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Exodus 15:25-26

Context
15:25 He cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him 1  a tree. 2  When Moses 3  threw it into the water, the water became safe to drink. There the Lord 4  made for them 5  a binding ordinance, 6  and there he tested 7  them. 15:26 He said, “If you will diligently obey 8  the Lord your God, and do what is right 9  in his sight, and pay attention 10  to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, then all 11  the diseases 12  that I brought on the Egyptians I will not bring on you, for I, the Lord, am your healer.” 13 

1 tn The verb is וַיּוֹרֵהוּ (vayyorehu, “and he showed him”). It is the Hiphil preterite from יָרָה (yarah), which has a basic meaning of “to point, show, direct.” It then came to mean “to teach”; it is the verb behind the noun “Law” (תּוֹרָה, torah).

sn U. Cassuto notes that here is the clue to the direction of the narrative: Israel needed God’s instruction, the Law, if they were going to enjoy his provisions (Exodus, 184).

2 tn Or “a [piece of] wood” (cf. NAB, NIV, NRSV, TEV, CEV); NLT “a branch.”

sn S. R. Driver (Exodus, 143) follows some local legends in identifying this tree as one that is supposed to have – even to this day – the properties necessary for making bitter water sweet. B. Jacob (Exodus, 436) reports that no such tree has ever been found, but then he adds that this does not mean there was not such a bush in the earlier days. He believes that here God used a natural means (“showed, instructed”) to sweeten the water. He quotes Ben Sira as saying God had created these things with healing properties in them.

3 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Moses) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

4 tn Heb “there he”; the referent (the Lord) is supplied for clarity.

5 tn Heb “for him” (referring to Israel as a whole).

6 tn This translation interprets the two nouns as a hendiadys: “a statute and an ordinance” becomes “a binding ordinance.”

7 tn The verb נִסָּהוּ (nissahu, “and he tested him [them]”) is from the root נָסָה (nasah). The use of this word in the Bible indicates that there is question, doubt, or uncertainty about the object being tested.

sn The whole episode was a test from God. He led them there through Moses and let them go hungry and thirsty. He wanted to see how great their faith was.

8 tn The construction uses the infinitive absolute and the imperfect tense of שָׁמַע (shama’). The meaning of the verb is idiomatic here because it is followed by “to the voice of Yahweh your God.” When this is present, the verb is translated “obey.” The construction is in a causal clause. It reads, “If you will diligently obey.” Gesenius points out that the infinitive absolute in a conditional clause also emphasizes the importance of the condition on which the consequence depends (GKC 342-43 §113.o).

9 tn The word order is reversed in the text: “and the right in his eyes you do,” or, “[if] you do what is right in his eyes.” The conditional idea in the first clause is continued in this clause.

10 tn Heb “give ear.” This verb and the next are both perfect tenses with the vav (ו) consecutive; they continue the sequence of the original conditional clause.

11 tn The substantive כָּל־ (kol, “all of”) in a negative clause can be translated “none of.”

12 sn The reference is no doubt to the plagues that Yahweh has just put on them. These will not come on God’s true people. But the interesting thing about a conditional clause like this is that the opposite is also true – “if you do not obey, then I will bring these diseases.”

13 tn The form is רֹפְאֶךָ (rofÿekha), a participle with a pronominal suffix. The word is the predicate after the pronoun “I”: “I [am] your healer.” The suffix is an objective genitive – the Lord heals them.

sn The name I Yahweh am your healer comes as a bit of a surprise. One might expect, “I am Yahweh who heals your water,” but it was the people he came to heal because their faith was weak. God lets Israel know here that he can control the elements of nature to bring about a spiritual response in Israel (see Deut 8).



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