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Numbers 14:12-20

Context
14:12 I will strike them with the pestilence, 1  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 2  it – for you brought up this people by your power from among them – 14:14 then they will tell it to the inhabitants 3  of this land. They have heard that you, Lord, are among this people, that you, Lord, are seen face to face, 4  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 5  this entire people at once, 6  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 7  be great, just as you have said, 14:18 ‘The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in loyal love, 8  forgiving iniquity and transgression, 9  but by no means clearing 10  the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children until the third and fourth generations.’ 11  14:19 Please forgive 12  the iniquity of this people according to your great loyal love, 13  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. 14 

1 tc The Greek version has “death.”

2 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.”

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

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

5 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.

6 tn Heb “as one man.”

7 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.

8 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.

9 tn Or “rebellion.”

10 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.

11 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.

12 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.

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

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



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