16:7 and in the morning you will see 3 the glory of the Lord, because he has heard 4 your murmurings against the Lord. As for us, what are we, 5 that you should murmur against us?”
16:8 Moses said, “You will know this 6 when the Lord gives you 7 meat to eat in the evening and bread in the morning to satisfy you, because the Lord has heard your murmurings that you are murmuring against him. As for us, what are we? 8 Your murmurings are not against us, 9 but against the Lord.”
1 tn The verb וַיִּלֹנוּ (vayyillonu) from לוּן (lun) is a much stronger word than “to grumble” or “to complain.” It is used almost exclusively in the wilderness wandering stories, to describe the rebellion of the Israelites against God (see also Ps 59:14-15). They were not merely complaining – they were questioning God’s abilities and motives. The action is something like a parliamentary vote of no confidence.
2 tn The imperfect tense here should be given a potential nuance: “What can we drink?” since the previous verse reports that they were not able to drink the water.
sn It is likely that Moses used words very much like this when he prayed. The difference seems to lie in the prepositions – he cried “to” Yahweh, but the people murmured “against” Moses.
3 tn Heb “morning, and you will see.”
4 tn The form is a Qal infinitive construct with a preposition and a suffix. It forms an adverbial clause, usually of time, but here a causal clause.
5 tn The words “as for us” attempt to convey the force of the Hebrew word order, which puts emphasis on the pronoun: “and we – what?” The implied answer to the question is that Moses and Aaron are nothing, merely the messengers. The next verse repeats the question to further press the seriousness of what the Israelites are doing.
6 tn “You will know this” has been added to make the line smooth. Because of the abruptness of the lines in the verse, and the repetition with v. 7, B. S. Childs (Exodus [OTL], 273) thinks that v. 8 is merely a repetition by scribal error – even though the versions render it as the MT has it. But B. Jacob (Exodus, 447) suggests that the contrast with vv. 6 and 7 is important for another reason – there Moses and Aaron speak, and it is smooth and effective, but here only Moses speaks, and it is labored and clumsy. “We should realize that Moses had properly claimed to be no public speaker.”
7 tn Here again is an infinitive construct with the preposition forming a temporal clause.
8 tn The words “as for us” attempt to convey the force of the Hebrew word order, which puts emphasis on the pronoun: “and we – what?” The implied answer to the question is that Moses and Aaron are nothing, merely the messengers.
9 tn The word order is “not against us [are] your murmurings.”