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BIBLIOTHECA SACRA / January-March 2004

of the Lord and trust in Moses. A feature unique to the prose ac- count is its emphasis on the fact that the Israelites went through the parted waters on dry ground (14:16, 21-23, 29). 27

Also the poetic account has several unique elements, such as the opening dedicatory praise and exordium (15:lb-2), the applica- tion of the motifs of the Divine Warrior (v. 3) and the right hand of the Lord (v. 6), and the themes of the burning anger (v. 8) of the faithful, holy, wonder-working God (vv. 11, 13) that caused horse and rider (v. 1) and chariot and army (v. 4) to perish in the waters. "In Exod. 15:10, 4-5, the poet insists that the Egyptians sank in the sea, into which Yhwh ‘cast’ them.... In Exodus 14 ... Yhwh casts the sea .... on the Egyptians."28 Of particular significance also is the prophetic portrayal of God's leading of His people through the midst of terrified nations into the land where Yahweh Himself would dwell and reign forever (15:13-18).29

Moreover, the longer poetic account is filled with graphic im- agery and the free use of figurative and hyperbolic language rather than the straightforward narrative details of the prose account. In addition to the similes noted above, Yahweh would make the na- tions of Canaan "motionless as stone" (v. 16). Other figures include metaphor (v. 15), hendiadys (vv. 2, 4, 14, 16), synecdoche (vv. 1, 6, 8, 10, 16), irony (v. 9), and rhetorical question (v. 11). Some exam-

ples of paronomasia occur (e.g., h As AK "cover"/"sank," vv. 5, 10; and aHUr, "breath"/"wind," vv. 8, 10).


Several conclusions may be derived from this examination of these texts. First, whatever the date of the respective prose and poetic accounts, one must deal with the final form of the full story of the miraculous crossing of the Re(e)d Sea, including the use of poetry set within the flow of the narrative. Both the longer poem of Moses' song and the shorter poetic piece of Miriam's song must be taken into account. Scholars have noted that women in the Old Testa- ment played a prominent part on such occasions as the incident at the Re(e)d Sea, for they assumed a leading role in the music and

27 28 This feature does occur, however, in the continuing narrative in verses 19-21. Baruch Halpern, The Emergence of Israel in Canaan (Chico, CA: Scholars, 1983), 37.

29 In this regard Michael A. Fishbane points out that this feature links the Exodus to the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 15:13-16) and the conquest of Canaan (Text and Texture: Close Readings of Selected Biblical Texts [New York: Schocken, 1979], 122-25).

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