BIBLIOTHECA SACRA / January-March 2004
and the singing of Miriam and the women (v. 21) simultaneously provide the theme for Moses' full victory hymn and a suitable framing device that forms a prelude and postlude for the whole passage (vv. 1-21). 21
The case for viewing Exodus 15:1-18 as a victory song is sub- stantially strengthened by the fact that it includes a number of fea- tures present in other Old Testament victory songs. Hauser iso- lates five such features common to Exodus 15:1-18 and Judges 5: (a) a focusing on the specific name of Israel's God, (b) the applica- tion of specific terms or phrases to God and or a description of God's role in the victory, (c) a description of God's use of the forces of nature to give Israel the victory, (d) the mocking of the enemy, and (e) a description of the enemy's fall. 22
The first stanza of the poem includes the opening dedicatory praise (v. 1b), an exordium exalting Israel's God as Redeemer and Divine Warrior (v. 3),23 a celebration of God's victory over Phar- aoh's forces in the waters of the sea (vv. 4-5), and a refrain cele- brating God's mighty strength (v. 6).
In the second stanza Moses again praised God for His great victory, using a series of similes to describe Egypt's great defeat. The enemy was consumed like chaff (v. 7) and "sank like lead in the mighty waters" (v. 10), which for Israel had "stood up like a heap" (v. 8). A touch of sarcasm is also added (Hauser's fourth point) in deriding the enemy's boastful intention to overtake and despoil God's people (v. 9).
The hinge refrain of verse 11, praising Yahweh's incompara- bility as a holy God and worker of miracles, sets the scene for the third stanza.24 Here Israel's God is praised for the recent victory and for His love for His people, which gives them confidence in His future guidance in leading Israel through the wilderness into the
21 The opening words of verse 1 are reminiscent of a similar incipit in Psalm 89:1. A similar sentiment may also be seen in Psalm 45:1 (Richard D. Patterson, "A Mul- tiplex Approach to Psalm 45," Grace Theological Journal 6 : 35-36).
22 23 Hauser, "Two Songs of Victory" 280. See Childs, The Book of Exodus 252; for the motif of the Divine Warrior see F. M. Cross Jr., "The Divine Warrior in Israel's Early Cult," in Biblical Motifs, ed. A. Altmann (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1966), 11-30; Tremper Longman III, "Psalm 98: A Divine Warrior Victory Song," Journal of the Evangelical Theologi- cal Society 27 (1984): 267-74; idem, Literary Approaches to Biblical Interpretation (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1987), 135-38; and idem and D. G. Reid, God Is a War- rior (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1995).
24 Burden calls Yahweh's incomparability "the central motif of the song" ("Stylistic Analysis," 67).