The passuk sates וברוח אפיך נערמו מים נצבו כמו נד נוזלים…. Rashi explains “with the wind of Your mouth the water bundled together, flowing water stood up like a wall.” The word נערמו is from the lashon ערימה a pile of wheat; just as wheat is collected together, piled up, and made into a bundle, so too the water collected together and stood up. The proof is as the passuk continues נצבו כמו נד they stood up like a wall.
Onkelos translates differently, “and with the saying of Your mouth the water became smart, flowing water stood like a wall.” Onkelos translates the word נערמו as חכימו, they became smart, from the lashon ערמימות, sly or cunning. The Ga’on from Vilna adds, Hashem blew a ruach of נשמת חיים into Adam which made him into a נפש חיה, a living being, which gave him wisdom. So too Hashem blew into the water which gave it wisdom. Rashi is bothered: what is the connection between the water becoming smart and the water standing up? Also, what was the function of the wisdom which the water was implanted?
The Maharsha answers that the wisdom enabled the water to change its nature. It stood up slyly to make space for the Bnei Yisrael to walk through and to enable the bottom of the sea to become dry land in order to allow Bnei Yisrael to pass through and save them. Also the water continued to remain standing in its place until the Mitzri’im entered, in order to trick the Mitzri’im into thinking that there is dry land to walk on. The Nefesh HaGer adds that the water provided a very wide area to walk through. Therefore the Mitzri’im would naturally continue on chasing after the Bnei Yisrael without being aware of any danger. This way the water would be able to return to itself as a sea with the Mitzri’im inside and easily drown them. This is as the Shemos Rabbah brings: the Mitzri’im said הבה נתחכמה לו let us use the water to outsmart Hashem; since Hashem promised He won’t bring a mabul, we will throw the boys into the water and we will be safe. Therefore middah k’neged middah Hashem made the water outsmart the Mitzri’im; the water strengthened and remained standing until the Mitzri’im entered, to be able to punish them!
The Chizkuni explains that the water became smart by running after the Mitzri’im to drown them. This is as the passuk states in Parshas Eikev: אשר הציף את מי ים סוף על פניהם ברדפם אחריכם, that Hashem made the water gush to chase after the Mitzri’im in order to drown them and destroy them. This is as the Mechilta brings: You gave wisdom to the water which fought against the Mitzri’im by giving them all different types of punishments. The Nefesh HaGer explains that the water chased after those trying to run away from the Yam Suf. It stood up like a wall and blocked them from escaping, and drowned them. The Da’as Zekainim M’Ba’alei Tosfos explains that the water became smart to sing shirah!
May we learn from the wondrous miracles of kriyas Yam Suf that Hashem who makes unbelievable wonders is the King over the entire creation!