2 tn Some English versions take the Hebrew noun translated “oracle” here as a place name specifying the kingdom of King Lemuel; cf. NAB “king of Massa”; CEV “King Lemuel of Massa.”
1 tc The MT reads <span class="hebrew">בְּמַשָּׂא יָסֹר בַּמַּשָּׂאspan> (<span class="translit">b<sup>esup>massa’ yasor bammassa’span>), leader of the Levites “in [the] lifting up, an instructor in lifting up.” The LXX reads <span class="greek">ἄρχων τῶν ᾠδῶνspan> (<span class="translit">archōn tōn ōdōnspan>) “ruler/leader of the songs,” apparently omitting the first Hebrew <span class="hebrew">בְּמַשָּׂאspan> (<span class="translit">b<sup>esup>massa’span>) and then reading the similar sounding <span class="hebrew">יָשֹׂרspan> (<span class="translit">yasorspan>) “one who rules” for <span class="hebrew">יָסֹרspan> (<span class="translit">yasorspan>) “instructor.” The Vulgate associates the first Hebrew <span class="hebrew">בְּמַשָּׂאspan> (<span class="translit">b<sup>esup>massa’span>) with prophesy (see note below) and the second with song. Luther renders “the master in song to teach them to sing” (see Keil and Delitzsch, <i>The First Book of Chroniclesi>, 204).
1 sn This is the famous story telling how the people rebelled against Yahweh when they thirsted, saying that Moses had brought them out into the wilderness to kill them by thirst, and how Moses with the staff brought water from the rock. As a result of this the name was called Massa and Meribah because of the testing and the striving. It was a challenge to Moses’ leadership as well as a test of Yahweh’s presence. The narrative in its present form serves an important point in the argument of the book. The story turns on the gracious provision of God who can give his people water when there is none available. The narrative is structured to show how the people strove. Thus, the story intertwines God’s free flowing grace with the sad memory of Israel’s sins. The passage can be divided into three parts: the situation and the complaint (<data ref="Bible:Ex 17:1-3">1-3data>), the cry and the miracle (<data ref="Bible:Ex 17:4-6">4-6data>), and the commemoration by naming (7).