Exodus 15:1-3, 11, 13, 17-18
Easter Vigil – A Women’s Lectionary
1 Then MosesA and the IsraelitesB sangC this songD to the Lord:E
A “Moses” = Mosheh. From mashah (to pull out in a literal or figurative sense, to draw out) OR from Egyptian mes or mesu (child, son i.e. child of…). This is Moses – the one drawn out from the water, which is to say, rescued. If derived from the Egyptian, his name would share a root with Rameses and Thutmose.
B “Israelites” = ben + Yisrael. Literally, “children of Israel.” Ben is from banah (to build or obtain children). This is son, age, child. It is son in a literal or figurative sense. Yisrael is from sarah (to persist, exert oneself, contend, persevere, wrestle, prevail) + el (God or god). This is Israel, meaning God strives or one who strives with God; new name for Jacob and for his offspring. This refers to the people and to the land.
C “sang” = shir. From shir (song, singer). This is to sing. It could also refer to one who is singing or leading others in song.
D “song” = shir. Related to “sang” in v1. See note C above.
E “Lord” = YHVH. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (to come to pass, become, be). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place.
“I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously;F
horseG and riderH he has thrownI into the sea.J
F “triumphed gloriously” = gaah + gaah. 7x in OT. This is to rise up, be exalted, triumph. Figuratively, it can mean to be majestic. The word is repeated twice – the first time as an Infinitive Absolute. The Infinitive Absolute serves to emphasize the sentiment of the word. It is rather like Foghorn Leghorn’s speech pattern, “I said, I said.”
G “horse” = sus. Root may mean to skip as in jump for joy. This is a crane or a swift bird. It is also a horse as leaping.
H “rider” = rakab. This is to ride an animal or in some vehicle. It can also mean bringing on a horse.
I “thrown” = ramah. 13x in OT. This is to hurl, shoot, carry, or throw. Figuratively, it is to beguile, delude or betray. It can also refer to an archer.
J “sea” = yam. Root may mean to roar. This is the sea, often referring to the Mediterranean. It comes from the root in the sense of the roar of crashing surf. This word is sometimes used for rivers or other sources of water. It can mean to the west or to the south.
2 The LordK is my strengthL and my might,M
and he has becomeN my salvation;O
K “Lord” = Yah. Related to “Lord” in v1. From YHVH (see note E above). This is Lord or God – a shortened form of God’s most holy name.
L “strength” = oz. From azaz (to be strong, become fixed, be bold, prevail, be impudent; it means to be stout literally or figuratively. A Late Hebrew word). This is strength in the sense of force, majesty, praise, material and physical strength, the abstract notion of security. It can also speak of social or political power.
M “might” = zimrath. 3x in OT. From the same as zimrah (melody, psalm, or sound; sung to praise God or a song sung with an instrument); from zamar (making music; used specially of music to worship God; music with singing, singing praise, singing psalms); may be from zamar (to trim or prune). This is a song or instrumental music. It implies a song of praise.
N “become” = hayah. Related to “Lord” In v1 & “Lord” In v2. See note E above.
O “salvation” = yeshuah. From yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue, be safe. Properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. Used causatively, it means to free). This is salvation, deliverance, health, victory, prosperity.
this is my God,P and I will praiseQ him,
my father’sR God,S and I will exaltT him.
P “God” = El. Related to “Israelites” in v1. See note B above.
Q “praise” = navah. 2x in OT. This is to dwell, abide, or beautify. It is rest like one rests at home. It can also mean celebrate with praises.
R “father’s” = ab. This is father, chief, or ancestor. It is father in a literal or figurative sense.
S “God” = Elohim. Related to “Israelites” in v1 & “God” In v2. See note B above.
T “exalt” = rum. This is to rise or raise, to be high literally or figuratively. So it can also mean to exalt or extol.
3 The LordU is a warrior;V
the LordW is his name.X
U “Lord” = YHVH. Same as “Lord” in v1. See note E above.
V “warrior” = ish + milchamah. Literally, “man of war.” Ish is perhaps from enosh (human, humankind, mortal); from anash (to be weak, sick, or frail). This is man, husband, another, or humankind. Milchamah is from lacham (to eat or feed on; figuratively, to battle as a kind of consumption/destruction). This is battle, war, fighting, or one who fights (i.e. a warrior).
W “Lord” = YHVH. Same as “Lord” in v1. See note E above.
X “name” = shem. May be from sum (to put, place, set). This is name, fame, renown. A name was thought to indicate something essential about a person – something about their individuality. So, this word can also mean honor, authority, or character.
11 “Who is like you, O Lord,Y among the gods?Z
Who is like you, majesticAA in holiness,BB
Y “Lord” = YHVH. Same as “Lord” in v1. See note E above.
Z “gods” = el. Same as “God” in v2. See note P above.
AA “majestic” = adar. 3x in OT. This is wide, glorious, honorable, great, magnificent. Properly, it is to expand.
BB “holiness” = qodesh. This is set apart and so sacred. God is different from us and so God is holy/set apart. Things we dedicate to God’s service are set apart for God and so they, too, are holy, etc.
awesomeCC in splendor,DD doingEE wonders?FF
CC “awesome” = yare. This is to fear, be afraid, dreadful. It can also refer to fearful reverence – to fear in a moral sense is to say to revere, respect.
DD “splendor” = tehillah. From halal (to praise, be boastful). This is praise or a song of praise. It is to offer God a hymn, to boast in God. This shares a root with “hallelujah.”
EE “doing” = asah. This is to make, do, act, appoint, become in many senses.
FF “wonders” = pele. 13x in OT. This is a wonder, marvelous thing, or a miracle.
13 “In your steadfast loveGG you ledHH the peopleII whom you redeemed;JJ
you guidedKK them by your strength to your holy abode.LL
GG “steadfast love” = chesed. From chasad (being good, kind, merciful; may mean bowing one’s neck as is done in the presence of an equal for courtesy’s sake; so, if one in a superior position is treating you like an equal, that is what is captured here). This is favor, goodness, kindness, loving kindness, pity, reproach, or a good deed. When done by God to humanity, this is mercy/loving kindness. When done by humanity to God, it is piety.
HH “led” = nachah. This is lead, guide, or bring. It can be used for transporting into exile or coming in as colonists. This is the word used in Psalm 23 “he leads me in the paths of righteousness.”
II “people” = am. From amam (to darken, hide, associate; creating shadows by huddling together). This is people or nation. It can be used specifically for a tribe, collectively of troops or armies, or figuratively to refer to a flock of animals.
JJ “redeemed” = gaal. This is to redeem someone or something according to kinship laws. So, it could be acting on a relative’s behalf to buy back their property, to marry one’s brother’s widow, etc. This could be more briefly translated as to redeem, acts as kinsman, or purchase. As a noun, it could be deliverer or avenger.
KK “guided” = nahal. 10x in OT. This is leading or guiding – specifically to a resting place or somewhere where there is water. So, it can mean to refresh or feed, protect or sustain. The word itself carries a sense of flowing, sparkling water. This is the word used in Psalm 23 “he leads me beside still waters.”
LL “abode” = naveh. Related to “praise” in v2. From navah (see note Q above). This is home, place where shepherd or sheep live. It is at home – implies a lovely place or a place of satisfaction. It can also be used for the Temple or a pasture as the home of wild animals.
17 You brought them inMM and plantedNN them on the mountainOO of your own possession,PP
MM “brought…in” = bo. This is to enter, come in, advance, fulfill, bring offerings, enter to worship, attack. It can also have a sexual connotation.
NN “planted” = nata. To fix or fasten, establish or plant. This is planting in a literal or figurative sense.
OO “mountain” = har. From harar (hill or mountain). This is mountain, hill, hilly region.
PP “possession” = nachalah. Related to nachal (to inherit, occupy, distribute, take as heritage). This is properly something that was inherited. It can mean occupancy generally or, more particularly, an heirloom or an estate. This can be an inheritance, gift, possession, or portion.
the place,QQ O Lord,RR that you madeSS your abode,TT
QQ “place” = makon. 17x in OT. From kun (properly, in a perpendicular position; literally, to establish, fix, fasten, prepare; figuratively, it is certainty, to be firm, faithfulness, render sure or prosperous). This is a foundation, fixture, basis. It can also be a place or abode as somewhere that is established.
RR “Lord” = YHVH. Same as “Lord” in v1. See note E above.
SS “made” = asah. This is to make, do, act, appoint, become in many senses.
TT “abode” = yashab. This is to sit and so to remain and so to dwell. It is sitting for any reason – as a judge, in order to ambush, or just sitting quietly. Causatively, this can mean settling or marrying. This can also mean continue, endure, or establish.
the sanctuary,UU O Lord,VV that your handsWW have established.XX
UU “sanctuary” = miqdash. Related to “holiness” in v11. From the same as qodesh (see note BB above). This is a sacred place, sanctuary, holy place. It is something or somewhere that is consecrated, whether to God or to another.
VV “Lord” = YHVH. Same as “Lord” in v1. See note E above.
WW “hands” = yad. This is hand, ability, power. Hand in a literal sense, but also what one can do or the means by which one does it.
XX “established” = kun. Related to “place” in v17. See note QQ above.
18 The LordYY will reignZZ foreverAAA and ever.”BBB
YY “Lord” = YHVH. Same as “Lord” in v1. See note E above.
ZZ “reign” = malak. To be or become king or queen, to rise to the throne, to be crowned. By implication, to take counsel. This word may be from the Hebrew word for king “melek” or vice versa.
AAA “forever” = olam. This is a long scope of time whether in the past (antiquity, ancient time) or in the future (eternal, everlasting).
BBB “ever” = ed. From adah (to adorn, continue). This is eternity, old, a duration.
Image credit: “King Fountain” at Washington Park in Albany, NY. Photo by UpstateNYer, 2009.