Exodus 13:17-17:16

Exodus chapter 13, verse 17 to chapter17, verse 16


Israelites leave Egypt, led by God, hidden in a cloud during the day and a piller of fire at night, to the Sea of Reeds. Moses brings the bones of Joseph with him.

After the Hebrews flee, Pharaoh changes his mind and chases after them. The Israelites arrive at the shores of the sea. They are afraid because they know Pharaoh is following them and they think that they are trapped. The begin to complain, and refuse to start to cross the sea. Moses raises his staff and the waters split, leaving a dry path for the Israelites to cross. The Egyptians follow them. Once Israelites cross, Moses raises his staff again the sea closes, drowning the Egyptian army. The Israelites, witnessing the power of God sing a song of praise let by Miriam, Moses’s sister.

After three days in the wilderness, the Israelites are without water. They arrive at an oasis called Marah where the water is bitter. God tells Moses to throw a piece of wood into the spring, which makes the water sweet and drinkable.

After this the Israelites begin to complain that they are hungry. In response, in the evening God sends quail to the camp, which the Hebrews can eat. In the morning manna appears. The Israelites collect what they need, but are not allowed to hoard any. If they do, the manna goes bad. However, on the sixth day, they receive a double portion of manna, which lasts two days without going bad, as none appear on Shabbat.

Soon, when the Israelites camp at a new location, they begin to complain again that they have no water. Moses is fed up with them and complains to God. god tells him to strike a rock at a place called Horeb. Moses did so and water flowed from it.

At this time, the Israelites are attacked by a nation called the Amalekites. Joshua is appointed leader of the army to fight them. Moses climbs up a hill with his brother Aaron. Whenever Moses’s arms are raised, the Israelites are successfully fighting the Amalekites. When the arms are lowered, the Amalekites are winning. In the end, the Israelites defeat them. God instructs Moses to record these events and to tell the people to remember that Amalek is Israel’s eternal enemy.

Torah Portion in English

1) The Lord said to Moses: 2) Tell the Israelites to turn back and encamp before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, before Baal-zephon; you shall encamp facing it, by the sea. 3) Pharaoh will say of the Israelites, “They are astray in the land; the wilderness has closed in on them.” 4) Then I will stiffen Pharaoh’s heart and he will pursue them, that I may gain glory through Pharaoh and all his host; and the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord. And they did so.

5) When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, Pharaoh and his courtiers had a change of heart about the people and said, “What is this we have done, releasing Israel from our service?” 6) He ordered his chariot and took his men with him; 7) he took six hundred of his picked chariots, and the rest of the chariots of Egypt, with officers in all of them. 8) The Lord stiffened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he gave chase to the Israelites. As the Israelites were departing defiantly, boldly, 9) the Egyptians gave chase to them, and all the chariot horses of Pharaoh, his horsemen, and his warriors overtook them encamped by the sea, near Pi-hahiroth, before Baal-zephon.

10) As Pharaoh drew near, the Israelites caught sight of the Egyptians advancing upon them. Greatly frightened, the Israelites cried out to the Lord. 11) And they said to Moses, “Was it for want of graves in Egypt that you brought us to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us, taking us out of Egypt? 12) Is this not the very thing we told you in Egypt, saying, ‘Let us be, and we will serve the Egyptians, for it is better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness’?” 13) But Moses said to the people, “Have no fear! Stand by, and witness the deliverance which the Lord will work for you today; for the Egyptians whom you see today you will never see again. 14)The Lord will battle for you; you hold your peace!”

15) Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry out to Me? Tell the Israelites to go forward. 16) And you lift up your rod and hold out your arm over the sea and split it, so that the Israelites may march into the sea on dry ground. 17)And I will stiffen the hearts of the Egyptians so that they go in after them; and I will gain glory through Pharaoh and all his warriors, his chariots and his horsemen. 18) Let the Egyptians know that I am Lord, when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.”

19) The angel of God, who had been going ahead of the Israelite army, now moved and followed behind them; and the pillar of cloud shifted from in front of them and took up a place behind them, 20) and it came between the army of the Egyptians and the army of Israel. Thus there was the cloud with the darkness, and it cast a spell upon the night, so that the one could not come near the other all through the night.

21) Then Moses held out his arm over the sea and the Lord drove back the sea with a strong east wind all that night, and turned the sea into dry ground. The waters were split, 22) and the Israelites went into the sea on dry ground, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left.

Getting to Know my Parasha

What Does my Parasha Say?

  1. Are the Israelites ready and willing to cross the Sea of Reeds? Why or why not?
  2. Why were the Israelites complaining?
  3. How did God appear to the Israelites while they marched in the wilderness?
  4. The Israelites were attacked on their journey. Do you think they were ready for war?
  5. What were the limitations on the amount of manna the Israelites could collect? Why?
  6. Why do you think the Israelites were commanded to remember the Amalekites?
  7. Why were the Israelites complaining?