Contemporary English Version
The Israelites Cross the Red Sea
1At Etham the Lord said to Moses:
2Tell the people of Israel to turn back and camp across from Pi-Hahiroth near Baal-Zephon, between Migdol and the Red Sea.+ 3The king+ will think you were afraid to cross the desert and that you are wandering around, trying to find another way to leave the country. 4I will make the king stubborn again, and he will try to catch you. Then I will destroy him and his army. People everywhere will praise me for my victory, and the Egyptians will know that I really am the Lord.
The Israelites obeyed the Lord and camped where he told them.
5When the king of Egypt heard that the Israelites had finally left, he and his officials changed their minds and said, “Look what we have done! We let them get away, and they will no longer be our slaves.”
6The king got his war chariot and army ready. 7He commanded his officers in charge of his 600 best chariots and all his other chariots to start after the Israelites. 8The Lord made the king so stubborn that he went after them, while the Israelites proudly+ went on their way. 9But the king's horses and chariots and soldiers caught up with them while they were camping by the Red Sea near Pi-Hahiroth and Baal-Zephon.
10When the Israelites saw the king coming with his army, they were frightened and begged the Lord for help. 11They also complained to Moses, “Wasn't there enough room in Egypt to bury us? Is that why you brought us out here to die in the desert? Why did you bring us out of Egypt anyway? 12While we were there, didn't we tell you to leave us alone? We'd rather be slaves in Egypt than die in this desert!”
13But Moses answered, “Don't be afraid! Be brave, and you will see the Lord save you today. These Egyptians will never bother you again. 14The Lord will fight for you, and you won't have to do a thing.”
15The Lord said to Moses, “Why do you keep calling out to me for help? Tell the Israelites to move forward. 16Then hold your walking stick over the sea. The water will open up and make a road where they can walk through on dry ground. 17I will make the Egyptians so stubborn that they will go after you. Then I will be praised because of what happens to the king and his chariots and cavalry. 18The Egyptians will know for sure that I am the Lord.”
19All this time God's angel had gone ahead of Israel's army, but now he moved behind them. A large cloud had also gone ahead of them, 20but now it moved between the Egyptians and the Israelites. The cloud gave light to the Israelites, but made it dark for the Egyptians, and during the night they could not come any closer.
21 Moses stretched his arm over the sea, and the Lord sent a strong east wind that blew all night until there was dry land where the water had been. The sea opened up, 22 and the Israelites walked through on dry land with a wall of water on each side.
23The Egyptian chariots and cavalry went after them. 24But before daylight the Lord looked down at the Egyptian army from the fiery cloud and made them panic. 25Their chariot wheels got stuck,+ and it was hard for them to move. So the Egyptians said to one another, “Let's leave these people alone! The Lord is on their side and is fighting against us.”
26The Lord told Moses, “Stretch your arm toward the sea—the water will cover the Egyptians and their cavalry and chariots.” 27Moses stretched out his arm, and at daybreak the water rushed toward the Egyptians. They tried to run away, but the Lord drowned them in the sea. 28The water came and covered the chariots, the cavalry, and the whole Egyptian army that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them was left alive. 29But the sea had made a wall of water on each side of the Israelites, so they walked through on dry land.
30On that day, when the Israelites saw the bodies of the Egyptians washed up on the shore, they knew that the Lord had saved them. 31Because of the mighty power he had used against the Egyptians, the Israelites worshiped him and trusted him and his servant Moses.
Contemporary English Version, Second Edition (CEV®)
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