The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my lust shall be satisfied on them; I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The enemy said.—Pharaoh’s soldiers were as anxious as their master to come to blows. (See above, Exodus 15:7.) They hoped to acquire the rich spoil which the Israelites had carried off from Egypt in the shape of gold and silver ornaments and goodly apparel (Exodus 12:35-36), as well as their flocks and herds (Exodus 12:38).
My lust.—Heb., my soul. The particular passion to be gratified was cupidity, or desire of riches.
Destroy them.—So the Vulg., Onkelos, Rosenmüller, Knobel, Kalisch, and others. The meaning “re-possess,” given in the margin, rests upon the rendering of the LXX., which is κυριεύσει, but is otherwise unsupported.Exodus 15:9. The enemy said, I will pursue — This verse is inexpressibly beautiful. Instead of barely saying, “The Egyptians, by pursuing the Israelites, went into the sea,” Moses himself, as it were, enters into the hearts of these barbarians, assumes their passions, and makes them speak the language which their thirst of vengeance and strong desire of overtaking the Israelites had put into their hearts. I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil — We perceive a palpable vengeance in these words as we read them. The inspired penman has not suffered one conjunction to intervene between the distinct members of the sentence, that it might have the greater spirit, and might express more naturally and forcibly the disposition of a man whose soul is fired, who discourses with himself, and does not mind connecting his words together. Moses goes further, he represents them as rioting on spoils, and swimming in joy: My lust shall be satisfied upon them.
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.My lust; the lust of covetousness and revenge too. Shall destroy them; or, take possession of them and theirs: see of this word, Numbers 14:12,24.
I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; which words being expressed without the copulative "and", show the passion he was in, the hastiness of his expressions, and the eagerness of his mind; and being delivered in such an absolute manner, "I will", "I will", &c. denote not only the fixed resolution and determination he had made to pursue, but the assurance he had of carrying his point; he thought as surely, as he pursued he should overtake, and overtaking should conquer, and get into his hands all the riches the people of Israel went out of Egypt with:
my lust shall be satified upon them; both his lust of covetousness to possess himself of the wealth the people had of their own, and which they had spoiled the Egyptians of, by borrowing of them; and also his lust of revenge and cruelty upon them; as appears from what follows:
I will draw my sword; out of its scabbard, and sheathe it in them:
my hand shall destroy them; which he made no doubt of, they being an unarmed people; and therefore, though numerous, were unable to engage with him, and defend themselves; see Revelation 6:14 and with it compare Isaiah 10:11.The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my lust shall be satisfied upon them; I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)9. The enemy’s confidence of victory, dramatically expressed in a series of quick, abrupt sentences, describing the rapid succession of one stage after another of the expected triumphant pursuit.
divide the spoil] A result of victory always looked forward to with satisfaction; cf. Jdg 5:30, Isaiah 9:3; Isaiah 33:23, Psalm 68:12.
My soul shall be filled with them] i.e. sated, or glutted with them. The ‘soul,’ in the psychology of the Hebrews, is the seat of desire, and especially of appetite or greed; see Deuteronomy 12:15; Deuteronomy 14:26; Deuteronomy 23:24 (‘thou mayest eat grapes thy fill according to thy soul), Isaiah 29:8; Isaiah 32:6, Psalm 17:9 (‘my greedy enemies,’ lit. ‘my enemies in soul’), Psalm 27:12 (‘give me not over unto the soul of my enemies, so Psalm 41:2), Psalm 78:18 (‘by asking food for their soul’), Proverbs 23:2 (‘a man given to appetite,’ lit. ‘the possessor of a soul’), Ecclesiastes 6:7, Isaiah 56:11 (‘greedy dogs,’ lit. ‘dogs strong of soul’). See further the Glossary in the writer’s Parallel Psalter, p. 459 f.
shall dispossess them] Often used of the nations of Canaan (see on Exodus 34:24). Fig. here for root out; cf. Numbers 14:12. ‘Destroy’ is a paraphrase, which obliterates the distinctive figure of the original.Verse 9. - The enemy said. This verse is important as giving the animus of the pursuit, showing what was in the thoughts of the soldiers who flocked to Pharaoh's standard at his call - a point which had not been previously touched. It is remarkable as a departure from the general stately order of Hebrew poesy, and for what has been called its "abrupt, gasping" style. The broken speech imitates the utterance of one at once eager and out of breath. I will divide the spoil. The Israelites, it must be remembered, had gone out of Egypt laden with ornaments of silver and of gold, and accompanied by flocks and herds of great value. Pharaoh's soldiers regarded this wealth as legitimate plunder, and intended to appropriate it. My lust. Literally, "my soul." Rage and hate were the passions to be satiated, rather than lust. My hand shall destroy them. So the Vulgate, Onkelos, Rosenmuller, Knobel, Kalisch, and others. The LXX. have κυριεύσει, "acquire the lordship over them" (whence our marginal rendering) But the drawn sword points to death rather than recapture. Exodus 15:4) "Pharaoh's chariots and his might (his military force) He cast into the sea, and the choice (the chosen ones) of his knights (shelishim, see Exodus 14:7) were drowned in the Red Sea."
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