Exodus 14:4
And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, that he shall follow after them; and I will be honored on Pharaoh, and on all his host; that the Egyptians may know that I am the LORD. And they did so.
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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.They are entangled ... - The original intention of Moses was to go toward Palestine by the wilderness: when that purpose was changed by God's direction and they moved southwards, Pharaoh, on receiving information, was of course aware that they were completely shut in, since the waters of the Red Sea then extended to the Bitter Lakes. It is known that the Red Sea at some remote period extended considerably further toward the north than it does at present. In the time of Moses the water north of Kolsum joined the Bitter Lakes, though at present the constant accumulation of sand has covered the intervening space to the extent of 8000 to 10,000 yards. 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. I will be honoured, by the manifestation of my power and justice. I will be honoured, by the manifestation of my power and justice. And I will harden Pharaoh's heart,.... Once more, as he had often done:

that he shall follow after them: to Pihahiroth, and even into the sea after them:

and I will be honoured upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host; in his wisdom, faithfulness, power, and justice, by the destruction of them:

that the Egyptians may know that I am the Lord; the only Jehovah, the Lord God omnipotent; even those that feel the weight of his hand while troubling their host, and bringing the waters upon them; especially those that shall remain in the land, and will not be involved in the catastrophe:

and they did so: the Israelites turned to the right to Pihahiroth, instead of going by Bishbesh and Tinah (Bubastis and Pelusium), and so along the sea coast towards Gaza and Ascalon, and encamped there between Migdol and the sea over against Baalzephon, as they were ordered and directed.

And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, that he shall follow after them; and I will {c} be honoured upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host; that the Egyptians may know that I am the LORD. And they did so.

(c) By punishing his obstinate rebellion.

4. harden] lit. make strong or firm: P’s regular word (on Exodus 7:13).

follow] better, pursue, as vv. 8, 9, 23.

get me honour (or glory)] viz. by Pharaoh’s overthrow: cf. especially Ezekiel 28:22; Ezekiel 39:13 (EVV. ‘will be glorified’). So vv. 17, 18.

and the Egyptians shall know, &c.] as Exodus 7:5. Cf. on Exodus 6:7.

V. 4 is not to be understood as giving the actual reason why the Israelites ‘turned back’ (for which see Exodus 13:17): rather (Di.) ‘it gives merely the ideal ground, deduced correctly from the event, that God would get Him glory by the Egyptians’ overthrow.’

5–7 (J). The Pharaoh prepares to follow after them.Verse 4. - I will be honoured. See the comment on Exodus 9:16. That the Egyptians may know that I am the Lord. Compare above, ch. 7.§

CHAPTER 14:5-9 From Succoth they went to Etham. With regard to the situation of Succoth (from סכּת huts, probably a shepherd encampment), only so much can be determined, that this place was to the south-east of Ramses, on the way to Etham. Etham was "at the end of the desert," which is called the desert of Etham in Numbers 33:8, and the desert of Shur (Jifar, see Genesis 16:7) in Exodus 15:22; so that it was where Egypt ends and the desert of Arabia begins, in a line which curves from the northern extremity of the Gulf of Arabia up to the Birket Temseh, or Crocodile Lake, and then on to Lake Menzalet. According to the more precise statements of travellers, this line is formed from the point of the gulf northwards, by a broad sandy tract of land to the east of Ajrud, which never rises more than about three feet above the water-mark (Robinson, Pal. i. p. 80). It takes in the banks of the old canal, which commence about an hour and a half to the north of Suez, and run northwards for a distance which Seetzen accomplished in 4 hours upon camels (Rob. Pal. i. p. 548; Seetzen, R. iii. p. 151, 152). Then follow the so-called Bitter Lakes, a dry, sometimes swampy basin, or deep white salt plain, the surface of which, according to the measurements of French engineers, is 40 or 50 feet lower than the ordinary water-mark at Suez. On the north this basin is divided from the Birket Temseh by a still higher tract of land, the so-called Isthmus of Arbek. Hence "Etham at the end of the desert" is to be sought for either on the Isthmus of Arbek, in the neighbourhood of the later Serapeum, or at the southern end of the Bitter Lakes. The distance is a conclusive argument against the former, and in favour of the latter; for although Seetzen travelled from Suez to Arbek in 8 hours, yet according to the accounts of the French savan, de Bois Aym, who passed through this basin several times, from the northern extremity of the Bitter Lakes to Suez is 60,000 mtres (16 hours' journey), - a distance so great, that the children of Israel could not possibly have gone from Etham to Hachiroth in a day's march. Hence we must look for Etham at the southern extremity of the basin of the Bitter Lake,

(Note: There is no force in the objection to this situation, that according to different geognostic indications, the Gulf of Suez formerly stretched much farther north, and covered the basin of the Bitter Lake; for there is no evidence that it reached as far as this in the time of Moses; and the statements of early writers as to the position of Heroopolis in the inner corner of the Arabian Gulf, and not far to the north of Klysma, furnish no clear evidence of this, as Knobel has already observed.)

which Israel might reach in two days from Abu Keishib, and then on the third day arrive at the plain of Suez, between Ajrud and the sea. Succoth, therefore, must be sought on the western border of the Bitter Lake.

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