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Exodus Chapter 14
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Egypt Pursues
14:1 God spoke to Moses, saying,
14:2 'Speak to the Israelites and tell them to turn back and camp before Freedom Valley, between Tower and the sea, facing Lord-of-the-North. Camp opposite it, near the sea.
14:3 Pharaoh will then say that the Israelites are lost in the area and trapped in the desert.
14:4 I will harden Pharaoh's heart and he will come after them. I will triumph over Pharaoh and his entire army, and Egypt will know that I am God.'

[The Israelites] did as [they had been instructed].

14:5 Meanwhile, the king of Egypt received the news that the people were escaping. Pharaoh and his officials changed their minds regarding the people, and said, 'What have we done? How could we have released Israel from doing our work?'
14:6 [Pharaoh] harnessed his chariot, and summoned his people to go with him.
14:7 He took 600 chariots with chosen crews, as well as the entire chariot corps of Egypt, with supporting infantry for them all.
14:8 God hardened the heart of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and he went after the Israelites. Meanwhile, the Israelites were leaving in triumph.
14:9 Setting out after [the Israelites], the Egyptians overtook them while they were camping by the sea, at Freedom Valley, opposite Lord-of-the-North. All of Pharaoh's chariot horses, cavalry and infantry were there.
14:10 As Pharaoh came close, the Israelites looked up. They saw the Egyptians marching at their rear, and the people became very frightened.

The Israelites cried out to God.

14:11 They said to Moses, 'Weren't there enough graves in Egypt? Why did you have to bring us out here to die in the desert? How could you do such a thing to us, bringing us out of Egypt?
14:12 Didn't we tell you in Egypt to leave us alone and let us work for the Egyptians? It would have been better to be slaves in Egypt than to die [here] in the desert!'
14:13 'Don't be afraid,' replied Moses to the people. 'Stand firm and you will see what God will do to rescue you today. You might be seeing the Egyptians today, but you will never see them again.
14:14 God will fight for you, but you must remain silent.'

Crossing the Sea
14:15 God said to Moses, 'Why are you crying out to Me? Speak to the Israelites, and let them start moving.
14:16 Raise your staff and extend your hand over the sea. You will split the sea, and the Israelites will be able to cross over on dry land.
14:17 'I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they will follow you. Thus I will triumph over Pharaoh and his entire army, his chariot corps and his cavalry.
14:18 When I have this triumph over Pharaoh, his chariot corps and cavalry, Egypt will know that I am God.'
14:19 God's angel had been traveling in front of the Israelite camp, but now it moved and went behind them. The pillar of cloud thus moved from in front of them and stood at their rear.
14:20 It came between the Egyptian and the Israelite camps. There was cloud and darkness that night, blocking out all visibility.
14:21 Moses extended his hand over the sea. During the entire night, God drove back the sea with a powerful east wind, transforming the sea bed into dry land. The waters were divided.
14:22 The Israelites entered the sea bed on dry land. The water was on their right and left like [two] walls.
14:23 The Egyptians gave chase and came after [the Israelites]. All of Pharaoh's horses, chariot corps and cavalry went into the middle of the sea.
14:24 Toward the end of the night God struck at the Egyptian army with the pillar of fire and cloud. He panicked the Egyptian army.
14:25 The chariot wheels became bogged down, and they could move only with great difficulty. The Egyptians cried out, 'Let us flee from Israel! God is fighting for them against Egypt!'

The Egyptians' Downfall
14:26 God said to Moses, 'Extend your hand over the sea. The waters will come back over the Egyptians, covering their chariot corps and cavalry.'
14:27 Just before morning, Moses extended his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its normal condition. The Egyptians were fleeing [the water], but God swamped the Egyptians in the middle of the sea.
14:28 The waters came back and covered the cavalry and chariots. Of all Pharaoh's army that had followed [the Israelites] into the sea, not a single one remained.
14:29 Meanwhile, the Israelites were walking in the midst of the sea on dry land. The water was on their right and on their left like [two] walls.
14:30 Thus, on that day, God rescued the Israelites from Egypt. The Israelites saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore.
14:31 The Israelites saw the great power that God had unleashed against Egypt, and the people were in awe of God. They believed in God and in his servant Moses.



Commentary:

Freedom Valley
  (Rashi). Pi HaChiroth in Hebrew. See Exodus 14:9; Numbers 33:7,9. Literally, 'The mouth of freedom,' possibly 'Freedom Bay.' The Hebrew Pi can also denote the mouth of a river (cf. Isaiah 19:7). Talmudic sources identify Pi HaChiroth with Pithom (Mekhilta), which is said to be on the site of Tanis (Targum Yonathan; see Exodus 1:11). This would indicate that the crossing was along the Mediterranean, possibly at Lake Manzaleh or Lake Sirbonis (see Exodus 13:18). Pi HaChiruth would then be a delta tributary of the Nile. Indeed there is a town Per Chet Cher mentioned in ancient texts as being near Tanis. Per Cheru was also the name of a canal and a generic name for the temples of Horus. Another town in the delta was Per Ari.

Some say that Pi HaChiruth was the mouth of Suez (Abarbanel). Other sources indicate that it was a narrow valley where the Israelites were completely boxed in (Mekhilta; Sekhel Tov), or a narrow beach between cliffs and the sea (Josephus 2:15:3).

Tower
  Migdal in Hebrew. See Jeremiah 44:1, 46:14, Ezekiel 29:10, 30:6.

Lord-of-the-North
  Baal Tzafon in Hebrew. According to Talmudic sources, this was a huge idol (Mekhilta; Rashi; Ibn Ezra). Some say that this was to the south of Egypt, along the Red Sea (Josephus 2:15:1; MeAm Lo'ez/The Torah Anthology 5:166). Egyptian sources from the Hellenistic period speak of the Megdal pef Bla Tzapnu (Cairo Papyrus 31169), which is identified as Jebu al Chasan, some 8 miles north of Suez. (This would indicate that the crossing was near the Bitter Lakes, where the Gulf of Suez was thought to have extended in ancient times). It may have been called Lord-of-the-North because it was at the northern end of the Suez Gulf.

Those who favor a northern crossing, identify Tzafon with Dafne or Tachpanchas (Jeremiah 2:16, 43:7, Ezekiel 30:18), near Pelusium and Lake Serbonis. Others identify it as the sanctuary of Zeus Casius, a small hill on the western extremity of Lake Serbonis, known as Machmudiyya. Still others say that it is Rus Kasrun near the Serbonic Lake, the site of the Hellenistic-Roman city of Casius.

triumph
  Literally, 'I will be glorified.'

harnessed
  (Mekhilta; Rashi). Or, 'had [someone] harness' (Ibn Ezra).

as well as
  (Rashi).

infantry
  (Mekhilta; see Exodus 14:9). Others, 'third-ranked officers (Targum; Ibn Ezra); 'a third horse' (besides the regular two; Targum Yonathan). Josephus writes that besides the 600 war chariots, there were 50,000 horsemen, and 200,000 foot soldiers (Antiquities 2:15:3).

triumph
  Literally, 'with a high hand' (cf. Targum).

but you must...
  (Ibn Ezra).

blocking out all visibility
  (Sekhel Tov; Saadia; Ibn Janach; Rosh, Hadar Zekenim; Septuagint; Pesachim 2a; cf. Ibn Ezra). Or, '[and the pillar of fire] illuminated the night' (Rashbam; Ibn Ezra).

like two walls
  Here we clearly see that it was not merely a low tide. The place of the crossing was apparently known in Talmudical times, since there is a special blessing said when one sees it (Berakhoth 54a; cf. Nesiath Rabbi Ovadiah MeBertenoro 3).

toward the end of the night
  Literally, 'the morning watch.' This is the last third of the night, around 2 a.m. (Rashi; cf. Berakhoth 3a). Others say that it was around the first dawn or sunrise (Mekhilta; HaGra ad loc.).

struck
  (Radak, Sherashim; Genesis 41:6). Or 'gazed at' (Rashi). This is the thunder, lightning and rain that struck the Egyptians (Psalms 77:18,19; Targum Yonathan; Mekhilta; Yerushalmi, Sotah 8:3; Rashbam; Josephus 2:16:3).

army
  Or, 'camp.'

bogged down
  (Septuagint; from root asar; cf. Ecclesiastes 4:14). Or, 'they tried to turn the chariots' wheels' (Rashbam; Ibn Ezra; Chizzkuni); or '[God] made the chariot wheels fall off' (Targum; Rashi).

fleeing
  (Septuagint). Or, literally, 'fleeing toward [the water in confusion]' (Shemoth Rabbah; Rashi).

Meanwhile
  (Ibn Ezra). Or, 'But the Israelites' (Rashbam).

power
  Literally, 'hand.'





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