Exodus 15:13
Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(13-18) The concluding stanza of the ode involves a change of attitude, and deals with new matters. The poet’s eye fixes itself upon the future. First, he speaks of the guidance of God, lately begun, and about to continue until Canaan is reached (Exodus 15:13). Then his glance turns to the enemies of Israel, and he considers. The effect which the miraculous deliverance of Israel from Egypt will have upon them (Exodus 15:14-16). Finally, he sees the people brought into the “land of their inheritance,” and securely established there under the ordering of Divine Providence. Then, with an ascription of glory which may be compared with the Doxology attached to the Lord’s Prayer in St. Matthew (Exodus 6:13), and to that attached in the Liturgies of the Church to the Psalms and Canticles, he terminates his composition.

(13) Hast led forth . . . hast guided.—Or, leadest forth . . . guidest. The guidance was not over; rather, it was just begun. The want of a present tense in Hebrew causes the preterite and future to have, both of them, under certain circumstances, the force of the present.

Thy holy habitation.—It might be supposed that Canaan was the “habitation” intended; but the words of Exodus 15:17 imply something more. Moses certainly knew that when Canaan was reached God would select a place to “put His name there” (Deuteronomy 12:5; Deuteronomy 12:11; Deuteronomy 12:14; Deuteronomy 14:23-24; Deuteronomy 16:6; Deuteronomy 16:11, &c.), and possibly knew by revelation what place would be ultimately selected.

Exodus

THE SHEPHERD AND THE FOLD

Exodus 15:13
.

What a grand triumphal ode! The picture of Moses and the children of Israel singing, and Miriam and the women answering: a gush of national pride and of worship! We belong to a better time, but still we can feel its grandeur. The deliverance has made the singer look forward to the end, and his confidence in the issue is confirmed.

I. The guiding God: or the picture of the leading. The original is ‘lead gently.’ Cf. Isaiah 40:11, Psalm 23:2. The emblem of a flock underlies the word. There is not only guidance, but gentle guidance. The guidance was gentle, though accompanied with so tremendous and heart-curdling a judgment. The drowned Egyptians were strange examples of gentle leading. But God’s redemptive acts are like the guiding pillar of fire, in that they have a side that reveals wrath and evokes terror, and a side that radiates lambent love and kindles happy trust.

‘In Thy strength.’ Cf. Isaiah 40:10, ‘with strong hand.’ ‘He shall gently lead.’ Note the combination with gentleness. That divine strength is the only power which is able to guide. We are so weak that it takes all His might to hold us up. It is His strength, not ours. ‘My strength is made perfect in {thy} weakness.’

‘To the resting-place of Thy holiness.’ The word is used for pasture, or resting-places for cattle. Here it meant Canaan; for us it means Heaven-’the green pastures’ of real participation in His holiness.

II. The triumphant confidence as to the future based upon the deliverance of the past.Hast,’ a past tense. It is as good as done. The believing use of God’s great past, and initial mercy, to make us sure of His future.

{a} In that He will certainly accomplish it.

{b} In that even now there is a foretaste-rest in toil. He guides to the ‘waters of resting.’ A rest now {Hebrews 4:3}; a rest ‘that remaineth’ {Hebrews 4:3, Hebrews 4:9}.

III. The warning against confidence in self. These people who sang thus perished in the wilderness! They let go hold of God’s hand, so they ‘sank like lead.’ So He will fulfil begun work {Php 1:6}. Let us cleave to Him. In Hebrews 3:1 - Hebrews 3:19 and Hebrews 4:1 - Hebrews 4:16 lessons are drawn from the Israelites not ‘entering in.’ See also Psalm 95:1 - Psalm 95:11.

Exodus 15:13. Thou in thy mercy, &c. — This and the four following verses contain a prophetic declaration of the glorious protection which God would grant his people after having brought them out of Egypt. And the reader does not know which to admire most, God’s tenderness for his people, whose guide and conductor he himself will be; or his formidable power, which, by causing terror and dread to walk before it, freezes with fear all such nations as should presume to oppose the passage of the Israelites through the Red sea, and strikes those nations, so that they become motionless as a stone; or, lastly, God’s wonderful care to settle them in a fixed and permanent manner in the promised land, or rather to plant them in it, an emphatic expression, and which alone recalls to mind all that the Scriptures observe, in so many places, concerning the care which God has taken to plant his beloved vine, to water it, to enclose it with fences, and to multiply and extend its fruitful branches to a great distance.

15:1-21 This song is the most ancient we know of. It is a holy song, to the honour of God, to exalt his name, and celebrate his praise, and his only, not in the least to magnify any man. Holiness to the Lord is in every part of it. It may be considered as typical, and prophetical of the final destruction of the enemies of the church. Happy the people whose God is the Lord. They have work to do, temptations to grapple with, and afflictions to bear, and are weak in themselves; but his grace is their strength. They are often in sorrow, but in him they have comfort; he is their song. Sin, and death, and hell threaten them, but he is, and will be their salvation. The Lord is a God of almighty power, and woe to those that strive with their Maker! He is a God of matchless perfection; he is glorious in holiness; his holiness is his glory. His holiness appears in the hatred of sin, and his wrath against obstinate sinners. It appears in the deliverance of Israel, and his faithfulness to his own promise. He is fearful in praises; that which is matter of praise to the servants of God, is very dreadful to his enemies. He is doing wonders, things out of the common course of nature; wondrous to those in whose favour they are wrought, who are so unworthy, that they had no reason to expect them. There were wonders of power and wonders of grace; in both, God was to be humbly adored.Thy holy habitation - Either Palestine, regarded as the land of promise, sanctified by manifestations of God to the Patriarchs, and destined to be both the home of God's people, and the place where His glory and purposes were to be perfectly revealed: or Mount Moriah.CHAPTER 15

Ex 15:1-27. Song of Moses.

1. Then sang Moses and the children of Israel—The scene of this thanksgiving song is supposed to have been at the landing place on the eastern shore of the Red Sea, at Ayoun Musa, "the fountains of Moses." They are situated somewhat farther northward along the shore than the opposite point from which the Israelites set out. But the line of the people would be extended during the passage, and one extremity of it would reach as far north as these fountains, which would supply them with water on landing. The time when it was sung is supposed to have been the morning after the passage. This song is, by some hundred years, the oldest poem in the world. There is a sublimity and beauty in the language that is unexampled. But its unrivalled superiority arises not solely from the splendor of the diction. Its poetical excellencies have often drawn forth the admiration of the best judges, while the character of the event commemorated, and its being prompted by divine inspiration, contribute to give it an interest and sublimity peculiar to itself.

I will sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously—Considering the state of servitude in which they had been born and bred, and the rude features of character which their subsequent history often displays, it cannot be supposed that the children of Israel generally were qualified to commit to memory or to appreciate the beauties of this inimitable song. But they might perfectly understand its pervading strain of sentiment; and, with the view of suitably improving the occasion, it was thought necessary that all, old and young, should join their united voices in the rehearsal of its words. As every individual had cause, so every individual gave utterance to his feelings of gratitude.

i.e. Canaan, the place where not only they shall dwell, but thou in and with them. See Psalm 78:52, &c.

Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed,.... From their servitude and bondage in Egypt; and so they were the Lord's people, peculiar to him, and distinct from all others: those he led forth, as out of Egypt, so through the Red sea onward towards Canaan's land; which was owing to his mercy, pity, and compassion to them in their affliction and distress: thus the spiritual Israel are a people redeemed by Christ from the bondage of sin, Satan, and the law, and are his property, special and peculiar to him, and distinguished from all others: those he leads forth out of the state of nature in which they are, which is a very uncomfortable one, dark, bewildered, and forlorn, and out of their own ways, both of sin and self-righteousness; he leads them in himself the true way to eternal life, and in the paths of faith, truth, and holiness; and he leads to himself, his blood, righteousness, and fulness, and into his Father's presence, into his house and ordinances, and at last to heaven, the city of their habitation: and though it is sometimes in a rough way he leads them thither, yet always in a right one; and this must be ascribed to his grace and mercy, and not to the merits of his people: it was owing to his mercy he engaged for them as a surety, and came into this world to be their Saviour, in his love and pity he redeemed them; and it is according to abundant mercy they are regenerated, and called, and saved:

thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation; or rather, "art guiding them" (w); for as yet they were not brought to their rest, the land of Canaan, where God had chosen a place for his people and himself to dwell in; nor was the tabernacle as yet made, much less the temple, where Jehovah took up his residence; but as he had brought out his people Israel from Egypt with a strong hand, and mighty arm, he was guiding and directing them onward in their journey, in the same greatness of his strength, which he would and did continue, until he brought them to the place he had chosen for his habitation; which was typical, both tabernacle and temple, of the human nature of Christ, in which the fulness of the Godhead dwells, and which is holy, being perfectly free from sin, and to which the people of God are guided as the new and living way to the Father, and whereby they have communion with him: likewise they were an emblem of the church of God, where Jehovah, Father, Son, and Spirit, dwell, and which consists of holy persons, and where holy services are performed; and hither the Lord guides and directs his people, and where he gives them a nature and a place better than that of sons and daughters; and also of heaven, where the Lord dwells, and which is the habitation of his holiness, where are holy angels, and the spirits of just men made perfect, and into which none shall enter but those that are holy; and hither the Lord guides all his people, with his counsel, and by his Spirit and word, and by his almighty power brings them thither;

(w) "commode ducis", Junius & Tremellius.

Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy {h} habitation.

(h) That is, into the land of Canaan, or into mount Zion.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
13. Thou didst lead in thy mercy the people which thou hadst redeemed; Thou didst guide them in thy strength to thy holy habitation.

lead] As Exodus 13:17; Exodus 13:21, Exodus 32:34, Psalm 77:20; Psalm 78:14,—all of the Divine guidance of Israel in the wilderness.

redeemed] See on Exodus 6:6.

guide] Properly, it seems, to judge from the Arabic, to lead to a watering-place; of Jehovah leading His servant, or His people, as a shepherd, Psalm 23:2 (to ‘waters of rest’), Isaiah 40:11 (EVV. ‘gently lead’), Isaiah 49:10 (to ‘springs of water’).

habitation] Heb. נָוֶה, properly homestead, or abode of shepherds and flocks (Isaiah 65:10, Jeremiah 23:3); but often used in poetry of a habitation in general (as Proverbs 3:33, Isaiah 33:20). Here Canaan is probably meant (cf. Jeremiah 10:25, Psalm 79:7), though the reference might be to Zion (2 Samuel 15:25).

13–17. Israel’s providential guidance through the wilderness to its home in Canaan. As translated in Revelation , vv13-16 describe, in anticipation, as if completed, the journey to, and settlement in, Canaan; but it is far from natural to understand the past tenses (in the Heb.) in vv. 13–15, except as referring to events actually past; and there is little doubt that the verses were really written long after Israel was settled in Canaan, as a poetical description of their journey through the wilderness, and establishment in Canaan (cf. Deuteronomy 32:10-14). The verbs should therefore all be rendered as aorists.

Verse 13. - Thou in thy mercy hast led forth. Or "leadest forth." See the Introduction to the chapter. Which thou hast redeemed. See the comment on Exodus 6:6. Then hast guided. Or "thou guidest." Thy holy habitation. By "God's holy habitation" some understand Mount Sinai, others Canaan, others Mount Moriah, or even the temple there to be built ultimately. That Sinai is not intended seems clear from verses 14, 15, where the nations mentioned are such as were untouched by the occupation of that mountain. Canaan might sufficiently answer the requirements of the present verse, but scarcely comes up to those of verse 17. Altogether, it is clear that Moses knew there would be a place in the land of Canaan where God would "put his name" (Deuteronomy 12:5, 11, 14; Deuteronomy 14:23, 24; Deuteronomy 16:6, 11; Deuteronomy 26:2; etc.); and it would seem to be not unlikely that he may have known where the place would be by special revelation. Exodus 15:13"Thou leadest through Thy mercy the people whom Thou redeemest; Thou guidest them through Thy might to Thy holy habitation." The deliverance from Egypt and guidance through the Red Sea were a pledge to the redeemed people of their entrance into the promised land. The holy habitation of God was Canaan (Psalm 78:54), which had been consecrated as a sacred abode for Jehovah in the midst of His people by the revelations made to the patriarchs there, and especially by the appearance of God at Bethel (Genesis 28:16., Exodus 31:13; Exodus 35:7).
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