Shemot/Exodus 15:1 I will sing to the L-rd for He is highly exalted
The last two words of the text show an interesting Hebrew construction. is a Qal infinitive, meaning 'to exalt', and is a Qal Affix 3ms form, meaning 'he exalted'. Together, the repeated verb indicates extreme intensity, a sense of maximum possible effect, giving a translation like "for He is supremely exalted".Targum Onkelos renders it as "He exalted Himself above those who are exalted, and exaltation is His", either referring to anyone or anything else, perhaps in the spiritual realm, that is exalted or has exalted itself, or to Pharaoh and the Egyptians who had exalted themselves above the peoples around them and against G-d.
An alternative, suggested byRashi, is that the root meaning of the verb means 'to grow, to raise up' and the repetition indicates something that could not be done by another. No-one could properly exalt HaShem, He had to do it for Himself. The same verb is used in Isaiah 12:5 , literally "he has made/done an exaltation". "He has done excellent things" (NASB). There are many places in Scripture where we find G-d doing things for Himself, because man won't or can't do them, such as "I sought for a man among them who could build a barricade or stand in the break to oppose Me on behalf of the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no-one" (Ezekiel 22:30, CJB)). Isaiah continues, "I looked, but there was no-one to help Me, and I was appalled that no-one upheld Me. Therefore My own arm brought Me salvation" (Isaiah 63:5, CJB).
There are some things that only G-d can do. Only G-d could free our people from slavery and bring them out of Egypt. As we sing at the Seder - Dayenu, it would have been sufficient! But He brought us out, as He promised Moshe, "with an outstretched arm and great judgements" (Shemot 6:7). HaShem demonstrated that the Egyptian gods were all non-entities and roundly discredited them. The Egyptians who pursued us were drowned in the Sea of Suf, in full view of our people, that we would know that this was no accident, but the deliberate plan and purpose of G-d. Then He took us to Mt. Sinai, gave us the Torah and entered into covenant with us, that we would know how to be a holy people and serve Him.
But even that wasn't enough - the problem of sin remained. The Passover when we left Egypt was partly only a picture of what was yet to come: the defeat of sin and death, once and for all. This was so large that only G-d could do it; only He could plan and execute the means of rescuing mankind from the power of sin and death. Spoken of many times by the prophets, it was Yeshua - G-d Himself, not a messenger, an angel or a seraph - who came to be our Pesach sacrifice. "Therefore also G-d highly exalted Him, and bestowed upon Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Yeshua, every knee should bow" (Philippians 2:9-10, NASB).
Further Study: Isaiah 45:20-25; Psalm 98:1-3; Hebrews 2:14-15
Application: As we work our way through the week of unleavened bread, eating the "humble bread" that our forefathers ate, let us remember that it is G-d who is exalted and as we eat, we act out again the prophecy that spoke of Yeshua and we look for the great redemption to come!
© Jonathan Allen, 2005
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