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Exodus 14:21-22

Context
14:21 Moses stretched out his hand toward the sea, and the Lord drove the sea apart 1  by a strong east wind all that night, and he made the sea into dry land, and the water was divided. 14:22 So the Israelites went through the middle of the sea on dry ground, the water forming a wall 2  for them on their right and on their left.

Exodus 14:27-28

Context
14:27 So Moses extended his hand toward the sea, and the sea returned to its normal state 3  when the sun began to rise. 4  Now the Egyptians were fleeing 5  before it, but the Lord overthrew 6  the Egyptians in the middle of the sea. 14:28 The water returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen and all the army of Pharaoh that was coming after the Israelites into the sea 7  – not so much as one of them survived! 8 

1 tn Or “drove the sea back” (NIV, NCV, NRSV, TEV). The verb is simply the Hiphil of הָלַךְ (halakh, “to walk, go”). The context requires that it be interpreted along the lines of “go back, go apart.”

2 tn The clause literally reads, “and the waters [were] for them a wall.” The word order in Hebrew is disjunctive, with the vav (ו) on the noun introducing a circumstantial clause.

sn S. R. Driver (Exodus, 119), still trying to explain things with natural explanations, suggests that a northeast wind is to be thought of (an east wind would be directly in their face he says), such as a shallow ford might cooperate with an ebb tide in keeping a passage clear. He then quotes Dillmann about the “wall” of water: “A very summary poetical and hyperbolical (xv. 8) description of the occurrence, which at most can be pictured as the drying up of a shallow ford, on both sides of which the basin of the sea was much deeper, and remained filled with water.” There is no way to “water down” the text to fit natural explanations; the report clearly shows a miraculous work of God making a path through the sea – a path that had to be as wide as half a mile in order for the many people and their animals to cross between about 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. (W. C. Kaiser, Jr., “Exodus,” EBC 2:389). The text does not say that they actually only started across in the morning watch, however.

3 tn The Hebrew term לְאֵיתָנוֹ (lÿetano) means “to its place,” or better, “to its perennial state.” The point is that the sea here had a normal level, and now when the Egyptians were in the sea on the dry ground the water would return to that level.

4 tn Heb “at the turning of the morning”; NASB, NIV, TEV, CEV “at daybreak.”

5 tn The clause begins with the disjunctive vav (ו) on the noun, signaling either a circumstantial clause or a new beginning. It could be rendered, “Although the Egyptians…Yahweh…” or “as the Egyptians….”

6 tn The verb means “shake out” or “shaking off.” It has the significance of “throw downward.” See Neh 5:13 or Job 38:13.

7 tn Heb “that was coming after them into the sea.” The referent of “them” (the Israelites) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

8 tn Heb “not was left among them as much as one.”



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