Exodus 15:1 (HCSB)
1 Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord. They said:
I will sing to the Lord,
for He is highly exalted;
He has thrown the horse
and its rider into the sea.
This pericope contains the words of the song that Moses and the Israelites sing after crossing through the Red Sea, and Pharaoh’s army was destroyed by God. The song is one of praise and worship, and a wonderful response to God’s actions.
The song’s obvious focus is on God’s destruction of the Egyptian army. There is no specific mention of the plagues, or Israel’s initial release from slavery. Perhaps it is because the destruction of the army, and the crossing through the waters, is what truly marks the Israelites finality of freedom.
The song also contains a prediction of the response of the nations around them and in Canaan, along with the claim that God will bring His people safely by them. (Exodus 15:14-16) The song also foresees God’s establishing the Israelites in the promised land. (Exodus 15:17)
The passage ends with Miriam, the prophetess and Moses and Aaron’s sister, leading the women in song and dance. The words recorded of their song are essentially identical to the beginning of the longer song already recorded. Whether this is a record of what occurred during the entire Israelite community singing, or whether it was following it, or in response, or some sort of men sing then women sing… who knows. And I’m not sure it matters, outside the fact that scripture takes the time to recognize the importance of women worshipping as well.
The real core of the entire passage, I think, is found in Exodus 15:18: The Lord will reign forever and ever!
Lord, thank You for delivering us, for saving us, for loving us. I pray that our worship would be a sweet sound to You, and that it would genuine and from our hearts, not out of duty, but out of reverence and thankfulness. Amen.