The Song of Moses
1Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the LORD:
“I will sing to the LORD,
because he is worthy of great honor.
He has thrown the horse and its rider
into the sea.
2The LORD gives me strength and makes me sing;
he has saved me.
He is my God,
and I will praise him.
He is the God of my fathers,
and I will honor him.
3The LORD is a warrior;
the LORD is his name.
4The chariots and soldiers of the king of Egypt
he has thrown into the sea.
The king’s best officers
are drowned in the Red Sea.
5The deep waters covered them,
and they sank to the bottom like a rock.
6Your right hand, LORD,
is amazingly strong.
LORD, your right hand
broke the enemy to pieces.
7In your great victory
you destroyed those who were against you.
Your anger destroyed them,
like fire burning straw.
8Just a blast of your breath,
and the waters piled up.
The moving water stood like a wall;
the deep waters became solid in the middle of the sea.
9“The enemy bragged,
‘I’ll chase them and catch them.
I’ll take all their riches;
I’ll take all I want.
I’ll pull out my sword,
and my hand will destroy them.’
10But you blew on them with your breath
and covered them with the sea.
They sank like lead
in the raging water.
11“Are there any gods like you, LORD?
There are no gods like you.
You are wonderfully holy,
a worker of miracles.
12You reached out with your right hand,
and the earth swallowed our enemies.
13You keep your loving promise
and lead the people you have saved.
With your strength you will guide them
to your holy place.
14“The other nations will hear this and tremble with fear;
terror will take hold of the Philistines.
15The leaders of the tribes of Edom will be very frightened;
the powerful men of Moab will shake with fear;
the people of Canaan will lose all their courage.
16Terror and horror will fall on them.
When they see your strength,
they will be as still as a rock.
They will be still until your people pass by, LORD.
They will be still until the people you have taken as your own pass by.
17You will lead your people and place them
on your very own mountain,
the place that you, LORD, made for yourself to live,
the temple, Lord, that your hands have made.
18The LORD will be king forever!”
19The horses, chariot drivers, and chariots of the king of Egypt went into the
sea, and the LORD covered them with water from the sea. But the Israelites
walked through the sea on dry land. 20Then Aaron’s sister Miriam, a prophetess,
took a tambourine in her hand. All the women followed her, playing tambourines
and dancing. 21Miriam told them:
“Sing to the LORD,
because he is worthy of great honor;
he has thrown the horse and its rider
into the sea.”
Bitter Water Becomes Good
22Moses led the Israelites away from the Red Sea into the Desert of Shur.
They traveled for three days in the desert but found no water. 23Then they came
to Marah, where there was water, but they could not drink it because it was too
bitter. (That is why the place was named Marah.) 24The people grumbled to
Moses and asked, “What will we drink?”
25So Moses cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a tree. When
Moses threw the tree into the water, the water became good to drink.
There the LORD gave the people a rule and a law to live by, and there he
tested their loyalty to him. 26He said, “You must obey the LORD your God and
do what he says is right. If you obey all his commands and keep his rules, I will
not bring on you any of the sicknesses I brought on the Egyptians. I am the
LORD who heals you.”
27Then the people traveled to Elim, where there were twelve springs of water
and seventy palm trees. So the people camped there near the water.
The Holy Bible, New Century Version
The Song of Moses
This deliverance out of Egypt was so similar to what the deliverance of the Church out of the world will be, at the time of the end, that one of the triumphant Songs of the Redeemed is called the "Song of Moses and the Lamb" (Revelation 15: 3). This song seems to prefigure the mightier works for which the Redeemed will Sing Praises to God through Endless Ages of Eternity.
With the deliverance of Israel is associated the development of the national
poetry, which finds its first and perfect expression in this magnificent hymn. It
was sung by Moses and the people, an expression which evidently points to him
as the author. That it was written at the time is an assertion expressly made in the
text, and it is supported by the strongest internal evidence. In every age this song
gave the tone to the poetry of Israel; especially at great critical epochs of
deliverance: and in the book of Revelation Exo. 15:3 it is associated with the
final triumph of the Church.
The division of the song into three parts is distinctly marked: Exo. 15:1-5; Exo.
15:6-10; Exo. 15:11-18: each begins with an ascription of praise to God; each
increases in length and varied imagery unto the triumphant close.
He hath triumphed gloriously—Literally, He is gloriously glorious.
The horse and his rider—The word “rider” may include horseman, but
applies properly to the charioteer.
The LORD is my strength and song—My strength and song is Jah. See Ps.
68:4. The name was chosen here by Moses to draw attention to the promise
ratified by the name “I am.”
I will prepare Him an habitation—I will glorify Him. Our Authorized
Version is open to serious objection, as suggesting a thought (namely, of erecting
a temple) which could hardly have been in the mind of Moses at that time, and
unsuited to the occasion.
A man of war—Compare Ps. 24:8. The name has on this occasion a special
fitness: man had no part in the victory; the battle was the Lord’s.
The LORD is his name—“Jah is His name.” See Exo. 15:2.
Hath He cast—“Hurled,” as from a sling. See Exo. 14:27.
His chosen captains—See Exo. 14:7 note.
As a stone—The warriors in chariots are always represented on the
monuments with heavy coats of mail; the corslets of “chosen captains” consisted
of plates of highly tempered bronze, with sleeves reaching nearly to the elbow,
covering the whole body and the thighs nearly to the knee. The wearers must
have sunk at once like a stone, or as we read in Exo. 5:10, like lumps of lead.
Thy wrath—Literally, Thy burning, i. e. the fire of Thy wrath, a word chosen
expressly with reference to the effect.
The blast of God’s nostrils corresponds to the natural agency, the east wind
Exo. 14:21, which drove the waters back: on the north the waters rose high,
overhanging the sands, but kept back by the strongwind: on the south they laid in
massive rollers, kept down by the same agency in the deep bed of the Red Sea.
The enemy said—The abrupt, gasping utterances; the haste, cupidity and
ferocity of the Egyptians; the confusion and disorder of their thoughts, belong to
the highest order of poetry. They enable us to realize the feelings which induced
Pharaoh and his host to pursue the Israelites over the treacherous sandbanks.
Thou didst blow with thy wind—Notice the solemn majesty of these few
words, in immediate contrast with the tumult and confusion of the preceding
verse. In Exo. 14:28, we read only, “the waters returned,” here we are told that it
was because the wind blew. A sudden change in the direction of the wind would
bring back at once the masses of water heaped up on the north.
They sank as lead—See the note at Exo. 15:5.
Among the gods—Compare Ps. 86:8; Deut. 32:16-17. A Hebrew just leaving
the land in which polytheism attained its highest development, with gigantic
statues and temples of incomparable grandeur, might well on such an occasion
dwell upon this consummation of the long series of triumphs by which the
“greatness beyond compare” of Yahweh was once for all established.
Thy holy habitation—Either Palestine, regarded as the land of promise,
sanctified by manifestations of God to the Patriarchs, and destined to be both the
home of God’s people, and the place where His glory and purposes were to be
perfectly revealed: or Mount Moriah.
The inhabitants of Palestina—i. e. the country of the Philistines. They were
the first who would expect an invasion, and the first whose district would have
been invaded but for the faintheartedness of the Israelites.
The dukes of Edom—See Gen. 36:15. It denotes the chieftains, not the kings
The mighty men of Moab—The physical strength and great stature of the
Moabites are noted in other passages: see Jer. 48:29, 41.
Canaan—The name in this, as in many passages of Genesis, designates the
whole of Palestine: and is used of course with reference to the promise to
Abraham. It was known to the Egyptians, and occurs frequently on the
monuments as Pa-kanana, which applies, if not to the whole of Palestine, yet to
the northern district under Lebanon, which the Phoenicians occupied and called
In the mountain of thine inheritance—See Exo. 15:13.
For the horse …—This verse does not belong to the hymn, but marks the transition from it to the narrative.
And Miriam the prophetess—The part here assigned to Miriam and the
women of Israel is in accordance both with Egyptian and Hebrew customs. The
men are represented as singing the hymn in chorus, under the guidance of Moses;
at each interval Miriam and the women sang the refrain, marking the time with
the timbrel, and with the measured rhythmical movements always associated with
solemn festivities. Compare Judg. 11:34; 2 Sam. 6:5, and marginal references.
The word used in this passage for the timbrel is Egyptian, and judging from its
etymology and the figures which are joined with it in the inscriptions, it was
probably the round instrument.
Miriam is called a prophetess, evidently Num. 12:2 because she and Aaron had
received divine communications. The word is used here in its proper sense of
uttering words suggested by the Spirit of God. See Gen. 20:7. She is called the
sister of Aaron, most probably to indicate her special position as coordinate, not
with Moses the leader of the nation, but with his chief aid and instrument.
So Moses—Literally, And Moses. The history of the journey from the Red Sea
to Sinai begins in fact with this verse, which would more conveniently have been
the commencement of another chapter.
From the Red sea—The station where Moses and his people halted to
celebrate their deliverance is generally admitted to be the Ayoun Musa, i. e. the
fountains of Moses. It is the only green spot near the passage over the Red Sea.
There are several wells there, which in the time of Moses were probably enclosed
and kept with great care by the Egyptians, for the use of the frequent convoys to
and from their ancient settlements at Sarbutel Khadem and the Wady Mughara.
The wilderness of Shur—This name belongs to the whole district between the
northeastern frontier of Egypt and Palestine. The word is undoubtedly Egyptian,
and is derived probably from the word Khar which designated all the country
between Egypt and Syria proper.
Three days—The distance between Ayoun Musa and Huwara, the first spot
where any water is found on the route, is 33 geographical miles. The whole
district is a tract of sand, or rough gravel.
Marah—Now identified with the fount of Huwara. The fountain rises from a
large mound, a whitish petrifaction, deposited by the water, and is considered by
the Arabians to be the worst in the whole district.
A tree …—The statement points to a natural agency, but the result was
He made …—The Lord then set before them the fundamental principle of
implicit trust, to be shown by obedience. The healing of the water was a symbol
of deliverance from physical and spiritual evils.
Elim—The valley of Gharandel, two hours’ journey south of Huwara.
Twelve wells—Read springs; the Hebrew denotes natural sources. These
springs may have been perennial when a richer vegetation clothed the adjacent
Barnes Notes on the Old Testament