What Egypt and the Song of the Sea represent

Moses, Michelangelo

The sages of the Jewish tradition say that: “In all generations every person is obliged to consider themselves as if they had come out of Egypt”, and the Passover holiday is the commemoration of this “passage” towards freedom. In addition to traditional Jewish belief, Christians emphasize this liberation with the passage from the earthly life of Jesus to the heavenly one. Therefore, both the traditions celebrate the liberation from slavery, whether physical or moral, the will that exists in every believer to emerge above all that inhibits the soul. Whether it is physical, psychological or spiritual limitations imposed by one’s own nature, by an external force, or by simple habit, it is very important for man and woman to remember the story of Exodus, and the Song of the Sea to strengthen their hope for a better future for everybody.

Egypt: Physical and moral slavery

The Hebrew word for Egypt is מצרים mitzrayim (Arabic مصر, Miṣr) and means ” boundaries” but also ” oppression”. Within the Torah “Egypt” is the Hebrew and Aramaic name to denote both the land but also the condition of slavery. We find at least 13 references in the Torah to Egypt מצרים (mitzrayim) as a place of oppression (Exodus 13, 3 ; Exodus 13, 14 ; Exodus 20, 2 ; Deuteronomy 5, 6 ; Deuteronomy 6, 12 ; Deuteronomy 7, 8 ; Deuteronomy 8, 14 ; Deuteronomy 13, 6 ; Deuteronomy 13, 11 ; Joshua 24, 17 ; Judges 6, 8 ; Jeremiah 34, 13 & Micah 6, 4), while the similar term מצור (masor) seems to have been a poetic nickname that was used to indicate the land itself (Isaiah 19, 6 ; 2Kings 19, 24 ; Isaiah 37, 25 & Micah 7, 12). The noun מצור (masor) means siege, and derives from the verb צור (tzur) ligare. Another derivation of this same verb is the noun מצורה, stronghold, and this, or a walled city can be a means of protection during the early stages of a war, but turns into a lethal trap if a siege lasts long. A fine figurative use of this word can be found in Psalm 31, 21 where the author compares his troubles to a siege.

In the Bible, therefore, Egypt is not only the physical place, but also that condition of oppression to which the people were forced to live. Even today one cannot consider oneself free just because one does not have chains on one’s wrists, because freedom means to feel sure to profess one’s faith, expressing this freedom by living in a society that gives everyone an opportunity to be better.

During the Easter time, believers try to break the time barrier by reliving the story of the Exodus and identifying themselves as if they themselves had left the afflicted state of slavery in Egypt. Remembering how much evil one has endured helps both to live the present better and to idealize a better future for all. The Jewish Passover is a feast that lasts eight days, the first days are mainly focused on the first liberation from Egypt, while the closing days highlight the redemption and the final “passage”, that is, the next era that everyone is waiting for that Messianic of Love and perfection announced by the Messiah.
In the Hebrew liturgy on the seventh day of Easter we read the “Song of the Sea” which contains an important allusion to the Messianic Age, while on the eighth day the haftarah (the reading of the Prophets) is taken from the Book of Isaiah 10, 32 & 12, 6 one of the main prophecies about the future redemption.

The Song of the Sea

The Song of the Sea (in Hebrew: שירת, Shirat HaYam, also known as Az Yashir Moshe and Song of Moses, or Mi Chamocha) is a poem that appears in the Book of Exodus of the Bible (Ex 15, 1-18). It is followed by verses 20 and 21 by a much shorter song sung by Miriam and other women. The Song of the Sea was presumably sung by the Israelites after crossing the Red Sea unharmed, celebrating the defeat of the Egyptian army during the crossing and looking forward to the future conquest of the promised land of Canaan.

The poem is included in Jewish prayer books, and recited every day during morning shacharit services. The poem also includes the first ode or hymn of the Eastern Orthodox canon, where it is known as the Song or Ode of Moses. It is also used in Roman Catholic liturgy, Eastern Orthodox and other Christian liturgies at the Easter Vigil, when the story of salvation is told. These traditions follow Revelation 15, 3 calling it the Canticle of Moses (not to be confused with the Canticle of Moses in Deuteronomy).

Testo

Masoretic Text English translation
אָ֣ז יָשִֽׁיר־מֹשֶׁה֩ וּבְנֵ֨י יִשְׂרָאֵ֜ל אֶת־הַשִּׁירָ֤ה הַזֹּאת֙ לַֽיהוָ֔ה וַיֹּאמְר֖וּ לֵאמֹ֑ר אָשִׁ֤ירָה לַֽיהוָה֙ כִּֽי־גָאֹ֣ה גָּאָ֔ה ס֥וּס וְרֹכְבֹ֖ו רָמָ֥ה בַיָּֽם

 

 

 

 

 

 

עָזִּ֤י וְזִמְרָת֙ יָ֔הּ וַֽיְהִי־לִ֖י לִֽישׁוּעָ֑ה זֶ֤ה אֵלִי֙ וְאַנְוֵ֔הוּ אֱלֹהֵ֥י אָבִ֖י וַאֲרֹמְמֶֽנְהוּ
יְהוָ֖ה אִ֣ישׁ מִלְחָמָ֑ה יְהוָ֖ה שְׁמֹֽו
מַרְכְּבֹ֥ת פַּרְעֹ֛ה וְחֵילֹ֖ו יָרָ֣ה בַיָּ֑ם וּמִבְחַ֥ר שָֽׁלִשָׁ֖יו טֻבְּע֥וּ בְיַם־סֽוּף
תְּהֹמֹ֖ת יְכַסְיֻ֑מוּ יָרְד֥וּ בִמְצֹולֹ֖ת כְּמֹו־אָֽבֶן
יְמִֽינְךָ֣ יְהוָ֔ה נֶאְדָּרִ֖י בַּכֹּ֑חַ יְמִֽינְךָ֥ יְהוָ֖ה תִּרְעַ֥ץ אֹויֵֽב

 

 

 

 

 

 

וּבְרֹ֥ב גְּאֹונְךָ֖ תַּהֲרֹ֣ס קָמֶ֑יךָ תְּשַׁלַּח֙ חֲרֹ֣נְךָ֔ יֹאכְלֵ֖מֹו כַּקַּֽשׁ
וּבְר֤וּחַ אַפֶּ֙יךָ֙ נֶ֣עֶרְמוּ מַ֔יִם נִצְּב֥וּ כְמֹו־נֵ֖ד נֹזְלִ֑ים קָֽפְא֥וּ תְהֹמֹ֖ת בְּלֶב־יָֽם
אָמַ֥ר אֹויֵ֛ב אֶרְדֹּ֥ף אַשִּׂ֖יג אֲחַלֵּ֣ק שָׁלָ֑ל תִּמְלָאֵ֣מֹו נַפְשִׁ֔י אָרִ֣יק חַרְבִּ֔י תֹּורִישֵׁ֖מֹו יָדִֽי
נָשַׁ֥פְתָּ בְרוּחֲךָ֖ כִּסָּ֣מֹו יָ֑ם צָֽלֲלוּ֙ כַּֽעֹופֶ֔רֶת בְּמַ֖יִם אַדִּירִֽים
מִֽי־כָמֹ֤כָה בָּֽאֵלִם֙ יְהוָ֔ה מִ֥י כָּמֹ֖כָה נֶאְדָּ֣ר בַּקֹּ֑דֶשׁ נֹורָ֥א תְהִלֹּ֖ת עֹ֥שֵׂה פֶֽלֶא

 

 

 

 

 

נָטִ֙יתָ֙ יְמִ֣ינְךָ֔ תִּבְלָעֵ֖מֹו אָֽרֶץ
נָחִ֥יתָ בְחַסְדְּךָ֖ עַם־ז֣וּ גָּאָ֑לְתָּ נֵהַ֥לְתָּ בְעָזְּךָ֖ אֶל־נְוֵ֥ה קָדְשֶֽׁךָ
שָֽׁמְע֥וּ עַמִּ֖ים יִרְגָּז֑וּן חִ֣יל אָחַ֔ז יֹשְׁבֵ֖י פְּלָֽשֶׁת
אָ֤ז נִבְהֲלוּ֙ אַלּוּפֵ֣י אֱדֹ֔ום אֵילֵ֣י מֹואָ֔ב יֹֽאחֲזֵ֖מֹו רָ֑עַד נָמֹ֕גוּ כֹּ֖ל יֹשְׁבֵ֥י כְנָֽעַן
תִּפֹּ֨ל עֲלֵיהֶ֤ם אֵימָ֙תָה֙ וָפַ֔חַד בִּגְדֹ֥ל זְרֹועֲךָ֖ יִדְּמ֣וּ כָּאָ֑בֶן עַד־יַעֲבֹ֤ר עַמְּךָ֙ יְהוָ֔ה עַֽד־יַעֲבֹ֖ר עַם־ז֥וּ קָנִֽיתָ
תְּבִאֵ֗מֹו וְתִטָּעֵ֙מֹו֙ בְּהַ֣ר נַחֲלָֽתְךָ֔ מָכֹ֧ון לְשִׁבְתְּךָ֛ פָּעַ֖לְתָּ יְהוָ֑ה מִקְּדָ֕שׁ אֲדֹנָ֖י כֹּונְנ֥וּ יָדֶֽיךָ

 

 

 

 

 

יְהוָ֥ה ׀ יִמְלֹ֖ךְ לְעֹלָ֥ם וָעֶֽד

 

 

כִּ֣י בָא֩ ס֨וּס פַּרְעֹ֜ה בְּרִכְבֹּ֤ו וּבְפָרָשָׁיו֙ בַּיָּ֔ם וַיָּ֧שֶׁב יְהוָ֛ה עֲלֵהֶ֖ם אֶת־מֵ֣י הַיָּ֑ם וּבְנֵ֧י יִשְׂרָאֵ֛ל הָלְכ֥וּ בַיַּבָּשָׁ֖ה בְּתֹ֥וךְ הַיָּֽם
וַתִּקַּח֩ מִרְיָ֨ם הַנְּבִיאָ֜ה אֲחֹ֧ות אַהֲרֹ֛ן אֶת־הַתֹּ֖ף בְּיָדָ֑הּ וַתֵּצֶ֤אןָ כָֽל־הַנָּשִׁים֙ אַחֲרֶ֔יהָ בְּתֻפִּ֖ים וּבִמְחֹלֹֽת
וַתַּ֥עַן לָהֶ֖ם מִרְיָ֑ם שִׁ֤ירוּ לַֽיהוָה֙ כִּֽי־גָאֹ֣ה גָּאָ֔ה ס֥וּס וְרֹכְבֹ֖ו רָמָ֥ה בַיָּֽם

1 Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the LORD:

“I will sing to the LORD,
    for he is highly exalted.
Both horse and driver
    he has hurled into the sea.

2 “The LORD is my strength and my defense;
    he has become my salvation.
He is my GOD, and I will praise him,
    my father’s GOD, and I will exalt him.
3 The LORD is a warrior;
    the LORD is his name.
4 Pharaoh’s chariots and his army
    he has hurled into the sea.
The best of Pharaoh’s officers
    are drowned in the Red Sea.
5 The deep waters have covered them;
    they sank to the depths like a stone.
6 Your right hand, LORD,
    was majestic in power.
Your right hand, LORD,
    shattered the enemy.

7 “In the greatness of your majesty
    you threw down those who opposed you.
You unleashed your burning anger;
    it consumed them like stubble.
8 By the blast of your nostrils
    the waters piled up.
The surging waters stood up like a wall;
    the deep waters congealed in the heart of the sea.
9 The enemy boasted,
    ‘I will pursue, I will overtake them.
I will divide the spoils;
    I will gorge myself on them.
I will draw my sword
    and my hand will destroy them.’
10 But you blew with your breath,
    and the sea covered them.
They sank like lead
    in the mighty waters.
11 Who among the gods
    is like you, Lord?
Who is like you—
    majestic in holiness,
awesome in glory,
    working wonders?

12 “You stretch out your right hand,
    and the earth swallows your enemies.
13 In your unfailing love you will lead
    the people you have redeemed.
In your strength you will guide them
    to your holy dwelling.
14 The nations will hear and tremble;
    anguish will grip the people of Philistia.
15 The chiefs of Edom will be terrified,
    the leaders of Moab will be seized with trembling,
the people of Canaan will melt away;
16 terror and dread will fall on them.
By the power of your arm
    they will be as still as a stone—
until your people pass by, LORD,
    until the people you bought pass by.
17 You will bring them in and plant them
    on the mountain of your inheritance—
the place, LORD, you made for your dwelling,
    the sanctuary, LORD, your hands established.

18 “The LORD reigns
    for ever and ever.”

19 When Pharaoh’s horses, chariots and horsemen went into the sea, the LORD brought the waters of the sea back over them, but the Israelites walked through the sea on dry ground.

20 Then Miriam the prophet, Aaron’s sister, took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women followed her, with timbrels and dancing.

21 Miriam sang to them:

Sing to the LORD,
    for he is highly exalted.
Both horse and driver
    he has hurled into the sea.

Conclusions

To remember and relive history correspond to impress in our Spirit what happened to avoid the same mistakes in the present and increase hope in the future making real an event that we all hope will come: Messianic Era. The Era of Peace corresponds to the final redemption for the sufferings of all, but only those who work positively in the present will be able to be part of it in the future. Positivity generates other positivity, if we keep positive thoughts these will soon become our words, and when words are transformed into our behavior we begin to positively influence our lives (present) and our future. This is the free will that GOD grants us, choosing between positive (good) and negative (evil).


Bibliography

Other languages
Main Topics
ASH’s Newsletter

Quick Random Curiosity

Beriah

Beriah or Beri’ah (Hebrew: בְּרִיאָה), Briyah, or B’ri’ah (also known... Read more →