(Exodus 15:2) "The L rd is my strength and my song": "My strength" is Torah, viz. (Psalms 29:11) "The L rd will give strength to His people," and it is written (Ibid. 99:4) "And (they will praise) the strength of the King, who loves (the Torah of) justice." Variantly: "My strength" is kingship, viz. (Ibid. 21:2) "O L rd, in Your strength the king rejoices," and (I Samuel 2:10) "And He will give strength to His king." Variantly: "My strength" is "My stronghold," as it is written (Jeremiah 16:19) "The L rd is my strength and my stronghold." And (Psalms 28:7) "The L rd is my strength and my shield. In Him does my heart trust, and I was helped, etc." You are a trust, a help, and a support to all who enter the world — but to me (David) more than to all. He made me distinct and I made Him distinct. He made me distinct — (Devarim 26:18) "And the L rd made you distinct unto Him this day )to be unto Him His chosen people.") And I, likewise, made Him distinct — (Ibid. 17) "You have made the L rd distinct this day to be unto you a G d." All the peoples of the world declare the praises of the Holy One Blessed be He, but mine are more pleasing before Him than theirs. As it is written (II Samuel 23:1) "And these are the last words of David: The utterance of David, the son of Yishai, and the utterance of the man set on high, the anointed of the G d of Yaakov, the fairest of the songs of Israel": Israel says (Devarim 6:4) "Hear, O Israel, the L rd our G d, the L rd is one," and the Holy Spirit cries out and says (Ibid. 33:29) "Happy are you, Israel! Who is like you, etc.?" Israel says (Ibid. 4:7) "Who … is like the L rd our G d in all our calling unto Him? And the Holy Spirit cries out and says (Ibid.) "And who is a great nation" ("that has G d near to it!") Israel says (Psalms 89:18) "For You are the glory of their strength, etc." And the Holy Spirit cries out and says (Isaiah 49:3) "Israel, in whom I glory!" (Exodus, Ibid.) "and He was a salvation unto me": You are a salvation unto all who enter the world, but unto me, more so. Variantly: "and He was a salvation unto me" — in the past, and thus will He be in the future.
"This is my G d and I will extol Him": R. Eliezer says: Whence is it derived that a maid-servant beheld at the Red Sea what was not beheld by Ezekiel and the other prophets, of whom it is written (Hoshea 12:11) "And to the prophets I appeared (in various) guises," and (Ezekiel 1:1) "The heavens opened and I saw visions of G d"? An analogy: A king of flesh and blood comes to a province, a circle of guards around him, warriors at his right and at his left, armies before him and behind him — and all asking "Who is the king?" For he is flesh and blood as they are. But when the Holy One was revealed at the sea, there was no need for anyone to ask "Who is the King?" For when they saw Him, they knew Him, and they all opened and said "This is my G d, and I will extol Him ("ve'anvehu," lit.: "I will 'host' Him")!" R. Yishmael says: Is it possible to "host" one's Master? Rather, (read "ve'anvehu" as) "I shall beautify myself (from the root "na'eh") before Him with mitzvoth — with a beautiful lulav, beautiful tzitzith, a beautiful shofar, beautiful prayer. Abba Shaul says: "I will liken myself to Him" (i.e., "ve'anvehu" = ani vehu ["I and He"]) Just as He is merciful and gracious, you, too, be merciful and gracious. R. Yossi Haglili says; "Beautify and praise the Holy One Blessed be He before all the peoples of the world." R. Yossi b. Dormaskith says: "I shall make a Temple before Him," "navth" being the Temple, as in (Psalms 79:7) "and they have destroyed navehu" (His Temple)", and (Isaiah 33:20) "But you will regard (with deference) Zion, the city of our assemblies. Your eyes will see Jerusalem, the peaceful habitation" (neveh sha'anan). R. Akiva says: "I shall speak of His beauty" — of the praise of the Holy One Blessed be He, who spoke and brought the world into being. The peoples of the world ask Israel (Song of Songs 5:9) "How is your Beloved (different) from the beloved (of all the other nations) that you have thus besworn us? (see Ibid. 8) that you thus die for Him and are thus murdered for Him, viz. (Ibid. 1:3) "alamoth have loved You" — they have loved You "al maveth" ("above death"), and (Psalms 44:23) "for over You we are slain all the day"? You are comely, you are strong. Come and join us. And Israel says to them: Do you know Him? Let us tell you part of His praise (Song of Songs 5:10) "My Beloved is white and ruddy, distinguished among legions." When they hear this, they say to Israel: Let us go with you, viz. (Ibid. 6:1) "Where did your Beloved go, you loveliest among the women? Whither has your Beloved turned? Let us seek Him with you." And Israel says to them (Ibid. 2:16) "My Beloved is mine, and I am His," and (Ibid. 6:3) "I am my Beloved's, and my Beloved is mine, who grazes His flock among the lilies." And the sages say (on "ve'anvehu"): "I shall accompany Him ("alavenhu") until I come with Him to His Temple. An analogy: A king's son goes abroad — he goes after him and attends upon him. He goes to a different city — he goes after him and attends upon him. Thus with Israel. When they went down to Egypt, the Shechinah was with them, viz. (Genesis 46:4) "I shall go down with you to Egypt." When they went up, the Shechinah went up with them, viz. (Ibid.) "and I shall also bring you up." When they went down to the sea, the Shechinah was with them, viz. (Exodus 14:19) "And the angel of G d, who went before the camp of Israel, etc." When they went out to the desert, the Shechinah was with them, viz. (Ibid. 13:21) "And the L rd went before them by day, etc." — until they brought Him with them to His holy Temple, viz. (Song of Songs 3: "I had almost passed them (Moses and Aaron) by, when I found Him whom my soul loved. I held onto Him and did not let go of Him until I had brought Him to the house of my mother and the chamber of my conception." "my G d" (Keli): With me He manifested the attribute of mercy, and with my fathers, the attribute of justice. And whence is it derived that "keli" connotes the attribute of mercy? From (Psalms 22:2) "Keli, Keli, why have You forsaken me?" and (Numbers 12:13) "Kel, I pray You, heal her, I pray You," and (Psalms 118:27) "The L rd is 'Kel,' and He has lighted (the way) for us." And whence is it derived that "Elokim" (as in [Exodus, Ibid] "the G d ['Elokei'] of my father") connotes justice? From (Devarim 1:17) "For the judgment is to 'Elokim.'" "the G d of my father, and I will exalt Him": I am a queen, the daughter of kings; a beloved one, the daughter of beloved ones; a holy one, the daughter of holy ones; a pure one, the daughter of pure ones. An analogy: A man goes to betroth a woman. Sometimes he is embarrassed in her; sometimes, in her kin. But I am not so, but a queen, the daughter of kings, etc. R. Shimon b. Elazar says: When Israel do the will of the L rd, His name is exalted in the world, as it is written (Joshua 5:1) "And it was, when all the kings of the Emori heard, etc." And thus did Rachav say to Joshuah's emissaries, (Ibid. 2:10) "for we heard how the L rd dried up, etc.", and (Ibid. 17) "and we heard and our hearts melted, and no man's spirit endured within him before you. For the L rd, He is G d in the heavens above, etc." And when they do not do His will, His name, as it were, is demeaned in the world, viz. (Ezekiel 36:20) "And they came to the nations … and they profaned My holy name when it was said of them: These are the peoples of the L rd, and from His land did they go forth …" and (Ibid. 23) "And I shall sanctify My great name which has been profaned among the nations, etc." "the G d of my father, and I will exalt Him": The congregation of Israel said before the Holy One Blessed be He: L rd of the world, it is not for the miracles that You performed with Me that I chant song before You, but for the miracles that You performed with my fathers and with me in all of the generations — thus: "This is my G d and I will extol Him; the G d of my father, and I will exalt Him."