Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Exodus
Book: Exodus
Chapter: 14

God directs the Israelites to Pihahiroth, Pharaoh pursues
after them. (1-9) The Israelites murmur, Moses comforts them.
(10-14) God instructs Moses, The Cloud between the Israelites
and the Egyptians. (15-20) The Israelites pass through the Red
Sea, which drowns the Egyptians. (21-31)

1-9 Pharaoh would think that all Israel was entangled in the
Wilderness, and So would become an easy prey. But God says, I
will be honoured upon Pharaoh. All men being made for the honour
of their Maker, those whom he is not honoured By, he will be
honoured upon. What seems to tend to the Church's ruin, is often
overruled to the ruin of the Church's enemies. While Pharaoh
gratified his malice and revenge, he furthered the bringing to
pass God's counsels concerning him. Though with the greatest
reason he had let Israel go, yet now he was angry with himself
for it. God makes the envy and rage of men against his people, a
Torment to themselves. Those who set their faces heavenward, and
will live godly in Christ Jesus, must expect to be set upon By
Satan's temptations and terrors. He will not tamely part with
any out of his service.

10-14 There was No way open to Israel but upward, and thence
their deliverance came. We may be in the way of duty, following
God, and hastening toward Heaven, yet may be troubled On every
side. Some cried out unto the Lord; their fear led them to pray,
and that was Well. God brings us into straits, that he may bring
us to our knees. Others cried out against Moses; fear set them
Murmuring as if God were not still able to work miracles. They
quarrel with Moses for bringing them out of Egypt; and So were
angry with God for the greatest kindness ever done them; thus
gross are the absurdities of unbelief. Moses says, Fear ye not.
It is always our duty and interest, when we cannot get out of
troubles, yet to get above our fears; let them quicken our
prayers and endeavours, but not silence our Faith and Hope.
"Stand still," think not to save yourselves either By fighting
or flying; wait God's orders, and observe them. Compose
yourselves, By confidence in God, into peaceful thoughts of the
great Salvation God is about to work for you. If God brings his
people into straits, he will find a way to bring them out.

15-20 Moses' silent prayers of Faith prevailed more with God
than Israel's loud outcries of fear. The Pillar of Cloud and
Fire came behind them, where they needed a Guard, and it was a
Wall between them and their enemies. The Word and Providence of
God have a Black and dark side toward Sin and sinners, but a
bright and pleasant side toward the people of the Lord. He, who
divided between Light and Darkness, Ge 1:4, allotted Darkness
to the Egyptians, and Light to the Israelites. Such a difference
there will be between the inheritance of the saints in Light,
and that utter Darkness which will be the portion of hypocrites
for ever.

21-31 The dividing the Red Sea was the terror of the
Canaanites, Jos 2:9; the praise and triumph of the Israelites,

Ps 114:3; 106:9; 136:13. It was a Type of Baptism, 1Co
10:1,2. Israel's Passage through it was typical of the
Conversion of souls, Isa 11:15; and the Egyptians being
drowned in it was typical of the final ruin of all unrepenting
sinners. God showed his almighty power, By opening a Passage
through the waters, some miles over. God can bring his people
through the greatest difficulties, and force a way where he does
not find it. It was an instance of his wonderful favour to his
Israel. They went through The Sea, they walked upon dry land in
the midst of The Sea. This was done, in order to encourage God's
people in all ages to trust him in the greatest straits. What
cannot he do who did this? What will not he do for those that
fear and Love him, who did this for these Murmuring, unbelieving
Israelites? Then followed the just and righteous wrath of God
upon his and his people's enemies. The ruin of sinners is
brought On By their own rage and presumption. They might have
let Israel alone, and would not; now they would flee from the
Face of Israel, and cannot. Men will not be convinced, till it
is too late, that those who meddle with God's people, meddle to
their own hurt. Moses was ordered to stretch out his Hand over
The Sea; the waters returned, and overwhelmed all the Host of
the Egyptians. Pharaoh and his servants, who had hardened one
another in Sin, now fell together, not one escaped. The
Israelites saw the Egyptians dead upon the sands. The sight very
much affected them. While men see God's Works, and feel the
benefit, they fear him and trust in him. How Well were it for
us, if we were always in as good a frame as sometimes! Behold
the End to which a Christian may look forward. His enemies rage,
and are mighty; but while he holds Fast By God, he shall pass
the waves in safety guarded By that very power of his Saviour,
which shall come down On every spiritual foe. The enemies of his
soul whom he hath seen to-Day, he shall see No more for ever.