May 28, 2010

Examining The Scripture XV: Exodus 14 Narrative vs. Exodus 15 Song of Moses

Exodus 14: Is mainly told as a first-party narrative account of the story of the Red Sea as told by Moses. It is an actual interpretive account set forth by Moses as the probable eyewitness and author. It shows through literal eyewitness accounts the amazing power of God over the most powerful empire on the earth at the time of this event. It documents know geographical landmarks and features such as the Red Sea, Pi-hahiroth, Migdol, Baal-zephon, etc. That would be like saying God intervened to stop the USA from doing something today in an obvious manner and mentioning Philadelphia, Allentown and Reading, Pennsylvania. It would be mind-blowing to say the least.

Exodus 15: Is the "Song of Moses" which was a poetic hymn of praise or worship for God for all of His mighty deeds and acts on behalf of the Moses and the Hebrew slaves. It is about the same exact account recorded by Moses in Chapter 14 but from a God praising view. Exodus 15:1-21 as a song/poem 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 (Matthew Henry). It is the first song sung in Scripture (also the last Revelation 15, The Song of the Lamb), sung by a people who had been set free, redeemed miraculously. The Lord is portrayed as a mighty warrior. You can tell the events of Chapter 14 have had an enormous impact on Moses. The same Moses that has already had direct conversations with God, has now been viscerally impacted by what he has seen and experience. You really get a sense that this act of reverence and worship by Moses is divinely inspired because there is a mention of the fact that the Lord “will bring them in and plant them on your own mountain, the place, O Lord, which you have made for your abode, the sanctuary, O Lord, which your hands have established.” Moses appears to be prophetic here because he is referring to the future and Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem on what is today the Temple mount (Sailhamer 269-272).

A poetic/song description of events also allows for a more colorful and metaphorical explanation of events which is especially helpful when trying to parley spiritual concepts to subsequent generations of Israelites. Because it is song or poetry it is especially effective at an emotional level. They are are called mentifacts and sociofacts, items of value within a culture that people would want to pass on to their children in an oral culture like the Israelites were at this time. A nomadic tribal culture that used song and poetry to pass on their heritage to the next generation without writing.

Sailhamer, Dr. John H.. "Chapter 2: Exodus." Pentateuch as Narrative, The. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1995. 269-272. Print.

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