Exodus 15:12
You stretched out your right hand, the earth swallowed them.
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(12) The earth swallowed them.—The sea, which actually “swallowed them,” was a part of the earth. Literalism might argue that the statement contravened former ones (Exodus 15:4-5; Exodus 15:10); but the fact is otherwise. If we only allow our common sense fair play, and permit sacred writers the same latitude as profane ones, we shall find wonderfully few discrepancies, or even difficulties, in the Biblical narrative.

Exodus 15:12. The earth swallowed them up — Their dead bodies sunk into the sands, on which they were thrown, which sucked them in.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.


1. The globe, consisting of earth and water, which is here called earth; as it is called the deep, and the water s, Genesis 1:2. Or,

2. The earth is here put for the sea, the other part of the same globe; as the soul is put for the body, or the dead carcass, the other part of the man, Leviticus 19:28 21:1 Numbers 6:6,9,11. Or,

3. The earth properly, either because many of them sunk into the mud at the bottom of the sea, and were buried in it; or because, after they were cast up upon the shore, they were buried by the Israelites in the earth. Thou stretchedst out thy right hand,.... That is, exerted his power, and gave a display and proof of it; of which the right hand is an emblem:

the earth swallowed them; meaning Pharaoh and his host; for though they were drowned in the sea, that being a part of the terraqueous globe, they may be said to be swallowed in the earth; as Jonah, when in the depth of the sea, the earth and its bars are said to be about him, Jonah 2:6 and besides, many of Pharaoh's army might be swallowed up in the mud at the bottom of the sea: nor is it improbable that those that were cast upon the banks and sand, whom the Israelites stripped, might be afterwards swallowed up therein.

Thou stretchedst out thy right hand, the earth swallowed them.
12. The poet, before proceeding to the main theme of the paragraph (v. 13 ff.), reverts for a moment to the thought of Jehovah’s destruction of the foe.

The earth swallowed them] In the Heb., the imperfect, attached ἀσυνδέτως, expresses vividly how the result followed at once the stretching out of Jehovah’s hand. Exactly so v. 14 ‘the peoples heard, they trembled’; Psalm 77:16 ‘the waters saw thee, they were in pangs.’ The ‘earth’ must here be understood as inclusive of the sea. ‘Swallowed,’ i.e. engulphed: cf. Numbers 16:32, Psalm 106:17 (of Dathan and Abiram).Verse 12. - Thou stretchedst out thy right hand. Thou hadst only to stretch out an arm, and at once thy enemies perished. The earth swallowed them up - i.e., the sea, which is a part of the earth. PART II. Jehovah had not only proved Himself to be a true man of war in destroying the Egyptians, but also as the glorious and strong one, who overthrows His enemies at the very moment when they think they are able to destroy His people.

Exodus 15:6-7

"Thy right hand, Jehovah, glorified in power (gloriously equipped with power: on the Yod in נאדּרי, see Genesis 31:39; the form is masc., and ימין, which is of common gender, is first of all construed as a masculine, as in Proverbs 27:16, and then as a feminine), "Thy right hand dashes in pieces the enemy." רעץ equals רצץ: only used here, and in Judges 10:8. The thought it quite a general one: the right hand of Jehovah smites every foe. This thought is deduced from the proof just seen of the power of God, and is still further expanded in Exodus 15:7, "In the fulness of Thy majesty Thou pullest down Thine opponents." הרס generally applied to the pulling down of buildings; then used figuratively for the destruction of foes, who seek to destroy the building (the work) of God; in this sense here and Psalm 28:5. קמים: those that rise up in hostility against a man (Deuteronomy 33:11; Psalm 18:40, etc.). "Thou lettest out Thy burning heat, it devours them like stubble." חרן, the burning breath of the wrath of God, which Jehovah causes to stream out like fire (Ezekiel 7:3), was probably a play upon the fiery look cast upon the Egyptians from the pillar of cloud (cf. Isaiah 9:18; Isaiah 10:17; and on the last words, Isaiah 5:24; Nahum 1:10).

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