The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace. – Exodus 14:14
Meaning of Exodus 14:14
The verse Exodus 14:14 ‘The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace’ means God is promising Moses that He will help them if they remain strong or peaceful. Moses and the Israelites had just escaped from the Pharoah’s army, and they didn’t know how to fight back as they didn’t have a way forward from the Red Sea. These words were spoken by God through the cloud when Moses had no solution as the soldiers were getting closer and the people of Israel were at the shores of the Red Sea. God tells Moses to divide the sea using His staff. In other words, the meaning of Exodus 14:14 is that being at peace is a commandment by God to all His believers and allows God to resolve the situations he or she is facing. The verse also means that Christians can rely on God when all solutions are exhausted in their emotional as well as physical struggles.
Interpretations of Exodus 14:14
The verse Exodus 14:14 is one of the most important verses in the Old Testament and is also part of the prominent event in Exodus when the Israelites left Egypt. A few interpretations are given below.
Interpretation #1 God tells there’s no need for an army
In this interpretation, the reader may likely assume that Christians or Christian nations do need an army to defend themselves. This belief may also extend if the reader takes the Pharoah as a metaphor for personal challenges, including financial, physical, and relationships. Hence, here the verse, ‘The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace’ means that a believer must allow God to take complete control and do nothing in times of danger or even attack.
Interpretation #2 God loves wars
This interpretation is mostly believed by an agnostic or a non-Christian. An agnostic usually acknowledges God’s presence but considers God as an unkind supernatural being who prefers violence. Hence the part of the verse ‘The LORD shall fight for you’ is considered as a call for war or violence by God, according to the reader. Also, the church usually teaches that emotional, financial, and relationship issues are spiritual wars. Hence, God will fight on his or her behalf.
Interpretation #3 Christians must make peace with their enemies
Here the readers understand that God is asking His followers to hold peace as well as make peace with their enemies. Though there is no mention of peace talks between the Israelites and Egyptians after the final plague and end of the 400 years old slavery, a priest or a Christian believes that he or she must allow God to solve their problems as they learn to maintain peace with a person who might the cause of their distress.
Interpretation #4 Christians are called to be emotionally and spiritually strong
In this interpretation, the reader acknowledges the greatest rescue act done by God through Moses, i.e., ending 400 years of slavery under Egyptians. After the rescue, as the Israelites reached the Red Sea, they were scared, kept complaining, and didn’t trust in God enough despite the proof. As the Pharoah’s army advanced toward them, Moses cried out to God, and thus God answered His prayers and asked Moses to hold his staff to part the Red Sea. Hence, Christians understand that if they leave their issues in God’s hands and keep their faith, He will send someone to rescue them from that trouble. This version also encourages believers to have faith in God and confidence in Him.
Historical background of Exodus 14:14
The book of Exodus was written by Moses in 6 B.C. after leaving Egypt and during the wilderness wandering. The events in the book of Exodus happened between 13 B.C. and 12 BC. Moses is seen as a legendary figure in Christianity and Judaism. According to the book of Exodus, Moses had gathered all the Israelites after freeing them from the terror of Ramses II, the Pharoah. Hence, this Exodus moment is the defining story in the emerging Israelite national history. Exodus chapter 14 describes the final events of the Israelites leaving the land of Egypt and defeating Pharoah’s guards. Here, God commands Moses to use his staff to divide the waters of the Red Sea. Then God parts the Red Sea to allow the Israelites to walk on dry land. Exodus 14:14 is usually quoted along with Exodus 14:13, where God tells Moses to tell the Israelites to stay still before asking Him to part the Red Sea.
Literary Devices of Exodus 14:14
Exodus 14:14 is a powerful verse from the timeline of Moses. A few literary devices used in Exodus 14:14 are given below.
Alliteration – The verse has good use of repeated consonant sounds at the beginning of the words, and one is not in quick succession. For example, the sound of /f/, the sound of /y/ in ‘The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace’.
Consonance – The verse also has a repeated consonant sound though not all sounds are in quick succession. For example, the sound of /r/, the sound of /l/, and the sound /d/ in ‘The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace’.
Assonance – There is also good use of vowel sounds in repetition. For example, the sound of /ee/ and the sound of /o/ in ‘The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace’.
Theme – The major themes of Exodus 14:14 are faith, confidence, and courage.
Litotes – The verse Exodus 14:14 is a good example of litotes as it is also an understatement compared to the problem faced by the Israelites. God commands Moses to use his staff to part the sea and the people of Israel to do nothing while Pharoah’s army is about to attack them with vast army.