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The Song of Moses and Israel The Song of Moses The Songs of Praise The Song of Moses Song of Victory
15:1-18 (1-18) 15:1a 15:1a 15:1a 15:1-3 (1-3)
15:1b-5 (1b-5) 15:1b-10 (1b-10) 15:1b-3 (1b-3)
15:4-5 (4-5) 15:4-8 (4-8)
15:6-10 (6-10) 15:6-10 (6-10)
15:9-13 (9-13)
15:11-13 (11-13) 15:11-12 (11-12) 15:11-18 (11-18)
15:13-18 (13-18)
15:14-17 (14-17) 15:14-18 (14-18)
15:18 (18) The Song of Miriam
15:19 15:19 15:19 15:19 15:19
The Song of Miriam
15:20-21 (21) 15:20-21 (21b) 15:20-21 (21) 15:20-21 (21) 15:20-21 (21)
The Lord Provides Water Bitter Waters Made Sweet Crisis in the Wilderness (15:22-16:36) Bitter Water Marah
15:22-25a 15:22-26 15:22-25a 15:22-25a 15:22-25 (25)
15:25b-26 15:25b-26 15:25b-26 15:26
15:27 15:27 15:27 15:27 15:27

READING CYCLE THREE (see "Bible Interpretation Seminar")

This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects. Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.
  1. First paragraph
  2. Second paragraph
  3. Third paragraph
  4. Etc.


  1. Exodus 14 and 15, along with Judges 4 and 5, offer an opportunity to see how ANE people record a historical event in prose and poetry.
    The book that has helped me see how different the ANE literary categories are from modern literary categories is D. Brent Sandy, Plowshares and Pruning Hooks: Rethinking the Language of Biblical Prophecy and Apocalyptic.

  2. Exodus 15 contains two songs (cf. NIDOTTE, vol. 4, pp. 1238-1241).
    1. song of Moses, Exod. 15:1-18
      1. Exod. 15:1-5 is about YHWH's acts
      2. Exod. 15:6-17 is about YHWH Himself (i.e., Exod. 15:18)
    2. song of Miriam, Exod. 15:19-21 (repeats Exod. 15:1b-5; possibly Moses' song was sung by Miriam)

  3. Exodus 15:22-27 describes the Israelites' travel to Mt. Sinai/Horeb. The route is uncertain (see SPECIAL TOPIC: THE ROUTE OF THE EXODUS) because the location of Mt. Sinai/Horeb is uncertain (see SPECIAL TOPIC: THE LOCATION OF MT. SINAI).

  4. Notice how God is praised.
    1. He is highly exalted, Exod. 15:1,21
    2. He is praised and extolled, Exod. 15:2
    3. His right hand is majestic in power, Exod. 15:6
    4. in the greatness of Your excellence, Exod. 15:7
    5. who is like You. . ., Exod. 15:11
    6. terror and dread fall upon Your enemies, Exod. 15:11
    7. He reigns forever, Exod. 15:18
      YHWH is the main character of all Scripture!

  5. The literary nature of Moses' song of victory is comparable to other ANE songs of victory.
    1. Tuthmosis III
    2. Amenophis III
    3. Ramesses II
    4. Merenptah
      except in it, YHWH, not a human leader, is magnified.
      (See K. A. Kitchen, Ancient Orient and Old Testament, p. 133, #89).


1Then Moses and the sons of Israel sang this song to the Lord, and said,
  "I will sing to the Lord, for He is highly exalted;
  The horse and its rider He has hurled into the sea.
2The Lord is my strength and song,
  And He has become my salvation;
  This is my God, and I will praise Him;
  My father's God, and I will extol Him.
3The Lord is a warrior;
  The Lord is His name.
4Pharaoh's chariots and his army He has cast into the sea;
  And the choicest of his officers are drowned in the Red Sea.
5The deeps cover them;
 They went down into the depths like a stone.
6Your right hand, O Lord, is majestic in power,
 Your right hand, O Lord, shatters the enemy.
7And in the greatness of Your excellence You overthrow those who rise up against You;
 You send forth Your burning anger, and it consumes them as chaff.
8At the blast of Your nostrils the waters were piled up,
 The flowing waters stood up like a heap;
 The deeps were congealed in the heart of the sea.
9The enemy said, 'I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil;
 My desire shall be gratified against them;
 I will draw out my sword, my hand will destroy them.'
10You blew with Your wind, the sea covered them;
 They sank like lead in the mighty waters.
11Who is like You among the gods, O Lord?
 Who is like You, majestic in holiness,
 Awesome in praises, working wonders?
12You stretched out Your right hand,
 The earth swallowed them.
13In Your lovingkindness You have led the people whom You have redeemed;
 In Your strength You have guided them to Your holy habitation.
14The peoples have heard, they tremble;
 Anguish has gripped the inhabitants of Philistia.
15Then the chiefs of Edom were dismayed;
 The leaders of Moab, trembling grips them;
 All the inhabitants of Canaan have melted away.
16Terror and dread fall upon them;
 By the greatness of Your arm they are motionless as stone;
 Until Your people pass over, O Lord,
 Until the people pass over whom You have purchased.
17You will bring them and plant them in the mountain of Your inheritance,
 The place, O Lord, which You have made for Your dwelling,
 The sanctuary, O Lord, which Your hands have established.
18The Lord shall reign forever and ever."

15:1 "sang this song" Songs were written and sung to commemorate historical events. This is one way ANE peoples passed on their culture.

▣ "to the Lord" This is YHWH (BDB 217; see SPECIAL TOPIC: NAMES FOR DEITY). The full spelling is here and throughout the chapter (i.e., יהוה), but in Exod. 15:2 the abbreviation appears, יה. It also occurs in Exod. 17:16 and often in the Psalms. The word "hallelujah" has the abbreviated form as part of a compound. Why, is uncertain.

▣ "for He is highly exalted" This is an INFINITIVE ABSOLUTE and a PERFECT VERB of the same root (BDB 144, KB 168). This same grammatical form, which expresses emphasis, is used in Exod. 15:21 (i.e., Miriam's song).
The basic meaning of the Hebrew root is "rise up," either in a bad (i.e., prideful way) or good way (YHWH's victory, here).

▣ "horse and rider" This refers to the 600 royal chariots (cf. Exod. 14:7)--Egypt's best!

▣ "hurled" This is the first of several VERBS used to describe what YHWH did to the elite Egyptian chariots.

  1. "hurled," Exod. 15:1,21 - BDB 941 I, KB 1239, Qal PERFECT
  2. "cast," Exod. 15:4 - BDB 434, KB 436, Qal PERFECT
  3. "drowned" (lit. "sunk"), Exod. 15:4 - BDB 371, KB 368, Pual PERFECT
  4. "shatters," Exod. 15:6 - BDB 950, KB 1271, Qal IMPERFECT
  5. "overthrows," Exod. 15:7 - BDB 248, KB 256, Qal IMPERFECT
  6. "covered," Exod. 15:10 - BDB 491, KB 487, Piel PERFECT (cf. Exod. 14:28)
  7. "sank," Exod. 15:10 - BDB 853 II, KB 1027, Qal PERFECT, found only here
  8. "swallowed," Exod. 15:12 - BDB 118, KB 134, Qal IMPERFECT (i.e., the earth)
  9. "went into the sea," Exod. 15:19 - BDB 97, KB 112, Qal PERFECT
The prose account of Exodus 14 used three VERBS.
  1. "the sea came back over the Egyptians," Exod. 14:26 - BDB 996, KB 1427, Qal IMPERFECT with waw
  2. "routed" (lit. "shook off"), Exod. 14:27 - BDB 654 II, KB 707, Piel IMPERFECT with waw
  3. "covered," Exod. 14:28 - BDB 491, KB 487, Piel IMPERFECT with waw (cf. Exod. 15:10)
NASB, NKJV, NJB  "song"
NRSV, JPSOA  "might"
TEV, REB, LXX  "strong defender"
Peshitta  "glorious"
This is a different word (BDB 274 I) than "song" in Exod. 15:1 (BDB 1010). This phrase is repeated in Ps. 118:14 and Isa. 12:2. It had become liturgy! But, the meaning of the second term, here in Exod. 15:2, is uncertain. The MT has "song" and this fits the context (Vulgate), but a similar root for "strength" may fit better (i.e., from an Arabic root, cf. LXX).

▣ "He has become my salvation" See note at Exod. 14:13.

▣ "God. . .God" The first "God" is El (BDB 42) and the second is Elohim (BDB 43). The full title, "the Lord your God" (i.e., YHWH Elohim), appears in Exod. 15:26.

Also notice the progressive parallelism of Exod. 15:2.
  1. El is Moses' God
  2. Elohim is Moses' ancestors' God (i.e., the Patriarchs, cf. Exod. 3:13)
This Deity (i.e., the only Deity, cf. Exod. 15:11; see SPECIAL TOPIC: MONOTHEISM) is worthy of
  1. praise (lit. "beautify," BDB 627 I, KB 687, Hiphil IMPERFECT; VERB only here but ADJECTIVE in Jer. 6:2)
  2. exaltation (BDB 926, which is parallel to "exalted," BDB 144, in Exod. 15:1,21).

▣ "praise" This VERB (BDB 627 I, KB 678, Hiphil IMPERFECT) occurs only here. Its etymology suggests "beautify." Because of the parallelism of "extol" (BDB 926, KB 1202, cf. Ps. 99:5,9; Isa. 25:1) in line d, it should be understood as "beautify Him in praise."

15:3 "the Lord is a warrior" This is what the phrase "Lord of hosts" means (cf. Deut. 1:30; Jos. 5:13-15; 1 Chr. 20:29). It reflects the imagery of YHWH as warrior for His people (cf. Deut. 1:30; Ps. 24:8; 76:3-6; Isa. 42:13; 59:17; NIDOTTE, vol. 4, pp. 545-549). This is Holy War terminology. Here, YHWH acted, Israel watched (cf. Exod. 14:14).

▣ "The Lord is His name" This is "YHWH," which is from the Hebrew VERB "to be." It was revealed to Moses in Exod. 3:14-16. From Exod. 6:3, it seems to be a new name. It occurs earlier (i.e., Gen. 4:26), so possibly its full significance was not yet known. See SPECIAL TOPIC: NAMES FOR DEITY, D.

15:4 "the choicest of his officers" This refers to Exod. 14:7. The 600 chariots and their riders were the best of the Egyptian army, Pharaoh's honor guard stationed at the palace of the king in the delta.


15:5 "The deeps" There are several terms and phrases used to describe the water. YHWH's control of water (see SPECIAL TOPIC: WATERS) can reflect

  1. YHWH as creator (cf. Ps. 104:6-9)
  2. YHWH as victor over watery chaos (cf. Ps. 74:12-17)
The different words used:
  1. "the deep" (lit. floods), Exod. 15:5 - BDB 1062, cf. Exod. 15:8; Gen. 1:2
  2. "the depth," Exod. 15:5 - BDB 841
  3. "the waters" (lit. floods), Exod. 15:8 - BDB 633, KB 683, Qal ACTIVE PARTICIPLE
  4. "the deeps," Exod. 15:8 - BDB 1062, cf. Exod. 15:5
  5. "the heart of the sea," Exod. 15:8 - BDB 523 CONSTRUCT BDB 410
  6. "mighty waters," Exod. 15:11, ADJECTIVE, BDB 523, and NOUN for "sea," BDB 410
In Exod. 15:22-27, the word for "waters" is BDB 565; in Exod. 15:22,23,25 (twice).

▣ "like a stone" The Egyptians wore armor, yet they later miraculously floated to the shore (cf. Exod. 14:30). This is where Israel got her military equipment.

15:6 "right hand" This is one of several anthropomorphic phrases for God's actions in history. God does not have a body but we speak of Him in human terms. See SPECIAL TOPIC: GOD DESCRIBED AS HUMAN and SPECIAL TOPIC: HAND.

15:7 "excellence" This NOUN (BDB 144) is used of YHWH several times (cf. Job 37:4; 40:10; Isa. 2:10,19,21; 24:14; Micah 5:4).

▣ "burning anger" This is another anthropomorphic phrase (cf. Ps. 78:49,50). See SPECIAL TOPIC: FIRE.

▣ "it consumes them as chaff" This is a recurrent metaphor of God's judgment (cf. Isa. 5:24; 33:11; 47:14; Joel 2:5; Mal. 4:1).

15:8 "the blast of Your nostrils" This is another anthropomorphic way to describe the east wind (cf. Exod. 14:21).

▣ "the waters were piled up" This refers to Exod. 14:22,29 (cf. Ps. 78:13). The VERB "piled up" (BDB 790, KB 886, Niphal PERFECT) occurs only here in the OT. The parallel "stood up in a heap" gives this rare word a possible meaning (NIDOTTE, vol. 3, p. 539).

15:9 This records the arrogant thoughts of the Egyptians. They have not learned yet!

15:10 "blew" This VERB (BDB 676, KB 730) occurs in the Qal stem only twice, both as anthropomorphic metaphors of God's judgment.

  1. Pharaoh's army, here
  2. crops of idolaters, Isa. 40:24
There is an obvious play on "wind," ruah (BDB 924), which can mean "wind," "breath," or "spirit" (see SPECIAL TOPIC: SPIRIT IN THE BIBLE.

▣ "Your wind" This is an allusion to "the east wind" of Exod. 14:21; 15:8 (i.e., "blast of Your nostrils"). Here, it refers to the closing of the piled up water caused by Moses stretching out his staff again (cf. Exod. 14:26-28).

15:11 "Who is like You among the gods"This is a theological emphasis on the uniqueness of YHWH (i.e., the whole song is about YHWH, not Israel of her leaders. YHWH is the main character of the Bible). The phrase "among the gods" refers to the "heavenly council" (cf. Gen. 1:26; 3:22; 11:7; 1 Kgs. 22:19; Neh. 9:6; Job 1:6; 2:1; 16:19; 19:25-27; Ps. 82:1,6; 89:5-8; 97:7; 138:1). See SPECIAL TOPIC: MONOTHEISM.

▣ "in holiness" See SPECIAL TOPIC: HOLY.

NASB, NRSV, JPSOA, LXX  "awesome"
NKJV  "fearful"
NJB  "fearsome"
REB  "worthy of awe"
Peshitta  "revered"
This is a Niphal PARTICIPLE (BDB 431, KB 432) whose basic meaning in the Niphal stem is "to be feared" or "to be revered." It is often used of YHWH Himself (cf. Exod. 15:11; Deut. 7:21; 10:17; 1 Chr. 16:25; Neh. 1:5; 4:18; Isa. 64:3; Dan. 9:4 and often in the Psalms). It is also used of His name (cf. Deut. 28:58; Ps. 99:3; 111:9; Mal. 1:14), or even His personal presence (cf. Jdgs. 13:6; Job 37:22; Isa. 64:3).
YHWH's powerful deeds of deliverance (i.e., Exod. 15:1-12, 14-16) must be balanced with His merciful, faithful character (cf. Exod. 15:12-13,17-18; also note Exod. 34:6; Neh. 9:17). This song is about YHWH, not Israel!

▣ "working wonders" See SPECIAL TOPIC: WONDERFUL THINGS.

15:12 "earth swallowed them" This is a personification of Sheol (cf. Num. 16:32; 26:10; Deut. 11:6; see SPECIAL TOPIC: SHEOL). Here it was the sea that swallowed them. For a good discussion of the metaphor in the OT see D. Brent Sandy, Plowshares and Pruning Hooks (pp. 58-74).

15:13 "lovingkindness" This is the word hesed (BDB 338). It is a special covenant term which speaks of God's loyalty and trustworthiness to His promises. See SPECIAL TOPIC: LOVINGKINDNESS (hesed).

▣ "redeemed" This VERB (BDB 145, KB 169, Qal PERFECT) speaks of God's love in purchasing them from Egyptian bondage (cf. Exod. 15:16). See SPECIAL TOPIC: RANSOM/REDEEM.

▣ "led. . .guided" These VERBS (BDB 634, KB 685 and BDB 624, KB 675, cf. Ps. 23:2) describe YHWH's personal presence in leading His people to

  1. the promised land of Canaan
  2. YHWH's special worship place (i.e., the place where the central sanctuary would be placed/built)
There are three ways of YHWH leading.
  1. His angel (cf. Exod. 14:19; 23:20,23; 32:34; 33:2)
  2. His cloud/pillar (cf. Neh. 9:12)
  3. His personal presence (cf. Exod. 13:21)

▣ "Your holy habitation" In this context this points toward the conquest (Exod. 15:14-17) and the later temple built on Mt. Moriah (see SPECIAL TOPIC: MORIAH) in Jerusalem (cf. Exod. 15:17; Ps. 68:16; 76:2; 132:13-14).
There is also the possibility this refers to the mountain in the north (i.e., Ps. 48:1-3; Isa. 14:13), related to Canaanite mythology, Mt. Zaphon (cf. Exod. 14:1).


15:14-16 These verses refer to the terror (BDB 33) and dread (BDB 808) that YHWH's great acts of deliverance caused among the Canaanite tribes (see SPECIAL TOPIC: PRE-ISRAELITE INHABITANTS OF PALESTINE) and the tribes in the trans-Jordan (i.e., Exod. 23:27; Deut. 2:25; Jos. 2:9).
Notice the different ways the fear of YHWH is expressed.

  1. they tremble, Exod. 15:14a - BDB 919, KB 1182, Qal IMPERFECT, cf. Deut. 2:25
  2. anguish has gripped, Exod. 15:14b - BDB 28, KB 31, Qal PERFECT
  3. dismayed, Exod. 15:15a - BDB 96, KB 111, Niphal PARTICIPLE
  4. trembling grips them, Exod. 15:15b - same VERB as #2 but IMPERFECT
  5. have melted away, Exod. 15:15c - BDB 556, KB 555, Niphal PERFECT
  6. terror and dread fall upon them, Exod. 15:16a - BDB 656, KB 709, Qal IMPERFECT
What a poetic litany of the terror which YHWH's acts of deliverance caused the tribes of Canaan. Note Rahab's comment in Jos. 2:9,11,24.

15:14b This is imagery from childbirth.

▣ "Philistia" The Philistines did not inhabit Canaan until after their attempted invasion of Egypt in Rameses III's day. So, to mention them here and Exod. 13:17 is

  1. an anachronism
  2. possibly there were some Aegean people in southern Canaan earlier
One wonders about the date of the writing of the chapter. Some parts are very old.
  1. Miriam's song, Exod. 15:21
  2. some lines became liturgy, Exod. 15:2,11
  3. many Ugaritic parallels but other parts, like the reference to
    1. the conquest
    2. the building of the temple or tabernacle on Mt. Zion
    are much later. There has been an editorial process involved.
Studies in Ugaritic poetry have found a similar phrase to Exod. 15:17a. This may confirm an early date for this poem.

15:17b This line of poetry is reflected repeatedly in Deuteronomy (cf. Deut. 12:14,18,26; 14:25; 16:7,15-16; 17:8,10; 18:6; 31:11).

15:17c "Lord" The NASB, 1970, prints it as "YHWH," but it could be understood as the Hebrew Adon, translated as "Lord" (NASB 1995). The MT has YHWH.

15:18 "The Lord shall reign" This refers to God as King (cf. Num. 23:21; Deut. 33:5; Jdgs. 8:23; 1 Kgs. 22:19; 1 Sam. 8:1-22; 10:4-22; 12:11-19; Ps. 10:16; 29:10; Isa. 6:5). It, like Exod. 15:16c, became liturgical.

▣ "forever and ever" This is an idiom for eternity (i.e., BDB 761 plus BDB 723 I, cf. Ps. 10:16). For "forever" see SPECIAL TOPIC: FOREVER ('olam).
Notice the different phrases used to convey this concept.

  1. Ps. 10:16 - The Lord is King forever and ever
  2. Ps. 29:10 - The Lord sits as King forever
  3. Ps. 30:2 - Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God
  4. Ps. 93:2 - You are from everlasting
  5. Ps. 102:24 - Your years are throughout all generations (cf. v. 12; Jdgs. 36:26)
  6. Ps. 102:27 - Your years will not come to an end (cf. James 1:17)
  7. Jer. 10:10 - He is the Living God and the Everlasting King

19For the horses of Pharaoh with his chariots and his horsemen went into the sea, and the Lord brought back the waters of the sea on them, but the sons of Israel walked on dry land through the midst of the sea.

15:19 Notice the summary nature of the verse, yet the events are reversed from historical order.

▣ "on dry land" In the Genesis account, "water" is not recorded as being directly created by God ("He said. . .") but His bringing "dry land" is a major creative event (cf. Gen. 1:9-10; Ps. 104:7-9). YHWH controls the limits of water (see SPECIAL TOPIC: WATERS).
YHWH divides the Red Sea (see SPECIAL TOPIC: THE RED SEA) to show His power and destroy the pursuing Egyptian army (cf. Exod. 14:16,21-22,29; 15:19; Neh. 9:11; Ps. 66:6). He also divided the Jordan River.

  1. for Israel to cross into Canaan (cf. Jos. 3:7-13,16-17; 4:3,7,18,22-24)
  2. once for Elijah and Elisha (cf. 2 Kgs. 2:8,14)
Another issue with water occurs in Exod. 15:24. If YHWH controlled primeval and contemporary water barriers, why would He not be able to provide drinking water? But Israel still doubted Him (cf. Exodus 17; Numbers 20).

20Miriam the prophetess, Aaron's sister, took the timbrel in her hand, and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dancing. 21Miriam answered them,
 "Sing to the Lord, for He is highly exalted;
 The horse and his rider He has hurled into the sea."

15:20 "Miriam the prophetess" This is Moses' older sister (cf. Exodus 2). There are several women who are spiritual leaders in the OT (cf. Num. 12:2; Micah 6:4). See SPECIAL TOPIC: WOMEN IN THE BIBLE.

▣ "dancing" These spontaneous dances at military victories were common in the OT (i.e., Jdgs. 11:34; 1 Sam. 18:6; Jer. 31:4).

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 15:22-25a
22Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness and found no water. 23When they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter; therefore it was named Marah. 24So the people grumbled at Moses, saying, "What shall we drink?" 25Then he cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree; and he threw it into the waters, and the waters became sweet.

15:22-27 This begins the wilderness wandering period that extends for several chapters.

15:22 "the wilderness of Shur" See SPECIAL TOPIC: THE WILDERNESSES OF THE EXODUS.

15:23 "Marah" See the account in Numbers 33.

15:24 "people grumbled" Crisis always brings out our true selves (cf. Exod. 14:10-12; 16:4; 17:3; Num. 14:2; 16:11,41; Deut. 8:2,16).

15:25 This is not a chemical reaction but a miraculous event, like Gen. 30:37-39.

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 15:25b-26
25bThere He made for them a statute and regulation, and there He tested them. 26And He said, "If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the Lord your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the Lord, am your healer."

15:25b "tested them" God tests all of His people in order to strengthen them (cf. Exod. 16:4; 20:20; Deut. 8:2,16). See SPECIAL TOPIC: GOD TESTS HIS PEOPLE (OT).

15:26 "If you will" Notice the conditional element of this covenant (cf. Exodus 23:25-26; Deut. 7:12-15; see SPECIAL TOPIC: COVENANT) and all covenant relationships with God (cf. Leviticus 26; Deuteronomy 27-30), except for God's ultimate and redemptive purpose. See SPECIAL TOPIC: YHWH'S ETERNAL REDEMPTIVE PLAN.

▣ "you will give earnest heed to" This is an INFINITIVE ABSOLUTE and an IMPERFECT VERB from the same root (BDB 1033, KB 1570), which denotes emphasis. Here it is YHWH's emphasis!

▣ "commandments. . .statutes" See SPECIAL TOPIC: TERMS FOR GOD'S REVELATION.


▣ "none of these diseases" This refers to the plagues on Egypt which are usually referred to as "blows," but here "diseases" (cf. Deut. 28:60).

▣ "I, the Lord, am your healer" In this context, Exod. 15:26 is a threat related to Israel's covenant disobedience. The emphasis of this title is on Israel's potential sin and YHWH's conquering, not physical healing! See SPECIAL TOPIC: HEALING.
I have included below several of my exegetical notes from Ps. 103:3:

Ps. 103:3 "Who pardons all your iniquities" The term (BDB 699, KB 757) for "pardons" is used in Hebrew only for God's forgiveness. Psalm 103:11-13 includes three metaphors that describe God's forgiveness in graphic terms.

Notice the series of PARTICIPLES that describe why YHWH should be blessed (i.e., He gives benefits).

  1. He pardons all your iniquities - BDB 699, KB 757, Qal
  2. He heals all your diseases - BDB 950, KB 1272, Qal
  3. He redeems your life from the pit - BDB 145, KB 169, Qal
  4. He crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion - BDB 742, KB 815, Piel
  5. He satisfies your years with good things - BDB 959, KB 1302, Hiphil
This series of five PARTICIPLES covers life on earth and a future life in heaven.

▣ "Who heals all your diseases" The Hebrew NOUN, "diseases" (BDB 316), and VERB (BDB 317 I) are used in Deut. 29:21 in the sense of cursing because of Israel's disobedience to the covenant. Because of this usage, and several OT passages that speak of healing of sin (cf. Ps. 41:4; Isa. 1:6; 6:10; 53:5), it is doubtful that the emphasis of this verse is on physical healing, although it surely includes that (cf. Exod. 15:26; Deut. 32:29; Ps. 147:3). The Jews recognized that sin and disease were related (cf. James 5:13-18). Here, it is parallel to "pardons all your iniquities."

27Then they came to Elim where there were twelve springs of water and seventy date palms, and they camped there beside the waters.


This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought-provoking, not definitive.

  1. How do you explain the differences between Exodus 14 and 15?
  2. What caused the sea to divide?
  3. What was the purpose(s) of dividing the Red Sea?
  4. How could the people experience all these signs and still grumble?
  5. Is the Mosaic Covenant conditional? If so, and Israel is unfaithful, are YHWH's promises annulled?

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