The Torah says in Sh'mos 14:30

. . .וַיּוֹשַׁע ה' בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא אֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל מִיַּד מִצְרָיִם

That day God saved Yisra'el from the hand of Mitzrayim. . .

I wondered why in this context (having extracted the nation from servitude amid a series of wondrous events and plagues, and then protected them from war, and then brought them across the sea on dry land, and not yet having delivered them to the land and slaying their adversaries) the Torah seemed to be saying that then and only then did Hashem save them - by specifying that salvation happened on "that day". I hypothesized that either something more salvatory happened that day than any other time during this process, or that that day was the conclusion of an extended salvatory process.

Ibn Ezra addresses the issue directly, stating that (emphasis mine)

עתה היו ישראל נושעים מיד מצרים, כי עד עתה היה עליהם פחד המלך

Now Yisra'el were saved from the hand of Mitzrayim, for until now the fear of the king had been looming over them

What does Ibn Ezra mean by "fear of the king" being the thing whose departure pinpointed the time of salvation? Is it meant to be a newfound emotional state of the nation that really made them saved, or should it be understood as a practical threat that had been removed?

1 Answer 1


Both, really. The Ibn Ezra is saying that now that the Egyptians got destroyed, there was no longer a chance of the Egyptians coming to reclaim them as escaped slaves. Possibly, before they viewed themselves as still captives, because of the Egyptian threat looming over their heads, but now the threat was gone.

  • 2
    Do you have any source to say it was both?
    – msh210
    Commented Jan 26, 2015 at 14:24
  • @msh210 That's my understanding of the Ibn Ezra.
    – 147zcbm
    Commented Jan 27, 2015 at 12:55

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