Complete Jewish Bible
Parashah 16: B’shallach (After he had let go) 13:17–17:16
17 After Pharaoh had let the people go, God did not guide them to the highway that goes through the land of the P’lishtim, because it was close by — God thought that the people, upon seeing war, might change their minds and return to Egypt. 18 Rather, God led the people by a roundabout route, through the desert by the Sea of Suf. The people of Isra’el went up from the land of Egypt fully armed.
19 Moshe took the bones of Yosef with him, for Yosef had made the people of Isra’el swear an oath when he said, “God will certainly remember you; and you are to carry my bones up with you, away from here.”
20 They traveled from Sukkot and set up camp in Etam, at the edge of the desert. 21 Adonai went ahead of them in a column of cloud during the daytime to lead them on their way, and at night in a column of fire to give them light; thus they could travel both by day and by night. 22 Neither the column of cloud by day nor the column of fire at night went away from in front of the people.
14 Adonai said to Moshe, 2 “Tell the people of Isra’el to turn around and set up camp in front of Pi-Hachirot, between Migdol and the sea, in front of Ba‘al-Tz’fon; camp opposite it, by the sea. 3 Then Pharaoh will say that the people of Isra’el are wandering aimlessly in the countryside, the desert has closed in on them. 4 I will make Pharaoh so hardhearted that he will pursue them; thus I will win glory for myself at the expense of Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will realize at last that I am Adonai.” The people did as ordered.
5 When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, Pharaoh and his servants had a change of heart toward the people. They said, “What have we done, letting Isra’el stop being our slaves?” 6 So he prepared his chariots and took his people with him — 7 he took 600 first-quality chariots, as well as all the other chariots in Egypt, along with their commanders. 8 Adonai made Pharaoh hardhearted, and he pursued the people of Isra’el, as they left boldly. (ii) 9 The Egyptians went after them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, with his cavalry and army, and overtook them as they were encamped by the sea, by Pi-Hachirot, in front of Ba‘al-Tz’fon. 10 As Pharaoh approached, the people of Isra’el looked up and saw the Egyptians right there, coming after them. In great fear the people of Isra’el cried out to Adonai 11 and said to Moshe, “Was it because there weren’t enough graves in Egypt that you brought us out to die in the desert? Why have you done this to us, bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Didn’t we tell you in Egypt to let us alone, we’ll just go on being slaves for the Egyptians? It would be better for us to be the Egyptians’ slaves than to die in the desert!” 13 Moshe answered the people, “Stop being so fearful! Remain steady, and you will see how Adonai is going to save you. He will do it today — today you have seen the Egyptians, but you will never see them again! 14 Adonai will do battle for you. Just calm yourselves down!”
(A: iii) 15 Adonai asked Moshe, “Why are you crying to me? Tell the people of Isra’el to go forward! 16 Lift your staff, reach out with your hand over the sea, and divide it in two. The people of Isra’el will advance into the sea on dry ground. 17 As for me, I will make the Egyptians hardhearted; and they will march in after them; thus I will win glory for myself at the expense of Pharaoh and all his army, chariots and cavalry. 18 Then the Egyptians will realize that I am Adonai, when I have won myself glory at the expense of Pharaoh, his chariots and his cavalry.”
19 Next, the angel of God, who was going ahead of the camp of Isra’el, moved away and went behind them; and the column of cloud moved away from in front of them and stood behind them. 20 It stationed itself between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Isra’el — there was cloud and darkness here, but light by night there; so that the one did not come near the other all night long.
21 Moshe reached his hand out over the sea, and Adonai caused the sea to go back before a strong east wind all night. He made the sea become dry land, and its water was divided in two. 22 Then the people of Isra’el went into the sea on the dry ground, with the water walled up for them on their right and on their left.
23 The Egyptians continued their pursuit, going after them into the sea — all Pharaoh’s horses, chariots and cavalry. 24 Just before dawn, Adonai looked out on the Egyptian army through the column of fire and cloud and threw them into a panic. 25 He caused the wheels of their chariots to break off, so that they could move only with difficulty. The Egyptians said, “Adonai is fighting for Isra’el against the Egyptians! Let’s get away from them!”
(A: iv, S: iii) 26 Adonai said to Moshe, “Reach your hand out over the sea, and the water will return and cover the Egyptians with their chariots and cavalry.” 27 Moshe reached his hand out over the sea, and by dawn the sea had returned to its former depth. The Egyptians tried to flee, but Adonai swept them into the sea. 28 The water came back and covered all the chariots and cavalry of Pharaoh’s army who had followed them into the sea — not even one of them was left. 29 But the people of Isra’el walked on dry ground in the sea, with the water walled up for them on their right and on their left.
30 On that day, Adonai saved Isra’el from the Egyptians; Isra’el saw the Egyptians dead on the shore. 31 When Isra’el saw the mighty deed that Adonai had performed against the Egyptians, the people feared Adonai, and they believed in Adonai and in his servant Moshe.
15 Then Moshe and the people of Isra’el sang this song to Adonai:
“I will sing to Adonai, for he is highly exalted:
the horse and its rider he threw in the sea.
2 Yah is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation.
This is my God: I will glorify him;
my father’s God: I will exalt him.
3 Adonai is a warrior;
Adonai is his name.
4 Pharaoh’s chariots and his army
he hurled into the sea.
His elite commanders
were drowned in the Sea of Suf.
5 The deep waters covered them;
they sank to the depths like a stone.
6 Your right hand, Adonai, is sublimely powerful;
your right hand, Adonai, shatters the foe.
7 By your great majesty you bring down your enemies;
you send out your wrath to consume them like stubble.
8 With a blast from your nostrils the waters piled up —
the waters stood up like a wall,
the depths of the sea became firm ground.
9 The enemy said, ‘I will pursue and overtake,
divide the spoil and gorge myself on them.
I will draw my sword; my hand will destroy them.’
10 You blew with your wind, the sea covered them,
they sank like lead in the mighty waters.
11 Who is like you, Adonai, among the mighty?
Who is like you, sublime in holiness,
awesome in praises, working wonders?
12 You reached out with your right hand:
the earth swallowed them.
13 In your love, you led the people you redeemed;
in your strength, you guided them to your holy abode.
14 The peoples have heard, and they tremble;
anguish takes hold of those living in P’leshet;
15 then the chiefs of Edom are dismayed;
trepidation seizes the heads of Mo’av;
all those living in Kena‘an are melted away.
16 Terror and dread fall on them;
by the might of your arm they are still as stone
until your people pass over, Adonai,
till the people you purchased pass over.
17 You will bring them in and plant them
on the mountain which is your heritage,
the place, Adonai, that you made your abode,
the sanctuary, Adonai, which your hands established.
18 Adonai will reign forever and ever.
19 For the horses of Pharaoh went with his chariots
and with his cavalry into the sea,
but Adonai brought the sea waters back upon them,
while the people of Isra’el walked on dry land
in the midst of the sea!”
20 Also Miryam the prophet, sister of Aharon, took a tambourine in her hand; and all the women went out after her with tambourines, dancing, 21 as Miryam sang to them:
“Sing to Adonai, for he is highly exalted!
The horse and its rider he threw in the sea!”
22 Moshe led Isra’el onward from the Sea of Suf. They went out into the Shur Desert; but after traveling three days in the desert, they had found no water. 23 They arrived at Marah but couldn’t drink the water there, because it was bitter. This is why they called it Marah [bitterness]. 24 The people grumbled against Moshe and asked, “What are we to drink?” 25 Moshe cried to Adonai; and Adonai showed him a certain piece of wood, which, when he threw it into the water, made the water taste good. There Adonai made laws and rules of life for them, and there he tested them. 26 He said, “If you will listen intently to the voice of Adonai your God, do what he considers right, pay attention to his mitzvot and observe his laws, I will not afflict you with any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians; because I am Adonai your healer.”
(A: v, S: iv) 27 They came to Eilim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and camped there by the water.
16 They traveled on from Eilim, and the whole community of the people of Isra’el arrived at the Seen Desert, between Eilim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after leaving the land of Egypt. 2 There in the desert the whole community of the people of Isra’el grumbled against Moshe and Aharon. 3 The people of Isra’el said to them, “We wish Adonai had used his own hand to kill us off in Egypt! There we used to sit around the pots with the meat boiling, and we had as much food as we wanted. But you have taken us out into this desert to let this whole assembly starve to death!”
4 Adonai said to Moshe, “Here, I will cause bread to rain down from heaven for you. The people are to go out and gather a day’s ration every day. By this I will test whether they will observe my Torah or not. 5 On the sixth day, when they prepare what they have brought in, it will turn out to be twice as much as they gather on the other days.” 6 Moshe and Aharon said to all the people of Isra’el, “This evening, you will realize that it has been Adonai who brought you out of Egypt; 7 and in the morning, you will see Adonai’s glory. For he has listened to your grumblings against Adonai — what are we that you should grumble against us?” 8 Moshe added, “What I have said will happen when Adonai gives you meat to eat this evening and your fill of bread tomorrow morning. Adonai has listened to your complaints and grumblings against him — what are we? Your grumblings are not against us but against Adonai.”
9 Moshe said to Aharon, “Say to the whole community of Isra’el, ‘Come close, into the presence of Adonai, for he has heard your grumblings.’” 10 As Aharon spoke to the whole community of the people of Isra’el, they looked toward the desert; and there before them the glory of Adonai appeared in the cloud; (A: vi, S: v) 11 and Adonai said to Moshe, 12 “I have heard the grumblings of the people of Isra’el. Say to them: ‘At dusk you will be eating meat, and in the morning you will have your fill of bread. Then you will realize that I am Adonai your God.’”
13 That evening, quails came up and covered the camp; while in the morning there was a layer of dew all around the camp. 14 When the dew had evaporated, there on the surface of the desert was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground. 15 When the people of Isra’el saw it, they asked each other, “Man hu? [What is it?]” because they didn’t know what it was. Moshe answered them, “It is the bread which Adonai has given you to eat. 16 Here is what Adonai has ordered: each man is to gather according to his appetite — each is to take an ‘omer [two quarts] per person for everyone in his tent.” 17 The people of Isra’el did this. Some gathered more, some less; 18 but when they put it in an ‘omer-measure, whoever had gathered much had no excess; and whoever had gathered little had no shortage; nevertheless each person had gathered according to his appetite.
19 Moshe told them, “No one is to leave any of it till morning.” 20 But they didn’t pay attention to Moshe, and some kept the leftovers until morning. It bred worms and rotted, which made Moshe angry at them. 21 So they gathered it morning after morning, each person according to his appetite; but as the sun grew hot, it melted.
22 On the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two ‘omers per person; and all the community leaders came and reported to Moshe. 23 He told them, “This is what Adonai has said: ‘Tomorrow is a holy Shabbat for Adonai. Bake what you want to bake; boil what you want to boil; and whatever is left over, set aside and keep for the morning.’” 24 They set it aside till morning, as Moshe had ordered; and it didn’t rot or have worms. 25 Moshe said, “Today, eat that; because today is a Shabbat for Adonai — today you won’t find it in the field. 26 Gather it six days, but the seventh day is the Shabbat — on that day there won’t be any.” 27 However, on the seventh day, some of the people went out to gather and found none.
28 Adonai said to Moshe, “How long will you refuse to observe my mitzvot and teachings? 29 Look, Adonai has given you the Shabbat. This is why he is providing bread for two days on the sixth day. Each of you, stay where you are; no one is to leave his place on the seventh day.” (S: vi) 30 So the people rested on the seventh day.
31 The people called the food man. It was like coriander seed, white; and it tasted like honey cakes. 32 Moshe said, “Here is what Adonai has ordered: ‘Let two quarts of man be kept through all your generations, so that they will be able to see the bread which I fed you in the desert when I brought you out of Egypt.’” 33 Moshe said to Aharon, “Take a jar, put in it two quarts of man, and set it aside before Adonai to be kept through all your generations.” 34 Just as Adonai ordered Moshe, Aharon set it aside before the testimony to be kept. 35 The people of Isra’el ate man for forty years, until they came to an inhabited land. They ate man until they arrived at the borders of the land of Kena‘an. 36 (An ‘omer is one-tenth of an eifah [which is a bushel dry-measure].)
17 (vii) The whole community of the people of Isra’el left the Seen Desert, traveling in stages, as Adonai had ordered, and camped at Refidim; but there was no water for the people to drink. 2 The people quarreled with Moshe, demanding, “Give us water to drink!” But Moshe replied, “Why pick a fight with me? Why are you testing Adonai?” 3 However, the people were thirsty for water there and grumbled against Moshe, “For what did you bring us up from Egypt? To kill us, our children and our livestock with thirst?”
4 Moshe cried out to Adonai, “What am I to do with these people? They’re ready to stone me!” 5 Adonai answered Moshe, “Go on ahead of the people, and bring with you the leaders of Isra’el. Take your staff in your hand, the one you used to strike the river; and go. 6 I will stand in front of you there on the rock in Horev. You are to strike the rock, and water will come out of it, so the people can drink.” Moshe did this in the sight of the leaders of Isra’el. 7 The place was named Massah [testing] and M’rivah [quarreling] because of the quarreling of the people of Isra’el and because they tested Adonai by asking, “Is Adonai with us or not?”
8 Then ‘Amalek came and fought with Isra’el at Refidim. 9 Moshe said to Y’hoshua, “Choose men for us, go out, and fight with ‘Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with God’s staff in my hand.” 10 Y’hoshua did as Moshe had told him and fought with ‘Amalek. Then Moshe, Aharon and Hur went up to the top of the hill. 11 When Moshe raised his hand, Isra’el prevailed; but when he let it down, ‘Amalek prevailed. 12 However, Moshe’s hands grew heavy; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. Aharon and Hur held up his hands, the one on the one side and the other on the other; so that his hands stayed steady until sunset. 13 Thus Y’hoshua defeated ‘Amalek, putting their people to the sword.
(Maftir) 14 Adonai said to Moshe, “Write this in a book to be remembered, and tell it to Y’hoshua: I will completely blot out any memory of ‘Amalek from under heaven.” 15 Moshe built an altar, called it Adonai Nissi [Adonai is my banner/miracle], 16 and said, “Because their hand was against the throne of Yah, Adonai will fight ‘Amalek generation after generation.”
Haftarah B’shallach: Shof’tim (Judges) 4:4–5:31 (A); 5:1–31 (S)
B’rit Hadashah suggested readings for Parashah B’shallach: Luke 2:22–24; Yochanan (John) 6:25–35; 19:31–37; 1 Corinthians 10:1–13; 2 Corinthians 8:1–15; Revelation 15:1–4