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Numbers 14:18-22

Context
14:18 ‘The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in loyal love, 1  forgiving iniquity and transgression, 2  but by no means clearing 3  the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children until the third and fourth generations.’ 4  14:19 Please forgive 5  the iniquity of this people according to your great loyal love, 6  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. 7  14:21 But truly, as I live, 8  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 9  me now these ten times, 10  and have not obeyed me, 11 

1 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.

2 tn Or “rebellion.”

3 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.

4 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.

5 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.

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

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

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

9 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.

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

11 tn Heb “listened to my voice.”



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