|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 7. - Six hundred chosen chariots. Diodorus Siculus assigns to one Egyptian king a force of 27,000 chariots (1. 54, § 4), which however is probably beyond the truth. But the 1200 assigned to Shishak (2 Chronicles 12:3) may well be regarded as historical; and the great kings of the nineteenth dynasty would possess at least an equal number. The "six hundred chosen chariots" set in motion on this occasion probably constituted a division of the royal body-guard (Herod. 2:168). The remaining force would be collected from the neighbouring cities of Northern Egypt, as Memphis, Heliopolis, Bubastis, Pithom, and Pelusium. Captains over every one of them. Rather, "Captains over the whole of them." So the LXX. the Vulgate and Syriac version. Some, however, understand "warriors in each of them ' (Gesenius, Bodiger, Kalisch).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And he took six hundred chosen chariots,.... The chief and best he had, war chariots, chariots of iron; perhaps such as had iron scythes to them, to cut down men as they drove along; these were taken partly for quickness of dispatch, that they might be able the sooner to overtake the Israelites, who had got several days' marches before them; and partly for their strength and the annoyance of their enemies with them:
and all the chariots of Egypt: as many as could in so short a time be got together: for the words are not to be taken in the utmost latitude, but to signify a great number, and all that could be conveniently come at: the Greek version is, "all the horse", the cavalry, which better distinguishes them from the former:
and captains over everyone of them: over everyone of the chariots, so that they must each of them have many in them, to have captains over them: and perhaps the infantry, or foot soldiers, for, quickness of expedition, were put into them; for, besides these, there were horsemen: Josephus (p) makes the whole number of his army to be 50,000 horse, and 200,000 foot, and the same number is given by a Jewish chronologer (q): but Patricides, an Arabic writer, says (r) it consisted of 600,000, and Ezekiel (s), the tragic poet, has made it amount to a million of horse and foot: should it be asked where horses could be had to draw the chariots, and horses for the horsemen after mentioned, when all were destroyed by the hail, Exodus 9:25 it may be replied, that only those in the field were killed, not such as were in stables, where chariot horses and horses for war may be supposed to be: besides, as the Targum of Jonathan intimates, these might belong to these servants of Pharaoh who feared the word of the Lord, and took their cattle home, Exodus 9:20.
(p) Antiqu. l. 2. c. 15. sect. 3.((q) Shalshalet Hakabala, fol. 77. 4. (r) Apud Hottinger. Smegma, p. 464. (s) Apud Euseb. ut supra. (Praepar. Evangel. c. 27. p. 436.)
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