“Then Yahweh said to Moses, ‘Why do you cry to me? Tell the Israelites to go forward. Lift up your staff, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the Israelites may go on into the sea on dry ground. Then I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them. So I will gain glory for myself over Pharaoh and all his army, his chariots, and his chariot drivers. The Egyptians shall know that I am Yahweh, when I have gained glory for myself over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his chariot drivers.”
Yahweh told Moses to move forward. This is the big dramatic moment from the old 1956 movie, “The Ten Commandments” when Charlton Heston has his staff in his hand outstretched parting the waters. The Egyptians will recognize the power of Yahweh.
“The angel of God who was going before the Israelite army moved and went behind them. The pillar of cloud moved from in front of them and took its place behind them. It came between the army of Egypt and the army of Israel. So the cloud was there with the darkness, and it lit up the night. One did not come near the other all night.”
The pillar of cloud now went behind the Israelites between them and the Egyptian army. The cloud was so bright it lit up the night. Here it is the angel of God and not Yahweh who is in the cloud.
“Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. Yahweh drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night, and turned the sea into day land. The waters were divided. The Israelites went into the sea on dry ground, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left. The Egyptians pursued, and went into the sea after them, all Pharaoh’s horses, chariots, and chariot drivers. At the morning watch Yahweh in the pillar of fire and cloud looked down upon the Egyptian army, and threw the Egyptian army into panic. He clogged their chariot wheels so that they turned with difficulty. The Egyptians said, ‘Let us flee from the Israelites, for Yahweh is fighting for them against the Egypt.’”
The Israelites made it safe to the other side on foot. However, the Egyptians, who were following in chariots, went into panic due to the power of the cloud. Their chariots got stuck in mud so that the Egyptian army wanted to turn away.
“Then Yahweh said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand over the sea, so that the water may come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their chariot drivers.’ So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at dawn the sea returned to its normal depth. As the Egyptians fled before it, Yahweh tossed the Egyptians into the sea. The waters returned and covered the chariots and the chariot drivers, the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed them into the sea. Not one of them remained. But the Israelites walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters forming a wall for them on their right hand and on their left. Thus Yahweh saved Israel that day from the Egyptians. Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. Israel saw the great work that Yahweh did against the Egyptians. So that the people feared Yahweh and believed in Yahweh and his servant Moses.”
The entire army of Egypt was wiped out and the Israelites saw the dead Egyptians on the shore. The waters returned, perhaps the east wind switched to a west wind. Nevertheless, the Israelites feared and believed in Yahweh and his servant Moses. We do not know exactly where this took place, in a deep or shallow part of the Rea Sea. However, the story is the story.