“I shall strengthen the heart of Pharaoh and he will pursue them, and I will be glorified through Pharaoh and his entire army, and Egypt will know that I am Hashem.”
After the destruction of the Egyptian infrastructure during the ten plagues, Pharaoh recognizes Hashem and his complete ruling over the entire nature. Therefore he tells Moshe “Rise up, go out from among my people…and bless me as well.” (Exodus 12:31-32) what is the logic behind Pharaoh’s decision to gather his entire army and chase after the Jews? Why does Hashem strengthen his heart one more time after the redemption was a known fact? What is the knowledge that the Egyptians are still missing and that the battle by the sea was to prove to them? Why were the Jews to go through the trauma of escaping from an entire army? Wasn’t Moshe’s mission which began with the tenth plague, the Death of the Firstborn, over already?
In order to answer these questions we will differentiate between the miracle by the sea which had a universal message to the ten plagues which only effected the Egyptians. It was important that all the nations in the area would be aware of the faith – revolution that the Jews were bringing to the world and that they would witness the greatness of Hashem. As we see, the dividing of the sea caused “Then the chieftains of Edom were confounded, trembling gripped the powers of Moab, all the dwellers of Canaan dissolved.” (Exodus 15:15) Greatening Hashem’s name and His powers was achieved by the sea and was a completion to the occurrences in Egypt.
From the Egyptian’s perspective, the battle by the sea had great meaning for they understood that their gods did not rescue them from the plagues. The Egyptians had a set of gods who they worshiped and built an entire mythological environment around. There were ten gods and each one controlled a different part of nature. During the plagues the mythological environment collapsed and all the gods but one-Baal Zephon- who sat by the sea at the entrance to Egypt, were destroyed. According to Rashi, this god was the last remaining Egyptian god in order for them to think that they have a strong belief. The Kli Yakar says that the Egyptians hoped that Baal Zephon will grant them gold and pearls as it says in Job 31:22 “The golden has come because of the north wind.” Hashem left this god existing in order to confuse them, so that they will ask the Jews to return everything they borrowed.
This explanation answers why the Egyptians ran after the Jews after the ten plagues. However, even their last hope to defeat the Jews did not happen and the Egyptians and their last god drowned in the sea.
The Egyptians` loss by the sea was Hashem`s last revenge towards them and the ten plagues were against the ten gods. The battle by the sea brought across the greatness of Hahsem`s name as a leader and as in charge of nature and as one who has all the powers not only to the Egyptians but also to all the nearby nations.