Leaving Egypt! (Exodus 13:17-17:16)


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Jan 21, 2006
San Salvador
El Salvador
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PARASHAH: “B'shalach” (when he let go) or (when he sent out) EXODUS 13:17-17:16

We are coming down to the “showdown” where Pharaoh gets his just desserts, and gets what he deserves for defying the God of Israel, going back on his word to “let Israel go”, you cannot pursue Israel without getting hurt, and Pharaoh and his army got to drink bitter waters, went off the “deep end” and received a very fatal “water baptism” in Yam Suf (Sea of Reeds)

Yet before all this happens, there are some interesting verses to look at. Exodus 13: 18 states;

“The children of Israel went up armed out of the land of Egypt”

It also states that Elohim did not lead them through the land of the F’lishtim: (The Philistines) because an encounter with them might bring the Israelites to face war, frighten them, and cause them to go back to Egypt. But if they had weapons, why would they fear a battle? One can assume that even though they had weapons if they didn’t know how to use them, they would be no good.

We can say the same thing about the Bible. It is little good in the hands of one who does not know how to use it, or uses it in wrongful ways, inventing “strange” doctrines, or taking verses out of context. The Israelites were ex-slaves, not warriors. Another question, where did they get the weapons? Were the weapons among the spoils of Egypt? Here is another view from a Derashic perspective (Moral and spiritual)

The word for “armed” in Hebrew which is used is “chamushim” Jewish commentators state this word has roots in the words “chamesh” (the number 5) and “chamishim” (50). So how do we apply these? It is believed that it was the 5th generation after Yosef that left Egypt, if a generation is 80 years, it would add up to 400 years. Also, the number 5 symbolizes “grace”. So, the Israelites not only left Egypt with some spears and swords but they were also armed with the “grace” that Elohim bestowed on them. More importantly, they were armed with the protection, the blessings, and the leadership of Elohim who led them out of Egypt. The number “50” also reminds us of the “50 gates of understanding” which the ancient rabbis say are 50 questions that Elohim asked Job at the end of “Sefer Job.” (The Book of Job)

I would like to answer the question using a question. If we can have eternal life through the blood and sacrifice of Yeshua for our sins, past, present, and future, why do so many people still REJECT Him? The scripture states that ‘Wide is the way that leads to destruction, but narrow is the way that leads to eternal life.’ How many Israelites put the lambs' blood on their doorposts? We hope that all did. But of course, we can't be sure.

Another word for “armed” is “equipped”. One could also say that “B’nei Yisrael” went out of Egypt “equipped” with the “5” promises that Adonai gave to His people; 1) Elohim will deliver Israel out from under the burden of Egyptian Slavery; 2) Israel will be REDEEMED by the ARM of Elohim-YHVH; 3) Elohim-YHVH will take Israel as HIS people and will be their GOD; 4) Israel will be brought into the chosen land of promise; 5) The promised land will be an INHERETANCE.

But let’s look at the Peshat, the literal meaning of the word; “armed” It could also come from the Egyptian word “chams” which is “lance." Here's something else. Once the Israelites crossed the narrow portion of the Sea of Reeds, they were "out of Egypt" and when the Egyptians drowned in the Sea, the scriptures state that the "Israelites saw their bodies on the seashore." from the bodies of the Egyptian soldiers the Israelites took weapons; swords, bows, and arrows, (the spears probably sunk to the bottom of the sea). So here we can confirm that they "left Egypt (behind) and were fully armed (with the weapons they recovered). Now, they would need to learn how to use them. Moses probably taught them how.

As believers, we have the Word of God, but if we are unskilled in using His WORD, or if we do not know how to interpret it correctly, we could do much harm to others, just like a sword in the hands of a child, the child could cut himself, or hurt one of his friends

Another thing to ponder upon is that when the word “Egyptians” is used, the word “Mitzraim” is used, which also means “Egypt” (the nation of). Why “Mitzraim” and not “Mitzrim?” One can say that even though “b’nei Yisrael” left Egypt, Egypt still followed them out! They left with the Egyptian culture, ways, language, and all that was part of them in those 400 years as slaves. It took Elohim one day to take Israel out of Egypt, but it took 40 years to take Egypt out of Israel!

We are the same way, even though we are born-again believers, we still carry around the garbage related to our “Yetzer-Hara” (sinful nature) but little by little, the Ruach HaKodesh takes that from us as we mature in the faith.

We might wonder how many Israelites left Egypt, probably about 2 million, plus those Egyptians that “saw the light” plus the sheep and cattle, it was a huge people group that headed eastward across the Sinai Peninsula.

"And it was told the King of Egypt that the people were fled” (14:5). What? Didn't he already know that? Of course, he did, he let them go! It was probably a team of scouts that were sent out to track down the Israelites to see where they were going, and they gave their report back to Pharaoh. Now this took place a few days later, now Pharaoh is sorry he let them go. What? Didn't he remember the plagues? Some people never learn, they love misery. Now Pharaoh musters together his entire army! Another mistake, never send out your entire armed forces, always leave behind reserve units. But Pharaoh was not a wise general. This probably took another few days, thus giving Israel about a week's head start, it would take quite a few days for about 2 million people to cross the Sinai Peninsula.

The names “Elohim” and “YHVH” are both used in this Parashah, “Elohim” is used at the beginning of this parashah, in Chap 13:17 meaning the “Strong, powerful God” yet the name YHVH, later on, shows the personal name, (coming from “Havayah” meaning “to exist”) shows the personal relationship as “Adonai” which we also say when reading YHVH, anytime the word LORD is used in scripture, it is the name YHVH.

YHVH takes them across the Sinai Peninsula to thus entice the Egyptians, to utterly finish destroying them thus ending the powerful rule of Egypt, Egypt never recovered from that defeat, it formed another army years later, but it never had the power it once had with Rameses, Thutmose, Narmer, and other pharaohs of the past dynasties.

When the Israelites get to the beach, they get ready to cross, in Hebrew it is known as “Yam Suf” in English, it is known as “Nuweba Beach” it is a tourist resort today in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. We see that YHVH goes behind the Israelites to protect them, in the form of darkness to the Egyptians, yet light to the Israelites. To us as believers, Yeshua is our light, for us to follow, but to Satan, Yeshua is the conquering king, without the light of Yeshua, without the light of the Torah, we live in darkness, spiritual darkness.

Chapter 14:13 is interesting. Moshe says; “Fear not and stand still and see the SALVATION of YHVH” In Hebrew, the word “Salvation” is “YESHUAT” we have the name of our Messiah “Yeshua” plus the “Tav” Symbolically, we can see that Yeshua is part of Elohim, and He is moving to bring HIS people through the sea, It also reminds us that the “Tav” (T) symbolizes the covenant, it takes the form of the cross in Paleo-Hebrew. We have the name “Yeshua” and the “cross” He is saving his people from physical destruction by the Egyptians, and in the future, He will die to save the world from Spiritual destruction.

In gematria, “Yeshuat” adds up to 786. Reading from right to left, one way to understand the message of this sum of numbers is; “MAN achieves ETERNAL life (a new beginning) through the PERFECT God who is Yeshua, who is part of Elohim

Now YHVH tells Moshe to “lift up your rod and your hand” and cause the sea to part, and it is divided in two. We read that Israel crossed on “dry land” with a strong wind to dry up the sea bottom, today this area is known as the “Gulf of Aqaba” They crossed a small stretch of sea bottom, about 10 miles across, to get to the land of Midian, now known as Saudi Arabia, if you go to Google earth, and look up “Nuweba Beach” you can see the area that the Israelites crossed over at.

Then, YHVH gave the order to Moshe to raise his hand over the water again, and the waters closed up again and drowned the Egyptian army. we see something in the words, “hand” (Yad) and “rod” (Mateh) that make us think. The “rod” is a symbol of authority, of rulership. The “hand” is a symbol of “power and strength” The Torah speaks of YHVH reveling his “Holy Arm” the “arm is connected to the hand” The ancient Hebrew symbol of the “Yod” is the extended “arm and hand” so we can see the message here, “Moshe” is the authority as he shows his leadership by raising his rod, and his hand opens and closes the sea, thus demonstrating his strength and power, but of course, it is not HIS, it is GOD's leadership and strength, being revealed THROUGH Moshe.

When the people follow Moshe, it is as if they are following GOD, trusting in his leadership and strength. When we receive Jesus/Yeshua as Messiah, we trust in HIM as our leader and our strength, and we follow HIM through his WORD, yet many hope that Yeshua will follow THEM! (not going to happen) .

Today, you can see on YouTube what is left of the Egyptian chariots at the bottom of the Gulf of Aqaba, they are coral formations that look like mushrooms, probably the axle and wheels of the chariots, look up, “The real Exodus Crossing”

When we look at all this from a moral and spiritual insight (Derash) We have been rescued from HaSatan, by our Leader, who is strong, whose “hand” struck the death blow to Satan, whose “hands” bore the nails of Calvary's cross, and who leads us to a new life, we have been “kadoshed” (set apart) to follow HIM for all of our days, (Should we choose to) of course it is a choice, but the “good Shepherd always “looks back” for his lost or misguided sheep, to lead them back to the fold.

We see other events that show God's protection and provision for his people, in verses 22-27 we see the “bitter waters made sweet” Moshe threw into the water “a tree” probably cut it down and threw it in, the waters were made sweet, the Torah is also called, “The TREE of LIFE” (Etz Chaim) that changes our bitterness to sweetness, from sorrow to happiness, from lost to saved.

In chapter 16, the provision of “Manna” in the desert “Bread from Heaven” (Lechem b'Shemayim) another provision from YHVH, it symbolizes “Yeshua the Bread of Life” and in chapter 17, “Water from the Rock” This rock is there today in the Saudi Arabian desert very close to Mt. Sinai, it seems to be about 50 feet tall and has a crack down the middle. Go to “google images” and click on “The water rock at Horeb” Moshe was told to “strike the rock” and he did with his staff/rod” and out flowed water so that the congregation and the livestock could drink. This symbolizes “Yeshua the Solid Rock” (Yeshua HaTzur) and Yeshua who is the Living Water. (Yeshua Mayim Chayim). It also symbolizes that Yeshua was “struck ONLY ONCE for our sins at Calvary, ONLY ONCE meaning “nailed to the cross and died one time” and when Moshe got mad later on and struck the rock again, he was punished by God and couldn't enter the promised land, since he “misrepresented” who God is.

As Moses led his people out of Egypt, so Jesus/Yeshua took us out of the camp of Satan, closing the gap, never to return. He gave us a new beginning. A change of masters, We are now under the guidance of the Good Shepherd, instead of the Father of Lies.

Have a blessed week. And thank you for attending "Torah Class" (each one of these posts can be considered a "class")