Exodus 15:23

NET ©

Then they came to Marah, but they were not able to drink the waters of Marah, because they were bitter. (That is why its name was Marah.)

NIV ©

When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That is why the place is called Marah.)

NASB ©

When they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter; therefore it was named Marah.

NLT ©

When they came to Marah, they finally found water. But the people couldn’t drink it because it was bitter. (That is why the place was called Marah, which means "bitter.")

MSG ©

They got to Marah, but they couldn't drink the water at Marah; it was bitter. That's why they called the place Marah (Bitter).

BBE ©

And when they came to Marah, the water was no good for drinking, for the waters of Marah were bitter, which is why it was named Marah.

NRSV ©

When they came to Marah, they could not drink the water of Marah because it was bitter. That is why it was called Marah.

NKJV ©

Now when they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter. Therefore the name of it was called Marah.

KJV
And when they came
<0935> (8799)
to Marah
<04785>_,
they could
<03201> (8804)
not drink
<08354> (8800)
of the waters
<04325>
of Marah
<04785>_,
for they [were] bitter
<04751>_:
therefore the name
<08034>
of it was called
<07121> (8804)
Marah
<04785>_.
{Marah: that is Bitterness}
HEBREW
hrm
<04785>
hms
<08034>
arq
<07121>
Nk
<03651>
le
<05921>
Mh
<01992>
Myrm
<04751>
yk
<03588>
hrmm
<04785>
Mym
<04325>
ttsl
<08354>
wlky
<03201>
alw
<03808>
htrm
<04785>
wabyw (15:23)
<0935>
LXXM
hlyon
<2064>  
V-AAI-3P
de
<1161>  
PRT
eiv
<1519>  
PREP
merra
 
N-PRI
kai
<2532>  
CONJ
ouk
<3364>  
ADV
hdunanto
<1410>  
V-IMI-3P
piein
<4095>  
V-AAN
ek
<1537>  
PREP
merrav
 
N-PRI
pikron
<4089>  
A-ASN
gar
<1063>  
PRT
hn
<1510>  
V-IAI-3S
dia
<1223>  
PREP
touto
<3778>  
D-ASN
epwnomasyh
 
V-API-3S
to
<3588>  
T-NSN
onoma
<3686>  
N-NSN
tou
<3588>  
T-GSM
topou
<5117>  
N-GSM
ekeinou
<1565>  
D-GSM
pikria
<4088>  
N-ASF
NET © [draft] ITL
Then they came
<0935>
to Marah
<04785>
, but they were not
<03808>
able
<03201>
to drink
<08354>
the waters
<04325>
of Marah
<04785>
, because
<03588>
they were
<01992>
bitter
<04751>
. (That is why
<03651>
its name
<08034>
was Marah
<04785>
.)
NET © Notes

sn The Hebrew word “Marah” means “bitter.” This motif will be repeated four times in this passage to mark the central problem. Earlier in the book the word had been used for the “bitter herbs” in the Passover, recalling the bitter labor in bondage. So there may be a double reference here – to the bitter waters and to Egypt itself – God can deliver from either.

tn The infinitive construct here provides the direct object for the verb “to be able,” answering the question of what they were not able to do.

tn The causal clause here provides the reason for their being unable to drink the water, as well as a clear motivation for the name.

sn Many scholars have attempted to explain these things with natural phenomena. Here Marah is identified with Ain Hawarah. It is said that the waters of this well are notoriously salty and brackish; Robinson said it was six to eight feet in diameter and the water about two feet deep; the water is unpleasant, salty, and somewhat bitter. As a result the Arabs say it is the worst tasting water in the area (W. C. Kaiser, Jr., “Exodus,” EBC 2:398). But that would not be a sufficient amount of water for the number of Israelites in the first place, and in the second, they could not drink it at all. But third, how did Moses change it?

tn The עַל־כֵּן (’al-ken) formula in the Pentateuch serves to explain to the reader the reason for the way things were. It does not necessarily mean here that Israel named the place – but they certainly could have.

tn Heb “one called its name,” the expression can be translated as a passive verb if the subject is not expressed.