Our portion relates that God opted not to take the Israelites into the Land of Israel by the most direct route, as it would take them through Philistine territory and possibly discourage the people, sending them running back to Egypt. Instead, carrying the bones of Joseph, the Children of Israel are led towards the Red Sea led by a Godly Pillar of Cloud by day and Pillar of Fire by night.
God tells Moses to prepare the people for the eventual pursuit of Pharaoh, saying it is all a part of His plan to complete their humiliation and destruction. Indeed, when Pharaoh realizes his slaves are not going to return from serving their God, he sets out after them with 600 chariots. The Israelites, despite the advance notice, are frightened; They felt trapped with the sea before them, and the Egyptians pursuing them from behind! They turn on Moses. He tells them, however, that they have nothing to fear, as God will protect them. God tells Moses to lift his staff over the sea and part the waters. He instructs Moses to lead the people through the water on dry land and allow the Egyptians to drown.
Virtual Classroom Discussion
In 14:15, God asks Moses rhetorically why he is still praying when he should be commanding the people to cross the sea. Why does God discourage prayer here; isn’t prayer the ideal response to a difficult situation?