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Exodus 14:2-4

Context
14:2 “Tell the Israelites that they must turn and camp 1  before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea; you are to camp by the sea before Baal Zephon opposite it. 2  14:3 Pharaoh will think 3  regarding the Israelites, ‘They are wandering around confused 4  in the land – the desert has closed in on them.’ 5  14:4 I will harden 6  Pharaoh’s heart, and he will chase after them. I will gain honor 7  because of Pharaoh and because of all his army, and the Egyptians will know 8  that I am the Lord.” So this is what they did. 9 

1 tn The two imperfects follow the imperative and therefore express purpose. The point in the verses is that Yahweh was giving the orders for the direction of the march and the encampment by the sea.

2 sn The places have been tentatively identified. W. C. Kaiser summarizes the suggestions that Pi-Hahiroth as an Egyptian word may mean “temple of the [Syrian god] Hrt” or “The Hir waters of the canal” or “The Dwelling of Hator” (“Exodus,” EBC 2:387; see the literature on these names, including C. DeWit, The Date and Route of the Exodus, 17).

3 tn Heb “and Pharaoh will say.”

4 sn The word translated “wandering around confused” indicates that Pharaoh thought the Israelites would be so perplexed and confused that they would not know which way to turn in order to escape – and they would never dream of crossing the sea (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 115).

5 tn The expression has also been translated “the desert has shut [the way] for them,” and more freely “[the Israelites are] hemmed in by the desert.”

6 tn In this place the verb חָזַק (hazaq) is used; it indicates that God would make Pharaoh’s will strong or firm.

7 tn The form is וְאִכָּבְדָה (vÿikkavÿda), the Niphal cohortative; coming after the perfect tenses with vav (ו) consecutives expressing the future, this cohortative indicates the purpose of the hardening and chasing. Yahweh intended to gain glory by this final and great victory over the strength of Pharaoh. There is irony in this expression since a different form of the word was used frequently to describe Pharaoh’s hard heart. So judgment will not only destroy the wicked – it will reveal the glory and majesty of the sovereignty of God.

8 tn This is the perfect tense with the vav (ו) consecutive. But it announces the fulfillment of an long standing purpose – that they might know.

9 tn Heb “and they did so.”



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