Exodus 14:15
And the LORD said to Moses, Why cry you to me? speak to the children of Israel, that they go forward:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(15-18) Wherefore criest thou unto me?—Like the people (Exodus 14:10), Moses had cried to Jehovah, though he tells us of his cry only thus indirectly. God made answer that it was not a time to cry, but to act: “Speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward,” &c. The Israelites were to strike their tents at once, and prepare for a forward movement. Moses was to descend to the edge of the sea, with his rod in his hand, and to stretch it out over the sea, and then await the consequences, which would be a “division” of the waters—the sea-bed would for a certain space become dry, and Israel would be able to cross to the other side (Exodus 14:16); the Egyptians would follow, and then destruction would come upon them, and God would “get himself honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host” (Exodus 14:17-18). The exact mode of the destruction was not announced.

Exodus 14:15. Wherefore criest thou to me? — Moses, though he was assured of a good issue, yet did not neglect prayer. We read not of one word he said in prayer, but he lifted up his heart to God, and God well understood, and took notice of it. Moses’s silent prayer prevailed more with God than Israel’s loud outcries. But is God displeased with Moses for praying? No; he asks this question, Wherefore criest thou unto me? Wherefore shouldest thou press thy petition any further, when it is already granted? Moses has something else to do besides praying; he is to command the hosts of Israel. Speak to them that they go forward — Some think Moses had prayed not so much for their deliverance, he was assured of that, as for the pardon of their murmurings: and God’s ordering them to go forward was an intimation of the pardon. Moses bid them stand still and expect orders from God: and now orders are given. They thought they must have been directed either to the right hand or to the left; no, saith God, speak to them to go forward directly to the sea-side; as if there had lain a fleet of transport ships ready for them to embark in. Let the children of Israel go as far as they can upon dry ground, and then God will divide the sea. The same power could have congealed the waters for them to pass over, but infinite Wisdom chose rather to divide the waters for them to pass through, for that way of salvation is always pitched upon which is most humbling.14:15-20 Moses' silent prayers of faith prevailed more with God than Israel's loud outcries of fear. The pillar of cloud and fire came behind them, where they needed a guard, and it was a wall between them and their enemies. The word and providence of God have a black and dark side toward sin and sinners, but a bright and pleasant side toward the people of the Lord. He, who divided between light and darkness, Ge 1:4, allotted darkness to the Egyptians, and light to the Israelites. Such a difference there will be between the inheritance of the saints in light, and that utter darkness which will be the portion of hypocrites for ever.Wherefore criest thou unto me? - Moses does not speak of his intercession, and we only know of it from this answer to his prayer. 15-18. the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? &c.—When in answer to his prayers, he received the divine command to go forward, he no longer doubted by what kind of miracle the salvation of his mighty charge was to be effected. Wherefore criest thou unto me, by fervent, though secret prayer? for which he doth not reprove him, but only bids him turn his prayer into action. Compare Joshua 7:10,13. And the Lord said unto Moses, wherefore criest thou unto me?.... The Targum of Jonathan is,"why standest thou and prayest before me?''and no doubt this crying is to be understood of prayer, of mental prayer, of secret ejaculations put up by Moses to the Lord without a voice, for no mention is made of any: this shows, that though Moses most firmly believed that God would work salvation for them, yet he did not neglect the use of means, prayer to God for it; nor was the Lord displeased with him on that account, only he had other work for him to do, and he had no need to pray any longer, God had heard him, and would save him and his people:

speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward; a little further, as Aben Ezra observes, until they were come to the sea shore, near to which they now were; and thither they were to move in an orderly composed manner, as unconcerned and fearless of their enemies.

And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore {i} criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:

(i) Thus in temptation faith fights against the flesh, and cries with inward groanings to the Lord.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
15. Wherefore criest thou unto me?] This has not been mentioned before in the existing narrative. Moses, after what he had said in v. 13 f., would hardly have occasion to appeal to Jehovah: so the words will not be from J: probably (Di.) they are a notice from E (cf. Exodus 15:25, Exodus 17:4,—both E).

15–18. (in the main P). The Israelites are commanded to advance through the sea, by a path to be opened for them through it: the Egyptians will enter in after them, to their destruction.Verses 15-18. - GOD'S ANSWER TO MOSES' PRAYER. To the faithful prayer of Moses, albeit pitched perhaps in too low a key, God made gracious answer. A "cry" had been unnecessary, since his word was already pledged to bring his people safe to Canaan, and to get himself honour upon Pharaoh in connection with the pursuit (ver. 4). But, as the appeal has been made, he responds with a plain statement of what has now to be done: -

1. The Israelites are to make themselves ready for a forward movement (ver. 15);

2. Moses is to stretch oat his rod over the Red Sea, and it will be divided;

3. The Israelites are then to make the passage on dry ground;

4. The Egyptians are to follow, and then honour is to be gotten upon them; and they are to know by the result that God is indeed Jehovah. Verses 15, 16. - Wherefore criest thou to me? It is evident that Moses, while boldly encouraging the people, himself needed the support and consolation of prayer. The Syriac translator shows us that he divined the fact aright, when he without authority intruded the words, "Moses then cried to Jehovah." The form of the Divine reply to his prayer seems to indicate a certain amount of reproach, as if Moses himself had become unduly anxious. Speak unto the children of Israel that they go forward. The Israelites were not to rest in their encampment, but to form in line of march, and descend to the very shore of the sea, and there hold themselves in readiness. Moses was to lift up his rod - the rod with which his other miracles had been wrought - and stretch out his hand over the sea, and then the drying up was to begin. Thus was most of the night passed. When it was announced that Israel had fled, "the heart of Pharaoh and his servants turned against the people," and they repented that they had let them go. When and whence the information came, we are not told. The common opinion, that it was brought after the Israelites changed their route, has no foundation in the text. For the change in Pharaoh's feelings towards the Israelites, and his regret that he had let them go, were caused not by their supposed mistake, but by their flight. Now the king and his servants regarded the exodus as a flight, as soon as they recovered from the panic caused by the death of the first-born, and began to consider the consequences of the permission given to the people to leave his service. This may have occurred as early as the second day after the exodus. In that case, Pharaoh would have had time to collect chariots and horsemen, and overtake the Israelites at Hachiroth, as they could easily perform the same journey in two days, or one day and a half, to which the Israelites had taken more than three. "He yoked his chariot (had it yoked, cf. 1 Kings 6:14), and took his people (i.e., his warriors) with him," viz., "six hundred chosen war chariots (Exodus 14:7), and all the chariots of Egypt" (sc., that he could get together in the time), and "royal guards upon them all." שׁלשׁים, τριστάται, tristatae qui et terni statores vocantur, nomen est secundi gradus post regiam dignitatem (Jerome on Ezekiel 23:23), not charioteers (see my Com. on 1 Kings 9:22). According to Exodus 14:9, the army raised by Pharaoh consisted of chariot horses (רכב סוּס), riding horses (פּרשׁים, lit., runners, 1 Kings 5:6), and חיל, the men belonging to them. War chariots and cavalry were always the leading force of the Egyptians (cf. Isaiah 31:1; Isaiah 36:9). Three times (Exodus 14:4, Exodus 14:8, and Exodus 14:17) it is stated that Jehovah hardened Pharaoh's heart, so that he pursued the Israelites, to show that God had decreed this hardening, to glorify Himself in the judgment and death of the proud king, who would not honour God, the Holy One, in his life. "And the children of Israel were going out with a high hand:" Exodus 14:8. is a conditional clause in the sense of, "although they went out" (Ewald, 341). רמה יד, the high hand, is the high hand of Jehovah with the might which it displayed (Isaiah 26:11), not the armed hand of the Israelites. This is the meaning also in Numbers 33:3; it is different in Numbers 15:30. The very fact that Pharaoh did not discern the lifting up of Jehovah's hand in the exodus of Israel displayed the hardening of his heart. "Beside Pihachiroth:" see Exodus 14:2.
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