Reading Plan 
Daily Bible Reading (daily) February 8
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Numbers 11:1--14:45

Context
The Israelites Complain

11:1 1 When the people complained, 2  it displeased 3  the Lord. When the Lord heard 4  it, his anger burned, 5  and so 6  the fire of the Lord 7  burned among them and consumed some of the outer parts of the camp. 11:2 When the people cried to Moses, he 8  prayed to the Lord, and the fire died out. 9  11:3 So he called the name of that place Taberah 10  because there the fire of the Lord burned among them.

Complaints about Food

11:4 11 Now the mixed multitude 12  who were among them craved more desirable foods, 13  and so the Israelites wept again 14  and said, “If only we had meat to eat! 15  11:5 We remember 16  the fish we used to eat 17  freely 18  in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. 11:6 But now we 19  are dried up, 20  and there is nothing at all before us 21  except this manna!” 11:7 (Now the manna was like coriander seed, and its color like the color of bdellium. 11:8 And the people went about and gathered it, and ground it with mills or pounded it in mortars; they baked it in pans and made cakes of it. It tasted like fresh olive oil. 22  11:9 And when the dew came down 23  on the camp in the night, the manna fell 24  with it.)

Moses’ Complaint to the Lord

11:10 25 Moses heard the people weeping 26  throughout their families, everyone at the door of his tent; and when the anger of the Lord was kindled greatly, Moses was also displeased. 27  11:11 And Moses said to the Lord, “Why have you afflicted 28  your servant? Why have I not found favor in your sight, that 29  you lay the burden of this entire people on me? 11:12 Did I conceive this entire people? 30  Did I give birth to 31  them, that you should say to me, ‘Carry them in your arms, as a foster father 32  bears a nursing child,’ to the land which you swore to their fathers? 11:13 From where shall I get 33  meat to give to this entire people, for they cry to me, ‘Give us meat, that we may eat!’ 34  11:14 I am not able to bear this entire people alone, 35  because it 36  is too heavy for me! 11:15 But if you are going to deal 37  with me like this, then kill me immediately. 38  If I have found favor in your sight then do not let me see my trouble.” 39 

The Response of God

11:16 40 The Lord said to Moses, “Gather to me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know are elders of the people and officials 41  over them, and bring them to the tent of meeting; let them take their position there with you. 11:17 Then I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take part of the spirit that is on you, and will put it on them, and they will bear some of the burden of the people with you, so that you do not bear it 42  all by yourself.

11:18 “And say to the people, ‘Sanctify yourselves 43  for tomorrow, and you will eat meat, for you have wept in the hearing 44  of the Lord, saying, “Who will give us meat to eat, 45  for life 46  was good for us in Egypt?” Therefore the Lord will give you meat, and you will eat. 11:19 You will eat, not just one day, nor two days, nor five days, nor ten days, nor twenty days, 11:20 but a whole month, 47  until it comes out your nostrils and makes you sick, 48  because you have despised 49  the Lord who is among you and have wept before him, saying, “Why 50  did we ever come out of Egypt?”’”

11:21 Moses said, “The people around me 51  are 600,000 on foot; 52  but you say, ‘I will give them meat, 53  that they may eat 54  for a whole month.’ 11:22 Would they have enough if the flocks and herds were slaughtered for them? If all the fish of the sea were caught for them, would they have enough?” 11:23 And the Lord said to Moses, “Is the Lord’s hand shortened? 55  Now you will see whether my word to you will come true 56  or not!”

11:24 So Moses went out and told the people the words of the Lord. He then gathered seventy men of the elders of the people and had them stand around the tabernacle. 11:25 And the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke to them, and he took some of the Spirit that was on Moses 57  and put it on the seventy elders. When the Spirit rested on them, 58  they prophesied, 59  but did not do so again. 60 

Eldad and Medad

11:26 But two men remained in the camp; one’s name was Eldad, and the other’s name was Medad. And the spirit rested on them. (Now they were among those in the registration, 61  but had not gone to the tabernacle.) So they prophesied in the camp. 11:27 And a 62  young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp!” 11:28 Joshua son of Nun, the servant 63  of Moses, one of his choice young men, 64  said, 65  “My lord Moses, stop them!” 66  11:29 Moses said to him, “Are you jealous for me? 67  I wish that 68  all the Lord’s people were prophets, that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!” 11:30 Then Moses returned to the camp along with the elders of Israel.

Provision of Quail

11:31 Now a wind 69  went out 70  from the Lord and brought quail 71  from the sea, and let them fall 72  near the camp, about a day’s journey on this side, and about a day’s journey on the other side, all around the camp, and about three feet 73  high on the surface of the ground. 11:32 And the people stayed up 74  all that day, all that night, and all the next day, and gathered the quail. The one who gathered the least gathered ten homers, 75  and they spread them out 76  for themselves all around the camp. 11:33 But while the meat was still between their teeth, before they chewed it, 77  the anger of the Lord burned against the people, and the Lord struck the people with a very great plague.

11:34 So the name of that place was called Kibroth Hattaavah, 78  because there they buried the people that craved different food. 79  11:35 The people traveled from Kibroth Hattaavah to Hazeroth, and they stayed at Hazeroth.

Miriam and Aaron Oppose Moses

12:1 80 Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against 81  Moses because of the Cushite 82  woman he had married 83  (for he had married an Ethiopian woman). 12:2 They 84  said, “Has the Lord only 85  spoken through Moses? Has he not also spoken through us?” 86  And the Lord heard it. 87 

12:3 (Now the man Moses was very humble, 88  more so than any man on the face of the earth.)

The Response of the Lord

12:4 The Lord spoke immediately to Moses, Aaron, and Miriam: “The three of you come to the tent of meeting.” So the three of them went. 12:5 And the Lord came down in a pillar of cloud and stood at the entrance of the tent; he then called Aaron and Miriam, and they both came forward.

12:6 The Lord 89  said, “Hear now my words: If there is a prophet among you, 90  I the Lord 91  will make myself known to him in a vision; I will speak with him in a dream. 12:7 My servant 92  Moses is not like this; he is faithful 93  in all my house. 12:8 With him I will speak face to face, 94  openly, 95  and not in riddles; and he will see the form 96  of the Lord. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?” 12:9 The anger of the Lord burned against them, and he departed. 12:10 When 97  the cloud departed from above the tent, Miriam became 98  leprous 99  as snow. Then Aaron looked at 100  Miriam, and she was leprous!

The Intercession of Moses

12:11 So Aaron said to Moses, “O my lord, 101  please do not hold this sin against us, in which we have acted foolishly and have sinned! 12:12 Do not let her be like a baby born dead, whose flesh is half-consumed when it comes out of its 102  mother’s womb!”

12:13 Then Moses cried to the Lord, “Heal her now, O God.” 103  12:14 The Lord said to Moses, “If her father had only spit 104  in her face, would she not have been disgraced for seven days? Shut her out from the camp seven days, and afterward she can be brought back in again.”

12:15 So Miriam was shut outside of the camp for seven days, and the people did not journey on until Miriam was brought back in. 105  12:16 After that the people moved from Hazeroth and camped in the wilderness of Paran.

Spies Sent Out

13:1 106 The Lord spoke 107  to Moses: 13:2 “Send out men to investigate 108  the land of Canaan, which I am giving 109  to the Israelites. You are to send one man from each ancestral tribe, 110  each one a leader among them.” 13:3 So Moses sent them from the wilderness of Paran at the command 111  of the Lord. All of them were leaders 112  of the Israelites.

13:4 Now these were their names: from the tribe of Reuben, Shammua son of Zaccur; 13:5 from the tribe of Simeon, Shaphat son of Hori; 13:6 from the tribe of Judah, Caleb son of Jephunneh; 13:7 from the tribe of Issachar, Igal son of Joseph; 13:8 from the tribe of Ephraim, Hoshea son of Nun; 13:9 from the tribe of Benjamin, Palti son of Raphu; 13:10 from the tribe of Zebulun, Gaddiel son of Sodi; 13:11 from the tribe 113  of Joseph, namely, the tribe of Manasseh, Gaddi son of Susi; 13:12 from the tribe of Dan, Ammiel son of Gemalli; 13:13 from the tribe of Asher, Sethur son of Michael; 13:14 from the tribe of Naphtali, Nahbi son of Vopshi; 13:15 from the tribe of Gad, Geuel son of Maki. 13:16 These are the names of the men whom Moses sent to investigate the land. And Moses gave Hoshea son of Nun the name Joshua. 114 

The Spies’ Instructions

13:17 When Moses sent 115  them to investigate the land of Canaan, he told them, “Go up through the Negev, 116  and then go up into the hill country 13:18 and see 117  what the land is like, 118  and whether the people who live in it are strong or weak, few or many, 13:19 and whether the land they live in is good or bad, and whether the cities they inhabit are like camps or fortified cities, 13:20 and whether the land is rich or poor, and whether or not there are forests in it. And be brave, 119  and bring back some of the fruit of the land.” Now it was the time of year 120  for the first ripe grapes. 121 

The Spies’ Activities

13:21 So they went up and investigated the land from the wilderness of Zin to Rehob, 122  at the entrance of Hamath. 123  13:22 When they went up through the Negev, they 124  came 125  to Hebron where Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, 126  descendants of Anak, were living. (Now Hebron had been built seven years before Zoan 127  in Egypt.) 13:23 When they came to the valley of Eshcol, they cut down from there a branch with one cluster of grapes, and they carried it on a staff 128  between two men, as well as some of the pomegranates and the figs. 13:24 That place was called 129  the Eshcol Valley, 130  because of the cluster 131  of grapes that the Israelites cut from there. 13:25 They returned from investigating the land after forty days.

The Spies’ Reports

13:26 They came back 132  to Moses and Aaron and to the whole community of the Israelites in the wilderness of Paran at Kadesh. 133  They reported 134  to the whole community and showed the fruit of the land. 13:27 They told Moses, 135  “We went to the land where you sent us. 136  It is indeed flowing with milk and honey, 137  and this is its fruit. 13:28 But 138  the inhabitants 139  are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large. Moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there. 13:29 The Amalekites live in the land of the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live by the sea and along the banks 140  of the Jordan.” 141 

13:30 Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses, saying, “Let us go up 142  and occupy it, 143  for we are well able to conquer it.” 144  13:31 But the men 145  who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against these people, because they are stronger than we are!” 13:32 Then they presented the Israelites with a discouraging 146  report of the land they had investigated, saying, “The land that we passed through 147  to investigate is a land that devours 148  its inhabitants. 149  All the people we saw there 150  are of great stature. 13:33 We even saw the Nephilim 151  there (the descendants of Anak came from the Nephilim), and we seemed liked grasshoppers both to ourselves 152  and to them.” 153 

The Israelites Respond in Unbelief

14:1 154 Then all the community raised a loud cry, 155  and the people wept 156  that night. 14:2 And all the Israelites murmured 157  against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, “If only we had died 158  in the land of Egypt, or if only we had perished 159  in this wilderness! 14:3 Why has the Lord brought us into this land only to be killed by the sword, that our wives and our children should become plunder? Wouldn’t it be better for us to return to Egypt?” 14:4 So they said to one another, 160  “Let’s appoint 161  a leader 162  and return 163  to Egypt.”

14:5 Then Moses and Aaron fell down with their faces to the ground 164  before the whole assembled community 165  of the Israelites. 14:6 And Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, two of those who had investigated the land, tore their garments. 14:7 They said to the whole community of the Israelites, “The land we passed through to investigate is an exceedingly 166  good land. 14:8 If the Lord delights in us, then he will bring us into this land and give it to us – a land that is flowing with milk and honey. 167  14:9 Only do not rebel against the Lord, and do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. 168  Their protection 169  has turned aside from them, but the Lord is with us. Do not fear them!”

14:10 However, the whole community threatened to stone them. 170  But 171  the glory 172  of the Lord appeared to all the Israelites at the tent 173  of meeting.

The Punishment from God

14:11 The Lord said to Moses, “How long will this people despise 174  me, and how long will they not believe 175  in me, in spite of the signs that I have done among them? 14:12 I will strike them with the pestilence, 176  and I will disinherit them; I will make you into a nation that is greater and mightier than they!”

14:13 Moses said to the Lord, “When the Egyptians hear 177  it – for you brought up this people by your power from among them – 14:14 then they will tell it to the inhabitants 178  of this land. They have heard that you, Lord, are among this people, that you, Lord, are seen face to face, 179  that your cloud stands over them, and that you go before them by day in a pillar of cloud and in a pillar of fire by night. 14:15 If you kill 180  this entire people at once, 181  then the nations that have heard of your fame will say, 14:16 ‘Because the Lord was not able to bring this people into the land that he swore to them, he killed them in the wilderness.’ 14:17 So now, let the power of my Lord 182  be great, just as you have said, 14:18 ‘The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in loyal love, 183  forgiving iniquity and transgression, 184  but by no means clearing 185  the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children until the third and fourth generations.’ 186  14:19 Please forgive 187  the iniquity of this people according to your great loyal love, 188  just as you have forgiven this people from Egypt even until now.”

14:20 Then the Lord said, “I have forgiven them as you asked. 189  14:21 But truly, as I live, 190  all the earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord. 14:22 For all the people have seen my glory and my signs that I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and yet have tempted 191  me now these ten times, 192  and have not obeyed me, 193  14:23 they will by no means 194  see the land that I swore to their fathers, nor will any of them who despised me see it. 14:24 Only my servant Caleb, because he had a different spirit and has followed me fully – I will bring him into the land where he had gone, and his descendants 195  will possess it. 14:25 (Now the Amalekites and the Canaanites were living in the valleys.) 196  Tomorrow, turn and journey into the wilderness by the way of the Red Sea.”

14:26 The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron: 14:27 “How long must I bear 197  with this evil congregation 198  that murmurs against me? I have heard the complaints of the Israelites that they murmured against me. 14:28 Say to them, ‘As I live, 199  says 200  the Lord, I will surely do to you just what you have spoken in my hearing. 201  14:29 Your dead bodies 202  will fall in this wilderness – all those of you who were numbered, according to your full number, from twenty years old and upward, who have murmured against me. 14:30 You will by no means enter into the land where 203  I swore 204  to settle 205  you. The only exceptions are Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. 14:31 But I will bring in your little ones, whom you said would become victims of war, 206  and they will enjoy 207  the land that you have despised. 14:32 But as for you, your dead bodies will fall in this wilderness, 14:33 and your children will wander 208  in the wilderness forty years and suffer for your unfaithfulness, 209  until your dead bodies lie finished 210  in the wilderness. 14:34 According to the number of the days you have investigated this land, forty days – one day for a year – you will suffer for 211  your iniquities, forty years, and you will know what it means to thwart me. 212  14:35 I, the Lord, have said, “I will surely do so to all this evil congregation that has gathered together against me. In this wilderness they will be finished, and there they will die!”’”

14:36 The men whom Moses sent to investigate the land, who returned and made the whole community murmur against him by producing 213  an evil report about the land, 14:37 those men who produced the evil report about the land, died by the plague before the Lord. 14:38 But Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among 214  the men who went to investigate the land, lived. 14:39 When Moses told 215  these things to all the Israelites, the people mourned 216  greatly.

14:40 And early 217  in the morning they went up to the crest of the hill country, 218  saying, “Here we are, and we will go up to the place that the Lord commanded, 219  for we have sinned.” 220  14:41 But Moses said, “Why 221  are you now transgressing the commandment 222  of the Lord? It will not succeed! 14:42 Do not go up, for the Lord is not among you, and you will be 223  defeated before your enemies. 14:43 For the Amalekites and the Canaanites are there before you, and you will fall by the sword. Because you have turned away from the Lord, the Lord will not be with you.”

14:44 But they dared 224  to go up to the crest of the hill, although 225  neither the ark of the covenant of the Lord nor Moses departed from the camp. 14:45 So the Amalekites and the Canaanites who lived in that hill country swooped 226  down and attacked them 227  as far as Hormah. 228 

1 sn The chapter includes the initial general complaints (vv. 1-3), the complaints about food (vv. 4-9), Moses’ own complaint to the Lord (vv. 10-15), God’s response to Moses (vv. 16-25), Eldad and Medad (vv. 26-29), and the quail (vv. 30-35). The first part records the burning of the camp, named Taberah. Here is one of the several naming narratives in the wilderness experience. The occasion for divine judgment is the complaining of the people. The passages serve to warn believers of all ages not to murmur as the Israelites did, for such complaining reveals a lack of faith in the power and goodness of God. For additional literature, see W. Brueggemann, “From Hurt to Joy, from Death to Life,” Int 28 (1974): 3-19; B. S. Childs, “The Etiological Tale Re-examined,” VT 24 (1974): 387-97; G. W. Coats, Rebellion in the Wilderness; and A. C. Tunyogi, “The Rebellions of Israel,” JBL 81 (1962): 385-90.

2 tn The temporal clause uses the Hitpoel infinitive construct from אָנַן (’anan). It is a rare word, occurring in Lam 3:39. With this blunt introduction the constant emphasis of obedience to the word of the Lord found throughout the first ten chapters suddenly comes to an end. It is probable that the people were tired of moving for several days, the excitement of the new beginning died out quickly in the “great and terrible wilderness.” Resentment, frustration, discomfort – whatever it all involved – led to complaining and not gratitude.

3 tn Heb “it was evil in the ears of the Lord.” The word רַע (ra’) is a much stronger word than “displeased” would suggest. The bold anthropomorphism shows that what the Lord heard was painful to him.

4 tn The preterite with vav (ו) consecutive is here subordinated to the next verb as a temporal clause.

5 tn The common Hebrew expression uses the verb חָרָה (harah, “to be hot, to burn, to be kindled”). The subject is אַפּוֹ (’appo), “his anger” or more literally, his nose, which in this anthropomorphic expression flares in rage. The emphasis is superlative – “his anger raged.”

6 tn The vav (ו) consecutive does not simply show sequence in the verbs, but here expresses the result of the anger of the Lord for their complaining. With such a response to the complaining, one must conclude that it was unreasonable. There had been no long deprivation or endured suffering; the complaining was early and showed a rebellious spirit.

7 sn The “fire of the Lord” is supernatural, for it is said to come from the Lord and not from a natural source. God gave them something to complain about – something to fear. The other significant place where this “fire of the Lord” destroyed was in the case of Nadab and Abihu who brought strange fire to the altar (Lev 10:2).

8 tn Heb “Moses.”

9 sn Here is the pattern that will become in the wilderness experience so common – the complaining turns to a cry to Moses, which is then interpreted as a prayer to the Lord, and there is healing. The sequence presents a symbolic lesson, an illustration of the intercession of the Holy Spirit. The NT will say that in times of suffering Christians do not know how to pray, but the Spirit intercedes for them, changing their cries into the proper prayers (Rom 8).

10 tn The name תַּבְעֵרָה (taverah) is given to the spot as a commemorative of the wilderness experience. It is explained by the formula using the same verbal root, “to burn.” Such naming narratives are found dozens of times in the OT, and most frequently in the Pentateuch. The explanation is seldom an exact etymology, and so in the literature is called a popular etymology. It is best to explain the connection as a figure of speech, a paronomasia, which is a phonetic wordplay that may or may not be etymologically connected. Usually the name is connected to the explanation by a play on the verbal root – here the preterite explaining the noun. The significance of commemorating the place by such a device is to “burn” it into the memory of Israel. The narrative itself would be remembered more easily by the name and its motif. The namings in the wilderness wanderings remind the faithful of unbelief, and warn us all not to murmur as they murmured. See further A. P. Ross, “Paronomasia and Popular Etymologies in the Naming Narrative of the Old Testament,” Ph.D. diss., University of Cambridge, 1982.

11 sn The story of the sending of the quail is a good example of poetic justice, or talionic justice. God had provided for the people, but even in that provision they were not satisfied, for they remembered other foods they had in Egypt. No doubt there was not the variety of foods in the Sinai that might have been available in Egypt, but their life had been bitter bondage there as well. They had cried to the Lord for salvation, but now they forget, as they remember things they used to have. God will give them what they crave, but it will not do for them what they desire. For more information on this story, see B. J. Malina, The Palestinian Manna Tradition. For the attempt to explain manna and the other foods by natural phenomena, see F. W. Bodenheimer, “The Manna of Sinai,” BA 10 (1947): 1-6.

12 tn The mixed multitude (or “rabble,” so NASB, NIV, NRSV; NLT “foreign rabble”) is the translation of an unusual word, הֲָאסַפְסֻף (hasafsuf). It occurs in the Hebrew Bible only here. It may mean “a gathering of people” from the verb אָסַף (’asaf), yielding the idea of a mixed multitude (in line with Exod 12:38). But the root is different, and so no clear connection can be established. Many commentators therefore think the word is stronger, showing contempt through a word that would be equivalent to “riff-raff.”

13 tn The Hebrew simply uses the cognate accusative, saying “they craved a craving” (הִתְאַוּוּ תַּאֲוָה, hitavvu tavah), but the context shows that they had this strong craving for food. The verb describes a strong desire, which is not always negative (Ps 132:13-14). But the word is a significant one in the Torah; it was used in the garden story for Eve’s desire for the tree, and it is used in the Decalogue in the warning against coveting (Deut 5:21).

14 tc The Greek and the Latin versions read “and they sat down” for “and they returned,” involving just a change in vocalization (which they did not have). This may reflect the same expression in Judg 20:26. But the change does not improve this verse.

tn The Hebrew text uses a verbal hendiadys here, one word serving as an adverb for the other. It literally reads “and they returned and they wept,” which means they wept again. Here the weeping is put for the complaint, showing how emotionally stirred up the people had become by the craving. The words throughout here are metonymies. The craving is a metonymy of cause, for it would have then led to expressions (otherwise the desires would not have been known). And the weeping is either a metonymy of effect, or of adjunct, for the actual complaints follow.

15 tn The Hebrew expresses the strong wish or longing idiomatically: “Who will give us flesh to eat?” It is a rhetorical expression not intended to be taken literally, but merely to give expression to the longing they had. See GKC 476 §151.a.1.

16 tn The perfect tense here expresses the experience of a state of mind.

sn As with all who complain in such situations, their memory was selective. It was their bitter cries to the Lord from the suffering in bondage that God heard and answered. And now, shortly after being set free, their memory of Egypt is for things they do not now have. It is also somewhat unlikely that they as slaves had such abundant foods in Egypt.

17 tn The imperfect tense would here be the customary imperfect, showing continual or incomplete action in past time.

18 tn The adverb “freely” is from the word חָנַן (khanan, “to be gracious”), from which is derived the noun “grace.” The word underscores the idea of “free, without cost, for no reason, gratis.” Here the simple sense is “freely,” without any cost. But there may be more significance in the choice of the words in this passage, showing the ingratitude of the Israelites to God for His deliverance from bondage. To them now the bondage is preferable to the salvation – this is what angered the Lord.

19 tn Heb “our souls.”

20 sn The Hebrews were complaining both about the bland taste of the manna and dehydration – they were parched in the wilderness.

21 tn Heb “before our eyes,” meaning that “we see nothing except this manna.”

22 tn Heb “And its taste was like the taste of fresh olive oil.”

23 tn The temporal clause is constructed of the infinitive construct from יָרָד (yarad) with a temporal preposition, followed by the subjective genitive.

24 tn Heb “came down.”

25 sn Moses begins to feel the burden of caring for this people, a stubborn and rebellious people. His complaint shows how contagious their complaining has been. It is one thing to cry out to God about the load of ministry, but it is quite another to do it in such a way as to reflect a lack of faith in God’s provision. God has to remind the leader Moses that he, the Lord, can do anything. This is a variation on the theme from Exodus – “who am I that I should lead….”

26 tn The participle “weeping” is functioning here as the noun in the accusative case, an adverbial accusative of state. It is explicative of the object.

27 tn Heb “it was evil in the eyes of Moses.”

28 tn The verb is the Hiphil of רָעַע (raa’, “to be evil”). Moses laments (with the rhetorical question) that God seems to have caused him evil.

29 tn The infinitive construct with the preposition is expressing the result of not finding favor with God (see R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 12-13, §57). What Moses is claiming is that because he has been given this burden God did not show him favor.

30 sn The questions Moses asks are rhetorical. He is actually affirming that they are not his people, that he did not produce them, but now is to support them. His point is that God produced this nation, but has put the burden of caring for their needs on him.

31 tn The verb means “to beget, give birth to.” The figurative image from procreation completes the parallel question, first the conceiving and second the giving birth to the nation.

32 tn The word אֹמֵן (’omen) is often translated “nurse,” but the form is a masculine form and would better be rendered as a “foster parent.” This does not work as well, though, with the יֹנֵק (yoneq), the “sucking child.” The two metaphors are simply designed to portray the duty of a parent to a child as a picture of Moses’ duty for the nation. The idea that it portrays God as a mother pushes it too far (see M. Noth, Numbers [OTL], 86-87).

33 tn The Hebrew text simply has “from where to me flesh?” which means “from where will I have meat?”

34 tn The cohortative coming after the imperative stresses purpose (it is an indirect volitive).

35 tn The word order shows the emphasis: “I am not able, I by myself, to bear all this people.” The infinitive לָשֵׂאת (laset) serves as the direct object of the verb. The expression is figurative, for bearing or carrying the people means being responsible for all their needs and cares.

36 tn The subject of the verb “heavy” is unstated; in the context it probably refers to the people, or the burden of caring for the people. This responsibility was turning out to be a heavier responsibility than Moses anticipated. Alone he was totally inadequate.

37 tn The participle expresses the future idea of what God is doing, or what he is going to be doing. Moses would rather be killed than be given a totally impossible duty over a people that were not his.

38 tn The imperative of הָרַג (harag) is followed by the infinitive absolute for emphasis. The point is more that the infinitive adds to the emphasis of the imperative mood, which would be immediate compliance.

39 tn Or “my own ruin” (NIV). The word “trouble” here probably refers to the stress and difficulty of caring for a complaining group of people. The suffix on the noun would be objective, perhaps stressing the indirect object of the noun – trouble for me. The expression “on my trouble” (בְּרָעָתִי, bÿraati) is one of the so-called tiqqune sopherim, or “emendations of the scribes.” According to this tradition the original reading in v. 15 was [to look] “on your evil” (בְּרָעָתֶךָ, bÿraatekha), meaning “the calamity that you bring about” for Israel. However, since such an expression could be mistakenly thought to attribute evil to the Lord, the ancient scribes changed it to the reading found in the MT.

40 sn The Lord provides Spirit-empowered assistance for Moses. Here is another variation on the theme of Moses’ faith. Just as he refused to lead alone and was given Aaron to share the work, so here he protests the burden and will share it with seventy elders. If God’s servant will not trust wholeheartedly, that individual will not be used by God as he or she might have been. Others will share in the power and the work. Probably one could say that it was God’s will for others to share this leadership – but not to receive it through these circumstances.

41 tn The “officials” (שֹׁטְּרִים, shottÿrim) were a group of the elders who seem to have had some administrative capacities. The LXX used the word “scribes.” For further discussion, see R. de Vaux, Ancient Israel, 69-70.

42 tn The imperfect tense here is to be classified as a final imperfect, showing the result of this action by God. Moses would be relieved of some of the responsibility when these others were given the grace to understand and to resolve cases.

43 tn The Hitpael is used to stress that they are to prepare for a holy appearance. The day was going to be special and so required their being set apart for it. But it is a holy day in the sense of the judgment that was to follow.

44 tn Heb “in the ears.”

45 tn Possibly this could be given an optative translation, to reflect the earlier one: “O that someone would give….” But the verb is not the same; here it is the Hiphil of the verb “to eat” – “who will make us eat” (i.e., provide meat for us to eat).

46 tn The word “life” is not in the text. The expression is simply “it was for us,” or “we had good,” meaning “we had it good,” or “life was good.”

47 tn Heb “a month of days.” So also in v. 21.

48 tn The expression לְזָרָה (lÿzarah) has been translated “ill” or “loathsome.” It occurs only here in the Hebrew Bible. The Greek text interprets it as “sickness.” It could be nausea or vomiting (so G. B. Gray, Numbers [ICC], 112) from overeating.

49 sn The explanation is the interpretation of their behavior – it is in reality what they have done, even though they would not say they despised the Lord. They had complained and shown a lack of faith and a contempt for the program, which was in essence despising the Lord.

50 tn The use of the demonstrative pronoun here (“why is this we went out …”) is enclitic, providing emphasis to the sentence: “Why in the world did we ever leave Egypt?”

51 tn Heb “the people who I am in their midst,” i.e., among whom I am.

52 tn The Hebrew sentence stresses the number. The sentence begins “600,000….”

53 tn The word order places the object first here: “Meat I will give them.” This adds to the contrast between the number and the statement of the Lord.

54 tn The verb is the perfect tense with a vav (ו) consecutive, carrying the sequence from the preceding imperfect tense. However, this verb may be subordinated to the preceding to express a purpose clause.

55 sn This anthropomorphic expression concerns the power of God. The “hand of the Lord” is idiomatic for his power, what he is able to do. The question is rhetorical; it is affirming that his hand is not shortened, i.e., that his power is not limited. Moses should have known this, and so this is a rebuke for him at this point. God had provided the manna, among all the other powerful acts they had witnessed. Meat would be no problem. But the lack of faith by the people was infectious.

56 tn Or “will happen” (TEV); KJV “shall come to pass unto thee.”

57 tn Heb “on him”; the referent (Moses) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

58 tn The temporal clause is introduced by the temporal indicator וַיְהִי (vayÿhi), which need not be translated. It introduces the time of the infinitive as past time narrative. The infinitive construct is from נוּחַ (nuakh, “to rest”). The figurative expression of the Spirit resting upon them indicates the temporary indwelling and empowering by the Spirit in their lives.

59 tn The text may mean that these men gave ecstatic utterances, much like Saul did when the Spirit came upon him and he made the same prophetic utterances (see 1 Sam 10:10-13). But there is no strong evidence for this (see K. L. Barker, “Zechariah,” EBC 7:605-6). In fact there is no consensus among scholars as to the origin and meaning of the verb “prophesy” or the noun “prophet.” It has something to do with speech, being God’s spokesman or spokeswoman or making predictions or authoritative utterances or ecstatic utterances. It certainly does mean that the same Holy Spirit, the same divine provision that was for Moses to enable him to do the things that God had commanded him to do, was now given to them. It would have included wisdom and power with what they were saying and doing – in a way that was visible and demonstrable to the people! The people needed to know that the same provision was given to these men, authenticating their leadership among the clans. And so it could not simply be a change in their understanding and wisdom.

60 tn The final verb of the clause stresses that this was not repeated: “they did not add” is the literal rendering of וְלֹא יָסָפוּ (vÿloyasafu). It was a one-time spiritual experience associated with their installation.

61 tn The form of the word is the passive participle כְּתֻבִים (kÿtuvim, “written”). It is normally taken to mean “among those registered,” but it is not clear if that means they were to be among the seventy or not. That seems unlikely since there is no mention of the seventy being registered, and vv. 24-25 says all seventy went out and prophesied. The registration may be to eldership, or the role of the officer.

62 tn The article indicates that the “young man” was definite in the mind of the writer, but indefinite in English.

63 tn The form is the Piel participle מְשָׁרֵת (mÿsharet), meaning “minister, servant, assistant.” The word has a loftier meaning than the ordinary word for slave.

64 tn The verb is בָּחַר (bakhar, “to choose”); here the form is the masculine plural participle with a suffix, serving as the object of the preposition מִן (min). It would therefore mean “[one of] his chosen men,” or “[one of] his choice men.”

65 tn Heb “answered and said.”

66 sn The effort of Joshua is to protect Moses’ prerogative as leader by stopping these men in the camp from prophesying. Joshua did not understand the significance in the Lord’s plan to let other share the burden of leadership.

67 tn The Piel participle מְקַנֵּא (mÿqanne’) serves as a verb here in this interrogative sentence. The word means “to be jealous; to be envious.” That can be in a good sense, such as with the translation “zeal,” or it can be in a negative sense as here. Joshua’s apparent “zeal” is questioned by Moses – was he zealous/envious for Moses sake, or for some other reason?

68 tn The optative is expressed by the interrogative clause in Hebrew, “who will give….” Moses expresses here the wish that the whole nation would have that portion of the Spirit. The new covenant, of course, would turn Moses’ wish into a certainty.

69 sn The irony in this chapter is expressed in part by the use of the word רוּחַ (ruakh). In the last episode it clearly meant the Spirit of the Lord that empowered the men for their spiritual service. But here the word is “wind.” Both the spiritual service and the judgment come from God.

70 tn The verb means “burst forth” or “sprang up.” See the ways it is used in Gen 33:12, Judg 16:3, 14; Isa 33:20.

71 sn The “quail” ordinarily cross the Sinai at various times of the year, but what is described here is not the natural phenomenon. Biblical scholars looking for natural explanations usually note that these birds fly at a low height and can be swatted down easily. But the description here is more of a supernatural supply and provision. See J. Gray, “The Desert Sojourn of the Hebrews and the Sinai Horeb Tradition,” VT 4 (1954): 148-54.

72 tn Or “left them fluttering.”

73 tn Heb “two cubits.” The standard cubit in the OT is assumed by most authorities to be about eighteen inches (45 cm) in length.

74 tn Heb “rose up, stood up.”

75 sn This is about two thousand liters.

76 tn The verb (a preterite) is followed by the infinitive absolute of the same root, to emphasize the action of spreading out the quail. Although it is hard to translate the expression, it indicates that they spread these quail out all over the area. The vision of them spread all over was evidence of God’s abundant provision for their needs.

77 tn The verb is a prefixed conjugation, normally an imperfect tense. But coming after the adverb טֶּרֶם (terem) it is treated as a preterite.

78 sn The name “the graves of the ones who craved” is again explained by a wordplay, a popular etymology. In Hebrew קִבְרוֹת הַתַּאֲוָה (qivrot hattaavah) is the technical name. It is the place that the people craved the meat, longing for the meat of Egypt, and basically rebelled against God. The naming marks another station in the wilderness where the people failed to accept God’s good gifts with grace and to pray for their other needs to be met.

79 tn The words “different food” are implied, and are supplied in the translation for clarity.

80 sn In this short chapter we find a prime example of jealousy among leaders and how God dealt with it. Miriam and Aaron are envious of Moses’ leadership, but they use an occasion – his marriage – to criticize him. Often the immediate criticism is simply a surface issue for a deeper matter. God indicates very clearly he will speak through many people, including them, but Moses is different. Moses is the mediator of the covenant. The chapter is a lesson of what not to do. They should have fulfilled their duties before God and not tried to compete or challenge the leader in this way. There is a touch of divine irony here, for Miriam is turned white with leprosy. The chapter falls easily into the sections of the story: the accusation (vv. 1-3), the Lord’s response (vv. 4-10), the intercession of Moses (vv. 11-16). For further information, see J. S. Kselman, “A Note on Numbers 12:6-8,” VT 26 (1976): 500-504.

81 tn The preposition bet (בְּ) has the adversative sense here, “[speak] against” (see also its use for hostile speech in 21:5, 7). Speaking against is equal to the murmuring throughout the wilderness period. The verb of the sentence is וַתְּדַבֵּר (vattÿdabber), the feminine form of the verb. This indicates that Miriam was the main speaker for the two, the verb agreeing with the first of the compound subject.

sn It may be that Miriam was envious of the Cushite woman Moses married. And, in view of the previous chapter’s content about others being given a portion of the Spirit to share in the leadership role, she may have seen this as her chance finally to become just as important in the nation as her younger brother. After all, she safeguarded his birth and early years (Exod 2). But there are two issues here – the reason she gives (“does the Lord only speak through Moses?”), and the reason the text gives (the Cushite woman).

82 tn The Hebrew text has הַכֻּשִׁית (hakkushit, “the Cushite”) as the modifier of “woman.” The Greek text interpreted this correctly as “Ethiopian.” The word Cush in the Bible can describe the Cassites, east of Babylon of the later period (Gen 10:18), or Ethiopia (Isa 20:3; Nah 3:5; et al). Another suggestion is that it would refer to Cushan of Hab 3:7, perhaps close to Midian, and so the area Moses had been. This would suggest it could be Zipporah – but the Bible does not identify the Cushite as Zipporah. The most natural understanding would be that it refers to an Egyptian/Ethiopian woman. The text does not say when Moses married this woman, or what Miriam’s problem with her was. It is clear that it was a racial issue, by virtue of the use of “Cushite.” Whether she was of darker skin than the Hebrews would be hard to say, since the Bible gives no further detail. Neither does it say if this is a second wife, or a woman Moses married since Zipporah went home (Exod 18:2). These do not seem to be the issues the text wishes to elaborate on; it is simply stating that this woman was the occasion for a deeper challenge.

83 tn Heb “taken.”

84 tn Now the text changes to use a plural form of the verb. The indication is that Miriam criticized the marriage, and then the two of them raised questions about his sole leadership of the nation.

85 tn The use of both רַק and אַךְ (raq and ’akh) underscore the point that the issue is Moses’ uniqueness.

86 tn There is irony in the construction in the text. The expression “speak through us” also uses דִּבֵּר + בְּ(dibber + bÿ). They ask if God has not also spoken through them, after they have spoken against Moses. Shortly God will speak against them – their words are prophetic, but not as they imagined.

sn The questions are rhetorical. They are affirming that God does not only speak through Moses, but also speaks through them. They see themselves as equal with Moses. The question that was asked of the earlier presumptuous Moses – “Who made you a ruler over us?” – could also be asked of them. God had not placed them as equals with Moses. The passage is relevant for today when so many clamor for equal authority and leadership with those whom God has legitimately called.

87 sn The statement is striking. Obviously the Lord knows all things. But the statement of the obvious here is meant to indicate that the Lord was about to do something about this.

88 tc The spelling of the word is a Kethib-Qere reading with only a slight difference between the two.

tn The word עָנָו (’anav) means “humble.” The word may reflect a trustful attitude (as in Pss 25:9, 37:11), but perhaps here the idea of “more tolerant” or “long-suffering.” The point is that Moses is not self-assertive. God singled out Moses and used him in such a way as to show that he was a unique leader. For a suggestion that the word means “miserable,” see C. Rogers, “Moses: Meek or Miserable?” JETS 29 (1986): 257-63.

sn Humility is a quality missing today in many leaders. Far too many are self-promoting, or competitive, or even pompous. The statement in this passage would have been difficult for Moses to write – and indeed, it is not impossible that an editor might have added it. One might think that for someone to claim to be humble is an arrogant act. But the statement is one of fact – he was not self-assertive (until Num 20 when he strikes the rock).

89 tn Heb “he.”

90 tn The form of this construction is rare: נְבִיאֲכֶם (nÿviakhem) would normally be rendered “your prophet.” The singular noun is suffixed with a plural pronominal suffix. Some commentators think the MT has condensed “a prophet” with “to you.”

91 tn The Hebrew syntax is difficult here. “The Lord” is separated from the verb by two intervening prepositional phrases. Some scholars conclude that this word belongs with the verb at the beginning of v. 6 (“And the Lord spoke”).

92 sn The title “my servant” or “servant of the Lord” is reserved in the Bible for distinguished personages, people who are truly spiritual leaders, like Moses, David, Hezekiah, and also the Messiah. Here it underscores Moses’ obedience.

93 tn The word “faithful” is נֶאֱמָן (neeman), the Niphal participle of the verb אָמַן (’aman). This basic word has the sense of “support, be firm.” In the Niphal it describes something that is firm, reliable, dependable – what can be counted on. It could actually be translated “trustworthy.”

94 tn The emphasis of the line is clear enough – it begins literally “mouth to mouth” I will speak with him. In human communication this would mean equality of rank, but Moses is certainly not equal in rank with the Lord. And yet God is here stating that Moses has an immediacy and directness with communication with God. It goes beyond the idea of friendship, almost to that of a king’s confidant.

95 tn The word מַרְאֶה (mareh) refers to what is seen, a vision, an appearance. Here it would have the idea of that which is clearly visible, open, obvious.

96 tn The word “form” (תְּמוּנָה, tÿmunah) means “shape, image, form.” The Greek text took it metaphorically and rendered it “the glory of the Lord.” This line expresses even more the uniqueness of Moses. The elders saw God on one special occasion (Exod 24:10), and the people never (Deut 4:12, 15), but Moses has direct and familiar contact with God.

97 tn The disjunctive vav (ו) is here introducing a circumstantial clause of time.

98 tn There is no verb “became” in this line. The second half of the line is introduced with the particle הִנֵה (hinneh, “look, behold”) in its archaic sense. This deictic use is intended to make the reader focus on Miriam as well.

99 sn The word “leprosy” and “leprous” covers a wide variety of skin diseases, and need not be limited to the actual disease of leprosy known today as Hansen’s disease. The description of it here has to do with snow, either the whiteness or the wetness. If that is the case then there would be open wounds and sores – like Job’s illness (see M. Noth, Numbers [OTL], 95-96).

100 tn Heb “turned to.”

101 tn The expression בִּי אֲדֹנִי (biadoni, “O my lord”) shows a good deal of respect for Moses by Aaron. The expression is often used in addressing God.

102 tc The words “its mother” and “its flesh” are among the so-called tiqqune sopherim, or “emendations of the scribes.” According to this tradition the text originally had here “our mother” and “our flesh,” but the ancient scribes changed these pronouns from the first person to the third person. Apparently they were concerned that the image of Moses’ mother giving birth to a baby with physical defects of the sort described here was somehow inappropriate, given the stature and importance of Moses.

103 tc Some scholars emend אֵל (’el, “God”) to עַל(’al, “no”). The effect of this change may be seen in the NAB: “‘Please, not this! Pray, heal her!’”

104 tn The form is intensified by the infinitive absolute, but here the infinitive strengthens not simply the verbal idea but the conditional cause construction as well.

105 tn The clause has the Niphal infinitive construct after a temporal preposition.

106 sn Chapter 13 provides the names of the spies sent into the land (vv. 1-16), their instructions (vv. 17-20), their activities (vv. 21-25), and their reports (vv. 26-33). It is a chapter that serves as a good lesson on faith, for some of the spies walked by faith, and some by sight.

107 tn The verse starts with the vav (ו) consecutive on the verb: “and….”

108 tn The imperfect tense with the conjunction is here subordinated to the preceding imperative to form the purpose clause. It can thus be translated “send…to investigate.”

109 tn The participle here should be given a future interpretation, meaning “which I am about to give” or “which I am going to give.”

110 tn Heb “one man one man of the tribe of his fathers.”

111 tn Heb “mouth.”

112 tn Heb “heads.”

113 tc Some scholars emend “tribe” to “sons.” Cf. Num 1:10.

114 sn The difference in the names is slight, a change from “he saves” to “the Lord saves.” The Greek text of the OT used Iesoun for Hebrew Yeshua.

115 tn The preterite with vav (ו) consecutive is here subordinated to the next verb of the same formation to express a temporal clause.

116 tn The instructions had them first go up into the southern desert of the land, and after passing through that, into the hill country of the Canaanites. The text could be rendered “into the Negev” as well as “through the Negev.”

117 tn The form is the perfect tense with vav (ו) consecutive; the word therefore carries the volitional mood of the preceding imperatives. It may be either another imperative, or it may be subordinated as a purpose clause.

118 tn Heb “see the land, what it is.”

119 tn The verb is the Hitpael perfect with vav (ו) consecutive, from the root חָזַק (khazaq, “to be strong”). Here it could mean “strengthen yourselves” or “be courageous” or “determined.” See further uses in 2 Sam 10:12; 1 Kgs 20:22; 1 Chr 19:13.

120 tn Heb “Now the days were the days of.”

121 sn The reference to the first ripe grapes would put the time somewhere at the end of July.

122 sn Zin is on the southern edge of the land, but Rehob is far north, near Mount Hermon. The spies covered all the land.

123 tn The idiom uses the infinitive construct: “to enter Hamath,” meaning, “on the way that people go to Hamath.”

124 tc The MT has the singular, but the ancient versions and Smr have the plural.

125 tn The preterite with vav (ו) consecutive is here subordinated to the following clause. The first verse gave the account of their journey over the whole land; this section focuses on what happened in the area of Hebron, which would be the basis for the false report.

126 sn These names are thought to be three clans that were in the Hebron area (see Josh 15:14; Judg 1:20). To call them descendants of Anak is usually taken to mean that they were large or tall people (2 Sam 21:18-22). They were ultimately driven out by Caleb.

127 sn The text now provides a brief historical aside for the readers. Zoan was probably the city of Tanis, although that is disputed today by some scholars. It was known in Egypt in the New Kingdom as “the fields of Tanis,” which corresponded to the “fields of Zoar” in the Hebrew Bible (Ps 78:12, 43).

128 tn The word is related etymologically to the verb for “slip, slide, bend, totter.” This would fit the use very well. A pole that would not bend would be hard to use to carry things, but a pole or stave that was flexible would serve well.

129 tn The verb is rendered as a passive because there is no expressed subject.

130 tn Or “Wadi Eshcol.” The translation “brook” is too generous; the Hebrew term refers to a river bed, a ravine or valley through which torrents of rain would rush in the rainy season; at other times it might be completely dry.

131 tn The word “Eshcol” is drawn from the Hebrew expression concerning the “cluster of grapes.” The word is probably retained in the name Burj Haskeh, two miles north of Damascus.

132 tn The construction literally has “and they went and they entered,” which may be smoothed out as a verbal hendiadys, the one verb modifying the other.

133 sn Kadesh is Ain Qadeis, about 50 miles (83 km) south of Beer Sheba. It is called Kadesh-barnea in Num 32:8.

134 tn Heb “They brought back word”; the verb is the Hiphil preterite of שׁוּב (shuv).

135 tn Heb “told him and said.” The referent (Moses) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

136 tn The relative clause modifies “the land.” It is constructed with the relative and the verb: “where you sent us.”

137 sn This is the common expression for the material abundance of the land (see further, F. C. Fensham, “An Ancient Tradition of the Fertility of Palestine,” PEQ 98 [1966]: 166-67).

138 tn The word (אֶפֶס, ’efes) forms a very strong adversative. The land was indeed rich and fruitful, but….”

139 tn Heb “the people who are living in the land.”

140 tn Heb “by the side [hand] of.”

141 sn For more discussion on these people groups, see D. J. Wiseman, ed., Peoples of Old Testament Times.

142 tn The construction is emphatic, using the cohortative with the infinitive absolute to strengthen it: עָלֹה נַעֲלֶה (’aloh naaleh, “let us go up”) with the sense of certainty and immediacy.

143 tn The perfect tense with vav (ו) consecutive brings the cohortative idea forward: “and let us possess it”; it may also be subordinated to form a purpose or result idea.

144 tn Here again the confidence of Caleb is expressed with the infinitive absolute and the imperfect tense: יָכוֹל נוּכַל (yakhol nukhal), “we are fully able” to do this. The verb יָכַל (yakhal) followed by the preposition lamed means “to prevail over, to conquer.”

145 tn The vav (ו) disjunctive on the noun at the beginning of the clause forms a strong adversative clause here.

146 tn Or “an evil report,” i.e., one that was a defamation of the grace of God.

147 tn Heb “which we passed over in it”; the pronoun on the preposition serves as a resumptive pronoun for the relative, and need not be translated literally.

148 tn The verb is the feminine singular participle from אָכַל (’akhal); it modifies the land as a “devouring land,” a bold figure for the difficulty of living in the place.

149 sn The expression has been interpreted in a number of ways by commentators, such as that the land was infertile, that the Canaanites were cannibals, that it was a land filled with warlike dissensions, or that it denotes a land geared for battle. It may be that they intended the land to seem infertile and insecure.

150 tn Heb “in its midst.”

151 tc The Greek version uses gigantes (“giants”) to translate “the Nephilim,” but it does not retain the clause “the sons of Anak are from the Nephilim.”

sn The Nephilim are the legendary giants of antiquity. They are first discussed in Gen 6:4. This forms part of the pessimism of the spies’ report.

152 tn Heb “in our eyes.”

153 tn Heb “in their eyes.”

154 sn This chapter forms part of the story already begun. There are three major sections here: dissatisfaction with the reports (vv. 1-10), the threat of divine punishment (vv. 11-38), and the defeat of the Israelites (vv. 39-45). See K. D. Sakenfeld, “The Problem of Divine Forgiveness in Num 14,” CBQ 37 (1975): 317-30; also J. R. Bartlett, “The Use of the Word רֹאשׁ as a Title in the Old Testament,” VT 19 (1969): 1-10.

155 tn The two verbs “lifted up their voice and cried” form a hendiadys; the idiom of raising the voice means that they cried aloud.

156 tn There are a number of things that the verb “to weep” or “wail” can connote. It could reflect joy, grief, lamentation, or repentance, but here it reflects fear, hopelessness, or vexation at the thought of coming all this way and being defeated by the Canaanite armies. See Judg 20:23, 26.

157 tn The Hebrew verb “to murmur” is לוּן (lun). It is a strong word, signifying far more than complaining or grumbling, as some of the modern translations have it. The word is most often connected to the wilderness experience. It is paralleled in the literature with the word “to rebel.” The murmuring is like a parliamentary vote of no confidence, for they no longer trusted their leaders and wished to choose a new leader and return. This “return to Egypt” becomes a symbol of their lack of faith in the Lord.

158 tn The optative is expressed by לוּ (lu) and then the verb, here the perfect tense מַתְנוּ (matnu) – “O that we had died….” Had they wanted to die in Egypt they should not have cried out to the Lord to deliver them from bondage. Here the people became consumed with the fear and worry of what lay ahead, and in their panic they revealed a lack of trust in God.

159 tn Heb “died.”

160 tn Heb “a man to his brother.”

161 tn The verb is נָתַן (natan, “to give”), but this verb has quite a wide range of meanings in the Bible. Here it must mean “to make,” “to choose,” “to designate” or the like.

162 tn The word “head” (רֹאשׁ, rosh) probably refers to a tribal chief who was capable to judge and to lead to war (see J. R. Bartlett, “The Use of the Word רֹאשׁ as a Title in the Old Testament,” VT 19 [1969]: 1-10).

163 tn The form is a cohortative with a vav (ו) prefixed. After the preceding cohortative this could also be interpreted as a purpose or result clause – in order that we may return.

164 sn This action of Moses and Aaron is typical of them in the wilderness with the Israelites. The act shows self-abasement and deference before the sovereign Lord. They are not bowing before the people here, but in front of the people they bow before God. According to Num 17:6-15 this prostration is for the purpose of intercessory prayer. Here it prevents immediate wrath from God.

165 tn Heb “before all the assembly of the congregation.”

166 tn The repetition of the adverb מְאֹד (mÿod) is used to express this: “very, very [good].”

167 tn The subjective genitives “milk and honey” are symbols of the wealth of the land, second only to bread. Milk was a sign of such abundance (Gen 49:12; Isa 7:21,22). Because of the climate the milk would thicken quickly and become curds, eaten with bread or turned into butter. The honey mentioned here is the wild honey (see Deut 32:13; Judg 14:8-9). It signified sweetness, or the finer things of life (Ezek 3:3).

168 sn The expression must indicate that they could destroy the enemies as easily as they could eat bread.

169 tn Heb “their shade.” The figure compares the shade from the sun with the protection from the enemy. It is also possible that the text is alluding to their deities here.

170 tn Heb “said to stone them with stones.” The verb and the object are not from the same root, but the combination nonetheless forms an emphasis equal to the cognate accusative.

171 tn The vav (ו) on the noun “glory” indicates a strong contrast, one that interrupts their threatened attack.

172 sn The glory of the Lord refers to the reality of the Lord’s presence in a manifestation of his power and splendor. It showed to all that God was a living God. The appearance of the glory indicated blessing for the obedient, but disaster for the disobedient.

173 tc The Greek, Syriac, and Tg. Ps.-J. have “in the cloud over the tent.”

174 tn The verb נָאַץ (naats) means “to condemn, spurn” (BDB 610 s.v.). Coats suggests that in some contexts the word means actual rejection or renunciation (Rebellion in the Wilderness, 146, 7). This would include the idea of distaste.

175 tn The verb “to believe” (root אָמַן, ’aman) has the basic idea of support, dependability for the root. The Hiphil has a declarative sense, namely, to consider something reliable or dependable and to act on it. The people did not trust what the Lord said.

176 tc The Greek version has “death.”

177 tn The construction is unusual in that we have here a perfect tense with a vav (ו) consecutive with no verb before it to establish the time sequence. The context requires that this be taken as a vav (ו) consecutive. It actually forms the protasis for the next verse, and would best be rendered “whenthen they will say.”

178 tn The singular participle is to be taken here as a collective, representing all the inhabitants of the land.

179 tn “Face to face” is literally “eye to eye.” It only occurs elsewhere in Isa 52:8. This expresses the closest communication possible.

180 tn The verb is the Hiphil perfect of מוּת (mut), וְהֵמַתָּה (vÿhemattah). The vav (ו) consecutive makes this also a future time sequence verb, but again in a conditional clause.

181 tn Heb “as one man.”

182 tc The form in the text is אֲדֹנָי (’adonay), the word that is usually used in place of the tetragrammaton. It is the plural form with the pronominal suffix, and so must refer to God.

183 tn The expression is רַב־חֶסֶד (rav khesed) means “much of loyal love,” or “faithful love.” Some have it “totally faithful,” but that omits the aspect of his love.

184 tn Or “rebellion.”

185 tn The infinitive absolute emphasizes the verbal activity of the imperfect tense, which here serves as a habitual imperfect. Negated it states what God does not do; and the infinitive makes that certain.

186 sn The Decalogue adds “to those who hate me.” The point of the line is that the effects of sin, if not the sinful traits themselves, are passed on to the next generation.

187 tn The verb סְלַח־נָא (selakh-na’), the imperative form, means “forgive” (see Ps 130:4), “pardon,” “excuse.” The imperative is of course a prayer, a desire, and not a command.

188 tn The construct unit is “the greatness of your loyal love.” This is the genitive of specification, the first word being the modifier.

189 tn Heb “forgiven according to your word.” The direct object, “them,” is implied.

190 sn This is the oath formula, but in the Pentateuch it occurs here and in v. 28.

191 tn The verb נָסָה (nasah) means “to test, to tempt, to prove.” It can be used to indicate things are tried or proven, or for testing in a good sense, or tempting in the bad sense, i.e., putting God to the test. In all uses there is uncertainty or doubt about the outcome. Some uses of the verb are positive: If God tests Abraham in Genesis 22:1, it is because there is uncertainty whether he fears the Lord or not; if people like Gideon put out the fleece and test the Lord, it is done by faith but in order to be certain of the Lord’s presence. But here, when these people put God to the test ten times, it was because they doubted the goodness and ability of God, and this was a major weakness. They had proof to the contrary, but chose to challenge God.

192 tn “Ten” is here a round figure, emphasizing the complete testing. But see F. V. Winnett, The Mosaic Tradition, 121-54.

193 tn Heb “listened to my voice.”

194 tn The word אִם (’im) indicates a negative oath formula: “if” means “they will not.” It is elliptical. In a human oath one would be saying: “The Lord do to me if they see…,” meaning “they will by no means see.” Here God is swearing that they will not see the land.

195 tn Heb “seed.”

196 sn The judgment on Israel is that they turn back to the desert and not attack the tribes in the land. So a parenthetical clause is inserted to state who was living there. They would surely block the entrance to the land from the south – unless God removed them. And he is not going to do that for Israel.

197 tn The figure is aposiopesis, or sudden silence. The main verb is deleted from the line, “how long…this evil community.” The intensity of the emotion is the reason for the ellipsis.

198 sn It is worth mentioning in passing that this is one of the Rabbinic proof texts for having at least ten men to form a congregation and have prayer. If God called ten men (the bad spies) a “congregation,” then a congregation must have ten men. But here the word “community/congregation” refers in this context to the people of Israel as a whole, not just to the ten spies.

199 sn Here again is the oath that God swore in his wrath, an oath he swore by himself, that they would not enter the land. “As the Lord lives,” or “by the life of the Lord,” are ways to render it.

200 tn The word נְאֻם (nÿum) is an “oracle.” It is followed by the subjective genitive: “the oracle of the Lord” is equal to saying “the Lord says.”

201 tn Heb “in my ears.”

sn They had expressed the longing to have died in the wilderness, and not in war. God will now give them that. They would not say to God “your will be done,” so he says to them, “your will be done” (to borrow from C. S. Lewis).

202 tn Or “your corpses” (also in vv. 32, 33).

203 tn The relative pronoun “which” is joined with the resumptive pronoun “in it” to form a smoother reading “where.”

204 tn The Hebrew text uses the anthropomorphic expression “I raised my hand” in taking an oath.

205 tn Heb “to cause you to dwell; to cause you to settle.”

206 tn Or “plunder.”

207 tn Heb “know.”

208 tn The word is “shepherds.” It means that the people would be wilderness nomads, grazing their flock on available land.

209 tn Heb “you shall bear your whoredoms.” The imagery of prostitution is used throughout the Bible to reflect spiritual unfaithfulness, leaving the covenant relationship and following after false gods. Here it is used generally for their rebellion in the wilderness, but not for following other gods.

210 tn The infinitive is from תָּמַם (tamam), which means “to be complete.” The word is often used to express completeness in a good sense – whole, blameless, or the like. Here and in v. 35 it seems to mean “until your deaths have been completed.” See also Gen 47:15; Deut 2:15.

211 tn Heb “you shall bear.”

212 tn The phrase refers to the consequences of open hostility to God, or perhaps abandonment of God. The noun תְּנוּאָה (tÿnuah) occurs in Job 33:10 (perhaps). The related verb occurs in Num 30:6 HT (30:5 ET) and 32:7 with the sense of “disallow, discourage.” The sense of the expression adopted in this translation comes from the meticulous study of R. Loewe, “Divine Frustration Exegetically Frustrated,” Words and Meanings, 137-58.

213 tn The verb is the Hiphil infinitive construct with a lamed (ל) preposition from the root יָצָא (yatsa’, “to bring out”). The use of the infinitive here is epexegetical, that is, explaining how they caused the people to murmur.

214 tn The Hebrew text uses the preposition “from,” “some of” – “from those men.” The relative pronoun is added to make a smoother reading.

215 tn The preterite here is subordinated to the next preterite to form a temporal clause.

216 tn The word אָבַל (’aval) is rare, used mostly for mourning over deaths, but it is used here of mourning over bad news (see also Exod 33:4; 1 Sam 15:35; 16:1; etc.).

217 tn The verb וַיַּשְׁכִּמוּ (vayyashkimu) is often found in a verbal hendiadys construction: “They rose early…and they went up” means “they went up early.”

218 tn The Hebrew text says literally “the top of the hill,” but judging from the location and the terrain it probably means the heights of the hill country.

219 tn The verb is simply “said,” but it means the place that the Lord said to go up to in order to fight.

220 sn Their sin was unbelief. They could have gone and conquered the area if they had trusted the Lord for their victory. They did not, and so they were condemned to perish in the wilderness. Now, thinking that by going they can undo all that, they plan to go. But this is also disobedience, for the Lord said they would not now take the land, and yet they think they can. Here is their second sin, presumption.

221 tn The line literally has, “Why is this [that] you are transgressing….” The demonstrative pronoun is enclitic; it brings the force of “why in the world are you doing this now?”

222 tn Heb “mouth.”

223 tn This verb could also be subordinated to the preceding: “that you be not smitten.”

224 tn N. H. Snaith compares Arabic ’afala (“to swell”) and gafala (“reckless, headstrong”; Leviticus and Numbers [NCB], 248). The wordעֹפֶל (’ofel) means a “rounded hill” or a “tumor.” The idea behind the verb may be that of “swelling,” and so “act presumptuously.”

225 tn The disjunctive vav (ו) here introduces a circumstantial clause; the most appropriate one here would be the concessive “although.”

226 tn Heb “came down.”

227 tn The verb used here means “crush by beating,” or “pounded” them. The Greek text used “cut them in pieces.”

228 tn The name “Hormah” means “destruction”; it is from the word that means “ban, devote” for either destruction or temple use.



TIP #07: Use the Discovery Box to further explore word(s) and verse(s). [ALL]
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