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EXEGESIS > Old Testament > Pentateuch > Exodus > Ex. 15:1-18 - Song of Moses

Song of Moses
Ex. 15:1-18


In Chapter 15 the groaning and captivity of the nation has been transformed into singing and thanksgiving for the deliverance wrought by God; the song was composed by Moses so the nation could sing praises to the Lord; in Rev. 15:3 reference is made to the song of Moses.

God’s people have always been a singing people, for God gives to His people a new song (Ps. 40:1-3); believers are admonished to sing (Ps. 33:3; Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16); Paul even sang in prison (Acts 16:25). It is important to note that there is singing and will be singing in heaven (Rev. 5:9; 14:3; 15:5).

There are at least three themes in this song: the Song speaks of the Lord; the Song speaks of the Lord’s Act of Deliverance; and the Song speaks of the Lord’s Purpose in Deliverance.

The Song Speaks of the Lord

The Lord is God, who is YHWH, the name of God, the name which appears over 6800 times in the OT, and is translated by the word LORD, generally written with all caps, with the last three letters being lower caps.

YHWH is Yahweh, the Self- Existent One who in uncaused and unconditioned, totally independent (see: Gen. 3:13-15YHWH).

Yahweh is the name given to Moses and to the nation; and the name came to be associated with the One who made covenant with the people; because of who He is, He can make covenant and will keep covenant; “The LORD is His name” (Ex. 15:3).

The Song of Moses is to the LORD; “the children of Israel sang this song to the LORD” (15:1); not only is the song to the LORD, the song is about the LORD; in the NKJV the word “LORD” appears twelve times in the 18 verses, and pronouns to the LORD appear over 30 times in this passage.

In the middle of the song, the question is asked: “Who is like You, O LORD” (15:11); the question is enlarged: “Who is like You, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders” (15:11); it is to the LORD that the people are singing praises.

Identifications of the LORD in the Song:

He is the believer’s Strength and Song (15:2) – He is the Strong One who is to be praised; He is the reason for the believer’s song and He is the content of the song; the Hebrews speak of Him as “my” strength and song; He belongs to the nation and to the believers in the God of the nation.

He is the believer’s Salvation (15:2) – again there is the word “my”; the relationship is personal and individual; the salvation of the people is not something but Someone; looking at the child, Simeon said: “my eyes have seen Your salvation” (Lu. 2:30; see: Jer. 2:23).

He is the believer’s God (15:2) – God is Elohim, a word used over 2500 times in the OT; it has the root concept of “Strong One”; God is the Mighty One, the One in authority, the One who exercises Sovereignty (see: God is Sovereign); He is majestic; the Strong One in the song is “my” God and “my father’s God”; God is not so transcendent that He cannot be personal.

He is a Man of War (15:3) – the LORD makes war and is victorious in war; the song relates what He did to the enemy; the LORD delivers His people by vanquishing the enemy (Ex. 14:24-25, 30-31); “the LORD is mighty in battle” (Ps. 24:8); his “right hand” is “glorious in power” (15:6); when Christ returns He is coming to make war (Rev. 19:11-31).

The Song Speaks of the Lord’s Act of Deliverance

    Means of Deliverance


Your right hand (v. 6; twice in v. 6; also v. 12)
with the blast of Your nostrils (v. 8; see: Ex. 14:21)
You blew with Your wind (v. 10; see: Ex. 14:21)
the greatness of Your arm (v. 16)
Your hands (v. 17)

Scripture often speaks of God’s hand or right hand and His arms: Ex. 3:20; 7:4-5; 9:3; 13:3; Ps. 17:7; 118:15-16; Isa. 51:5, 9; 52:10; 62:8


The above phrases are the means by which God Himself is spoken of—the means of deliverance is the Lord.

These are anthropomorphic terms—human terms used to speak of God who is not human; God is Spirit, not material; He does not have hands, arms, or nostrils; such language is used to enable us to understand Him who is beyond understanding.

His hand and arm speak of His power, ability, and action; His face speaks of His presence; His eyes speak of His knowledge; and all such human traits attributed to God teach us of God.

    Place of Deliverance

The Song speaks of the “sea” (vs. 1, 4, 8, 10), of “waters” and “floods” (v. 8), and of the “mighty waters” (v. 10), even “the Red Sea” (v. 4); it speaks of the “depths” (vs. 5, 8); additionally, the Song says “the earth swallowed them” (v. 12).

These words indicate a specific place and what happened at that place; they indicate a historical event.

    Extent of Deliverance

God destroyed His enemies and delivered His people; “into the sea” He threw “the horse and its rider” (v. 1) and “Pharaoh’s chariots and his army,” along “with his chosen captains” (v. 4); He “dashed the enemy in pieces” (v. 6) because the LORD is “a man of war” (v. 3).

The extent of the deliverance was total; God destroyed them all.

The Song Speaks of the Lord’s Purpose in Deliverance

    His Purpose was to Deliver His People from Bondage

The Song says that God “redeemed” (v. 13) and “purchased” (v. 16) His people; in other words, He saved them from bondage, slavery, and servitude.

God had informed Moses that He had “seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt” and that He had “heard their cry because of their taskmasters” (Ex. 3:7); also God told Moses that He had “come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians” (Ex. 3:8).

The deliverance God had determined He brought to pass.

    His Purpose was to Bring His People to Himself

The Song makes the following statements:
You have guided them . . . to Your holy habitation (v. 13)

till the people pass over whom You have purchased (v. 16)

You will bring them in and plant them in the mountain of Your inheritance, in the place, O Lord, which You have made for Your own dwelling, the sanctuary, O Lord, which Your hands have established (v. 17).
The purpose was to be their God and for them to be His people; this is God’s eternal purpose (Rev. 21:1-3).

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