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Song of the sea

 

Song of the sea

Song of the Sea from a Sefer Torah

The Song of the Sea (Hebrew: שירת הים‎, Shirat HaYam, also known as Az Yashir Moshe) is a poem that appears in the Book of Exodus of the Hebrew Bible, at Exodus 15:1–18. It is followed in verses 20 and 21 by a much shorter song sung by Miriam and the other women. The Song of the Sea was reputedly sung by the Israelites after their crossing the Red Sea in safety, and celebrates the destruction of the Egyptian army during the crossing, and looks forward to the future conquest of Canaan.

The poem is included in Jewish prayer books, and recited daily in the morning shacharit services. The poem also comprises the first ode or hymn of the Eastern Orthodox canon, where it is known as the Song or Ode of Moses.[1] It is also used in the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and other Christian liturgies[2] at the Easter Vigil when the history of salvation is recounted. These traditions follow Revelation 15:3 by calling it the "Song of Moses" (not to be confused with the Song of Moses in Deuteronomy).

Contents

  • Origin 1
  • Text 2
  • Ketuba of the Seventh Day of Pesah 3
  • Musical settings 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Origin

The poem forms part of parshat Beshalach. It is one of only two sections of the Sefer Torah that is written with a different layout from the normal simple columns. The other section written differently is the Song of Moses at the end of Deuteronomy, in parshat Ha'azinu.

The Song of the Sea is noted for its archaic language. It is written in a style of Hebrew much older than that of the rest Exodus. Most scholars consider it the oldest surviving text describing the Exodus, dating to the pre-monarchic period. An alternative is that it was deliberately written in an archaic style, a literary device not unknown.[3]

Text

Original Hebrew English translation (New International Version)

אָ֣ז יָשִֽׁיר־מֹשֶׁה֩ וּבְנֵ֨י יִשְׂרָאֵ֜ל אֶת־הַשִּׁירָ֤ה הַזֹּאת֙ לַֽיהוָ֔ה וַיֹּאמְר֖וּ לֵאמֹ֑ר אָשִׁ֤ירָה לַֽיהוָה֙ כִּֽי־גָאֹ֣ה גָּאָ֔ה ס֥וּס וְרֹכְבֹ֖ו רָמָ֥ה בַיָּֽם


עָזִּ֤י וְזִמְרָת֙ יָ֔הּ וַֽיְהִי־לִ֖י לִֽישׁוּעָ֑ה זֶ֤ה אֵלִי֙ וְאַנְוֵ֔הוּ אֱלֹהֵ֥י אָבִ֖י וַאֲרֹמְמֶֽנְהוּ
יְהוָ֖ה אִ֣ישׁ מִלְחָמָ֑ה יְהוָ֖ה שְׁמֹֽו
מַרְכְּבֹ֥ת פַּרְעֹ֛ה וְחֵילֹ֖ו יָרָ֣ה בַיָּ֑ם וּמִבְחַ֥ר שָֽׁלִשָׁ֖יו טֻבְּע֥וּ בְיַם־סֽוּף
תְּהֹמֹ֖ת יְכַסְיֻ֑מוּ יָרְד֥וּ בִמְצֹולֹ֖ת כְּמֹו־אָֽבֶן
יְמִֽינְךָ֣ יְהוָ֔ה נֶאְדָּרִ֖י בַּכֹּ֑חַ יְמִֽינְךָ֥ יְהוָ֖ה תִּרְעַ֥ץ אֹויֵֽב


וּבְרֹ֥ב גְּאֹונְךָ֖ תַּהֲרֹ֣ס קָמֶ֑יךָ תְּשַׁלַּח֙ חֲרֹ֣נְךָ֔ יֹאכְלֵ֖מֹו כַּקַּֽשׁ
וּבְר֤וּחַ אַפֶּ֙יךָ֙ נֶ֣עֶרְמוּ מַ֔יִם נִצְּב֥וּ כְמֹו־נֵ֖ד נֹזְלִ֑ים קָֽפְא֥וּ תְהֹמֹ֖ת בְּלֶב־יָֽם
אָמַ֥ר אֹויֵ֛ב אֶרְדֹּ֥ף אַשִּׂ֖יג אֲחַלֵּ֣ק שָׁלָ֑ל תִּמְלָאֵ֣מֹו נַפְשִׁ֔י אָרִ֣יק חַרְבִּ֔י תֹּורִישֵׁ֖מֹו יָדִֽי
נָשַׁ֥פְתָּ בְרוּחֲךָ֖ כִּסָּ֣מֹו יָ֑ם צָֽלֲלוּ֙ כַּֽעֹופֶ֔רֶת בְּמַ֖יִם אַדִּירִֽים
מִֽי־כָמֹ֤כָה בָּֽאֵלִם֙ יְהוָ֔ה מִ֥י כָּמֹ֖כָה נֶאְדָּ֣ר בַּקֹּ֑דֶשׁ נֹורָ֥א תְהִלֹּ֖ת עֹ֥שֵׂה פֶֽלֶא


נָטִ֙יתָ֙ יְמִ֣ינְךָ֔ תִּבְלָעֵ֖מֹו אָֽרֶץ
נָחִ֥יתָ בְחַסְדְּךָ֖ עַם־ז֣וּ גָּאָ֑לְתָּ נֵהַ֥לְתָּ בְעָזְּךָ֖ אֶל־נְוֵ֥ה קָדְשֶֽׁךָ
שָֽׁמְע֥וּ עַמִּ֖ים יִרְגָּז֑וּן חִ֣יל אָחַ֔ז יֹשְׁבֵ֖י פְּלָֽשֶׁת
אָ֤ז נִבְהֲלוּ֙ אַלּוּפֵ֣י אֱדֹ֔ום אֵילֵ֣י מֹואָ֔ב יֹֽאחֲזֵ֖מֹו רָ֑עַד נָמֹ֕גוּ כֹּ֖ל יֹשְׁבֵ֥י כְנָֽעַן
תִּפֹּ֨ל עֲלֵיהֶ֤ם אֵימָ֙תָה֙ וָפַ֔חַד בִּגְדֹ֥ל זְרֹועֲךָ֖ יִדְּמ֣וּ כָּאָ֑בֶן עַד־יַעֲבֹ֤ר עַמְּךָ֙ יְהוָ֔ה עַֽד־יַעֲבֹ֖ר עַם־ז֥וּ קָנִֽיתָ
תְּבִאֵ֗מֹו וְתִטָּעֵ֙מֹו֙ בְּהַ֣ר נַחֲלָֽתְךָ֔ מָכֹ֧ון לְשִׁבְתְּךָ֛ פָּעַ֖לְתָּ יְהוָ֑ה מִקְּדָ֕שׁ אֲדֹנָ֖י כֹּונְנ֥וּ יָדֶֽיךָ


יְהוָ֥ה ׀ יִמְלֹ֖ךְ לְעֹלָ֥ם וָעֶֽד


כִּ֣י בָא֩ ס֨וּס פַּרְעֹ֜ה בְּרִכְבֹּ֤ו וּבְפָרָשָׁיו֙ בַּיָּ֔ם וַיָּ֧שֶׁב יְהוָ֛ה עֲלֵהֶ֖ם אֶת־מֵ֣י הַיָּ֑ם וּבְנֵ֧י יִשְׂרָאֵ֛ל הָלְכ֥וּ בַיַּבָּשָׁ֖ה בְּתֹ֥וךְ הַיָּֽם
וַתִּקַּח֩ מִרְיָ֨ם הַנְּבִיאָ֜ה אֲחֹ֧ות אַהֲרֹ֛ן אֶת־הַתֹּ֖ף בְּיָדָ֑הּ וַתֵּצֶ֤אןָ כָֽל־הַנָּשִׁים֙ אַחֲרֶ֔יהָ בְּתֻפִּ֖ים וּבִמְחֹלֹֽת
וַתַּ֥עַן לָהֶ֖ם מִרְיָ֑ם שִׁ֤ירוּ לַֽיהוָה֙ כִּֽי־גָאֹ֣ה גָּאָ֔ה ס֥וּס וְרֹכְבֹ֖ו רָמָ֥ה בַיָּֽם

1 Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord:

“I will sing to the Lord,
    for he is highly exalted.
Both horse and driver
    he has hurled into the sea.

2 “The Lord is my strength and my defense[a];
    he has become my salvation.
He is my God, and I will praise him,
    my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
3 The Lord is a warrior;
    the Lord is his name.
4 Pharaoh’s chariots and his army
    he has hurled into the sea.
The best of Pharaoh’s officers
    are drowned in the Red Sea.[b]
5 The deep waters have covered them;[4]
    they sank to the depths like a stone.
6 Your right hand, Lord,
    was majestic in power.
Your right hand, Lord,
    shattered the enemy.

7 “In the greatness of your majesty
    you threw down those who opposed you.
You unleashed your burning anger;
    it consumed them like stubble.
8 By the blast of your nostrils
    the waters piled up.
The surging waters stood up like a wall;
    the deep waters congealed in the heart of the sea.
9 The enemy boasted,
    ‘I will pursue, I will overtake them.
I will divide the spoils;
    I will gorge myself on them.
I will draw my sword
    and my hand will destroy them.’
10 But you blew with your breath,
    and the sea covered them.
They sank like lead
    in the mighty waters.
11 Who among the gods
    is like you, Lord?
Who is like you—
    majestic in holiness,
awesome in glory,
    working wonders?

12 “You stretch out your right hand,
    and the earth swallows your enemies.
13 In your unfailing love you will lead
    the people you have redeemed.
In your strength you will guide them
    to your holy dwelling.
14 The nations will hear and tremble;
    anguish will grip the people of Philistia.
15 The chiefs of Edom will be terrified,
    the leaders of Moab will be seized with trembling,
the people[c] of Canaan will melt away;
16 terror and dread will fall on them.
By the power of your arm
    they will be as still as a stone—
until your people pass by, Lord,
    until the people you bought[d] pass by.
17 You will bring them in and plant them
    on the mountain of your inheritance—
the place, Lord, you made for your dwelling,
    the sanctuary, Lord, your hands established.

18 “The Lord reigns
    for ever and ever.”

19 When Pharaoh’s horses, chariots and horsemen[e] went into the sea, the Lord brought the waters of the sea back over them, but the Israelites walked through the sea on dry ground. 20 Then Miriam the prophet, Aaron’s sister, took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women followed her, with timbrels and dancing. 21 Miriam sang to them:

Sing to the Lord,
    for he is highly exalted.
Both horse and driver
    he has hurled into the sea.

Ketuba of the Seventh Day of Pesah

The Ketubá del Seten Dia de Pesah (or כתובה ליום השביעי של פסח - Ketuba Le-yom Ha-shebi`i shel Pesah) is a liturgical poem in Ladino, describing Pharaoh's defeat in the Sea of Reeds. Most Jewish communities sing this poem on 21 Nisan, the seventh day of Passover. According to Jewish tradition, this is the day on which Pharaoh's army was drowned in the Sea of Reeds, and the Israelite people sang the Song of the Sea in gratitude for this victory.

Presumably, this text is called a ketuba ("marriage contract") because the relationship between God and the Jewish people is traditionally described as a marriage, and the splitting of the sea is considered to be an important event leading to that marriage, which ultimately took place 42 days later, at Mt. Sinai.

A tune for the Ladino poem (along with the entire text itself) can be found in Isaac Levy's Anthology of Sepharadic Hazzanut.[5]

Musical settings

The following settings exist for the Song of the Sea in the Catholic tradition:

The following setting exists for the Song of the Sea in the Protestant tradition:

  • Mirjams Siegesgesang (Miriam's Song of Triumph), Op. 136 by Franz Schubert.

References

  1. ^ The Psalter According to the Seventy (1987). Boston: Holy Transfiguration Monastery. ISBN 0-943405-00-9.
  2. ^ e.g. Methodist Worship Book
  3. ^ Thomas B. Dozeman (13 November 2009). Exodus. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 331.  
  4. ^ In Jewish tradition different opinion means that Par'o could have survived and he had gone to other old city
  5. ^ Isaac Levy's Anthology of Sepharadic Hazzanut (Antologiya shel Hazzanut Sefaradit, 1965), vol. on the Three Festivals, p. 409, #335.

External links

  • A collection of articles on the Song of the Sea from a Jewish perspective. at Chabad.org
  • Biblical Hebrew Poetry - Reconstructing the Original Oral, Aural and Visual Experience
  • Song of the Sea (Exodus 15:1b-18) Reconstructed
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