Be’Shalach  Ex 13:17 – 17:16

Be’Shalach  is Hebrew for “When he sent out”.  The title refers to the Pharaoh’s sending out the Hebrews.  It has one of the most famous scenes in the entire Bible – the parting of the Red Sea (or the Sea of Reeds – Yam Soof in Hebrew). 

Summary: When Pharaoh releases the Hebrews, Elohim avoids leading them by the shortest route to Canaan because it would take them through Philistine territory; if the people feared war, they may repent and turn back to Egypt.  Elohim instead takes them through the wilderness by way of the Sea of Reeds.  Moses takes Joseph’s bones from Egypt, and Elohim leads the people as a cloud pillar by day and a fire pillar by night.  YHVH tells Moses to inform the Children of Israel, that He will harden Pharaoh’s heart one more time and that he will pursue them.  As predicted, Pharaoh has a change of heart and sends out his best charioteers after them.  When the Children of Israel see the Egyptians in pursuit, they rail against Moses for bringing them into the wilderness to die, Moses assures them of G-d’s salvation.  He raises his staff over the Sea of Reeds and the waters part.  The Children of Israel escape through the dry land, with walls of water on either side.  The Egyptian army follows; Moses raises his staff again, and the sea covers them.  Moses and the Children of Israel then sing a victory song, praising YHVH for tossing horse and rider into the sea, which Moses’ sister Miriam reprises.  G-d continues to provide miracles in the wilderness: (1) the drinking waters were bitter, and Moses tosses wood into the water and purifies it; (2) none of the Egyptian diseases will befall the Hebrews, (3) the people complain that they are hungry and G-d sends quail and manna; (4) when there’s no water, Moses taps a rock a water gushes forth; (5) when the Amalekites attack, Joshua leads a successful battle against them.