And with the blast of Your nostrils the waters were gathered together; the floods stood upright like a heap; the depths congealed in the heart of the sea. (Exodus 15:8)
Presumably, the phrase “Blast of your nostrils” is used to describe the strong east wind in a figurative sense. That being said, the Hebrew word translated as “blast” is ruach which also means “wind” or “spirit.” It was the Spirit of God — ruach elohim — that caused the seas to be gathered together into one place at the dawn of Creation (Genesis 1:9). And so, who is to say whether or not the strong east wind was, indeed, the result of a “blast from His nostrils”? It may very well have been exactly what Moses described to us. Whatever the mechanics of it, we know that He caused the waters to “pile up” like a heap and caused the waters to congeal. This is what set the stage for something spectacular to happen.
The Hebrew word used to describe “to pile up” literally means, “to collect something for a cunning purpose.” Think of it this way: secretly gathering something that you intend to use to set a trap for something or someone. In fact, the same root word is used in Genesis 3 to describe the “cunning” of the serpent. So am I equating God with the serpent? No. But I am saying that God split the sea for multiple purposes. He split the waters in order to lead His people to safety. But also, after His people had escaped, He used those waters for a specific and cunning purpose — to destroy the Egyptian army.
The Hebrew word translated as “heap” comes from a root word that means “to flee.” The idea behind this word, as it is used in this verse, is the waters “fled” and were isolated — “walled off” as it were. In other words, the congealed waters created a dam-like effect, holding back or walling off the waters of the sea. It is thus implied that the waters on the other side of the “wall” were not congealed. They were, in effect, collected and temporarily stored up in order to unleash upon the enemies of Israel.
Here is the point: according to the Song of Moses, “The Lord is a man of war” meaning that He is the Master General as well as the ultimate Redeemer. Even as He is planning our deliverance, He is scheduling the destruction of His enemies. While we don’t find joy in the destruction of the wicked, we do rest in the knowledge that God will deal with our adversary — in His time and in His way. It is not for us to exact vengeance; that is something that only God can be trusted to execute in a just and definitive way. And so, we celebrate the fact that our God is always working in the best interests of His people.
Blessings and Shalom,