Old Testament

Exodus 14
Crossing the Red Sea
141Then the Lord spoke to Moses: 2“Tell the Israelites to turn back and camp in front of Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea. They are to camp by the sea, facing Baal Zephon. 3Then Pharaoh will say about the Israelites, ‘They are wandering around in the land. The wilderness has shut them in.’ 4I will harden Pharaoh's heart so that he will pursue them, and I will gain glory through Pharaoh and his entire army. The Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.” So that is what the Israelites did.
5When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, Pharaoh and his officials had a change of heart concerning the people. They said, “What have we done? We have let Israel go! They will not serve us anymore!” 6So Pharaoh prepared his chariot and took his troops with him. 7He also took six hundred of the best chariots and all the other chariots of Egypt with officers over all of them. 8The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, so that he pursued the Israelites. The Israelites were going out defiantly.[] 9The Egyptians pursued them. All the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, his charioteers,[] and his army caught up with them where they were camping by the sea beside Pi Hahiroth, which faces Baal Zephon.
10As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians marching after them. The Israelites were terrified and cried out to the Lord. 11They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you took us to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? 12Wasn't this what we said to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone. Let us serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.”
13Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm, and see the salvation from the Lord, which he will perform for you today. For the Egyptians you see today, you will never see again. 14The Lord will fight for you. You must wait quietly.”
15The Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to set out. 16As for you, lift up your staff, stretch out your hand over the sea, and divide the sea so that the Israelites can go through the middle of the sea on dry ground. 17I myself will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go into the sea after them, and I will gain glory through Pharaoh and his entire army, through his chariots and his charioteers. 18The Egyptians will know that I am the Lord, when I have gained glory through Pharaoh, his chariots, and his charioteers.”
19Then the Angel of God, who was going in front of the Israelite forces, moved and went behind them. The pillar of cloud moved from in front of them and stood behind them. 20It went between the Egyptian forces and the Israelite forces. The cloud was dark on one side, but it lit up the night on the other. Neither group approached the other all night long.
21Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all night long the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned the sea into dry land. The waters were divided. 22The Israelites went into the middle of the sea on dry ground. The waters were like a wall for them on their right and on their left. 23The Egyptians pursued them, and all of Pharaoh's horses, his chariots, and his charioteers went after them into the middle of the sea. 24During the last watch of the night, the Lord looked down on the Egyptian forces from the pillar of fire and cloud. Then he confused the Egyptian forces. 25He jammed[] their chariot wheels, and they had difficulty driving them. The Egyptians said, “We must flee from Israel, for the Lord is fighting for them against Egypt!”
26Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea, and the waters will come back over the Egyptians, over their chariots and their charioteers.” 27So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at daybreak the sea returned to its normal place. While the Egyptians were fleeing from it, the Lord threw the Egyptians into the middle of the sea. 28The waters came back and covered the chariots and the charioteers, the entire army of Pharaoh that went into the sea after the Israelites. Not even one of them survived.
29But the Israelites went through the middle of the sea on dry land, and the waters were like a wall for them on their right and on their left. 30On that day the Lord saved Israel from the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. 31Israel saw the mighty hand which the Lord put into action against the Egyptians, and the people feared the Lord and believed in the Lord and in Moses, his servant.


  • 14:8 Literally with an upraised hand
  • 14:9 At this point of military history, the Hebrew word often translated horsemen very likely refers to chariot crews, not cavalry. It seems cavalry was not common before the Assyrian period.
  • 14:25 The Samaritan Pentateuch and the Greek and Syriac versions read bound up or jammed. The Hebrew reads removed