascribed to his grace and mercy, and not to the merits of his people: it was owing to his mercy he engaged for them as a surety, and came into this world to be their Saviour, in his love and pity he redeemed them; and it is according to abundant mercy they are regenerated, and called, and saved:
thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation; or rather, "art guiding them" (w); for as yet they were not brought to their rest, the land of Canaan, where God had chosen a place for his people and himself to dwell in; nor was the tabernacle as yet made, much less the temple, where Jehovah took up his residence; but as he had brought out his people Israel from Egypt with a strong hand, and mighty arm, he was guiding and directing them onward in their journey, in the same greatness of his strength, which he would and did continue, until he brought them to the place he had chosen for his habitation; which was typical, both tabernacle and temple, of the human nature of Christ, in which the fulness of the Godhead dwells, and which is holy, being perfectly free from sin, and to which the people of God are guided as the new and living way to the Father, and whereby they have communion with him: likewise they were an emblem of the church of God, where Jehovah, Father, Son, and Spirit, dwell, and which consists of holy persons, and where holy services are performed; and hither the Lord guides and directs his people, and where he gives them a nature and a place better than that of sons and daughters; and also of heaven, where the Lord dwells, and which is the habitation of his holiness, where are holy angels, and the spirits of just men made perfect, and into which none shall enter but those that are holy; and hither the Lord guides all his people, with his counsel, and by his Spirit and word, and by his almighty power brings them thither;
(w) "commode ducis", Junius & Tremellius.
14The people shall hear, and be afraid: sorrow shall take hold on the inhabitants of Palestina.
And the people shall hear, and be afraid,.... What follows from hence to the end of the song is plainly prophetic, a prediction of future events; and this clause respects the case of all the nations of the earth, who should hear the report of the plagues, brought upon the Egyptians for the sake of Israel, and of their being brought out of Egypt, and of their being led through the Red sea as on dry land, and of the destruction of Pharaoh and his host in it, which report would strike a panic in all that heard it, throughout the whole world; as well as of what the Lord would after this do for them in the wilderness, see Deuteronomy 2:25.
sorrow shall take hold of the inhabitants of Palestina; which was adjoining to the land of Canaan, and through which in the common way their road lay to it.
15Then the dukes of Edom shall be amazed; the mighty men of Moab, trembling shall take hold upon them; all the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away.
Then the dukes of Edom shall be amazed, Of which there were many, see Genesis 36:15 the land being first governed by dukes, as perhaps it was at this time, though in some few years after it had a king, Numbers 20:14 now these, when they heard of the wonderful things that were done for Israel in Egypt, at the Red sea, and in the wilderness, were astonished and surprised, and filled with fear and dread, see Deuteronomy 2:4,
the mighty men of Moab, trembling shall take hold upon them: as did on Balak the king of Moab, and his people, Numbers 22:2, where may be observed a literal accomplishment of this prophecy:
all the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away; as their hearts did, through fear, when they heard what God did for Israel against the Egyptians and the Amorites, and understood that they were upon the march to their land to invade it and dispossess them of it: see the fulfilment of this prediction in Joshua 2:9 thus when Babylon shall be destroyed, as Pharaoh and his host were, and the people of God saved out of the midst of her, as Israel was, the kings of the earth will stand afar off for fear of her torment, and bewail and lament for her, Revelation 18:9.
16Fear and dread shall fall upon them; by the greatness of thine arm they shall be as still as a stone; till thy people pass over, O LORD, till the people pass over, which thou hast purchased.
Fear and dread shall fall upon them.... On the several nations and people before mentioned, especially the Canaanites, which the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem interpret of the fear of death, lest the Israelites should fall upon them and destroy them, or God should fight for them, against them, and bring ruin and destruction on them:
by the greatness of thine arm they shall be as still as a stone; awed by the power of God, visible in what he had done for the Israelites, and upon their enemies; they should be like stocks and stones, immovable, have no power to act, nor stir a foot in their own defence, and against Israel, come to invade and possess their land; nor in the least molest them, or stop them in their passage over Jordan, or dispute it with them, but stand like persons thunderstruck, and as stupid as stones, not having any spirit or courage left in them:
till thy people pass over, O Lord, till the people pass over, which thou hast purchased; pass over the brook of Arnon, and the ford of Jabbok, according to the Targum of Jonathan; or the ford of Jabbok, and the ford of Jordan, according to the Jerusalem Targum; the river of Jordan is doubtless literally meant, at least chiefly; and the accomplishment of this prediction may be seen in Joshua 3:15 which was an emblem of the quiet passage of Christ's purchased people, through the ford or river of death, to the Canaan of everlasting rest and happiness: Christ's people are purchased by him, who is able to make the purchase, and had a right to do it, and has actually made it, by giving his flesh, shedding his blood, laying down his life, and giving himself a ransom price for them: these do, and must pass over Jordan, or go through the cold stream of death; it is the way of all the earth, of good men as well as others; it is a passage from one world to another; and there is no getting to the heavenly Canaan without going this way, or through this ford; and all the Lord's purchased people, like Israel, clean pass over through it, not one are left in it; their bodies are raised again, their souls are reunited to them, and both come safe to heaven and happiness: and, for the most part, they have a quiet and easy passage, the enemy is not suffered to disturb them, neither the sins and corruptions of their nature, nor an evil heart of unbelief, nor Satan with his temptations; and the terrors of death are taken away from them; so that they can sit and sing on the shores of eternity, in the view of death and another world, saying, death, where is thy sting? grave, where is thy victory? &c. and this is to be ascribed to the greatness of Jehovah's arm, to his almighty power, on which they lean, and go on comfortably in the wilderness; and by this they are carried safely through death to glory, and it is owing to this that the enemy and the avenger are stilled.
17Thou 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,.... Into the land of Canaan, which is often ascribed to the Lord, as well as his bringing them out of the land of Egypt, see Deuteronomy 8:8,
and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance; in the country which he chose for the inheritance of his people and himself; one part of which was very mountainous, called the hill country of Judea, and especially Jerusalem, round about which mountains were; and particular respect may be had to Mount Moriah and Zion, on which the temple afterwards stood, and which was called the mountain of the Lord's house, and seems to be pointed at in the following account: here Israel is compared to a vine as elsewhere, which the Lord took out of Egypt and planted in the land of Canaan, where it took root and was settled, see Psalm 80:8.
in the place, O Lord, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in; that is, which he had appointed for his habitation; for as yet neither the tabernacle nor temple were built, in which he afterwards dwelt: in this sense the word "made" is used in Proverbs 16:4.
in the sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established; that is, which he intended to establish, and would, and did establish; meaning, more especially, the temple, and the holy of holies in it, which he directed Solomon to build, and was a settled dwelling place for him, 1 Kings 8:13, now all this may be considered as typical of the church of Christ, and of his bringing and planting his people there, which is a "mountain", and often signified by Mount Zion; is visible and immovable, the true members of it being interested in the love of God, on the sure foundation of electing grace, secured in the everlasting covenant, and built on the rock Christ Jesus; and is the Lord's "inheritance", chosen by him to be so, given to Christ, and possessed by him as such, and as dear to him, and more so, than a man's inheritance is to him: this is a "place" he has appointed, prepared, and made for himself to dwell in, and is the habitation of Father, Son, and Spirit; and is a "sanctuary" or holy place, consisting of holy persons established in Christ, as particular believers are, and the church in general is; and though now sometimes in an unsettled state as to outward things, yet ere long will be established on the top of the mountains: and hither the Lord brings his purchased people, as sheep into his fold, as children to his house, fitted up for them, as guests to partake of his entertainments; and this is an act of his powerful grace upon them, and of his distinguished goodness to them: and here he also plants them, for the church is a plantation, a garden, an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits; and such as are planted here are transplanted out of the world, and are first planted in Christ, and receive the ingrafted word; and though ministers may be instruments in planting, the Lord is the efficient; and those that are planted by him are choice pleasant plants, fruitful ones, and shall never be plucked up: but as this follows the passage of the Lord's people over Jordan into Canaan land, it may rather be considered as an emblem of the heavenly state, and of the Lord's bringing and planting his people there; which, like a mountain, is an immovable and unalterable state, an inheritance incorruptible and eternal, the dwellingplace of Jehovah, a sanctuary or holy place, which his hand prepared from the foundation of the world; and which he has established as everlasting habitations for his people, where he brings their souls at death, and both souls and bodies in the resurrection morn to dwell with him for ever; and which is a paradise, an Eden of pleasure, where he plants them as trees of righteousness, next to Christ the tree of life, and where they are always green, fruitful, flourishing, and shall never be hurt by any scorching heat or blasting wind, or be trodden under foot or plucked up.
18The LORD shall reign for ever and ever.
The Lord shall reign for ever and ever. Even that same Lord that is spoken of throughout this song, and to whom everything in it is ascribed, and who is no other than the Lord Jesus Christ; his reign began in eternity, when he was set up and anointed as King over God's holy hill of Zion, his church, the elect, who were a kingdom put under his care and charge, and which he will deliver up again one day, complete and perfect: he reigned throughout the whole Old Testament dispensation, and was acknowledged as well as prophesied of as a King; in his state of humiliation he had a kingdom, though not of this world, and upon his ascension to heaven he was made and declared Lord and Christ; and thenceforward his kingdom became very visible in the Gentile world, through the ministration of his word, accompanied by his almighty power; and ever since, more or less, he has ruled by his Spirit and grace in the hearts of many of the children of men, and, ere long, will take upon him his great power, and reign, in a more visible, spiritual, and glorious manner, in the midst of his churches, in the present state of things; and then he will reign with all his saints raised from the dead, for the space of a thousand years on earth, and after that will reign with them for ever in heaven, in the ultimate state of glory and happiness: the reigns of all others are but short, or, however, but for a time, but the reign of Christ is for ever and ever; the reigns of sin, and of Satan, and of death, have an end, but of the government of Christ, and the peace thereof, there will be no end; the reigns of the greatest potentates, emperors, and kings, of cruel and tyrannical princes, such as Pharaoh, are limited to a certain time, as is the reign of antichrist, which when ended, and the saints will have got the victory over him, the song of Moses and the Lamb will be sung; but Christ's kingdom is an everlasting kingdoms, and his dominion is evermore: the Targum of Jonathan is,"let us set a crown on the head of our Redeemer, whose is the royal crown, and he is King of kings in this world, and whose is the kingdom in the world to come, and whose it is and will be for ever and ever;''and to the same purpose is the Jerusalem Targum.
19For 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 upon them; but the children of Israel went on dry land in the midst of the sea.
For the horse of Pharaoh went in with his chariots and with his horsemen into the sea,.... Meaning not that particular and single horse on which Pharaoh was carried, but all the horses of his that drew in his chariots, and all on which his cavalry was mounted; these all went into the Red sea, following the Israelites thither: these words are either the concluding part of the song, recapitulating and reducing into a compendium the subject matter of it; or are a reason why Moses and the children of Israel sung it; or else they are to be connected more strictly with the preceding verse, and give a reason why the Lord reigns over his people for ever; because he has destroyed their enemies, and delivered them out of their hands:
and the Lord brought again the waters of the sea upon them; after he had divided them, for the Israelites to pass through them, he caused them to close again, and to fall upon the Egyptians and cover and drown them:
but the children of Israel went on dry land in the midst of the sea; which was a very wonderful thing, and was a just and sufficient reason for singing the above song to the Lord, see Exodus 14:29.
20And 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.
And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron,.... The same, it is highly probable, that is called the sister of Moses, Exodus 2:3, her name Miriam is the same as Mary with us, and signifies bitterness; and, as the Hebrews (x) observe, had it from the bitterness of the times, and the afflictions the Israelites endured and groaned under when she was born; which is a much more probable signification and reason of her name than what is given by others, that it is the same with Marjam, which signifies a drop of the sea; from whence, they fancy, came the story of Venus, and her name of Aphrodite, the froth of the sea: Miriam was a prophetess, and so called, not from this action of singing, here recorded of her, for so all the women that sung with her might be called prophetesses, though sometimes in Scripture prophesying intends singing; but rather from her having a gift of teaching and instructing, and even of foretelling things to come; for the Lord spoke by her as well as by Moses and Aaron, and she, with them, were the leaders of the people of Israel, sent to them of the Lord, see Numbers 12:2, she is particularly called the sister of Aaron, though she was likewise the sister of Moses; the reason is, that being older than Moses, she was Aaron's sister before his, and having lived all her days with Aaron almost, and very little with Moses, was best known by being the sister of Aaron; and it is possible she might be his own sister by father and mother's side, when Moses was by another woman; however, it is said of her, she
took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances; timbrels were a sort of drums or tabrets, which being beat upon gave a musical sound, somewhat perhaps like our kettledrums; and though dances were sometimes used in religious exercises, yet the word may signify another kind of musical instruments, as "pipes" or "flutes" (y), as it is by some rendered; and by the Syriac and Arabic versions, "sistrums"; which were musical instruments much used by the Egyptians, and from whom the Israelitish women had these; and as they were going to keep a feast in the wilderness, they lent them to them, it is very probable, on that account; otherwise it is not easy to conceive what use the Israelites could have for them, and put them to during their hard bondage and sore affliction in Egypt: now with these they went out of the camp or tents into the open fields, or to the shore of the Red sea, and sung as Moses and the men of Israel did: to this the psalmist seems to refer in Psalm 68:25.
(x) Seder Olam Rabba, c. 3. p. 9. Dibre Hayamim, fol. 2. 2. (y) "cum fistulis", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "cum tibiis", Drusius; so Ainsworth.
21And 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, for the word is masculine; that is, repeated, and sung the same song word for word after them, as they had done, of which a specimen is given by reciting the first clause of the song:
sing ye to the Lord; which is by way of exhortation to the women to sing with her, as Moses begins the song thus: "I will sing unto the Lord":
for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea; See Gill on Exodus 15:1, the manner of their singing, according to the Jews (z), was, Moses first said, "I will sing", and they said it after him.
(z) T. Hieros. Sotah, fol. 20. 3. T. Bab. Sotah, fol. 30. 2.
22So 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.
So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea,.... Or "caused them to journey" (a), which some think was done with difficulty, they being so eager and intent upon the spoil and plunder of the Egyptians cast upon the sea shore, the harness of their horses being, as Jarchi observes, ornamented with gold and silver, and precious stones; or as others, they had some inclination to return to Egypt, and take possession of the country for themselves; the inhabitants of it, at least its military force, being destroyed, and their armour in their possession; but the truer meaning of the word is, that Moses, as their general, gave them the word of command to march, and till they had it they stayed at the Red sea refreshing themselves, taking the spoils of the enemy, and singing the praises of God; but when Moses gave them orders to set forward, they proceeded on their journey:
and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; the same with the wilderness of Etham, as appears from Numbers 33:8 there might be, as Aben Ezra conjectures, two cities in or near this wilderness, of those two names, from whence it might be called: for, as Doctor Shaw says (b), Shur was a particular district of the wilderness of Etham, fronting the valley (of Baideah), from which, he supposes, the children of Israel departed: and Doctor Pocock says (c) that the wilderness of Shur might be the fourth part of the wilderness of Etham, for about six hours from the springs of Moses (where, according to the tradition of the country, the children of Israel landed, being directly over against Clysma or Pihahiroth) is a winter torrent, called Sedur (or Sdur), and there is a hill higher than the rest, called Kala Sedur (the fortress of Sedur), and from which this wilderness might have its name: and by another traveller (d) this wilderness is called the wilderness of Sedur: and now it was the wilderness of Etham they were in before they went into the Red sea, which has induced some to believe that they came out on the same shore again; for the solution of which difficulty See Gill on Exodus 14:22,
and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water; which must be very distressing to such a vast number of people and cattle, in a hot, sandy, desert: this doubtless gave occasion to the stories told by Heathen authors, as Tacitus (e), and others, that the people of the Jews, under the conduct of Moses, were near perishing for want of water, when, following a flock of wild asses, which led them to a rock covered with a grove of trees, they found large fountains of water: the three days they travelled here were the twenty second, third and fourth, of Nisan, in the beginning of April.
(a) "et fecit proficisci", Pagninus & Montanus, Drusius; "jussit proficisci", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. (b) Travels. p. 312. (c) Travels, p. 156. (d) Journal from Cairo, &c. p. 13. (e) Hist. l. 5. c. 3.
23And 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.
And when they came to Marah,.... A place in the wilderness, afterwards so called from the quality of the waters found here; wherefore this name is by anticipation:
they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter; and they must be very bitter for people in such circumstances, having been without water for three days, not to be able to drink of them: some have thought these to be the bitter fountains Pliny (f) speaks of, somewhere between the Nile and the Red sea, but these were in the desert of Arabia; more probably they were near, and of the same kind with those that Diodorus Siculus (g) makes mention of, who, speaking of the Troglodytes that inhabited near the Red sea, and in the wilderness, observes, that from the city Arsinoe, as you go along the shores of the continent on the right hand, there are several rivers that gush out of the rocks into the sea, of a bitter taste: and so Strabo (h) speaks of a foss or ditch, which runs out into the Red sea and Arabian gulf, and by the city Arsinoe, and flows through those lakes which are called bitter; and that those which were of old time bitter, being made a foss and mixed with the river, are changed, and now produce good fish, and abound with water fowl: but what some late travellers have discovered seems to be nearer the truth: Doctor Shaw (i) thinks these waters may be properly fixed at Corondel, where there is a small rill, which, unless it be diluted by the dews and rain, still continues to be brackish: another traveller (k) tells us that, at the foot of the mountain of Hamam-El-Faron, a small but most delightful valley, a place called Garondu, in the bottom of the vale, is a rivulet that comes from the afore mentioned mountain, the water of which is tolerably good, and in sufficient plenty, but is however not free from being somewhat bitter, though it is very clear: Doctor Pocock says there is a mountain known to this day by the name of Le-Marah; and toward the sea is a salt well called Bithammer, which is probably the same here called Marah: this Le-Marah, he says, is sixteen hours south of the springs of Moses; that is, forty miles from the landing place of the children of Israel; from whence to the end of the wilderness were six hours' travelling, or about fifteen miles; which were their three days' travel in the wilderness, and from thence two hours' travel, which were five miles, to a winter torrent called Ouarden; where, it may be supposed, Moses encamped and refreshed his people, and from thence went on to Marsh, about the distance of eight hours, or twenty miles southward from the torrent of Ouarden:
therefore the name of it is called Marah; from the bitterness of the waters, which the word Marah signifies; see Ruth 1:20.
(f) Nat. Hist. l. 6. c. 29. (g) Bibliothec. l. 3. p. 172. (h) Geograph. l. 17. p. 553. (i) Travels, p. 314. (k) A Journal from Grand Cairo to Mount Sinai, A. D. 1722, p. 14, 15.
24And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?
And the people murmured against Moses,.... For bringing them into a wilderness where they could find no water fit to drink; saying:
what shall we drink? what shall we do for drink? where can we drink? this water is not drinkable, and, unless we have something to drink, we, and our wives, and children, and servants, and cattle, must all perish.
25And 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,.... Or prayed, as all the Targums, that God would appear for them, and relieve them in their distress, or, humanly speaking, they must all perish: happy it is to have a God to go to in time of trouble, whose hand is not shortened that it cannot save, nor his ear heavy that he cannot hear! Moses knew the power of God, and trusted in his faithfulness to make good the promises to him, and the people, that he would bring them to the land he had swore to give them:
and the Lord shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet; what this tree was is not known; if it was in its own nature sweet, as the author of Ecclesiasticus seems to intimate, when he says, in chapter 38:5 "was not the water made sweet with the wood, that its virtue might be known?" Yet a single tree could never of itself sweeten a flow of water, and such a quantity as was sufficient for so large a number of men and cattle; and therefore, be it what it will, it must be owing to a miraculous operation that the waters were made sweet by it: but the Hebrew writers say the tree was bitter itself, and therefore the miracle was the greater: Gorionides (l) says it was wormwood; and both the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem call it the bitter tree, Ardiphne, which Cohen de Lara (m) makes to be the same which botanists call Rhododaphne or rose laurel, and which, he says, bears flowers like lilies, which are exceeding bitter, and are poison to cattle; and so says Baal Aruch (n); and much the same has Elias Levita (o): and this agrees well enough with the mystical and spiritual application that may be made of this; whether these bitter waters are considered as an emblem of the bitter curses of the law, for that bitter thing sin, which makes work for bitter repentance; and for which the law writes bitter things against the sinner, which, if not prevented, would issue in the bitterness of death; so that a sensible sinner can have nothing to do with it, nor can it yield him any peace or comfort: but Christ, the tree of life, being made under the law, and immersed in sufferings, the penalty of it, and made a curse, the law is fulfilled, the curse and wrath of God removed, the sinner can look upon it with pleasure and obey it with delight: or whether these may be thought to represent the afflictions of God's people, comparable to water for their multitude, and for their overflowing and overwhelming nature, and to bitter ones, being grievous to the flesh; especially when God hides his face and they are thought to be in wrath: but these are sweetened through the presence of Christ, the shedding abroad of his love in the heart, the gracious promises he makes and applies, and especially through his bitter sufferings and death, and the fruits and effects thereof, which support, refresh, and cheer, see Hebrews 12:2,
there he made a statute and an ordinance: not that he gave them at this time any particular law or precept, whether moral or ceremonial, such as the laws of keeping the sabbath and honouring of parents, which the Targum of Jonathan mentions (p); and to which Jarchi adds that concerning the red heifer: but he gave them a general instruction and order concerning their future behaviour; that if they hearkened to his commandments, and yielded obedience to them, it would be well with them, if not they must expect to be chastised and afflicted by him, as is observed in the following verse, to which this refers:
and there he proved them; the people of Israel; by these waters being first bitter and then sweetened, whereby he gave them a proof and specimen how it would be with them hereafter; that if they behaved ill they must expect the bitter waters of affliction, but, if otherwise, pleasant and good things: or, "there he proved him" (q); Moses, his obedience and faith, by ordering him to cast in the tree he showed him; but the former sense seems best to agree with what follows.
(l) Heb. Hist l. 6. c. 38. p. 742. (m) Ir. David, p. 21. (n) Fol. 51. 3.((o) In Methurgeman, fol. 9. 2.((p) So T. Bab. Sanhedrin. fol. 56. 2. Seder Olam Rabba, c. 5. p. 17. (q) "tentavit eum", Pagninus, Montanus, Drusius, V. L. Tigurine version; "prebavit eum", Vatablus; "tentavit ipsum", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.
26And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.
And said, if thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God,.... By this and the following words, they are prepared to expect a body of laws to be given unto them, as the rule of their future conduct; and though they were delivered from the rigorous laws, bondage, and oppression of the Egyptians, yet they were not to be without law to God, their King, Lord, and Governor, whose voice they were to hearken to in all things he should direct them in:
and wilt do that which is right in his sight; which he shall see and order as fit to be done, and which was not to be disputed and contradicted by them:
and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes; whether moral, ceremonial, or judicial, even all that either had been made known to them, or should be hereafter enjoined them; and this at Mount Sinai, where they received a body of laws, they promised to do; namely, both to hear and to obey, Exodus 24:3.
I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians; in any of the plagues inflicted on them, which they were witnesses of; from these they should be preserved, if obedient, but if not they must expect them, or what was similar to them, see Deuteronomy 28:27,
for I am the Lord that healeth thee; both in body and soul; in body, by preserving from diseases, and by curing them when afflicted with them; and in soul, by pardoning their iniquities, which, in Scripture, is sometimes signified by healing, see Psalm 103:3.
27And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters.
And they came to Elim,.... On the twenty fifth of Nisan; for, according to Aben Ezra, they stayed but one day at Marah. Elim, as a late traveller (r) says, was upon the northern skirts of the desert of Sin, two leagues from Tor, and near thirty from Corondel; according to Bunting (s) it was eight miles from Marah:
where were twelve wells of water, and seventy palm trees; and so a very convenient, commodious, and comfortable place to abide at for a time, since here was plenty of water for themselves and cattle, and shady trees to sit under by turns; for as for the fruit of them, that was not ripe at this time of the year, as Aben Ezra observes. Thevenot (t) seems to confound the waters here with the waters of Marah; for he says, the garden of the monks of Tor is the place which in holy Scripture is called Elim, where were sventy palm trees and twelve wells of bitter water; these wells, adds he, are still in being, being near one another, and most of them within the precinct of the garden, the rest are pretty near; they are all hot, and are returned again to their first bitterness; for I tasted says he, of one of them, where people bathe themselves, which by the Arabs is called Hammam Mouse, i.e. the "bath of Moses"; it is in a little dark cave: there is nothing in that garden but abundance of palm trees, which yield some rent to the monks, but the seventy old palm trees are not there now. This does not agree with an observation of the afore mentioned Jewish writer, that palm trees will not flourish in the ground where the waters are bitter; though they delight in watery places, as Pliny (u) says; and yet Leo Africanus (w) asserts, that in Numidia the dates (the fruit of palm trees) are best in a time of drought. A later traveller (x) tells us, he saw no more than nine of the twelve wells that are mentioned by Moses, the other three being filled up by those drifts of sand which are common in Arabia; yet this loss is amply made up by the great increase in the palm trees, the seventy having propagated themselves into more than 2000; under the shade of these trees is the Hammam Mouse, or "bath of Moses", particularly so called, which the inhabitants of Tor have in great veneration, acquainting us that it was here where the household of Moses was encamped. Dr. Pocock takes Elim to be the same with Corondel; about four hours or ten miles south of Marah, he says, is the winter torrent of Corondel in a very narrow valley, full of tamarisk trees, where there is tolerable water about half a mile west of the road; beyond this, he says, about half an hour, or little more than a mile, is a winter torrent called Dieh-Salmeh; and about an hour or two further, i.e. about three or four miles, is the valley or torrent of Wousset, where there are several springs of water that are a little salt; and he thinks that one of them, but rather Corondel, is Elim, because it is said afterwards:
they removed from Elim, and encamped at the Red sea; and the way to Corondel, to go to the valley of Baharum, is part of it near the sea, where he was informed there was good water, and so probably the Israelites encamped there; and Dr. Clayton (y) is of the same mind, induced by the argument he uses: a certain traveller (z), in the beginning of the sixteenth century, tells us, that indeed the wells remain unto this day, but that there is not one palm tree, only some few low shrubs; but he could never have been at the right place, or must say a falsehood, since later travellers, who are to be depended upon, say the reverse, as the above quotations show. As to the mystical application of this passage, the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem make the twelve fountains answerable to the twelve tribes of Israel, and seventy palm trees to the seventy elders of the sanhedrim; and so Jarchi: and more evangelically the twelve fountains of water may denote the abundance of grace in Christ, in whom are the wells of salvation, and the sufficiency of it for all his people; and which the doctrine of the Gospel, delivered by his twelve apostles, discovers and reveals, and leads and directs souls unto; and the seventy palm trees may lead us to think of the seventy disciples sent out by Christ, and all other ministers of the word, who for their uprightness, fruitfulness, and usefulness, may be compared to palm trees, as good men in Scripture are, see Psalm 92:12,
and they encamped there by the waters; where they stayed, as Aben Ezra thinks, twenty days, since, in the first verse of the following chapter, they are said to come to the wilderness of Sin on the fifteenth day of the second month; here being everything agreeable to them for the refreshment of themselves and cattle, they pitched their tents and abode a while; as it is right in a spiritual sense for the people of God to abide by his word and ordinances.
(r) Shaw, ut supra. (Travels, p. 314.) (s) Travels, p. 82. (t) Travels into the Levant, B. 2. ch. 26. p. 166. (u) Nat. Hist. l. 13. c. 4. (w) Descriptio Africae, l. 1. p. 82. (x) Dr. Shaw, ut supra. (r)) (y) Chronolgy of the Hebrew Bible, p. 296, 297. (z) Baumgarten. Peregrinatio, l. 1. c. 21. p. 44.