Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, June 22nd, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Numbers 14

Peake's Commentary on the BiblePeake's Commentary

Verses 1-10

Numbers 14:1-10 (P). The People’ s Discouragement at the Report of the Spies.— This section is also a fusion of JE and P: its composite character is suggested by the repetitions in Numbers 14:1. In Numbers 14:6 the minority report proceeds from Joshua and Caleb (not from Caleb only, as in Numbers 13:30, JE), and so is derived from P. But the protest in Numbers 14:7 f., though appearing to be made by both jointly, is really Caleb’ s, for like Numbers 13:30 it is directed against the argument ( Numbers 13:28) that the Canaanites were too strong to be overcome.

9. are bread for us: i.e. can be consumed as easily as men consume bread ( cf. Numbers 24:8, Deuteronomy 7:16, Psalms 14:4).— their defence (literally, “ shadow” ): i.e. their gods ( cf. Isaiah 25:4; Isaiah 30:2, Psalms 91:1).

Numbers 14:10 . the glory of Yahweh: i.e. the fire that symbolized the Divine presence ( Numbers 9:15 *, Exodus 24:17) .

Verses 11-25

Numbers 14:11-25 (JE). Yahweh’ s Threat to Disinherit the People, and Moses’ Intercession for them.— This section is derived from JE, as appears from the exemption of Caleb only ( Numbers 14:24) from the sentence of exclusion from Canaan pronounced on the existing generation. Moses here shows the same self-effacement as in Exodus 32:11 f. [The plea that Yahweh should do nothing which would damage His reputation among the heathen emphasizes a motive for the Divine action which is specially prominent in Ezekiel.— A. S. P.].

Numbers 14:14 . they will tell it: literally, “ they will say” ; but what will be said is not related, so that there is probably some corruption. The LXX preferably has, “ all the inhabitants of the land have heard that,” etc.

Numbers 14:22 . tempted: better, “ tested.”— ten times: a round number, as in Genesis 31:7, Nehemiah 4:12, Job 19:3, Zechariah 8:23.

Numbers 14:25 . Now . . . valley: contrast Numbers 14:45 (where the people here named occupy the mountain): the clause should probably be omitted (as in Deuteronomy 1:40).— the Red Sea: i.e. the gulf of Akabah ( cf. Numbers 21:4).

Verses 26-38

Numbers 14:26-38 (P). The Condemnation of the People to Forty Years’ Wanderings in the Wilderness.— This passage comes from P, being parallel to, but divergent from, 11– 25, for both Joshua, and Caleb (not the latter alone, as in Numbers 14:24) are exempted from the sentence of exclusion ( cf. Numbers 14:6). The subsequent history assumes that exemption was extended to Eleazar also (see Numbers 32:28, Joshua 14:1; Joshua 24:33).

Numbers 14:31 . know: read (with LXX), “ inherit.”

Numbers 14:33. wanderers: better (with mg.), “ shepherds” (living as nomads and not as occupiers of land).— forty years: a conventional figure equivalent to a generation ( cf. Judges 3:11; Judges 5:31).— whoredoms: i.e. acts of mistrust (not of idolatry, as usual, Ezekiel 23:11, Hosea 2:5).

Numbers 14:37 . the plague.— Paul, who alludes to the occurrence in 1 Corinthians 10:10, substitutes “ the destroyer,” thus attributing the infliction of the plague to an angelic agent (as is done in the case of the pestilence sent to punish David’ s offence in 1 Chronicles 21:12; 1 Chronicles 21:15).

Numbers 14:39-45 . An Abortive Invasion of Canaan.— This comes from JE.

Numbers 14:40 . the mountain: cf. Numbers 13:17.

Numbers 14:44 . the ark: this was wont to accompany the army as a palladium: cf. Numbers 10:35 f .

Numbers 14:45 . Hormah: afterwards reckoned in the territory of Judah or of Simeon ( Joshua 15:30; Joshua 19:4).

Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Numbers 14". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pfc/numbers-14.html. 1919.
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