|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
14:21-31 The dividing the Red sea was the terror of the Canaanites, Jos 2:9; the praise and triumph of the Israelites, Ps 114:3; 106:9; 136:13. It was a type of baptism, 1Co 10:1,2. Israel's passage through it was typical of the conversion of souls, Isa 11:15; and the Egyptians being drowned in it was typical of the final ruin of all unrepenting sinners. God showed his almighty power, by opening a passage through the waters, some miles over. God can bring his people through the greatest difficulties, and force a way where he does not find it. It was an instance of his wonderful favour to his Israel. They went through the sea, they walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea. This was done, in order to encourage God's people in all ages to trust him in the greatest straits. What cannot he do who did this? What will not he do for those that fear and love him, who did this for these murmuring, unbelieving Israelites? Then followed the just and righteous wrath of God upon his and his people's enemies. The ruin of sinners is brought on by their own rage and presumption. They might have let Israel alone, and would not; now they would flee from the face of Israel, and cannot. Men will not be convinced, till it is too late, that those who meddle with God's people, meddle to their own hurt. Moses was ordered to stretch out his hand over the sea; the waters returned, and overwhelmed all the host of the Egyptians. Pharaoh and his servants, who had hardened one another in sin, now fell together, not one escaped. The Israelites saw the Egyptians dead upon the sands. The sight very much affected them. While men see God's works, and feel the benefit, they fear him and trust in him. How well were it for us, if we were always in as good a frame as sometimes! Behold the end to which a Christian may look forward. His enemies rage, and are mighty; but while he holds fast by God, he shall pass the waves in safety guarded by that very power of his Saviour, which shall come down on every spiritual foe. The enemies of his soul whom he hath seen to-day, he shall see no more for ever.
Verse 25.- And took off their chariot wheels. The Sept. has "clogged the axles of their chariots;" but this is from a reading not at present found in the Hebrew MSS. Most modern commentators, however, prefer the reading, which gives a
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And took off their chariot wheels,.... The Targum of Jonathan renders it "cut" or "sawed them off"; perhaps they might be broken off by the hailstones. Milton (s) seems to have a notion of Pharaoh's chariot wheels being broken, when he says, "and craze" (i.e. break) "their chariot wheels"; or, as Jarchi suggests, he burnt them, through the force of the fire or lightning:
that they drave them heavily; the wheels being off, the chariots must be dragged along by the horses by mere force, which must be heavy work; or, "and made them to go, or led them heavily", or "with heaviness" (t); and so to be ascribed to the Lord, who looked at the Egyptians, took off the wheels of their chariots, and stopped them in the fury of their career, that they could not pursue with the swiftness they had:
so that the Egyptians said, let us flee from the face of Israel; for by this battery and flashes of fire on them, they concluded that Israel, who they thought were fleeing before them, had turned and were facing them, and the Lord at the head of them; and therefore it was high time for them to flee, as follows:
for the Lord fighteth for them against the Egyptians; for they rightly took the thunder and lightning, the fire and hailstones, to be the artillery of heaven turned against them, and in favour of the Israelites. Jarchi interprets it, the Lord fights for them in Egypt, even in Egypt itself; but so he had done many a time before, of which they were not insensible.
(s) Paradise Lost, B. 12. ver. 210. (t) "et deduxit eos graviter", Vatablus; "et duxit eos cum gravitate", Drusius; so Ainsworth.
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