Then the dukes of Edom shall be amazed; the mighty men of Moab, trembling shall take hold on them; all the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The dukes of Edom.—Comp. Genesis 36:15, where the same title is found. Apparently in the course of the thirty-eight years between the Exodus and the approach to. Canaan, the oligarchy of “dukes” had been replaced by a monarchy. (See Numbers 20:14.) The fear of Israel had also passed away; and the Edomites “came out against Moses with much people, and with a strong hand,” laying a foundation for that prolonged hatred of which we have traces in 2Samuel 8:14; 1Kings 11:14-22; 2Kings 8:20-22; 2Chronicles 20:16; Psalm 137:7, &c.
The mighty men of Moab.—On the terror of the Moabites, when Israel approached their borders, see Numbers 22:3-4. The efforts made by Balak to procure Balaam’s curse upon them were indications of the alarm felt.
All the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away.—Compare Joshua 2:11 : “As soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt;” and Exodus 5:1 : “It came to pass . . . when all the kings of the Canaanites heard that the Lord had dried up the waters of Jordan, that their hearts melted, neither was there any spirit in them any more.”Genesis 36:15. It denotes the chieftains, not the kings of Edom.
Canaan - The name in this, as in many passages of Genesis, designates the whole of Palestine: and is used of course with reference to the promise to Abraham. It was known to the Egyptians, and occurs frequently on the monuments as Pa-kanana, which applies, if not to the whole of Palestine, yet to the northern district under Lebanon, which the Phoenicians occupied and called "Canaan."
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.Genesis 36:15 the land being first governed by dukes, as perhaps it was at this time, though in some few years after it had a king, Numbers 20:14 now these, when they heard of the wonderful things that were done for Israel in Egypt, at the Red sea, and in the wilderness, were astonished and surprised, and filled with fear and dread, see Deuteronomy 2:4,
the mighty men of Moab, trembling shall take hold upon them: as did on Balak the king of Moab, and his people, Numbers 22:2, where may be observed a literal accomplishment of this prophecy:
all the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away; as their hearts did, through fear, when they heard what God did for Israel against the Egyptians and the Amorites, and understood that they were upon the march to their land to invade it and dispossess them of it: see the fulfilment of this prediction in Joshua 2:9 thus when Babylon shall be destroyed, as Pharaoh and his host were, and the people of God saved out of the midst of her, as Israel was, the kings of the earth will stand afar off for fear of her torment, and bewail and lament for her, Revelation 18:9.Then the dukes of Edom shall be amazed; the mighty men of Moab, trembling shall take hold upon them; all the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)15.Then were the chiefs of Edom dismayed;
The mighty men of Moab, trembling took hold upon them;
All the inhabitants of Canaan melted away (in fear).
Then] when they heard the tidings of the great disaster to the Egyptians. The terror thus inspired into them continued till Israel had passed by them and entered Canaan (v. 16). The Israelites did, 40 years afterwards, pass round Edom and Moab on the S. and E. of the Dead Sea: see Numbers 20:21; Numbers 21:4; Numbers 21:13; Deuteronomy 2:1-9; Deuteronomy 2:18.
chiefs] Properly, clan-chiefs, or heads of clans (from ’eleph, a family or clan, Jdg 6:15, 1 Samuel 10:19, Micah 5:2); a word used specially of the clan-chiefs of Edom (see Genesis 36:15-19; Genesis 36:21; Genesis 36:29-30; Genesis 36:40-43 [= 1 Chronicles 1:51-54]), and rare besides (Zechariah 9:7; Zechariah 12:5-6, only). In EVV., here and in Genesis 36, ‘duke’ represents the Lat. dux (which in its turn is based upon the ἡγεμών of the LXX.), and means simply leader.
dismayed] as Psalm 48:5, for the same Heb. ‘Amazed’ (AS. amasian, to perplex; connected with maze) meant formerly bewildered (cf. ‘to be in a maze’) or confounded by any strong emotion, especially by fear (cf. Jdg 20:41, for the same word as here; Job 32:15 for חתו; and ‘amazement’ for πτόησις in 1 Peter 3:6, RV. ‘terror’: also ‘amazing,’ i.e. bewildering, ‘thunder’ in Shakespeare, Richard II. i. 3. 81); but now it suggests a wrong meaning (‘astonished’).
mighty men] The same rare word recurs 2 Kings 24:15, Ezekiel 17:13; Ezekiel 31:11; Ezekiel 31:14; Ezekiel 32:21 (‘strong’). It seems to be identical with the Heb. word for ‘ram’: if this is really the case, it must have come to be used figuratively for leader; cf. the similar use of ‘he-goats’ in Isaiah 14:9 (see RVm.).
trembling (רעד) took hold upon them] Cf. Psalm 48:6 (רעדה,—both rare words).
melted away] fig. for, were incapacitated and helpless through terror and despair. Cf. Joshua 2:9 b, 24b, (reminiscences of the present passage), Isaiah 14:31, Nahum 2:6 (EVV. ‘is dissolved,’ to be understood in its old fig. sense of relaxed, enfeebled: the Heb. word is the same as here).Verse 15. - The Dukes of Edom. Compare Genesis 36:15. By the time that the Israelitesapproached the borders of Edom, the dukes had given place to kings (Numbers 20:14), and everything like abject fear of Israel had passed sway. The Edomites "came out against Moses with much people and with a strong hand," and refused to allow the Israelites passage through their borders (ib, vers. 20, 21). The mighty men of Moab. The alarm of the Moabites was indicated by Balak's efforts to induce Balaam to curse the Israelites (Numbers 22-24.). By their "mighty men" some understood men of unusual strength and stature (Cook); but the expression, which is very frequent both in the prophetical and the historical books, seems to be a mere periphrasis for "warriors." All the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away. This prophecy received a remarkable accomplishment when "it came to pass that all the kings of the Cannanites heard that the Lord had dried up the waters of Jordan from before the children of Israel, and their heart melted, neither was their spirit in them any more" (Joshua 5:1). Numbers 14:12).
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