Click here to read Exodus 15:22-18:27

Today’s passage shows how completely God provides for the people of Israel as they travel through the desert to Mount Sinai.  Having just delivered the people out of slavery and destroying the Egyptians that chased them God doesn’t choose to lead Israel in such a way that they avoid any sort of hardship.  Instead He leads them so that they will learn to trust in His providence in all scenarios no matter how difficult things might be.

Again we see the pattern of the people of Israel grumbling against God and Moses, as they want things to be done according to their timetable rather than God’s.  But even though they complain, God shows that He will provide for them in all aspects: water, food, a day of rest, and even in battle as they defeated the Amalekites.

God also provided for Moses specifically as he is reunited with his wife and sons and was provided with an opportunity to share with his father-in-law the good news of what God had done for the people of Israel.  As a result, Jethro sacrificed to God and he also gave Moses good advice on how to be a better judge for Israel.

God provided for every need of the Israelites as they made their way to Mount Sinai; He prepared Moses and all of Israel for the next covenant that He would make with His servant Moses.
Names Places

God – God

Moses – baby drawn from water and saved

Miriam – Moses’ sister

Aaron – Moses’s brother

Amalekites – descendants of Esau’s grandson – Amalek



Desert of Shur – first desert the Israelites traveled after the Red Sea

Marah – “bitter” where Israel found bitter water

Elim – camp with 12 springs and 70 palm trees

Desert of Sin – second desert in which Israel traveled

Rephidim – where Israel complained about water and was attacked by the Amalekites

Massah – “testing” where God brought water from a rock

Meribah – “quarreling” where God brought water from a rock


Joshua – lead the army of Israel against the Amalekites

Hur – held Moses’ hands up with Aaron

Jethro – Moses’ father-in-law

Zipporah – Moses’ wife

Gershom – “an alien there” Moses’ son

Eliezer – “my God is helper” Moses’ son

elders of Israel

Pharaoh – ruler of Egypt




Red Sea – the sea that God parted and Israel crossed

Sinai – where the Israelites are headed

Horeb (Sinai) – mountain range where the mountain of God is

Midian – homeland of Moses’ father-in-law

Nile – sacred river of Egypt

Journey to Mt Sinai (Logos Bible Software) click to enlarge

Interesting facts:

1) In this passage is the first mention of a Sabbath rest—a very important concept.  The Israelites would have been used to working every day for the Egyptians as slaves, but God knew how important a rest would be for them.  The Sabbath rest on the seventh day is reminiscent of God’s rest on the seventh day after creating the world in the first six, and it will also point towards a future permanent rest and peace found in God.  The Sabbath will be described in more detail in the passages ahead.

2) The use of Moses’ staff as a factor in the battle with the Amalekites serves to identify the victory as an act of God.  This battle also showed Israel that God would give them victory over their enemies as they trusted and obeyed Him.

3) You may have noticed that the story of Jethro coming to see the people of God and then offering a sacrifice to God is similar to another account in the Bible.  Below is a nice chart from Dr. Thomas Constable that shows how similar Jethro and Melchizedek are as they are examples of a righteous Gentile.