B’SHALACH (when he let go)

Exodus 13:17 And it came to pass when let go Pharaoh את־ the people go, that Elohim led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; because Elohim said, Perhaps the people will change their minds when they see war and they will return to Egypt. C-MATS

Question: Why did יהוה take his people into the desert? Since the war-like Philistines were sure to fight the Hebrew “invaders’, יהוה knew that the people would lose heart and return to Egypt. יהוה took them so far from Egypt that it would be difficult for them to consider returning. If the return had been quick and easy, some would have attempted the journey back to Egypt. יהוה wanted them to be in circumstances where they would have to see constant miracles in order to survive. This would teach them to walk in faith. (Chumash)

Question: Do we have an eyewitness account of the events that took place in Egypt? After his successor’s death, the Old Kingdom of Egypt fell into utter and complete ruin. A papyrus dating from the end of the Old Kingdom was found in the early 19th century in Egypt. It seems to be an eyewitness account of the events preceding the dissolution of the Old Kingdom. Its author, an Egyptian named Ipuwer, writes:

“Plague is throughout the land. Blood is everywhere. The river is blood. That is our water! That is our happiness! What shall we do in respect thereof? All is ruin! Trees are destroyed. No fruit or herbs are found… Forsooth, gates, columns, and walls are consumed by fire. Forsooth, grain has perished on every side. The land is not light [dark]. (Source: A.H. Gardiner, Admonitions of an Egyptian Sage from a hieratic papyrus in Leiden (1909).)”

Question: Are there ever situations that are genuinely hopeless? Certainly, situations can arise in life that can seem that way. However when we remember that יהוה not only created and supervises the world, but is closely involved with every part of our lives big or small, we will realize that He can always change things for the better and therefore we need never give up hope. No matter how dark things may seem, we should never get depressed or give up hope, but rather always keep hoping and believing that יהוה can and will split the sea for us too.

Question: יהוה never gives us a test that we cannot pass. What do you think this means? יהוה knows who we are and our true capabilities. He put us in this world to grow spiritually and the life situations we encounter are tests that we can always pass by using them for spiritual growth. While things won’t always necessarily turn out the way we want them to, we can rest assured that whatever happens to us is from יהוה and if we try we can find a way to grow closer to him through it.

#16 Bshallach