Song of the sea
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 they crossed the Sea of Reeds in safety, and celebrates the destruction of the Egyptian army during the crossing, and looks forward to their 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. It is also used in the Roman Catholic liturgy, where it is sometimes known as the "Song of Moses" (not to be confused with the Song of Moses in Deuteronomy).
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.)
|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
|‘I will sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted.
Both horse and driver he has hurled into the sea.
‘The Lord is my strength and my defence; he has become my salvation.
He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
The Lord is a warrior; the Lord is his name.
Pharaoh’s chariots and his army he has hurled into the sea.
The best of Pharaoh’s officers are drowned in the Red Sea.
The deep waters have covered them; they sank to the depths like a stone.
Your right hand, Lord, was majestic in power.
Your right hand, Lord, shattered the enemy.
In the greatness of your majesty you threw down those who opposed you.
You unleashed your burning anger; it consumed them like stubble.
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.
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.”
But you blew with your breath, and the sea covered them.
They sank like lead in the mighty waters.
Who among the gods is like you, Lord?
Who is like you – majestic in holiness,
awesome in glory, working wonders?
You stretch out your right hand, and the earth swallows your enemies.
In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed.
In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling.
The nations will hear and tremble; anguish will grip the people of Philistia.
The chiefs of Edom will be terrified, the leaders of Moab will be seized with trembling,
the people of Canaan will melt away; 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 pass by.
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.
The Lord reigns for ever and ever.
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.
The following settings exist for the Song of the Sea in the Catholic tradition:
- Cantique de Moïse (French) Étienne Moulinié.
- Canticum Moysis (Latin) Fernando de las Infantas.
- Cantemus Domino Ascanio Trombetti.
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.
- 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