In this portion we follow the Israelites’ journey to the Red Sea, where they find themselves trapped by pursuing Egyptian forces. God affects the miraculous crossing of the sea and the destruction of the Egyptians, and the Israelites rejoice singing the A Song of the Sea. The journey to Sinai may now be resumed, but three challenges are immediately encountered. The people complain that they have no bread. In response, God provides manna and gives directions for gathering it during the week and for the Sabbath. They further complain that they have no water, and God provides it from a rock. Finally, when the people are attacked by the Amalekites, Joshua heads a band of soldiers who defeat the attackers while Moses holds up the staff of God to encourage the Israelites. These incidents all serve to highlight the difficulty of transforming slaves into free men who can rely on God yet act on their own behalf.