and they said to Moses, “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the desert? 1 What in the world 2 have you done to us by bringing 3 us out of Egypt?
Ge 43:6; Ex 5:22; Ex 15:23,24; Ex 16:2,3; Ex 17:2,3; Nu 11:1; Nu 11:15; Nu 14:1-4; Nu 16:41; Ps 106:7,8
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1 sn B. Jacob (Exodus, 396-97) notes how the speech is overly dramatic and came from a people given to using such exaggerations (Num 16:14), even using a double negative. The challenge to Moses brings a double irony. To die in the desert would be without proper burial, but in Egypt there were graves – it was a land of tombs and graves! Gesenius notes that two negatives in the sentence do not nullify each other but make the sentence all the more emphatic: “Is it because there were no graves…?” (GKC 483 §152.y).
2 tn The demonstrative pronoun has the enclitic use again, giving a special emphasis to the question (R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 24, §118).
3 tn The Hebrew term לְהוֹצִּיאָנוּ (lÿhotsi’anu) is the Hiphil infinitive construct with a suffix, “to bring us out.” It is used epexegetically here, explaining the previous question.