To Egypt's king, who ruled beside
The reedy river's flow,
Came God's command, "Release, O king,
And let my people go."
The king's proud heart grew hard apace;
He marked the suppliant throng,
And said, "Nay, they must here abide;
The weak must serve the strong."
Straightway the Lord stretched forth his hand,
And every stream ran blood;
The river swept towards the sea--
A full ensanguined flood.
The haughty king beheld the land,
By plagues afflicted sore,
But, as God's wonders multiplied,
Hardened his heart the more;
Until the angel of the Lord
Came on the wings of Night,
And smote first-born of man and beast,
In his destructive flight.
Throughout all Egypt, not a house
Was spared this crowning woe.
Then broke the tyrant's stubborn will;
He bade the people go.
They gathered up their flocks and herds,
Rejoicing to be free;
And, going forth, a mighty host,
Encamped beside the sea.
Then Pharaoh's heart repented him;
He called a mighty force,
And swiftly followed on their track,
With chariot and with horse.
Then Israel's host were sore afraid;
But God was on their side,
And, lo! for them a way is cleft,
The Red-sea waves divide.
At God's command the restless waves
Obey the prophet's rod;
And, through the middle of the sea,
The people marched dry-shod.
But, when the spoilers, following close,
Would hinder Israel's flight,
The waters to their course return,
The parted waves unite,
And Pharaoh's host is swept away,
The chariots and the horse;
And not a man is left alive
Of all that mighty force.
So in these days God looks from heaven,
And marks his servants' woe;
Hear ye his voice: "Break every yoke,
And let my people go!"
For them the Red-sea waves divide,
The streams with crimson flow;
Therefore we mourn for our first-born;--
Then let the people go.
They are not weak whom God befriends,
He makes their cause His own;
And they who fight against God's might
Shall surely be o'erthrown.