Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary
Beelsephon, means "the lord of the watch-tower." Some think an idol was thus denominated, whose office it was to prevent people from quitting the country. How vain were his efforts against God's people!
In. Between craggy mountains and the Red Sea. (Haydock)
And he will. Protestants falsely translate, "that he may," &c., contrary to the Hebrew and other versions. (Worthington)
People, fit for war, who could be got ready on such short warning. Ezechiel (apud[in the writings of] Eusebius) makes the number amount to a million.
Captains. Septuagint, "Tristatas." Three men rode on every chariot, which was armed with scythes, to cut down all that came within contact, the chief warrior, with his armour bearer and charioteer. (St. Gregory of Nyssa) (Haydock) --- Or these three captains may very probably be the three chief officers of state, (Calmet) or the generals of cavalry, and of infantry, and the chief treasurer, or receiver of taxes, principes equitum peditumque erant, & tributorum. (St. Jerome)
Hand. Without any dread, Numbers xv. 30. (Calmet) --- All the army of Egypt could do nothing against them. Yet presently, at their approach, the Hebrews were suffered to fall into dismay, that they might learn not to confide in their multitudes, and might pray with greater earnestness for protection, ver. 10.
Wilderness. This is the language of dastardly souls. They had begun to be almost in love with their chains. Every difficulty gives them occasion to repine at the gracious purposes of God, and the exertions of his servant Moses. But God bears patiently with the defects of a carnal and long-oppressed nation, ver. 13. (Haydock)--- The wiser sort pray to God, while others thus upbraid Moses.
Ever. They saw their floating carcasses the following morning. Hebrew, "you shall not see the Egyptians any more as you see them at present." They were not in the same condition.
Peace. You will not have to draw a sword. The Syriac subjoins, "Therefore Moses cried unto the Lord," which connects this with the following verse. (Calmet)
Criest. --- "A vehement desire is a cry, which reaches the ears of the Lord." (St. Bernard)
To pursue. God did not restrain the perverse will of the Egyptians; but suffered them to be guided by their blind passions, and to rush presumptuously into the bed of the sea. If the retiring of its waters had been owing to any natural cause, this wise nation could not be ignorant but that, at the stated time, the ebbing would cease, and consequently that they would be overtaken by the waters. But the waters stood up like walls on both sides, and they were so infatuated as to suppose that the miracle would be continued for their protection. (Haydock)
A dark cloud, and enlightening the night. It was a dark cloud to the Egyptians; but enlightened the night to the Israelites, by giving them a great light.
Wind. This served to dry up the sandy channel of the Red Sea, which was mixed with mud and weeds. It blew from the east, Kodim, or from Arabia. --- Divided, some say into 12 parts or divisions, Psalm cxxxv. 13. But the words of the psalmist may be verified by the sea opening a spacious passage, such as was requisite for so many millions to travel through, (Haydock) e.g. a distance of perhaps 18 miles, in so short a space of time. Silara Adrichomius thinks the breadth of the division would not be less than nine miles.
Watch. About four o'clock. The Hebrews divided the night into three equal parts, (Calmet) or four, consisting each of three hours, (Menochius) which varied in length as the night was longer. (Haydock) --- Slew many by his thunderbolts, as Artapanus relates, and the Scripture elsewhere insinuates. (Chap. xv. 6, 12; Psalm lxxvi. 16, 18; Josephus, [Antiquities?] ii. 7.
Lord. thus they reluctantly confess his might, and are forced to glory Him in their destruction. Their change is only the effect of fear and temporal danger, ver. 18. (Haydock)
Exo 14:31 shore. The Hebrews would thus again be enriched by their spoils. (Calmet) --- Servant. Those who believe God, submit to the directions of his ambassadors. (St. Jerome in Philemon 5.) In this merited catastrophe of the Egyptians, which fixed the last seal to the mission of Moses, the fathers contemplate how God's servants are rescued by baptism, and by the merits of Jesus Christ, from Satan and from all sin. (1 Corinthians x. 1, 4; Origen, hom. 5.) (Haydock)