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Bible Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
Numbers 11

 

 

Introduction
1The burning at Taberah quenched by Moses' prayer.
4The people lust for flesh, and loathe manna.
10Moses complains of his charge.
16God promises to divide his burden unto seventy elders, and to give the people flesh for a month.
21Moses' faith is staggered.
31Quails are given in wrath at Kibroth-hattaavah.

Verse 1
And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD: and the LORD heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the LORD burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp.
And when
10:33; 20:2-5; 21:5; Exodus 15:23,24; 16:2,3,7,9; 17:2,3; Deuteronomy 9:22; Lamentations 3:39; 1 Corinthians 10:10; Jude 1:16
complained
or, were as it were complainers. it displeased the Lord. Heb. it was evil in the ears of the Lord.
Genesis 38:10; 2 Samuel 11:27; *marg:; James 5:4
and the fire
16:35; Leviticus 10:2; Deuteronomy 32:22; 2 Kings 1:12; Job 1:16; Psalms 78:21; 106:18; Isaiah 30:33; 33:14; Nahum 1:5; Mark 9:43-49; Hebrews 12:29
the uttermost
Deuteronomy 25:18

Verse 2
And the people cried unto Moses; and when Moses prayed unto the LORD, the fire was quenched.
cried
21:7; Psalms 78:34,35; Jeremiah 37:3; 42:2; Acts 8:24
prayed
14:13-20; Genesis 18:23-33; Exodus 32:10-14,31,32; 34:9; Deuteronomy 9:19,20; Psalms 106:23; Isaiah 37:4; Jeremiah 15:1; Amos 7:2-6; James 5:16; 1 John 5:16
the fire
16:45-48; Hebrews 7:26; 1 John 2:1,2
was quenched
Heb. sunk.

Verse 3
And he called the name of the place Taberah: because the fire of the LORD burnt among them.
Taberah
that is, a burning.
Deuteronomy 9:22

Verse 4
And the mixt multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat?
the mixed
Exodus 12:38; Leviticus 24:10,11; Nehemiah 13:3
fell a lusting
Heb. lusted a lust. the children.
1 Corinthians 15:33
wept again
Heb. returned and wept. Who shall.
Psalms 78:18-20; 106:14; Romans 13:14; 1 Corinthians 10:6

Verse 5
We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick:
the fish
Exodus 16:3; Psalms 17:14; Philippians 3:19
the cucumbers
In Hebrew, kishshuim, in Arabic, kiththa, Chaldee, keta, and Syriac, kati, a species of cucumber peculiar to Egypt, smooth, of a longish cylindrical shape, and about a foot long. Prosper Alpinus says that it differs from the common sort by its size, colour, and softness; that its leaves are smaller, whiter, softer, and rounder; its fruit larger, greener, smoother, softer, sweeter, and more easy of digestion than ours. Hasselquist describes it in the same manner; and adds, that it is very little watery, but firm like a melon, sweet and cool to the taste, but not so cold as the watermelon, which is meant by the avutichim of the text.

Verse 6
But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes.
21:5; 2 Samuel 13:4

Verse 7
And the manna was as coriander seed, and the colour thereof as the colour of bdellium.
the manna
Exodus 16:14,15,31; 1 Corinthians 1:23,24; Revelation 2:17
colour thereof as the colour of
Heb. eye of it as the eye of. bdellium.
Genesis 2:12

Verse 8
And the people went about, and gathered it, and ground it in mills, or beat it in a mortar, and baked it in pans, and made cakes of it: and the taste of it was as the taste of fresh oil.
the people
Exodus 16:16-18; John 6:27,33-58
baked it
Exodus 16:23
taste of it
Exodus 16:31

Verse 9
And when the dew fell upon the camp in the night, the manna fell upon it.
Exodus 16:13,14; Deuteronomy 32:2; Psalms 78:23-25; 105:40

Verse 10
Then Moses heard the people weep throughout their families, every man in the door of his tent: and the anger of the LORD was kindled greatly; Moses also was displeased.
weep throughout
14:1,2; 16:27; 21:5; Psalms 106:25
the anger
1; Deuteronomy 32:22; Psalms 78:21,59; Isaiah 5:25; Jeremiah 17:4
Moses
12:3; 20:10-13; Psalms 106:32,33; 139:21; Mark 3:5; 10:14

Verse 11
And Moses said unto the LORD, Wherefore hast thou afflicted thy servant? and wherefore have I not found favour in thy sight, that thou layest the burden of all this people upon me?
Wherefore hast thou
The complaint and remonstrance of Moses in these verses serve at once to shew the deeply distressed state of his mind, and the degradation of the minds of the people.
15; Exodus 17:4; Deuteronomy 1:12; Jeremiah 15:10,18; 20:7-9,14-18; Malachi 3:14; 2 Corinthians 11:28
wherefore have
Job 10:2; Psalms 130:3; 143:2; Lamentations 3:22,23,39,40

Verse 12
Have I conceived all this people? have I begotten them, that thou shouldest say unto me, Carry them in thy bosom, as a nursing father beareth the sucking child, unto the land which thou swarest unto their fathers?
Carry them
Isaiah 40:11; Ezekiel 34:23; John 10:11
as a nursing
Isaiah 49:15,23; Galatians 4:19; 1 Thessalonians 2:7
the land
Genesis 13:15; 22:16,17; 26:3; 50:24; Exodus 13:5

Verse 13
Whence should I have flesh to give unto all this people? for they weep unto me, saying, Give us flesh, that we may eat.
Matthew 15:33; Mark 8:4; 9:23

Verse 14
I am not able to bear all this people alone, because it is too heavy for me.
Exodus 18:18; Deuteronomy 1:9-12; Psalms 89:19; Isaiah 9:6; Zechariah 6:13; 2 Corinthians 2:16

Verse 15
And if thou deal thus with me, kill me, I pray thee, out of hand, if I have found favour in thy sight; and let me not see my wretchedness.
kill me
1 Kings 19:4; Job 3:20-22; 6:8-10; 7:15; Jonah 4:3,8,9; Philippians 1:20-24; James 1:4
let me not
Jeremiah 15:18; 20:18; Zephaniah 3:15
my wretchedness
Two of Dr. Kennicott's manuscripts read, "their wretchedness." The Jerusalem Targum has the same, and adds, by way of explanation, "who are thine own people."

Verse 16
And the LORD said unto Moses, Gather unto me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be the elders of the people, and officers over them; and bring them unto the tabernacle of the congregation, that they may stand there with thee.
seventy
Genesis 46:27; Exodus 4:29; 24:1,9; Ezekiel 8:11; Luke 10:1,17
officers
Deuteronomy 1:15; 16:18; 31:28

Verse 17
And I will come down and talk with thee there: and I will take of the spirit which is upon thee, and will put it upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee, that thou bear it not thyself alone.
I will come
25; 12:5; Genesis 11:5; 18:21; Exodus 19:11,20; 34:5; John 3:13
talk with
12:8; Genesis 17:3,22; 18:20-22,33
I will take
27:18; 1 Samuel 10:6; 2 Kings 2:9,15; Nehemiah 9:20; Isaiah 44:3; 59:20,21; Joel 2:28; John 7:39; Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 2:12; 12:4-11; 1 Thessalonians 4:8; 1 Peter 1:22; Jude 1:19
they shall
Exodus 18:22; Acts 6:3,4

Verse 18
And say thou unto the people, Sanctify yourselves against to morrow, and ye shall eat flesh: for ye have wept in the ears of the LORD, saying, Who shall give us flesh to eat? for it was well with us in Egypt: therefore the LORD will give you flesh, and ye shall eat.
Sanctify
Genesis 35:2; Exodus 19:10,15; Joshua 7:13
ye have wept
1,4-6; Exodus 16:3-7; Judges 21:2
it was well
4,5; 14:2,3; Acts 7:39

Verse 19

About a year before this, the people had been thus feasted for one day (Exodus 16:13); but now such plenty was to be afforded them for a whole month, and they should use it so greedily, that at last they should entirely loathe the food for which they had so inordinately craved.


Verse 20
But even a whole month, until it come out at your nostrils, and it be loathsome unto you: because that ye have despised the LORD which is among you, and have wept before him, saying, Why came we forth out of Egypt?
whole month
Heb. month of days.
Exodus 16:8,13
and it
21:5; Psalms 78:27-30; 106:15; Proverbs 27:7
despised
1 Samuel 2:30; 2 Samuel 12:10; Malachi 1:6; Acts 13:41; 1 Thessalonians 4:8

Verse 21
And Moses said, The people, among whom I am, are six hundred thousand footmen; and thou hast said, I will give them flesh, that they may eat a whole month.
1:46; 2:32; Genesis 12:2; Exodus 12:37; 38:26

Verse 22
Shall the flocks and the herds be slain for them, to suffice them? or shall all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them, to suffice them?
2 Kings 7:2; Matthew 15:33; Mark 6:37; 8:4; Luke 1:18,34; John 6:6,7,9

Verse 23
And the LORD said unto Moses, Is the LORD'S hand waxed short? thou shalt see now whether my word shall come to pass unto thee or not.
Is the Lord's
That is, "Is the power of the Lord diminished?" That power which has been so signally displayed on your behalf, and which is as unchangeable as it is unlimited.
Genesis 18:14; Psalms 78:41; Isaiah 50:2; 59:1; Micah 2:7; Matthew 19:26; Luke 1:37
thou shalt
23:19; 2 Kings 7:2,17-19; Jeremiah 44:28,29; Ezekiel 12:25; 24:14; Matthew 24:35

Verse 24
And Moses went out, and told the people the words of the LORD, and gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people, and set them round about the tabernacle.
gathered
16,26

Verse 25
And the LORD came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that, when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease.
came down
17; 12:5; Exodus 34:5; 40:38; Psalms 99:7; Luke 9:34,35
took
17; 2 Kings 2:15; James 1:17
gave it
From this place, Origen and Theodoret take occasion to compare Moses to a lamp, at which seventy others were lighted, without any diminution of its lustre.
they prophesied
By prophesying here we are to understand, their performing those civil and sacred functions for which they were qualified; exhorting the people to quiet and peaceable submission, and to trust and confidence in the providence of God.
1 Samuel 10:5,6,10; 19:20-24; Jeremiah 36:5,6; Joel 2:28,29; Acts 2:17,18; Acts 11:28; 21:9-11; 1 Corinthians 11:4,5; 14:1-3,32; 2 Peter 1:21

Verse 26
But there remained two of the men in the camp, the name of the one was Eldad, and the name of the other Medad: and the spirit rested upon them; and they were of them that were written, but went not out unto the tabernacle: and they prophesied in the camp.
went not out
Exodus 3:11; 4:13,14; 1 Samuel 10:22; 20:26; Jeremiah 1:6; 36:5

Verse 28
And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his young men, answered and said, My lord Moses, forbid them.
Joshua
Exodus 17:9
My Lord
Mark 9:38,39; Luke 9:49,50; John 3:26

Verse 29
And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the LORD'S people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit upon them!
Enviest
1 Corinthians 3:3,21; 13:4; Philippians 2:3; James 3:14,15; 4:5; 5:9; 1 Peter 2:1
would
Acts 26:29; 1 Corinthians 14:5; Philippians 1:15-18
that the
Matthew 9:37,38; Luke 10:2

Verse 31
And there went forth a wind from the LORD, and brought quails from the sea, and let them fall by the camp, as it were a day's journey on this side, and as it were a day's journey on the other side, round about the camp, and as it were two cubits high upon the face of the earth.
a wind
Exodus 10:13,19; 15:10; Psalms 135:7
and brought
Exodus 16:13; Psalms 78:26-29; 105:40
quails
That the word selav means the quail, we have already had occasion to observe; to which we subjoin the authority of Mr. Maundrell, who visited Naplosa, (the ancient Sichem,) where the Samaritans live. Mr. Maundrell asked their chief priest what sort of animal he took the selav to be. He answered, they were a sort of fowls; and, by the description Mr. Maundrell perceived he meant the same kind with our quails.
a day's journey
Heb. the way of a day. and as it were two cubits. That is, as the Vulgate renders, Volabantque in aƫre duobus cubitis altitudine super terram, "and they flew in the air, at the height of two cubits above the ground."

Verse 32
And the people stood up all that day, and all that night, and all the next day, and they gathered the quails: he that gathered least gathered ten homers: and they spread them all abroad for themselves round about the camp.
homers
Exodus 16:36; Ezekiel 45:11

Verse 33
And while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD smote the people with a very great plague.
And while
Psalms 78:30,31; 106:14,15
smote
16:49; 25:9; Deuteronomy 28:27

Verse 34
And he called the name of that place Kibrothhattaavah: because there they buried the people that lusted.
Kibroth-hattaavah
that is, the graves of lust.
33:16; Deuteronomy 9:22; 1 Corinthians 10:6

Verse 35
And the people journeyed from Kibrothhattaavah unto Hazeroth; and abode at Hazeroth.
journeyed
33:17
unto Hazeroth
12:16; Deuteronomy 1:1
abode at
Heb they were in, etc.

 


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Numbers 11:4". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/numbers-11.html.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, September 21st, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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