Exodus 14:1-31


Ex. 14:1-3  And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, {2} Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp before Pihahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baalzephon: before it shall ye encamp by the sea. {3} For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, They are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in.

I.   Exodus 14:1-3.

A.     In 13:20, God instructed Israel to encamp at Etham (about 3 days journey from Succoth).

1.       Now God instructs them to go and camp in the places mentioned in 14:2.

2.       At that time, the Red Sea (now called the Gulf of Suez) extended about 50-60 miles father north than it does now.

3.       The northern most part of the Red Sea was called Bitter Lakes, (The 25 miles area between the present northern part of the Red Sea and the Southern part of the Bitter Lakes had been drifted shut by sand silt.  This 25 mile strip was open in 1854-1869 and is now called the Suez Canal.  The town of Clysma is now called Suez).

4.       The area east and west of the camp site was mountainous.

5.       So it looks like God has led Israel through a level area with mountains on both sides and they are facing the Red Sea.

6.       The only way out (according to man) is the way they came in.

B.     It is impossible to exactly determine where all these places are.

1.       Some “experts” place Pihahiroth on the sea coast of the Mediterranean Sea, while others place the same place on the west side of the Red Sea near the Gulf of Suez.

2.       Other “experts” place Pihahiroth south of Rameses, Succoth, and Etham. 

3.       The Bible tells us which is correct.

4.       Exodus 14:9 states that Pharaoh caught up with Israel near Pihahiroth, before Baalzephon.

5.       It is very obvious that Pihahiroth is near the Red Sea, not the Mediterranean Sea.

C.     This geography lesson explains verse 3 and 4.

1.       When Pharaoh hears (verse 5) that the people flee, he says they are "entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in".

2.       Pharaoh would especially think this since Israel had just camped at Etham, the house or sanctuary of Tum (The Sun God worshipped especially by that name in Lower Egypt).

D.     Sometimes God leads us to a strait place so we can see if we hear his word and have faith in Him.

1.       Verse 2 - Moses is commanded to speak to Israel that they may know what God intends to do.

a.       Matthew 4:1 reveals that Jesus was “…led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.”

b.       Why do we pray, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil…as stated in Matthew 6:13?

c.       If we always follow where God leads us, we may sometimes be lead into temptations so we will be able to understand how small our faith is and how much we need the Lord.

d.       We do not want to be led away with “our” temptations, which is the result of the lust of ourselves.

e.       It is not wrong to be placed in the way of temptations by God – especially when we are following and obeying him.

2.       Like the Egyptians, (verse 5) Israel forgets the Word of God. (Verse 10-12).

3.       May God help us to remember God's Word in times of trouble.

E.      It looks like God is taking Israel "out of the way" by going South.

1.       13:17,18 - God knew they would go back to Egypt if He lead them North.

2.       3:11,12 - God was leading Israel south, toward Mt. Horeb, where He told Moses He would lead them to.


Ex. 14:5-9   And it was told the king of Egypt that the people fled: and the heart of Pharaoh and of his servants was turned against the people, and they said, Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us? {6} And he made ready his chariot, and took his people with him: {7} And he took six hundred chosen chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt, and captains over every one of them. {8} And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel: and the children of Israel went out with an high hand. {9} But the Egyptians pursued after them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen, and his army, and overtook them encamping by the sea, beside Pihahiroth, before Baalzephon.

I.   Verse 5-9.

A.     Verse 5.

1.       Who told Pharaoh?

a.       I don’t know, but I do know that there are folks very willing to tell us news they know will hurt and aggravate us.

b.       Those same kind of people were present in Pharaoh’s day, just like they are present in our day.

2.       Their hearts were hardened (verse 5), then God hardened their hearts (verse 8) farther, as He had said (verse 4).  Then they made ready to attack.

a.       The people of Egypt and Pharaoh immediately forgot the lesson of the 10 plagues.  "Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us?"

b.       May God help us to not be "forgetful hearers of the Word."

3.       Verse 5 - The people fled - This is in addition to 8:27, where Israel was to go three days journey in the wilderness to do sacrifice.

B.     Note the pillar of fire and cloud were leading Israel.

1.       This Shekinah glory (appearance of the Divine Majesty) meant nothing more to the Egyptians than a cheap magic trick.

2.       This was confirmed to them when Israel was lead into a place with no way out.

3.       Today we are lead by the living Word of God - the Bible.

a.       May God help us to know it is not like any other book.

b.       As we journey through life, God's word is our road map.

c.       Psalms 119:105 states, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”

d.       Proverbs 4:18 declares, “But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.”

e.       What is light to believers is darkness to unbelievers.

C.     Many people went with Pharaoh.

1.       There is such an important battle that Pharaoh himself goes to conduct it.

2.       Verse 6 - the people go - probably almost everybody that was available and physically able.

3.       600 chosen chariots - an elite force.

4.       All the chariots - every other chariot.

5.       Apparently no footmen went.  They would slow down the chariots.

D.     Pharaoh's revenge was so great he was going to really do Israel in.  But those that stand against Israel stand against God and shall be destroyed.


Ex. 14:10-12   And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto the LORD. {11} And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? {12} Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.

I.   Verse 10-12.

A.     See comments on 13:17,18.

1.       Israel lifted up their eyes.

2.       They, like us, should not look around about us, but look to God.

3.       Matthew 14:30 – When Peter looked at the waves and the wind boisterous, instead of looking to Jesus, he grew afraid, and began to sink.

4.       So did Israel – so will we.

B.     Israel hasn't changed, but they should have.

1.       Compare Ex. 4:31 and 5:20,21 - Israel rejoiced or complained, never having patience to wait on the Lord's will.  (short-sighted)

2.       They had a lot of trouble seeing that God was working to give them the very things they wanted, but not doing it the way they wanted Him to do it.

C.     Israel is very forgetful (like Egypt).

1.       They had already forgotten the 10 plagues God put on Egypt. (Like Egypt forgot)

2.       They forgot what Moses had just told them.  (14:1-4)

3.       Note: Sometimes it's hard to tell the saved from the lost by the way they act.

4.       Brethren, this ought not so to be.

D.     Israel is looking on this dilemma in a very strange way.  They look back to Egypt and see that there are no graves of any Israelite there.  They understand that a grave takes up so much room, so they "unnaturally" conclude that Moses, under the guise of God's leadership, has lead them out of Egypt, with all the bodies of the dead Israelites, so Pharaoh can kill all of Israel in the wilderness and bury them here so there is plenty of room.  The depraved mind certainly dreams up a lot of wild stuff, doesn't it?  Is our mind any different?  Left to ourselves, will we come up with the same kind of dribble these Israelites came up with?  [1]


Ex. 14:13-14  And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will show to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. {14} The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.

I.   To understand the difference in attitude between Moses and Israel, see my message entitled "Wisdom" taken from James 1:5-8.  ..\JAMES\01V05-08 - 2.doc It just might be that I also have a tract entitled "Wisdom", if I have it transcribed from that tape on James 1:5-8 dated 5/22/93!


II.   Verse 13,14.

A.     Moses encouraged the people.

1.       Ps. 46:10 - Be still and know that I am God.

2.       How can a person be afraid and see what God is doing?  We become fearful when we take our eyes off God and look at the enemy.

B.     "Salvation" - not talking about salvation of the spirit, of Israel or Egypt.

1.       Speaks of salvation of life.

2.       When the Lord fights, there is salvation.


Verse 15. And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:

I.   There is no record of Moses crying to God.

A.     It is very apparent Moses did cry unto God.

1.       God did not lie to Moses, or about Moses.

B.     It seems Moses was praying to God, silently, and his prayer was full of unbelief.

1.       Moses didn’t appear to the Israelites to be doubting, but in his heart (where God sees) he was doubting.

2.       The word “cry” speaks of proclaiming – thus it seems Moses was instructing God to deliver them.

3.       God already knew what he was going to do, and him not telling Moses or the Israelites is a means of teaching them to trust him, not to have to have the answers beforehand.


II.   The command is for Israel to go forward.

A.     God’s people are never to retreat.

1.       Retreating is realizing that the enemy has the upper hand.

2.       Satan will never have the upper hand with God, or God’s people, even though it may seem on the surface that he does.

B.     We are to go forward.

1.       If we continually look to Jesus Christ and what he will do, we will always go forward.

2.       God will always give the victory.

C.     The command to go forward might seem impossible to Israel.

1.       The armies of Egypt is behind them, so that isn’t going forward.

2.       The Red Sea is before them, and it seems impossible to go through.

D.     It also is night time, and things always seem to look worse at night.

1.       Exodus 14:21 states that the strong east wind blew all that night.

2.       Therefore the “going forward” didn’t happen that very second, but happened the next morning.

3.       Even though Israel didn’t “go forward” that very second, their attitude and minds should be on going forward immediately.


Verse 16  But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry [ground] through the midst of the sea.

I.   It is not the lifting up of the rod, or the stretching forth of the hand that caused the Red Sea to divide.

A.     It is the power of God that caused this to happen.

1.       Moses is the visible, earthly symbol of the power of God, and he uses visible earthly symbols to show the power of God.

B.     What saves Israel will destroy Egypt.


Verse 17  And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.

I.   God will once again harden the hearts of the Egyptians.

A.     The hardening of the Egyptians hearts will continue until the final judgment comes for them.

1.       God raised up Pharaoh for the purpose of Pharaoh giving him glory and this happened.

2.       The story of Israel at the Red Sea and God delivering them has been preached, taught, and used many, many times to give God glory.

B.     The Egyptians will have no fear of going through the raised water.

1.       They will probably hear the east wind, and the movement of the waters all night, but they will not turn back to Egypt.

2.       They will see with their eyes the raised water, and will continue to their deaths.

3.       Egypt has seen many plagues (all miracles by God) yet they continue to rebel.


II.   God will get honor from rebellion.

A.     Psalms 76:10 – “Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.”


Verse 18  And the Egyptians shall know that I [am] the LORD, when I have gotten me honour upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.

Egypt will know, but it will be too late.  All the souls in hell know why they are there, and that God is the Lord, but it is too late.


Verse 19  And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them:

I.   Here is a strange thing.

A.     The angel of God has continually led Israel by the pillar of the cloud and the pillar of fire.

1.       This means that Israel is to follow the physical symbol of God’s leadership.

2.       But in this case, God moves behind Israel, and Moses commands them to go forward.

B.     It is important to listen carefully to God’s commands so we will understand exactly what he wants us to do.

1.       If we are busy following what we have done in the past, we might miss what God is telling us to do now.

2.       God will never lead us wrong, and his leaders will never lead us wrong either.


Verse 20  And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness [to them], but it gave light by night [to these]: so that the one came not near the other all the night.

I.   God will keep our enemies from us, if it is his will.

A.     They might get close to us, but they won’t get us, if God determines they will not get us.

B.     Our place is to continually trust God, and he will deliver us.


Verse 21. And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go [back] by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry [land], and the waters were divided.  ..\Israel\The Wind of God.doc

I.   I believe all this happened in one night.

A.     It appears to me that when night began to fall, the cloud of God came between Israel and Egypt.

B.     Then God caused a strong east wind to come all that night, blowing the waters in such a way that they parted.

C.     Israel went across the Red Sea all that night.

1.       God often gives his people a window of opportunity for good.

2.       We must be aware of this window of opportunity and do good while there is time.

3.       There is a song, “Work while it is day.”

D.     When the morning came, Israel was on the other side, and that is when Egypt tried to follow them.

1.       Egypt could not follow Israel as long as the cloud kept them back.

2.       God will allow Egypt to follow Israel only so they will put themselves into the position so God can destroy them.

E.      Early the next morning, about the time the sun comes up (the first watch), Egypt will be destroyed.


Verse 22  And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry [ground]: and the waters [were] a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.

I.   God protects his people.

A.     When Israel escapes, they escape on dry land, not muddy land.

B.     God will give his people the complete victory, not a partial victory.


II.   How wide is the wall?

A.     Wide enough for all Israel (600,000 men, not counting women, children, the mixt multitude, and the animals) to go through in one night.

1.       Some say the crossing was about 6 miles, while others say it wasn’t quite so far.

2.       Some say the opening in the Red Sea was 1 mile while others say the crossing was perhaps as wide as 60 miles.

3.       I believe the opening in the Red Sea was at least as wide as the width Israel took up when they were traveling.

a.       This might be as narrow as 100 feet, but probably much wider than that.

b.       If the opening was only 100 feet wide, it would take longer than one night for 2,000,000 people and all the animals to get across.

c.       I have a notion the opening was at least 10 miles wide.

d.       The camping area of Israel was approximately 10 miles by 50 miles.

e.       More than likely the opening in the Red Sea was closer to 25-30 miles.

f.        If all Israel crossed the Red Sea in one night, the opening had to be pretty wide.

B.     Psalms 136:13 – “To him which divided the Red sea into parts: for his mercy endureth for ever:”

1.       Some believe the Red Sea was divided at several different points, so the various tribes of Israel could cross together.

2.       Most of the Jewish writers believe this (according to John Gill).


III.   Various scriptures that tell about the dividing of the waters.

A.     Psalm 66:5,6 – “Come and see the works of God: he is terrible in his doing toward the children of men. 6 He turned the sea into dry land: they went through the flood on foot: there did we rejoice in him.”

B.     Psalms 74:13 – “Thou didst divide the sea by thy strength: thou brakest the heads of the dragons in the waters.”

C.     Psalms 78:13 – “He divided the sea, and caused them to pass through; and he made the waters to stand as an heap.”

D.     Psalms 106:9-11 – “He rebuked the Red sea also, and it was dried up: so he led them through the depths, as through the wilderness. 10 And he saved them from the hand of him that hated them, and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy. 11 And the waters covered their enemies: there was not one of them left.”

E.      Isaiah 63:12-13 – “That led them by the right hand of Moses with his glorious arm, dividing the water before them, to make himself an everlasting name? 13 That led them through the deep, as an horse in the wilderness, that they should not stumble?”

F.      Hebrews 11:29 – “By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.”


Verse 23  And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, [even] all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.

I.   After ten plagues, Egypt still hasn’t learned.

A.     They will try to follow on dry ground like Israel had, but what is a savior to Israel is destruction to Egypt.

B.     All of them descended into the valley to their own destruction.

1.       B. H. Carroll declares that the history of Egypt doesn’t record that Pharaoh died in this “battle”.

2.       I believe he did, but that the Egyptian historians didn’t write it because it was a shame to them.

3.       B. H. Carroll states that the Egyptian historians write of the victories of all their pharaoh’s, but they don’t write of the victories of this pharaoh.  Is it any wonder??


Verse 24  And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the LORD looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians,

I.   The LORD looked with judgment.

A.     God will often allow men to go against him, but when he looks upon them with judgment, they are finished.

B.     God will always get glory and honor and praise from the wicked.


Verse 25  And took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the LORD fighteth for them against the Egyptians.

I.   This verse is a fulfillment of verse 18.

A.     God will get glory from Pharaoh and all of rebellious Egypt.

B.     It wasn’t until their chariot wheels came off that Egypt realize they had a problem.

1.       Lost people don’t realize they have a problem until it is too late.

2.       It appears from this verse, compared to the next verse, that Egypt started to flee from Israel before Moses stretched forth his rod to return the water of the Red Sea to its original condition.

3.       Israel never “fired a shot” because God is fighting for them.

C.     Sometimes it’s too late to flee.

1.       Sometimes it’s too late for the lost to be saved.

2.       Sometimes it’s too late for the saved to repent and start to live a Christian life.

3.       It’s too late when the LORD looks with judgment.

4.       It is never too late as long as God extends his hand of mercy, grace, and help.


Verse 26  And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.

Moses had to know this action would cause the death of the Egyptians.

Some “bleeding hearts” would condemn Moses for this action, but he is obedient to God.


Verse 27  And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.

Moses obeys.  Moses never raised a hand against Egypt until instructed by God. God didn’t judge Moses when he killed the Egyptian and buried him in the sand, but this judgment is from God Himself.


Verse 28  And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, [and] all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them.

The waters returned when Egypt was trying to get back to land.  I am sure the Egyptians cried out in fear, perhaps even crying out to God for deliverance.  The day of mercy and grace is over.  Now is the day of judgment and fiery indignation of God.


Verse 29  But the children of Israel walked upon dry [land] in the midst of the sea; and the waters [were] a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.

God gave the victory to Israel.  What was a victory to Israel is destruction to Egypt.  The blood of Christ is our victory, but is eternal judgment to the lost.


Verse 30  Thus the LORD saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore.

I.   God will always save us if we depend on him.

A.     He might not save us the way we think he ought to, but he will deliver us.

B.     Israel saw the result of the judgment of God.

1.       It is a strange thing, but Israel, even though they see Egypt dead, forgets.

2.       Later they will declare they want to return to Egypt.

3.       They forget Egypt is not like they left it.

4.       They forget they are not welcome in Egypt.

C.     Some of the dead washed up on the shore.

1.       I don’t believe all the dead washed up.

2.       Some sank as stones – Exodus 15:5.

3.       Those with armor would sink like lead – Exodus 15:10.


Verse 31  And Israel saw that great work which the LORD did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD, and his servant Moses.

I.   Israel sees.

A.     It is very important to see the works of God upon the wicked.

1.       If the righteous see the works of God upon the wicked, we should learn not to go that way.

2.       God will judge all sin, theirs and ours.

B.     Israel fears and believes.

1.       Israel must first fear, then and only then, will they believe.

2.       When a people fear and believe the LORD, they will automatically fear and believe the servants of the Lord.  [2]

[1] Preached to here 02/27/02 IBC Wednesday Evening

[2] Preached to here 3/13/02 IBC Wednesday Evening