Isaiah 63:13
That led them through the deep, as an horse in the wilderness, that they should not stumble?
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(13, 14) That led them . . .—Each comparison is singularly appropriate. Israel passes through the sea as a horse through the wide grassy plain (not the sandy desert, as “wilderness” suggests). Then, when its wanderings are over, it passes into Canaan, as a herd of cattle descends from the hills into the rich pasturage of the valleys, that guidance also coming from the Spirit of Jehovah.

63:7-14 The latter part of this chapter, and the whole of the next, seem to express the prayers of the Jews on their conversation. They acknowledge God's great mercies and favours to their nation. They confess their wickedness and hardness of heart; they entreat his forgiveness, and deplore the miserable condition under which they have so long suffered. The only-begotten Son of the Father became the Angel or Messenger of his love; thus he redeemed and bare them with tenderness. Yet they murmured, and resisted his Holy Spirit, despising and persecuting his prophets, rejecting and crucifying the promised Messiah. All our comforts and hopes spring from the loving-kindness of the Lord, and all our miseries and fears from our sins. But he is the Saviour, and when sinners seek after him, who in other ages glorified himself by saving and feeding his purchased flock, and leading them safely through dangers, and has given his Holy Spirit to prosper the labours of his ministers, there is good ground to hope they are discovering the way of peace.That led them through the deep - They went through the deep on dry land - the waters having divided and left an unobstructed path.

As an horse in the wilderness - As an horse, or a courser, goes through a desert without stumbling. This is a most beautiful image. The reference is to vast level plains like those in Arabia, where there are no stones, no trees, no gullies, no obstacles, and where a fleet courser bounds over the plain without any danger of stumbling. So the Israelites were led on their way without falling. All obstacles were removed, and they were led along as if over a vast smooth plain. Our word 'wilderness,' by no means expresses the idea here. We apply it to uncultivated regions that are covered with trees, and where there would be numerous obstacles to such a race-horse. But the Hebrew word (מדבר midbâr) rather refers to "a desert, a waste" - a place of level sands or plains where there was nothing to obstruct the fleet courser that should prance over them. Such is probably the meaning of this passage, but Harmer (Obs. i. 161ff) may be consulted for another view, which may possibly be the correct one.

13. deep—literally, "the tossing and roaring sea."

wilderness—rather, the "open plain" [Horsley], wherein there is no obstacle to cause a horse in its course the danger of stumbling.

That led them through the deep; showing that God did not dry up shallow places, but the very depth of the sea, the very channel, which is the deepest part. Or, between those heaps of waters that stood up as a wall on each side of them, which might make it seem terrible, and therefore it is ascribed to their faith, Hebrews 11:29.

As an horse in the wilderness; or, plain; for so wilderness is sometimes taken, and may be here meant, by comparing it to a valley in the next verse, viz. with as much safety as the horse runs up and down in the plain ground; or, with as much ease and tenderness as a horse led by the bridle; not as men affrighted, but soberly and orderly.

That they should not stumble: this may be taken metaphorically, they came to no harm; or properly, that though the sea were but newly divided, yet it was so dried, that the mud, as also the unevenness of the ground, was not any occasion of their stumbling, or their sticking in it; probably so dried and smoothed by the wind that God sent as it were to prepare the way before them. See Isaiah 40:3-5.

That led them through the deep,.... The depths, the bottom of the sea; not through the shallow, but where the waters had been deepest, the descent greatest; and at the bottom of which might have been expected much filth and dirt to hinder them in their passage, yet through this he led them:

as an horse in the wilderness; or rather, "in a plain", as the word (b) sometimes signifies; and so Kimchi renders it a plain land, and Jarchi smooth land. The sense is, that the Israelites passed through the sea with as much ease, and as little difficulty, as a good horse will run over a plain, where there is nothing to stop his course:

that they should not stumble? there being no clay to stick in, no stone to stumble at, but all like an even plain.

(b) "in planitie", Calvin, Gataker, Vitringa; "in campis", Grotius.

That led them through the deep, as an {o} horse in the wilderness, that they should not stumble?

(o) Peaceably and gentle, as a horse is led to his pasture.

13. the deep] R.V. the depths; Hebr. těhômôth, see on ch. Isaiah 51:10.

as a horse in the wilderness] treading as firmly and securely as the horse on the open pasture. Comp. the parallelism Psalm 106:9 : “He led them through the depths as through a pasture-land.”

Isaiah 63:13Israel being brought to a right mind in the midst of this state of punishment, longed fro the better past to return. "Then His people remembered the days of the olden time, of Moses: Where is He who brought them up out of the sea with the shepherd of his flock? where is He who put the spirit of His holiness in the midst of them; who caused the arm of His majesty to go at the right of Moses; who split the waters before them, to make Himself an everlasting name: who caused them to pass through abysses of the deep, like the horse upon the plain, without their stumbling? Like the cattle which goeth down into the valley, the Spirit of Jehovah brought them to rest: thus hast Thou led Thy people, to make Thyself a majestic name." According to the accentuation before us, Isaiah 63:11 should be rendered thus: "Then He (viz., Jehovah) remembered the days of the olden time, the Moses of His people" (lxx, Targ., Syr., Jerome). But apart from the strange expression "the Moses of His people," which might perhaps be regarded as possible, because the proper name mōsheh might suggest the thought of its real meaning in Hebrew, viz., extrahens equals liberator, but which the Syriac rejects by introducing the reading ‛abhdō (Moses, His servant), we have only to look at the questions of evidently human longing which follow, to see that Jehovah cannot be the subject to ויּזכּר (remembered), by which these reminiscences are introduced. It is the people which begins its inquiries with איּה, just as in Jeremiah 2:6 (cf., Isaiah 51:9-10), and recals "the days of olden time," according to the admonition in Deuteronomy 32:7. Consequently, in spite of the accents, such Jewish commentators as Saad. and Rashi regard "his people" (‛ammō) as the subject; whereas others, such as AE, Kimchi, and Abravanel, take account of the accents, and make the people the suppressed subject of the verb "remembered," by rendering it thus, "Then it remembered the days of olden time, (the days) of Moses (and) His people," or in some similar way. But with all modifications the rendering is forced and lame. The best way of keeping to the accents is that suggested by Stier, "Then men (indef. man, the French on) remembered the days of old, the Moses of His people."

But why did the prophet not say ויּזכּרוּ, as the proper sequel to Isaiah 63:10? We prefer to adopt the following rendering and accentuation: Then remembered (zakeph gadol) the days-of-old (mercha) of Moses (tiphchah) His people. The object stands before the subject, as for example in 2 Kings 5:13 (compare the inversions in Isaiah 8:22 extr., Isaiah 22:2 init.); and mosheh is a genitive governing the composite "days of old" (for this form of the construct state, compare Isaiah 28:1 and Ruth 2:1). The retrospect commences with "Where is He who led them up?" etc. The suffix of המּעלם (for המעלם, like רדם in Psalm 68:28, and therefore with the verbal force predominant) refers to the ancestors; and although the word is determined by the suffix, it has the article as equivalent to a demonstrative pronoun (ille qui sursum duxit, eduxit eos). "The shepherd of his flock" is added as a more precise definition, not dependent upon vayyizkōr, as even the accents prove. את is rendered emphatic by yethib, since here it signifies un cum. The Targum takes it in the sense of instar pastoris gregis sui; but though עם is sometimes used in this way, את never is. Both the lxx and Targum read רעה; Jerome, on the other hand, adopts the reading רעי, and this is the Masoretic reading, for the Masora in Genesis 47:3 reckons four רעה, without including the present passage. Kimchi and Abravanel also support this reading, and Norzi very properly gives it the preference. The shepherds of the flock of Jehovah are Moses and Aaron, together with Miriam (Psalm 77:21; Micah 6:4). With these (i.e., in their company or under their guidance) Jehovah led His people up out of Egypt through the Red Sea. With the reading רעי, the question whether beqirbô refers to Moses or Israel falls to the ground. Into the heart of His people (Nehemiah 9:20) Jehovah put the spirit of His holiness: it was present in the midst of Israel, inasmuch as Moses, Aaron, Miriam, the Seventy, and the prophets in the camp possessed it, and inasmuch as Joshua inherited it as the successor of Moses, and all the people might become possessed of it. The majestic might of Jehovah, which manifested itself majestically, is called the "arm of His majesty;" an anthropomorphism to which the expression "who caused it to march at the right hand of Moses" compels us to give an interpretation worthy of God. Stier will not allow that תּפארתּו זרע is to be taken as the object, and exclaims, "What a marvellous figure of speech, an arm walking at a person's right hand!" But the arm which is visible in its deeds belongs to the God who is invisible in His own nature; and the meaning is, that the active power of Moses was not left to itself, but he overwhelming omnipotence of God went by its side, and endowed it with superhuman strength. It was by virtue of this that the elevated staff and extended hand of Moses divided the Red Sea (Exodus 14:16). בּוקע has mahpach attached to the ב, and therefore the tone drawn back upon the penultimate, and metheg with the tsere, that it may not be slipped over in the pronunciation. The clause וגו לעשׂות affirms that the absolute purpose of God is in Himself. But He is holy love, and whilst willing for Himself, He wills at the same time the salvation of His creatures. He makes to Himself an "everlasting name," by glorifying Himself in such memorable miracles of redemption, as that performed in the deliverance of His people out of Egypt. According to the general order of the passage, Isaiah 63:13 apparently refers to the passage through the Jordan; but the psalmist, in Psalm 106:9 (cf., Psalm 77:17), understood it as referring to the passage through the Red Sea. The prayer dwells upon this chief miracle, of which the other was only an after-play. "As the horse gallops over the plain," so did they pass through the depths of the sea יכּשׁלוּ לא (a circumstantial minor clause), i.e., without stumbling. Then follows another beautiful figure: "like the beast that goeth down into the valley," not "as the beast goeth down into the valley," the Spirit of Jehovah brought it (Israel) to rest, viz., to the menūchâh of the Canaan flowing with milk and honey (Deuteronomy 12:9; Psalm 95:11), where it rested and was refreshed after the long and wearisome march through the sandy desert, like a flock that had descended from the bare mountains to the brooks and meadows of the valley. The Spirit of God is represented as the leader here (as in Psalm 143:10), viz., through the medium of those who stood, enlightened and instigated by Him, at the head of the wandering people. The following כּן is no more a correlate of the foregoing particle of comparison than in Isaiah 52:14. It is a recapitulation, and refers to the whole description as far back as Isaiah 63:9, passing with נהגתּ into the direct tone of prayer.

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