17 Mar. Exodus 15:1-27

17 Mar. The Israelites cross the Desert of Shur to Elim

“Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the LORD: ‘I will sing to the LORD, because he is worthy of great honour. He has thrown the horse and its rider into the sea.'

'The LORD gives me strength and makes me sing; He has saved me…'

'The chariots and soldiers of the king of Egypt he has thrown into the sea. The king’s best officers are drowned in the Red [Reed] Sea…’”

“Then Aaron’s sister, Miriam, a prophetess, took a tambourine in her hand. All the women followed her, playing tambourines and dancing. Miriam told them, ‘Sing to the LORD because he is worthy of great honour; he has thrown the horse and its rider into the sea.’”

“Moses led the Israelites away from the Red [Reed] Sea into the Desert of Shur. They travelled for three days in the desert but found no water. Then they came to Marah, where there was water, but they could not drink it because it was too bitter. (That is why the place was named Marah.)”

“The people grumbled to Moses and asked, ‘What will we drink?’ So Moses cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a tree. When Moses threw the tree into the water, the water became good to drink.”

“There the LORD gave the people a rule and a law to live by, and there he tested their loyalty to him. He said, ‘You must obey the LORD your God and do what he says is right. If you obey all his commands and keep his rules, I will not bring on you any of the sicknesses I brought on the Egyptians. I am the LORD who heals you.’”

“Then the people travelled to Elim, where there were twelve springs of water and 70 palm trees. So the people camped there near the water.”

          (Exodus 15:1-27)


After they escaped from the Egyptians by crossing the Sea of Reeds, Moses and the Israelites offered a song of thanksgiving to God for his deliverance from their enemies:

“The other nations will hear this and tremble with fear; terror will take hold of the Philistines. The leaders of the tribes of Edom will be very frightened; the powerful men of Moab will shake with fear; the people of Canaan will lose all their courage.” (Exodus 15:14-15).

The Israelites then travelled south through the Desert of Shur for three days without finding any water (see 5 on the map on 14 Mar).

At Marah (meaning ‘bitter’) the water was too bitter to drink and the people grumbled to Moses - until the LORD told Moses to throw in a piece of wood to sweeten it.

After another couple of days they reached Elim (meaning ‘terebinth’ or ‘turpentine’ trees), a desert oasis with twelve springs and 70 palm trees (see 6 on the map). This oasis with twelve springs on the desert road from Ismailia to Sinai is now known as Ain Mousa – the ‘Spring of Moses’.

The photo shows a typical desert landscape in the Sinai peninsula.

You can read more about the Israelites’ journey through the desert @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney2/25-the-israelites-journey-from-egypt-to-mt-sinai/the-israelites-cross-the-sea-of-reeds/

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