Exodus 15:16
Fear and dread shall fall upon them; by the greatness of thine arm they shall be as still as a stone; till thy people pass over, O LORD, till the people pass over, which thou hast purchased.
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(16) Fear and dread shall fall upon them.—A portion of the Edomites felt so much fear of Israel that they allowed them to pass through their coasts (Deuteronomy 2:4). The Moabites of Aracted similarly (Deuteronomy 2:29).

Till thy people pass over—i.e., cross the frontier of the Canaanites, and enter their country. There is no need to suppose that Moses had as yet any distinct idea of the place where the frontier would be crossed.

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.The dukes of Edom - See Genesis 36:15. It denotes the chieftains, not the kings of Edom.

The mighty men of Moab - The physical strength and great stature of the Moabites are noted in other passages: see Jeremiah 48:29, Jeremiah 48:41.

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.

Be as still, or, be as silent; they shall be so struck. with amazement, that they shall be impotent both for speech and motion.

Fear and dread shall fall upon them.... On the several nations and people before mentioned, especially the Canaanites, which the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem interpret of the fear of death, lest the Israelites should fall upon them and destroy them, or God should fight for them, against them, and bring ruin and destruction on them:

by the greatness of thine arm they shall be as still as a stone; awed by the power of God, visible in what he had done for the Israelites, and upon their enemies; they should be like stocks and stones, immovable, have no power to act, nor stir a foot in their own defence, and against Israel, come to invade and possess their land; nor in the least molest them, or stop them in their passage over Jordan, or dispute it with them, but stand like persons thunderstruck, and as stupid as stones, not having any spirit or courage left in them:

till thy people pass over, O Lord, till the people pass over, which thou hast purchased; pass over the brook of Arnon, and the ford of Jabbok, according to the Targum of Jonathan; or the ford of Jabbok, and the ford of Jordan, according to the Jerusalem Targum; the river of Jordan is doubtless literally meant, at least chiefly; and the accomplishment of this prediction may be seen in Joshua 3:15 which was an emblem of the quiet passage of Christ's purchased people, through the ford or river of death, to the Canaan of everlasting rest and happiness: Christ's people are purchased by him, who is able to make the purchase, and had a right to do it, and has actually made it, by giving his flesh, shedding his blood, laying down his life, and giving himself a ransom price for them: these do, and must pass over Jordan, or go through the cold stream of death; it is the way of all the earth, of good men as well as others; it is a passage from one world to another; and there is no getting to the heavenly Canaan without going this way, or through this ford; and all the Lord's purchased people, like Israel, clean pass over through it, not one are left in it; their bodies are raised again, their souls are reunited to them, and both come safe to heaven and happiness: and, for the most part, they have a quiet and easy passage, the enemy is not suffered to disturb them, neither the sins and corruptions of their nature, nor an evil heart of unbelief, nor Satan with his temptations; and the terrors of death are taken away from them; so that they can sit and sing on the shores of eternity, in the view of death and another world, saying, death, where is thy sting? grave, where is thy victory? &c. and this is to be ascribed to the greatness of Jehovah's arm, to his almighty power, on which they lean, and go on comfortably in the wilderness; and by this they are carried safely through death to glory, and it is owing to this that the enemy and the avenger are stilled.

Fear and dread shall fall upon them; by the greatness of thine arm they shall be as still as a stone; till thy people pass over, O LORD, till the people pass over, which thou hast purchased.
16.Terror and dread fell upon them;

By the greatness of thine arm, they were as still as a stone:

Till thy people passed through, O Yahweh,

Till thy people passed through, which thou hadst purchased.

Terror, &c.] Cf. Joshua 2:9 ‘and that your terror is fallen upon us.’

as still as a stone] i.e. at once motionless (Joshua 10:13 Heb.) and silent (Psalm 31:17) through fear. For the comparison, cf. the ‘dumb stone’ of Habakkuk 2:19.

passed through] viz. the nations through whom they passed on their progress to Canaan (Di. Bä., &c.): cf. for the expression Deuteronomy 29:16 ‘and how we passed through the midst of the nations through which ye passed.’ The poet idealizes the past; and pictures the neighbouring peoples terror-struck, unable to move a hand to resist Israel, as it marched on to take possession of its inheritance in Canaan. The words do not refer, as the rend. of EVV. would imply that they do, to the passage of the Jordan.

purchased] The word does mean (marg.) to get (Genesis 4:1, Proverbs 16:16 al.) or acquire; but it is commonly used in the sense of to get by purchase, or buy (Genesis 33:19, &c.). And this no doubt is its meaning here; the idea being that Jehovah has ‘redeemed’ Israel (v. 13, Exodus 6:6), like a slave, from servitude, and purchased it as His own possession (cf. Nehemiah 5:8 RVm.). The word is used similarly of Israel in Isaiah 11:11 (see RVm.), Psalm 74:2 (cf. Psalm 78:54 b).

Verse 16. - Fear and dread shall fall upon them. Compare Deuteronomy 2:25; Deuteronomy 11:25. The Edomites of Mount Seir and the Moabites gave Israel a free passage through their borders (Deuteronomy 2:4-8, 18, 29), being afraid to oppose them. Till thy people pass over, O Lord. Some see in this an anticipation of the crossing of Jordan; but perhaps Moses meant no more than the crossing of the Canaanite frontier, in some place or other, which must take place if the urea was to be occupied. The event made the expression used peculiarly appropriate. When thou hast purchased. By bringing his people out of Egypt, their ownership had passed to him from the Egyptians, just as if he had bought them. (See Exodus 6:6, 7; Exodus 19:5.) Exodus 15:16"Fear and dread fall upon them; for the greatness of Thine arm (the adjective גּדול placed as a substantive before the noun) they are dumb (ידּמוּ from דּמם) as stones, till Thy people pass through, Jehovah, till the people which Thou hast purchased pass through." Israel was still on its march to Canaan, an evident proof that Exodus 15:13-15 do not describe what was past, but that future events were foreseen in spirit, and are represented by the use of perfects as being quite as certain as if they had already happened. The singer mentions not only Edom and Moab, but Philistia also, and the inhabitants of Canaan, as enemies who are so paralyzed with terror, as to offer no resistance to the passage of Israel through their territory; whereas the history shows that Edom did oppose their passing through its land, and they were obliged to go round in consequence (Numbers 20:18.; Deuteronomy 2:3, Deuteronomy 2:8), whilst Moab attempted to destroy them through the power of Balaam's curse (Numbers 22:2.); and what the inhabitants of Philistia and Canaan had to fear, was not their passing through, but their conquest of the land.

(Note: The fact that the inhabitants of Philistia and Canaan are described in the same terms as Edom and Moab, is an unquestionable proof that this song was composed at a time when the command to exterminate the Canaanites had not yet been given, and the boundary of the territory to be captured by the Israelites was not yet fixed; in other words, that it was sung by Moses and the Israelites after the passage through the Red Sea. In the words יעבר עד in Exodus 15:16, there is by no means the allusion to, or play upon, the passage through the Jordan, which Knobel introduces.)

We learn, however, from Joshua 2:9-10 and Joshua 9:9, that the report of Israel's miraculous passage through the Red Sea had reached to Canaan, and filled its inhabitants with terror.

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