This chapter describes what is one of the best-known events in the Scriptures, the crossing of the Red Sea. Having left Egypt, the Israelites were led by the LORD to a place where they were backed up against the Red Sea. He then caused the Egyptians to pursue them, and they caught up and surrounded the Israelites so that there was seemingly no means of escape. But then the LORD caused the waters to part, letting the Israelites cross to safety on the other side of the sea on dry land. He also agitated the Egyptian army to pursue the Israelites through the waters, only to have them crash down on them and kill them all. Thus, the Israelites believed in the LORD and feared Him and Moses His servant.
Chapter 14 can be outlines as follows:
In verses 1 – 4, the LORD told Moses to change direction and camp at a certain place beside the sea. He warned that Pharaoh will come after them to bring them back and enslave them once more. But it was really preparation for another mighty act of the LORD to show both the Egyptians and the Israelites that He is the sovereign Ruler of all.
Pharaoh and his assistants changed their minds about setting free the Israelites. So he prepared his best troops and chariots to pursue them and bring them back to Egypt. They catch up with them at the place where the LORD told the Israelites to camp. When the Israelites saw them, they became terrified and complained bitterly to Moses because he had led them to a place where there was no way of escape for them. Moses told them not to fear, for the LORD was about to do a mighty work.
The last section of this chapter (verses 15 – 31) contain one of the most well-known stories of the Bible – the crossing of the Red Sea. It starts with the LORD giving instructions that prepare the Israelites for the crossing (15 – 18). Then, in verses 19 – 20, the angel of the LORD, appearing as a cloud, moved to a position protecting the Israelites from the Egyptians. Verses 21 – 25 relate the dividing of the Red Sea waters and the crossing of the Israelites on dry land. Once across, the LORD caused the Red Sea to fall upon the pursuing Egyptians, killing the best of Pharaoh’s army (26-29). The last part of this section (30 – 31) is a summary of this wonderful deliverance by the LORD and the response of the grateful Israelites.