Song of Moses

The name given to the song of triumph sung by Moses and the Israelites after the crossing of the Red Sea and the destruction of the hosts of Pharaoh (Ex 15:1-18). The sublimity of this noble ode is universally admitted. In magnificent strains it celebrates the deliverance just experienced, extolling the attributes of Yahweh revealed in the triumph (Ex 15:1-12), then anticipates the astonishing effects which would flow from this deliverance in the immediate future and later (Ex 15:13-18). There seems no reason to doubt that at least the basis of the song--possibly the whole--is genuinely Mosaic. In the allusions to the guidance of the people to God’s holy habitation, and to the terror of the surrounding peoples and of the Canaanites (Ex 15:13-18), it is thought that traces are manifest of a later revision and expansion. This, however, is by no means a necessary conclusion.

Driver, who in LOT, 8th edition, 30, goes with the critics on this point, wrote more guardedly in the 1st edition (p. 27): "Probably, however, the greater part of the song is Mosaic, and the modification or expansion is limited to the closing verses; for the general style is antique. and the triumphant tone which pervades it is just such as might naturally have been inspired by the event which it celebrates."

The song of Moses is made the model in the Apocalypse of "the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb," which those standing by the sea of glass, who have "come off victorious from the beast, and from his image, and from the number of his name," sing to God’s praise, "Great and marvelous are thy works, O Lord God, the Almighty," etc. (Re 15:2-4). The church having experienced a deliverance similar to that experienced by Israel at the Red Sea, but infinitely greater, the old song is recast, and its terms are readapted to express both victories, the lower and the higher, at once.