|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
14:1-9 Pharaoh would think that all Israel was entangled in the wilderness, and so would become an easy prey. But God says, I will be honoured upon Pharaoh. All men being made for the honour of their Maker, those whom he is not honoured by, he will be honoured upon. What seems to tend to the church's ruin, is often overruled to the ruin of the church's enemies. While Pharaoh gratified his malice and revenge, he furthered the bringing to pass God's counsels concerning him. Though with the greatest reason he had let Israel go, yet now he was angry with himself for it. God makes the envy and rage of men against his people, a torment to themselves. Those who set their faces heavenward, and will live godly in Christ Jesus, must expect to be set upon by Satan's temptations and terrors. He will not tamely part with any out of his service.
Verse 3. - They are entangled in the land. Or "they are confused," "perplexed" - i.e.. "they have lost their way." Pharaoh could not conceive that they would have taken the route to the west of the Bitter Lakes, which conducted to no tolerable territory, unless they were hopelessly at sea with respect to the geography of the country. In this "perplexity" of theirs he thought he saw his own opportunity. The wilderness hath shut them in. Pharaoh is thinking of his own "wilderness," the desert country between the Nile valley and the Red Sea. This desert, he says, "blocks their way, and shuts them in " - they cannot escape if he follows in their steps, for they will have the sea on one hand, the desert on the other, and in their front, while he himself presses upon their rear.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel,.... The Septuagint version adds, "to his people", his ministers and courtiers, when he hears where they are:
they are entangled in the land; have lost their way, and got into places they cannot easily get out of, and are perplexed in their minds, and do not know what way to take or course to steer:
the wilderness hath shut them in; or, "shut up the way to them" (n); the wilderness between the mountains the above mentioned traveller speaks of (o) the mountains of Gewoubee; these would stop their flight or progress to the southward, as those of the Attackah would do the same towards the land of the Philistines; the Red sea likewise lay before them to the east, while Pharaoh (could) close up the valley behind them, with his chariots and his horsemen; and which, no doubt, appeared very advantageous and encouraging to him, as it must be very distressing to the Israelites.
(n) "clausit viam illis", Pagninus, "praeclusit sese illis", Vatablus. (o) Dr. Shaw's Travels, p. 309. Ed. 2.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
3. the wilderness hath shut them in—Pharaoh, who would eagerly watch their movements, was now satisfied that they were meditating flight, and he naturally thought from the error into which they appeared to have fallen by entering that defile, he could intercept them. He believed them now entirely in his power, the mountain chain being on one side, the sea on the other, so that, if he pursued them in the rear, escape seemed impossible.
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