Exodus 15:11
Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?
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(11, 12) Stanza 3 is a short one, entering into no details—simply summing up the entire result in two sentences: one, parallel to Exodus 15:2-3; Exodus 15:6-7, setting forth the glory of God, as shown in the occurrences; the other emphasising the great fact of the occasion, and stating it in the briefest possible terms: “Thou stretchedst out thy right hand; the earth swallowed them.” This second clause is parallel to Exodus 15:4-5; Exodus 15:8-10. It concentrates into four words the gist of those two passages.

(11) Who is like unto thee . . . Among the gods ?—This is undoubtedly the true meaning. It had been a main object of the entire series of miraculous visitations to show that Jehovah was “exalted far above all other gods.” (See Exodus 7:5; Exodus 14:4; Exodus 14:18.) Moses now emphasises the contrast by adducing three points on which Jehovah is unapproachable—holiness, awefulness, and miraculous power. God is (1) “glorious in holiness,” exalted in this respect far, far above all other beings; (2) “fearful in praises”—the proper object of the profoundest awe, even to those who approach Him with praise and thanksgiving; and (3) one who “doeth wonders,” who both through nature, and on occasions overruling nature, accomplishes the most astonishing results, causing all men to marvel at His Almighty power. The gods of the heathen were, in fact, either nonentities or evil spirits. So far as they were the former, they could come into no comparison at all with Jehovah; so far as they were the latter, they fell infinitely short of Him in every respect. Of holiness they possessed no remnant; in awfulness they were immeasurably inferior; in the ability to work wonders they did not deserve to be mentioned in the same breath. “Among the gods,” as the Psalmist says, “there is none like unto thee, O Lord; there is none that can do as thou doest” (Psalm 86:8).

Exodus 15:11. Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods? — So called; the idols or princes. To the wonderful relation above mentioned, succeeds a wonderful expression of praise. And how, indeed, could the writer possibly avoid being transported, and carried, as it were, out of himself at the sight of such a wonder? Well might he describe Jehovah, that performed it, as glorious in holiness — In justice, mercy, and truth; fearful in praises — A Being that ought to be praised with the deepest reverence, and most exalted adoration.

15:1-21 This song is the most ancient we know of. It is a holy song, to the honour of God, to exalt his name, and celebrate his praise, and his only, not in the least to magnify any man. Holiness to the Lord is in every part of it. It may be considered as typical, and prophetical of the final destruction of the enemies of the church. Happy the people whose God is the Lord. They have work to do, temptations to grapple with, and afflictions to bear, and are weak in themselves; but his grace is their strength. They are often in sorrow, but in him they have comfort; he is their song. Sin, and death, and hell threaten them, but he is, and will be their salvation. The Lord is a God of almighty power, and woe to those that strive with their Maker! He is a God of matchless perfection; he is glorious in holiness; his holiness is his glory. His holiness appears in the hatred of sin, and his wrath against obstinate sinners. It appears in the deliverance of Israel, and his faithfulness to his own promise. He is fearful in praises; that which is matter of praise to the servants of God, is very dreadful to his enemies. He is doing wonders, things out of the common course of nature; wondrous to those in whose favour they are wrought, who are so unworthy, that they had no reason to expect them. There were wonders of power and wonders of grace; in both, God was to be humbly adored.Among the gods - Compare Psalm 86:8; Deuteronomy 32:16-17. A Hebrew just leaving the land in which polytheism attained its highest development, with gigantic statues and temples of incomparable grandeur, might well on such an occasion dwell upon this consummation of the long series of triumphs by which the "greatness beyond compare" of Yahweh was once for all established.CHAPTER 15

Ex 15:1-27. Song of Moses.

1. Then sang Moses and the children of Israel—The scene of this thanksgiving song is supposed to have been at the landing place on the eastern shore of the Red Sea, at Ayoun Musa, "the fountains of Moses." They are situated somewhat farther northward along the shore than the opposite point from which the Israelites set out. But the line of the people would be extended during the passage, and one extremity of it would reach as far north as these fountains, which would supply them with water on landing. The time when it was sung is supposed to have been the morning after the passage. This song is, by some hundred years, the oldest poem in the world. There is a sublimity and beauty in the language that is unexampled. But its unrivalled superiority arises not solely from the splendor of the diction. Its poetical excellencies have often drawn forth the admiration of the best judges, while the character of the event commemorated, and its being prompted by divine inspiration, contribute to give it an interest and sublimity peculiar to itself.

I will sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously—Considering the state of servitude in which they had been born and bred, and the rude features of character which their subsequent history often displays, it cannot be supposed that the children of Israel generally were qualified to commit to memory or to appreciate the beauties of this inimitable song. But they might perfectly understand its pervading strain of sentiment; and, with the view of suitably improving the occasion, it was thought necessary that all, old and young, should join their united voices in the rehearsal of its words. As every individual had cause, so every individual gave utterance to his feelings of gratitude.

Amongst the gods, so called and esteemed; or prince or potentates, as Psalm 29:1 Ezekiel 32:21.

Glorious in holiness, or, righteousness: thy power is great and glorious; but thou dost not abuse it to unrighteous and unworthy purposes, but to holy and honourable designs; to the punishment of wicked tyrants, and to the vindication of thy oppressed and holy people.

Fearful in praises; in praise-worthy actions; the act being put for the object, as fear is put for a thing to be feared, as Psalm 14:5 1 Peter 3:14. Or, to be feared or had in reverence when thou art praised; to be both loved and feared at the same time.

Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods?.... For the perfections of his nature, for the blessings of his goodness, and for the works of his hands; and especially for the greatness and excellency of his power, seen in the salvation of his people, and the ruin of their enemies: there is none like him "among the mighty ones", as it may be rendered; among the mighty angels, who excel in strength, and are sometimes called gods; or among the mighty ones on earth; or the sons of the mighty, kings, princes, judges, and civil magistrates of every rank and order; especially for the following things:

who is like thee, glorious in holiness? some understand this of the holy place, either heaven, where Christ is glorious above all created beings; or the church, where he shows himself glorious to his people: others, of holy persons, either holy angels, among whom he was at Sinai, and when he ascended on high, and will be when he comes again, in his own and his Father's glory; or the saints, when he will bring them with him, and be glorified in them; but rather it is to be understood of the attribute of his holiness, which is eminently and perfectly in him; in his person, with respect to both his natures, divine and human; the glory of which is displayed in all the works he has wrought, especially in the great work of redemption, which was undertook both for the honour of the holiness and righteousness of God, and to redeem his people from sin, and make them righteous and holy: it appears in the holy doctrines he taught, and in the holy commandments and ordinances he enjoined his people, and in his judgments on his enemies; in all which it is plainly seen that he loves righteousness and hates iniquity, and there is none like him for it; there is none holy as the Lord among angels or men, 1 Samuel 2:2.

fearful in praises; or, in the things for which he is to be praised; as the glories and excellencies of his person, the blessings received from him, and through him, both temporal and spiritual; grace, and all the blessings of it here, now communicated, and glory and happiness promised and expected: and many things, for which he is to be praised, he is "fearful", awful, and tremendous in them; there are some things his right hand teaches him, and it does, deserving of praise, which yet are terrible, and such were they which are here literally, referred to; the plagues upon the Egyptians, and the destruction of Pharaoh and his host, called the wondrous works done in the land of Ham, and terrible things by the Red sea, Psalm 106:22 and yet these were matter of praise to Israel, and gave occasion for this song; and such are they, in a spiritual sense, which he has done to his and our enemies: when the year of his redeemed was come, it was a day of vengeance in his heart, and he exercised it; he made an end of sin, abolished death, destroyed him which had the power of it, and spoiled principalities and powers; and a dreadful slaughter will be made of antichrist and his followers, when the song of Moses and the Lamb will be sung on account of it; and such dispensations of Providence, and judgments on men, as on Pharaoh and antichrist, as they are terrible to wicked men, they strike an awe on the people of God, at the same time they furnish out a song of praise to them: moreover, this may respect not only the matter of praise, but the reverend manner in which it is performed by good men; who, as they have a concern that they cannot sufficiently praise the Lord, and fear they shall not perform it aright, and sensible of their weakness and imperfection, like the seraphim, cover their faces while they applaud his perfections, particularly that of his holiness, and declare the earth is full of his glory; so they desire to perform this, as all their other services, with a holy fear and trembling, with reverence and godly fear since holy and reverend is his name: it follows:

doing wonders; and for which there is none like him; wonders Christ did before his incarnate state, both in eternity, in the goings forth of his heart, in acts of love to his people, in asking for them, and betrothing them, in becoming the surety of them, in proposing to be a sacrifice in their stead, in entering into a covenant with his Father on their account, in taking the care and charge of their persons, and in being the treasury of all grace and glory for them; and likewise in time, being concerned in the wondrous works of creation, which are a wonderful display of divine wisdom, power, and goodness, and in all the affairs of Providence; for there was not any remarkable occurrence, from the beginning of the world to the time of his coming in the flesh, but he was concerned therein; as the drowning of the old world, to whom previously he preached by his Spirit in Noah; the burning of Sodom and Gomorrah, the plagues of Egypt, and the destruction of Pharaoh and his host, the deliverance of the children of Israel, both out of Egypt and Babylon, and many others: and when he became incarnate, how many wonders were wrought by him? the incarnation itself was a wonderful instance of his grace and condescension, to take upon him the nature of man, be made flesh, and dwell among them; and during his incarnate state on earth many wonders were done by him; the doctrines he taught, the miracles he wrought, and especially the great work of our redemption and salvation, which will be for ever the wonder of men and angels; his raising himself from the dead, his ascension to heaven, and his appearance there for his people, as well as his second coming to judgment, are all marvellous things; and on account of all this, and more, he may well be called "wonderful"; for working wonders there is none like him.

Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the {f} gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, {g} fearful in praises, doing wonders?

(f) The scripture often so calls the mighty men of the world.

(g) Who ought to be praised with all fear and reverence.

11. No god is comparable to Jehovah, whether among the gods of Egypt or those of any other country. Cf. Exodus 18:11; Psalm 71:19 c, Psalm 77:13, Psalm 86:8, Psalm 89:6; Psalm 89:8, Psalm 95:3, Psalm 96:4, Psalm 97:9; Jeremiah 10:6.

glorious (v. 6) in holiness] i.e. in loftiness, greatness, unapproachableness,—in a word in all the transcendent attributes which combine to constitute the idea of supreme Godhead; the ethical ideas which we associate with ‘holiness’ seem hardly to be thought of in passages like this. Cf. 1 Samuel 6:20; and Skinner in DB. ii. 396 f.; Davidson, OT. Theol. pp. 145 ff., 155; and below, on Exodus 22:31.

Fearful in praises] i.e. in praiseworthy attributes; so Psalm 9:14; Psalm 78:4, Isaiah 60:6; Isaiah 63:7. Cf. Psalm 66:5 ‘fearful in operation.’

doing wonders] The Heb., as Psalm 77:14 (with allusion to the Exodus), Psalm 78:12 (‘In the sight of their fathers he did wonders’), Isaiah 25:1.

11–17. Jehovah, the Incomparable One, thus saved Israel from its foes (vv. 11–12); and afterwards, in His goodness, led His people whom He had redeemed to their promised home, while the nations of Canaan and surrounding regions looked on, awestruck and powerless to arrest their advance.

Verses 11, 12 contain the third stanza of the first division of the ode. It is short compared to the other two, containing merely a fresh ascription of praise to God, cast in anew form; and a repetition of the great fact which the poem commemorates - the Egyptian overthrow. We conceive that Miriam's chorus (ver. 21) was again interposed between verses 10 and 11. Verse 11. - Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods? It was one great object of the whole series of miraculous visitations whereof Egypt had been the scene, that the true God, Jehovah, should be exalted far above all the gods of the heathen. (See Exodus 7:5; Exodus 14:4, 18.) Moses therefore makes this one of his topics of praise; and at the same time notes three points in which God has no rival -

1. Holiness;

2. Awfulness; and

3. Miraculous power.

Compare Psalm 86:8; "Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord; neither are there any works like thy works." Fearful in praises - i.e., "to be viewed with awe even when we praise Him." Exodus 15:11Third strophe. On the ground of this glorious act of God, the song rises in the third strophe into firm assurance, that in His incomparable exaltation above all gods Jehovah will finish the word of salvation, already begun, fill all the enemies of Israel with terror at the greatness of His arm, bring His people to His holy dwelling-place, and plant them on the mountain of His inheritance. What the Lord had done thus far, the singer regarded as a pledge of the future.

Exodus 15:11-12

"Who is like unto Thee among the gods, O Jehovah (אלים: not strong ones, but gods, Elohim, Psalm 86:8, because none of the many so-called gods could perform such deeds), who is like unto Thee, glorified in holiness?" God had glorified Himself in holiness through the redemption of His people and the destruction of His foes; so that Asaph could sing, "Thy way, O God, is in holiness" (Psalm 78:13). קדשׁ, holiness, is the sublime and incomparable majesty of God, exalted above all the imperfections and blemishes of the finite creature (vid., Exodus 19:6). "Fearful for praises, doing wonders." The bold expression תהלּת נורא conveys more than summe venerandus, s. colendus laudibus, and signifies terrible to praise, terribilis laudibus. As His rule among men is fearful (Psalm 66:5), because He performs fearful miracles, so it is only with fear and trembling that man can sing songs of praise worthy of His wondrous works. Omnium enim laudantium vires, linguas et mentes superant ideoque magno cum timore et tremore eum laudant omnes angeli et sancti (C. a Lap.). "Thou stretchest out Thy hand, the earth swallows them." With these words the singer passes in survey all the mighty acts of the Lord, which were wrapt up in this miraculous overthrow of the Egyptians. The words no longer refer to the destruction of Pharaoh and his host. What Egypt had experienced would come upon all the enemies of the Lord and His people. Neither the idea of the earth swallowing them, nor the use of the imperfect, is applicable to the destruction of the Egyptians (see Exodus 15:1, Exodus 15:4, Exodus 15:5, Exodus 15:10, Exodus 15:19, where the perfect is applied to it as already accomplished).

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