Nachshon, Who Led the Way – a poem by Jacqueline Jules

Nachshon, Who Led the Way

Trapped between the Red Sea
and Pharaoh’s army
Nachshon listened while others
bickered over who would go first. 

He watched Moses cry and pray.

Then he stepped into the water. 

I close my eyes 
and imagine Nachshon,
moving forward with faith, despite
being drenched to the chin.

Did he know the sea would split
before it covered his head?

That Adonai would admonish Moses
for offering prayer when action was needed?

When my moment on the shore has passed,
will it be said I stepped into the water 
instead of standing back, waiting
for someone else to go first?

Jacqueline Jules is the author of Manna in the Morning (Kelsay Books, 2021) and Itzhak Perlman’s Broken String, winner of the 2016 Helen Kay Chapbook Prize from Evening Street Press. Her poetry has appeared in over 100 publications including Amethyst ReviewThe Sunlight Press, Gyroscope Review, and One Art. Visit

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