Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Exodus: Chapter 14
through the drowning deeps
Walls of blood
and walls of water
Lifted on beating wings
through breaking waters
[For full chapter, click here
Yet another chiastic closing to the story of Egypt. With the taking up of the body of Joseph, we return to his primal blessing of "the sky above, and deeps lurking below." Now the waters used to drown the Israelite babies turn around to drown who had thrown them in.
This is a chiastic return to the opening plague of blood. Once again, there is a demand to "stand" (va-yityazev); once again, Moses lifts his arm. The bloody lintel posts become the walls of water through which Israel must pass, in a continuation of the birth imagery of the previous 2 chapters.
We return as well to the initial fear of the price of freedom: "This is what we said to you in Egypt! Leave us alone, and we will work for Egypt, for it is better to work for Egypt than die in the wilderness," and Moses' contention "They will not have faith in me."
Now, after Israel passes through the breaking waters, they "have faith in God, and in Moses, his servant. The first stage of the Exodus is complete.]