16:1 1 When 2 they journeyed from Elim, the entire company 3 of Israelites came to the Desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their exodus 4 from the land of Egypt. 16:2 The entire company 5 of Israelites murmured against Moses and Aaron in the desert. 16:3 The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died 6 by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by 7 the pots of meat, when we ate bread to the full, 8 for you have brought us out into this desert to kill 9 this whole assembly with hunger!”
16:4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “I am going to rain 10 bread from heaven for you, and the people will go out 11 and gather the amount for each day, so that I may test them. 12 Will they will walk in my law 13 or not? 16:5 On the sixth day 14 they will prepare what they bring in, and it will be twice as much as they gather every other day.” 15
16:6 Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “In the evening 16 you will know that the Lord has brought you out of the land of Egypt, 16:7 and in the morning you will see 17 the glory of the Lord, because he has heard 18 your murmurings against the Lord. As for us, what are we, 19 that you should murmur against us?”
16:8 Moses said, “You will know this 20 when the Lord gives you 21 meat to eat in the evening and bread in the morning to satisfy you, because the Lord has heard your murmurings that you are murmuring against him. As for us, what are we? 22 Your murmurings are not against us, 23 but against the Lord.”
16:10 As Aaron spoke 26 to the whole community of the Israelites and they looked toward the desert, there the glory of the Lord 27 appeared 28 in the cloud, 16:11 and the Lord spoke to Moses: 16:12 “I have heard the murmurings of the Israelites. Tell them, ‘During the evening 29 you will eat meat, 30 and in the morning you will be satisfied 31 with bread, so that you may know 32 that I am the Lord your God.’” 33
16:13 In the evening the quail 34 came up and covered the camp, and in the morning a layer of dew was all around the camp. 16:14 When 35 the layer of dew had evaporated, 36 there on the surface of the desert was a thin flaky substance, 37 thin like frost on the earth. 16:15 When 38 the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, 39 “What is it?” because they did not know what it was. 40 Moses said to them, “It is the bread 41 that the Lord has given you for food. 42
16:16 “This is what 43 the Lord has commanded: 44 ‘Each person is to gather 45 from it what he can eat, an omer 46 per person 47 according to the number 48 of your people; 49 each one will pick it up 50 for whoever lives 51 in his tent.’” 16:17 The Israelites did so, and they gathered – some more, some less. 16:18 When 52 they measured with an omer, the one who gathered much had nothing left over, and the one who gathered little lacked nothing; each one had gathered what he could eat.
16:19 Moses said to them, “No one 53 is to keep any of it 54 until morning.” 16:20 But they did not listen to Moses; some 55 kept part of it until morning, and it was full 56 of worms and began to stink, and Moses was angry with them. 16:21 So they gathered it each morning, 57 each person according to what he could eat, and when the sun got hot, it would melt. 58 16:22 And 59 on the sixth day they gathered twice as much food, two omers 60 per person; 61 and all the leaders 62 of the community 63 came and told 64 Moses. 16:23 He said to them, “This is what the Lord has said: ‘Tomorrow is a time of cessation from work, 65 a holy Sabbath 66 to the Lord. Whatever you want to 67 bake, bake today; 68 whatever you want to boil, boil today; whatever is left put aside for yourselves to be kept until morning.’”
16:24 So they put it aside until the morning, just as Moses had commanded, and it did not stink, nor were there any worms in it. 16:25 Moses said, “Eat it today, for today is a Sabbath to the Lord; today you will not find it in the area. 69 16:26 Six days you will gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will not be any.”
16:27 On the seventh day some of the people went out to gather it, but they found nothing. 16:28 So the Lord said to Moses, “How long do you refuse 70 to obey my commandments and my instructions? 16:29 See, because the Lord has given you the Sabbath, that is why 71 he is giving you food for two days on the sixth day. Each of you stay where you are; 72 let no one 73 go out of his place on the seventh day.” 16:30 So the people rested on the seventh day.
16:32 Moses said, “This is what 77 the Lord has commanded: ‘Fill an omer with it to be kept 78 for generations to come, 79 so that they may see 80 the food I fed you in the desert when I brought you out from the land of Egypt.’” 16:33 Moses said to Aaron, “Take a jar and put in it an omer full of manna, and place it before the Lord to be kept for generations to come.” 16:34 Just as the Lord commanded Moses, so Aaron placed it before the Testimony 81 for safekeeping. 82
16:35 Now the Israelites ate manna forty years, until they came to a land that was inhabited; they ate manna until they came to the border of the land of Canaan. 16:36 (Now an omer is one tenth of an ephah.) 83
11:4 84 Now the mixed multitude 85 who were among them craved more desirable foods, 86 and so the Israelites wept again 87 and said, “If only we had meat to eat! 88 11:5 We remember 89 the fish we used to eat 90 freely 91 in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. 11:6 But now we 92 are dried up, 93 and there is nothing at all before us 94 except this manna!” 11:7 (Now the manna was like coriander seed, and its color like the color of bdellium. 11:8 And the people went about and gathered it, and ground it with mills or pounded it in mortars; they baked it in pans and made cakes of it. It tasted like fresh olive oil. 95 11:9 And when the dew came down 96 on the camp in the night, the manna fell 97 with it.)
11:10 98 Moses heard the people weeping 99 throughout their families, everyone at the door of his tent; and when the anger of the Lord was kindled greatly, Moses was also displeased. 100 11:11 And Moses said to the Lord, “Why have you afflicted 101 your servant? Why have I not found favor in your sight, that 102 you lay the burden of this entire people on me? 11:12 Did I conceive this entire people? 103 Did I give birth to 104 them, that you should say to me, ‘Carry them in your arms, as a foster father 105 bears a nursing child,’ to the land which you swore to their fathers? 11:13 From where shall I get 106 meat to give to this entire people, for they cry to me, ‘Give us meat, that we may eat!’ 107 11:14 I am not able to bear this entire people alone, 108 because it 109 is too heavy for me! 11:15 But if you are going to deal 110 with me like this, then kill me immediately. 111 If I have found favor in your sight then do not let me see my trouble.” 112
11:16 113 The Lord said to Moses, “Gather to me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know are elders of the people and officials 114 over them, and bring them to the tent of meeting; let them take their position there with you. 11:17 Then I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take part of the spirit that is on you, and will put it on them, and they will bear some of the burden of the people with you, so that you do not bear it 115 all by yourself.
11:18 “And say to the people, ‘Sanctify yourselves 116 for tomorrow, and you will eat meat, for you have wept in the hearing 117 of the Lord, saying, “Who will give us meat to eat, 118 for life 119 was good for us in Egypt?” Therefore the Lord will give you meat, and you will eat. 11:19 You will eat, not just one day, nor two days, nor five days, nor ten days, nor twenty days, 11:20 but a whole month, 120 until it comes out your nostrils and makes you sick, 121 because you have despised 122 the Lord who is among you and have wept before him, saying, “Why 123 did we ever come out of Egypt?”’”
11:21 Moses said, “The people around me 124 are 600,000 on foot; 125 but you say, ‘I will give them meat, 126 that they may eat 127 for a whole month.’ 11:22 Would they have enough if the flocks and herds were slaughtered for them? If all the fish of the sea were caught for them, would they have enough?” 11:23 And the Lord said to Moses, “Is the Lord’s hand shortened? 128 Now you will see whether my word to you will come true 129 or not!”
11:24 So Moses went out and told the people the words of the Lord. He then gathered seventy men of the elders of the people and had them stand around the tabernacle. 11:25 And the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke to them, and he took some of the Spirit that was on Moses 130 and put it on the seventy elders. When the Spirit rested on them, 131 they prophesied, 132 but did not do so again. 133
11:26 But two men remained in the camp; one’s name was Eldad, and the other’s name was Medad. And the spirit rested on them. (Now they were among those in the registration, 134 but had not gone to the tabernacle.) So they prophesied in the camp. 11:27 And a 135 young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp!” 11:28 Joshua son of Nun, the servant 136 of Moses, one of his choice young men, 137 said, 138 “My lord Moses, stop them!” 139 11:29 Moses said to him, “Are you jealous for me? 140 I wish that 141 all the Lord’s people were prophets, that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!” 11:30 Then Moses returned to the camp along with the elders of Israel.
11:31 Now a wind 142 went out 143 from the Lord and brought quail 144 from the sea, and let them fall 145 near the camp, about a day’s journey on this side, and about a day’s journey on the other side, all around the camp, and about three feet 146 high on the surface of the ground. 11:32 And the people stayed up 147 all that day, all that night, and all the next day, and gathered the quail. The one who gathered the least gathered ten homers, 148 and they spread them out 149 for themselves all around the camp. 11:33 But while the meat was still between their teeth, before they chewed it, 150 the anger of the Lord burned against the people, and the Lord struck the people with a very great plague.
78:24 He rained down manna for them to eat;
he gave them the grain of heaven. 153
He sent them more than enough to eat. 155
78:26 He brought the east wind through the sky,
and by his strength led forth the south wind.
78:27 He rained down meat on them like dust,
birds as numerous as the sand on the seashores. 156
78:28 He caused them to fall right in the middle of their camp,
all around their homes.
he gave them what they desired.
he satisfied them with food from the sky. 159
[16:1] 1 sn Exod 16 plays an important part in the development of the book’s theme. It is part of the wider section that is the prologue leading up to the covenant at Sinai, a part of which was the obligation of obedience and loyalty (P. W. Ferris, Jr., “The Manna Narrative of Exodus 16:1-10,” JETS 18 : 191-99). The record of the wanderings in the wilderness is selective and not exhaustive. It may have been arranged somewhat topically for instructional reasons. U. Cassuto describes this section of the book as a didactic anthology arranged according to association of both context and language (Exodus, 187). Its themes are: lack of vital necessities, murmuring, proving, and providing. All the wilderness stories reiterate the same motifs. So, later, when Israel arrived in Canaan, they would look back and be reminded that it was Yahweh who brought them all the way, in spite of their rebellions. Because he is their Savior and their Provider, he will demand loyalty from them. In the Manna Narrative there is murmuring over the lack of bread (1-3), the disputation with Moses (4-8), the appearance of the glory and the promise of bread (9-12), the provision (13-22), the instructions for the Sabbath (23-30), and the memorial manna (31-36).
[16:1] 2 tn The sentence begins with a preterite and vav (ו) consecutive, which can be subordinated to the next clause with the preterite and vav consecutive. Here it has been treated as a temporal clause.
[16:1] 3 tn The word is often rendered “congregation” (so KJV, ASV, NASB, NRSV), but the modern perception of a congregation is not exactly what is in mind in the desert. Another possible rendering is “community” (NAB, NIV, NCV, TEV) or “assembly.” The Hebrew word is used of both good and bad groups (Judg 14:8; Ps 1:5; 106:17-18).
[16:3] 6 tn The text reads: מִי־יִתֵּן מוּתֵנוּ (mi-yitten mutenu, “who will give our dying”) meaning “If only we had died.” מוּתֵנוּ is the Qal infinitive construct with the suffix. This is one way that Hebrew expresses the optative with an infinitive construct. See R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 91-92, §547.
[16:3] 8 sn That the complaint leading up to the manna is unjustified can be seen from the record itself. They left Egypt with flocks and herds and very much cattle, and about 45 days later they are complaining that they are without food. Moses reminded them later that they lacked nothing (Deut 3:7; for the whole sermon on this passage, see 8:1-20). Moreover, the complaint is absurd because the food of work gangs was far more meager than they recall. The complaint was really against Moses. They crave the eating of meat and of bread and so God will meet that need; he will send bread from heaven and quail as well.
[16:3] 9 tn לְהָמִית (lÿhamit) is the Hiphil infinitive construct showing purpose. The people do not trust the intentions or the plan of their leaders and charge Moses with bringing everyone out to kill them.
[16:4] 11 tn This verb and the next are the Qal perfect tenses with vav (ו) consecutives; they follow the sequence of the participle, and so are future in orientation. The force here is instruction – “they will go out” or “they are to go out.”
[16:4] 12 tn The verb in the purpose/result clause is the Piel imperfect of נָסָה (nasah), אֲנַסֶּנוּ (’anassenu) – “in order that I may prove them [him].” The giving of the manna will be a test of their obedience to the detailed instructions of God as well as being a test of their faith in him (if they believe him they will not gather too much). In chap. 17 the people will test God, showing that they do not trust him.
[16:4] 13 sn The word “law” here properly means “direction” at this point (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 146), but their obedience here would indicate also whether or not they would be willing to obey when the Law was given at Sinai.
[16:5] 15 sn There is a question here concerning the legislation – the people were not told why to gather twice as much on the sixth day. In other words, this instruction seems to presume that they knew about the Sabbath law. That law will be included in this chapter in a number of ways, suggesting to some scholars that this chapter is out of chronological order, placed here for a purpose. Some argue that the manna episode comes after the revelation at Sinai. But it is not necessary to take such a view. God had established the Sabbath in the creation, and if Moses has been expounding the Genesis traditions in his teachings then they would have known about that.
[16:6] 16 tn The text simply has “evening, and you will know.” Gesenius notes that the perfect tense with the vav consecutive occurs as the apodosis to temporal clauses or their equivalents. Here the first word implies the idea “[when it becomes] evening” or simply “[in the] evening” (GKC 337-38 §112.oo).
[16:6] sn Moses is very careful to make sure that they know it is Yahweh who has brought them out, and it will be Yahweh who will feed them. They are going to be convinced of this now.
[16:7] 19 tn The words “as for us” attempt to convey the force of the Hebrew word order, which puts emphasis on the pronoun: “and we – what?” The implied answer to the question is that Moses and Aaron are nothing, merely the messengers. The next verse repeats the question to further press the seriousness of what the Israelites are doing.
[16:8] 20 tn “You will know this” has been added to make the line smooth. Because of the abruptness of the lines in the verse, and the repetition with v. 7, B. S. Childs (Exodus [OTL], 273) thinks that v. 8 is merely a repetition by scribal error – even though the versions render it as the MT has it. But B. Jacob (Exodus, 447) suggests that the contrast with vv. 6 and 7 is important for another reason – there Moses and Aaron speak, and it is smooth and effective, but here only Moses speaks, and it is labored and clumsy. “We should realize that Moses had properly claimed to be no public speaker.”
[16:8] 22 tn The words “as for us” attempt to convey the force of the Hebrew word order, which puts emphasis on the pronoun: “and we – what?” The implied answer to the question is that Moses and Aaron are nothing, merely the messengers.
[16:9] 25 tn The verb means “approach, draw near.” It is used in the Torah of drawing near for religious purposes. It is possible that some sacrifice was involved here, but no mention is made of that.
[16:10] 27 sn S. R. Driver says, “A brilliant glow of fire…symbolizing Jehovah’s presence, gleamed through the cloud, resting…on the Tent of Meeting. The cloud shrouds the full brilliancy of the glory, which human eye could not behold” (Exodus, 147-48; see also Ezek 1:28; 3:12, 23; 8:4; 9:3, et al.). A Hebrew word often translated “behold” or “lo” introduces the surprising sight.
[16:12] 30 sn One of the major interpretive difficulties is the comparison between Exod 16 and Num 11. In Numbers we find that the giving of the manna was about 24 months after the Exod 16 time (assuming there was a distinct time for this chapter), that it was after the erection of the tabernacle, that Taberah (the Burning) preceded it (not in Exod 16), that the people were tired of the manna (not that there was no bread to eat) and so God would send the quail, and that there was a severe tragedy over it. In Exod 16 both the manna and the quail are given on the same day, with no mention of quail on the following days. Contemporary scholarship generally assigns the accounts to two different sources because complete reconciliation seems impossible. Even if we argue that Exodus has a thematic arrangement and “telescopes” some things to make a point, there will still be difficulties in harmonization. Two considerations must be kept in mind: 1) First, they could be separate events entirely. If this is true, then they should be treated separately as valid accounts of things that appeared or occurred during the period of the wanderings. Similar things need not be the same thing. 2) Secondly, strict chronological order is not always maintained in the Bible narratives, especially if it is a didactic section. Perhaps Exod 16 describes the initiation of the giving of manna as God’s provision of bread, and therefore placed in the prologue of the covenant, and Num 11 is an account of a mood which developed over a period of time in response to the manna. Num 11 would then be looking back from a different perspective.
[16:12] 32 tn The form is a Qal perfect with the vav (ו) consecutive; it is in sequence with the imperfect tenses before it, and so this is equal to an imperfect nuance. But, from the meanings of the words, it is clear that this will be the outcome of their eating the food, a divinely intended outcome.
[16:12] 33 sn This verse supports the view taken in chap. 6 concerning the verb “to know.” Surely the Israelites by now knew that Yahweh was their God. Yes, they did. But they had not experienced what that meant; they had not received the fulfillment of the promises.
[16:13] 34 sn These are migratory birds, said to come up in the spring from Arabia flying north and west, and in the fall returning. They fly with the wind, and so generally alight in the evening, covering the ground. If this is part of the explanation, the divine provision would have had to alter their flight paths to bring them to the Israelites, and bring them in vast numbers.
[16:14] 36 tn The preterite with vav (ו) consecutive is here subordinated as a temporal clause to the main clause; since that clause calls special attention to what was there after the dew evaporated.
[16:14] 37 sn Translations usually refer to the manna as “bread.” In fact it appears to be more like grain, because it could be ground in hand-mills and made into cakes. The word involved says it is thin, flakelike (if an Arabic etymological connection is correct). What is known about it from the Bible in Exodus is that it was a very small flakelike substance, it would melt when the sun got hot, if left over it bred worms and became foul, it could be ground, baked, and boiled, it was abundant enough for the Israelites to gather an omer a day per person, and they gathered it day by day throughout the wilderness sojourn. Num 11 says it was like coriander seed with the appearance of bdellium, it tasted like fresh oil, and it fell with the dew. Deut 8:3 says it was unknown to Israel or her ancestors; Psalm 78:24 parallels it with grain. Some scholars compare ancient references to honeydew that came from the heavens. F. S. Bodenheimer (“The Manna of Sinai,” BA 10 : 2) says that it was a sudden surprise for the nomadic Israelites because it provided what they desired – sweetness. He says that it was a product that came from two insects, making the manna a honeydew excretion from plant lice and scale insects. The excretion hardens and drops to the ground as a sticky solid. He notes that some cicadas are called man in Arabic. This view accounts for some of the things in these passages: the right place, the right time, the right description, and a similar taste. But there are major difficulties: Exodus requires a far greater amount, it could breed worms, it could melt away, it could be baked into bread, it could decay and stink. The suggestion is in no way convincing. Bodenheimer argues that “worms” could mean “ants” that carried them away, but that is contrived – the text could have said ants. The fact that the Bible calls it “bread” creates no problem. לֶחֶם (lekhem) is used in a wide range of meanings from bread to all kinds of food including goats (Judg 13:15-16) and honey (1 Sam 14:24-28). Scripture does not say that manna was the only thing that they ate for the duration. But they did eat it throughout the forty years. It simply must refer to some supernatural provision for them in their diet. Modern suggestions may invite comparison and analysis, but they do not satisfy or explain the text.
[16:15] 40 tn The text has: מָן הוּא כִּי לאֹ יָדְעוּ מַה־הוּא (man hu’ ki lo’ yadÿ’u mah hu’). From this statement the name “manna” was given to the substance. מָן for “what” is not found in Hebrew, but appears in Syriac as a contraction of ma den, “what then?” In Aramaic and Arabic man is “what?” The word is used here apparently for the sake of etymology. B. S. Childs (Exodus [OTL], 274) follows the approach that any connections to words that actually meant “what?” are unnecessary, for it is a play on the name (whatever it may have been) and therefore related only by sound to the term being explained. This, however, presumes that a substance was known prior to this account – a point that Deuteronomy does not seem to allow. S. R. Driver says that it is not known how early the contraction came into use, but that this verse seems to reflect it (Exodus, 149). Probably one must simply accept that in the early Israelite period man meant “what?” There seems to be sufficient evidence to support this. See EA 286,5; UT 435; DNWSI 1:157.
[16:15] 41 sn B. Jacob (Exodus, 454-55) suggests that Moses was saying to them, “It is not manna. It is the food Yahweh has given you.” He comes to this conclusion based on the strange popular etymology from the interrogative word, noting that people do not call things “what?”
[16:16] 44 tn The perfect tense could be taken as a definite past with Moses now reporting it. In this case a very recent past. But in declaring the word from Yahweh it could be instantaneous, and receive a present tense translation – “here and now he commands you.”
[16:16] 46 sn The omer is an amount mentioned only in this chapter, and its size is unknown, except by comparison with the ephah (v. 36). A number of recent English versions approximate the omer as “two quarts” (cf. NCV, CEV, NLT); TEV “two litres.”
[16:22] 60 tn This construction is an exception to the normal rule for the numbers 2 through 10 taking the object numbered in the plural. Here it is “two of the omer” or “the double of the omer” (see GKC 433 §134.e).
[16:22] 64 sn The meaning here is probably that these leaders, the natural heads of the families in the clans, saw that people were gathering twice as much and they reported this to Moses, perhaps afraid it would stink again (U. Cassuto, Exodus, 197).
[16:23] 65 tn The noun שַׁבָּתוֹן (shabbaton) has the abstract ending on it: “resting, ceasing.” The root word means “cease” from something, more than “to rest.” The Law would make it clear that they were to cease from their normal occupations and do no common work.
[16:28] 70 tn The verb is plural, and so it is addressed to the nation and not to Moses. The perfect tense in this sentence is the characteristic perfect, denoting action characteristic, or typical, of the past and the present.
[16:29] 71 sn Noting the rabbinic teaching that the giving of the Sabbath was a sign of God’s love – it was accomplished through the double portion on the sixth day – B. Jacob says, “God made no request unless He provided the means for its execution” (Exodus, 461).
[16:34] 81 sn The “Testimony” is a reference to the Ark of the Covenant; so the pot of manna would be placed before Yahweh in the tabernacle. W. C. Kaiser says that this later instruction came from a time after the tabernacle had been built (see Exod 25:10-22; W. C. Kaiser, Jr., “Exodus,” EBC 2:405). This is not a problem since the final part of this chapter had to have been included at the end of the forty years in the desert.
[16:36] 83 tn The words “omer” and “ephah” are transliterated Hebrew words. The omer is mentioned only in this passage. (It is different from a “homer” [cf. Ezek 45:11-14].) An ephah was a dry measure whose capacity is uncertain: “Quotations given for the ephah vary from ca. 45 to 20 liters” (C. Houtman, Exodus, 2:340-41).
[16:36] sn The point of this chapter, with all its instructions and reports included, is God’s miraculous provision of food for his people. This is a display of sovereign power that differs from the display of military power. Once again the story calls for faith, but here it is faith in Yahweh to provide for his people. The provision is also a test to see if they will obey the instructions of God. Deut 8 explains this. The point, then, is that God provides for the needs of his people that they may demonstrate their dependence on him by obeying him. The exposition of this passage must also correlate to John 6. God’s providing manna from heaven to meet the needs of his people takes on new significance in the application that Jesus makes of the subject to himself. There the requirement is the same – will they believe and obey? But at the end of the event John explains that they murmured about Jesus.
[11:4] 84 sn The story of the sending of the quail is a good example of poetic justice, or talionic justice. God had provided for the people, but even in that provision they were not satisfied, for they remembered other foods they had in Egypt. No doubt there was not the variety of foods in the Sinai that might have been available in Egypt, but their life had been bitter bondage there as well. They had cried to the
[11:4] 85 tn The mixed multitude (or “rabble,” so NASB, NIV, NRSV; NLT “foreign rabble”) is the translation of an unusual word, הֲָאסַפְסֻף (ha’safsuf). It occurs in the Hebrew Bible only here. It may mean “a gathering of people” from the verb אָסַף (’asaf), yielding the idea of a mixed multitude (in line with Exod 12:38). But the root is different, and so no clear connection can be established. Many commentators therefore think the word is stronger, showing contempt through a word that would be equivalent to “riff-raff.”
[11:4] 86 tn The Hebrew simply uses the cognate accusative, saying “they craved a craving” (הִתְאַוּוּ תַּאֲוָה, hit’avvu ta’vah), but the context shows that they had this strong craving for food. The verb describes a strong desire, which is not always negative (Ps 132:13-14). But the word is a significant one in the Torah; it was used in the garden story for Eve’s desire for the tree, and it is used in the Decalogue in the warning against coveting (Deut 5:21).
[11:4] 87 tc The Greek and the Latin versions read “and they sat down” for “and they returned,” involving just a change in vocalization (which they did not have). This may reflect the same expression in Judg 20:26. But the change does not improve this verse.
[11:4] tn The Hebrew text uses a verbal hendiadys here, one word serving as an adverb for the other. It literally reads “and they returned and they wept,” which means they wept again. Here the weeping is put for the complaint, showing how emotionally stirred up the people had become by the craving. The words throughout here are metonymies. The craving is a metonymy of cause, for it would have then led to expressions (otherwise the desires would not have been known). And the weeping is either a metonymy of effect, or of adjunct, for the actual complaints follow.
[11:4] 88 tn The Hebrew expresses the strong wish or longing idiomatically: “Who will give us flesh to eat?” It is a rhetorical expression not intended to be taken literally, but merely to give expression to the longing they had. See GKC 476 §151.a.1.
[11:5] sn As with all who complain in such situations, their memory was selective. It was their bitter cries to the
[11:5] 91 tn The adverb “freely” is from the word חָנַן (khanan, “to be gracious”), from which is derived the noun “grace.” The word underscores the idea of “free, without cost, for no reason, gratis.” Here the simple sense is “freely,” without any cost. But there may be more significance in the choice of the words in this passage, showing the ingratitude of the Israelites to God for His deliverance from bondage. To them now the bondage is preferable to the salvation – this is what angered the
[11:10] 98 sn Moses begins to feel the burden of caring for this people, a stubborn and rebellious people. His complaint shows how contagious their complaining has been. It is one thing to cry out to God about the load of ministry, but it is quite another to do it in such a way as to reflect a lack of faith in God’s provision. God has to remind the leader Moses that he, the
[11:11] 102 tn The infinitive construct with the preposition is expressing the result of not finding favor with God (see R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 12-13, §57). What Moses is claiming is that because he has been given this burden God did not show him favor.
[11:12] 103 sn The questions Moses asks are rhetorical. He is actually affirming that they are not his people, that he did not produce them, but now is to support them. His point is that God produced this nation, but has put the burden of caring for their needs on him.
[11:12] 105 tn The word אֹמֵן (’omen) is often translated “nurse,” but the form is a masculine form and would better be rendered as a “foster parent.” This does not work as well, though, with the יֹנֵק (yoneq), the “sucking child.” The two metaphors are simply designed to portray the duty of a parent to a child as a picture of Moses’ duty for the nation. The idea that it portrays God as a mother pushes it too far (see M. Noth, Numbers [OTL], 86-87).
[11:14] 108 tn The word order shows the emphasis: “I am not able, I by myself, to bear all this people.” The infinitive לָשֵׂאת (lase’t) serves as the direct object of the verb. The expression is figurative, for bearing or carrying the people means being responsible for all their needs and cares.
[11:14] 109 tn The subject of the verb “heavy” is unstated; in the context it probably refers to the people, or the burden of caring for the people. This responsibility was turning out to be a heavier responsibility than Moses anticipated. Alone he was totally inadequate.
[11:15] 110 tn The participle expresses the future idea of what God is doing, or what he is going to be doing. Moses would rather be killed than be given a totally impossible duty over a people that were not his.
[11:15] 111 tn The imperative of הָרַג (harag) is followed by the infinitive absolute for emphasis. The point is more that the infinitive adds to the emphasis of the imperative mood, which would be immediate compliance.
[11:15] 112 tn Or “my own ruin” (NIV). The word “trouble” here probably refers to the stress and difficulty of caring for a complaining group of people. The suffix on the noun would be objective, perhaps stressing the indirect object of the noun – trouble for me. The expression “on my trouble” (בְּרָעָתִי, bÿra’ati) is one of the so-called tiqqune sopherim, or “emendations of the scribes.” According to this tradition the original reading in v. 15 was [to look] “on your evil” (בְּרָעָתֶךָ, bÿra’atekha), meaning “the calamity that you bring about” for Israel. However, since such an expression could be mistakenly thought to attribute evil to the Lord, the ancient scribes changed it to the reading found in the MT.
[11:16] 113 sn The
[11:16] 114 tn The “officials” (שֹׁטְּרִים, shottÿrim) were a group of the elders who seem to have had some administrative capacities. The LXX used the word “scribes.” For further discussion, see R. de Vaux, Ancient Israel, 69-70.
[11:17] 115 tn The imperfect tense here is to be classified as a final imperfect, showing the result of this action by God. Moses would be relieved of some of the responsibility when these others were given the grace to understand and to resolve cases.
[11:18] 116 tn The Hitpael is used to stress that they are to prepare for a holy appearance. The day was going to be special and so required their being set apart for it. But it is a holy day in the sense of the judgment that was to follow.
[11:18] 118 tn Possibly this could be given an optative translation, to reflect the earlier one: “O that someone would give….” But the verb is not the same; here it is the Hiphil of the verb “to eat” – “who will make us eat” (i.e., provide meat for us to eat).
[11:20] 121 tn The expression לְזָרָה (lÿzarah) has been translated “ill” or “loathsome.” It occurs only here in the Hebrew Bible. The Greek text interprets it as “sickness.” It could be nausea or vomiting (so G. B. Gray, Numbers [ICC], 112) from overeating.
[11:20] 122 sn The explanation is the interpretation of their behavior – it is in reality what they have done, even though they would not say they despised the
[11:21] 127 tn The verb is the perfect tense with a vav (ו) consecutive, carrying the sequence from the preceding imperfect tense. However, this verb may be subordinated to the preceding to express a purpose clause.
[11:23] 128 sn This anthropomorphic expression concerns the power of God. The “hand of the
[11:25] 131 tn The temporal clause is introduced by the temporal indicator וַיְהִי (vayÿhi), which need not be translated. It introduces the time of the infinitive as past time narrative. The infinitive construct is from נוּחַ (nuakh, “to rest”). The figurative expression of the Spirit resting upon them indicates the temporary indwelling and empowering by the Spirit in their lives.
[11:25] 132 tn The text may mean that these men gave ecstatic utterances, much like Saul did when the Spirit came upon him and he made the same prophetic utterances (see 1 Sam 10:10-13). But there is no strong evidence for this (see K. L. Barker, “Zechariah,” EBC 7:605-6). In fact there is no consensus among scholars as to the origin and meaning of the verb “prophesy” or the noun “prophet.” It has something to do with speech, being God’s spokesman or spokeswoman or making predictions or authoritative utterances or ecstatic utterances. It certainly does mean that the same Holy Spirit, the same divine provision that was for Moses to enable him to do the things that God had commanded him to do, was now given to them. It would have included wisdom and power with what they were saying and doing – in a way that was visible and demonstrable to the people! The people needed to know that the same provision was given to these men, authenticating their leadership among the clans. And so it could not simply be a change in their understanding and wisdom.
[11:25] 133 tn The final verb of the clause stresses that this was not repeated: “they did not add” is the literal rendering of וְלֹא יָסָפוּ (vÿlo’ yasafu). It was a one-time spiritual experience associated with their installation.
[11:26] 134 tn The form of the word is the passive participle כְּתֻבִים (kÿtuvim, “written”). It is normally taken to mean “among those registered,” but it is not clear if that means they were to be among the seventy or not. That seems unlikely since there is no mention of the seventy being registered, and vv. 24-25 says all seventy went out and prophesied. The registration may be to eldership, or the role of the officer.
[11:28] 137 tn The verb is בָּחַר (bakhar, “to choose”); here the form is the masculine plural participle with a suffix, serving as the object of the preposition מִן (min). It would therefore mean “[one of] his chosen men,” or “[one of] his choice men.”
[11:28] 139 sn The effort of Joshua is to protect Moses’ prerogative as leader by stopping these men in the camp from prophesying. Joshua did not understand the significance in the
[11:29] 140 tn The Piel participle מְקַנֵּא (mÿqanne’) serves as a verb here in this interrogative sentence. The word means “to be jealous; to be envious.” That can be in a good sense, such as with the translation “zeal,” or it can be in a negative sense as here. Joshua’s apparent “zeal” is questioned by Moses – was he zealous/envious for Moses sake, or for some other reason?
[11:29] 141 tn The optative is expressed by the interrogative clause in Hebrew, “who will give….” Moses expresses here the wish that the whole nation would have that portion of the Spirit. The new covenant, of course, would turn Moses’ wish into a certainty.
[11:31] 142 sn The irony in this chapter is expressed in part by the use of the word רוּחַ (ruakh). In the last episode it clearly meant the Spirit of the
[11:31] 144 sn The “quail” ordinarily cross the Sinai at various times of the year, but what is described here is not the natural phenomenon. Biblical scholars looking for natural explanations usually note that these birds fly at a low height and can be swatted down easily. But the description here is more of a supernatural supply and provision. See J. Gray, “The Desert Sojourn of the Hebrews and the Sinai Horeb Tradition,” VT 4 (1954): 148-54.
[11:32] 149 tn The verb (a preterite) is followed by the infinitive absolute of the same root, to emphasize the action of spreading out the quail. Although it is hard to translate the expression, it indicates that they spread these quail out all over the area. The vision of them spread all over was evidence of God’s abundant provision for their needs.
[11:34] 151 sn The name “the graves of the ones who craved” is again explained by a wordplay, a popular etymology. In Hebrew קִבְרוֹת הַתַּאֲוָה (qivrot hatta’avah) is the technical name. It is the place that the people craved the meat, longing for the meat of Egypt, and basically rebelled against God. The naming marks another station in the wilderness where the people failed to accept God’s good gifts with grace and to pray for their other needs to be met.
[78:25] 154 sn Because of the reference to “heaven” in the preceding verse, it is likely that mighty ones refers here to the angels of heaven. The LXX translates “angels” here, as do a number of modern translations (NEB, NIV, NRSV).
[105:40] 158 tn Heb “he [i.e., his people] asked.” The singular form should probably be emended to a plural שָׁאֲלוּ (sha’alu, “they asked”), the vav (ו) having fallen off by haplography (note the vav at the beginning of the following form).