1 Then the LORD said to Moses, 2 “Tell the people to go back to Pi Hahiroth. Tell them to spend the night between Migdol and the Red Sea, near Baal Zephon. 3 Pharaoh will think that the Israelites are lost in the desert and that the people will have no place to go. 4 I will make Pharaoh brave, and he will chase you. But I will defeat Pharaoh and his army. This will bring honor to me. Then the people of Egypt will know that I am the LORD.” So the Israelites did what he told them.
Pharaoh Chases the Israelites
5 Pharaoh received a report that the Israelites had escaped. When he heard this, he and his officials changed their minds about what they had done. Pharaoh said, “Why did we let the Israelites leave? Why did we let them run away? Now we have lost our slaves!”
6 So Pharaoh prepared his chariot and took his men with him. 7 He took 600 of his best men and all of his chariots. There was an officer in each chariot.* There was … chariot Or “There were three soldiers in each chariot.” 8 The Israelites were leaving with their arms raised in victory. But the LORD caused Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, to become brave. And Pharaoh chased the Israelites.
9 The Egyptian army had many horse soldiers and chariots. They chased the Israelites and caught up with them while they were camped near the Red Sea at Pi Hahiroth, east of Baal Zephon.
10 When the Israelites saw Pharaoh and his army coming toward them, they were very frightened and cried to the LORD for help. 11 They said to Moses, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt? Did you bring us out here in the desert to die? We could have died peacefully in Egypt; there were plenty of graves in Egypt. 12 We told you this would happen! In Egypt we said, ‘Please don’t bother us. Let us stay and serve the Egyptians.’ It would have been better for us to stay and be slaves than to come out here and die in the desert.”
13 But Moses answered, “Don’t be afraid! Don’t run away! Stand where you are and watch the LORD save you today. You will never see these Egyptians again. 14 You will not have to do anything but stay calm. The LORD will do the fighting for you.”
15 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Why are you still crying to me? Tell the Israelites to start moving. 16 Raise the walking stick in your hand over the Red Sea, and the sea will split. Then the people can go across on dry land. 17 I have made the Egyptians brave, so they will chase you. But I will show you that I am more powerful than Pharaoh and all of his horses and chariots. 18 Then Egypt will know that I am the LORD. They will honor me when I defeat Pharaoh and his horse soldiers and chariots.”
The Lord Defeats the Egyptian Army
19 Then the angel of God moved to the back of the people. (The angel was usually in front of the people, leading them.) So the tall cloud moved from in front of the people and went to the back of the people. 20 In this way the cloud stood between the Egyptians and the Israelites. There was light for the Israelites. But there was darkness for the Egyptians. So the Egyptians did not come any closer to the Israelites that night.
21 Moses raised his hand over the Red Sea, and the LORD caused a strong wind to blow from the east. The wind blew all night long. The sea split, and the wind made the ground dry. 22 The Israelites went through the sea on dry land. The water was like a wall on their right and on their left. 23 Then all of Pharaoh’s chariots and horse soldiers followed them into the sea. 24 Early that morning the LORD looked down from the tall cloud and column of fire at the Egyptian army. Then he made them panic. 25 The wheels of the chariots became stuck. It was very hard to control the chariots. The Egyptians shouted, “Let’s get out of here! The LORD is fighting against us. He is fighting for the Israelites.”
26 Then the LORD told Moses, “Raise your hand over the sea to make the water fall and cover the Egyptian chariots and horse soldiers.”
27 So just before daylight, Moses raised his hand over the sea. And the water rushed back to its proper level. The Egyptians were running as fast as they could from the water, but the LORD swept them away with the sea. 28 The water returned to its normal level and covered the chariots and horse soldiers. Pharaoh’s army had been chasing the Israelites, but that army was destroyed. None of them survived!
29 But the Israelites crossed the sea on dry land. The water was like a wall on their right and on their left. 30 So that day the LORD saved the Israelites from the Egyptians. Later, the Israelites saw the dead bodies of the Egyptians on the shore of the Red Sea. 31 The Israelites saw the great power of the LORD when he defeated the Egyptians. So the people feared and respected the LORD, and they began to trust the LORD and his servant Moses.
*14:7 There was … chariot Or “There were three soldiers in each chariot.”