Songs at the Sea


After Exodus 15:1-18

As the waters parted before them
they sang their songs of praise:

Some sang to the one who
shattered Pharaoh’s army
with a mighty right hand,
some sang to the god of their ancestors
who remained faithful to them
and them alone.

Others sang to the one
who redeems the oppressed
so that the world may know of his might:
who is like you god of war,
consuming the enemy like straw
incinerated with one awesome
mighty blast from on high?

Some sang a hymn of praise
to the god of vengeance,
who shamed the Egyptians
hurling them all like stones
into the heart of the churning sea;

still others sang out with hope
that the peoples of the land
they were promised
would now melt away
as god’s people went forth
to dispossess them.

As they marched on
their voices joined into one feverish song;
a tuneless wordless howl
that echoed on and on
before finally disappearing
somewhere in the deep.

Who You Gonna Serve Now

"The Delivery of Israel Pharaoh and his Hosts Overwhelmed in the Red Sea" by Francis Danby (1825)

then he sang this song to moses and the
israelites singing i am your god and you will
enshrine me the god of your fathers you must
exalt me i am the man of war who went up
against the false gods of egypt and cracked them like so
much dry straw the one who hurls chariots and soldiers
into the sea like small stones the one who will cast terror and
dread on the inhabitants of canaan for their sins i’m
your champion your protector your god my commands will
soon be revealed to you follow them lest i strike
you down as i’ve destroyed all the others maybe
someday you’ll be ready to serve the master
the one who’s greater yes even greater
than me

(Exodus 15: 1-5, 15-16, 26)