Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Numbers 11:5

We remember the fish which we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic,
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Cucumber;   Egypt;   Garlic;   Leek;   Melon;   Murmuring;   Onion;   Trouble;   Thompson Chain Reference - Appetites;   Cucumbers;   Food;   Food, Physical-Spiritual;   Leeks;   Looking Backward;   Onions;   Power;   Self-Indulgence;   Self-Indulgence-Self-Denial;   Victuals;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Desert, Journey of Israel through the;   Diet of the Jews, the;   Egypt;   Fishes;   Herbs, &C;   Manna;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Cucumber;   Fish, Fisher;   Food;   Garlic;   Goshen;   Leek;   Manna;   Melons;   Nile;   Onion;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Food;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Grace;   Moses;   Prayer;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Discontent;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Cucumbers;   Food;   Garlic;   Grass;   Leek;   Melons;   Onion;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Cucumber;   Exodus, the;   Fish;   Food;   Garlick;   Leeks;   Melon;   Nile;   Numbers, the Book of;   Onions;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Agriculture;   Cooking and Heating;   Fish, Fishing;   Flowers;   Leeks;   Meat;   Nile River;   Numbers, Book of;   Plants in the Bible;   Vine;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Cucumbers;   Fish;   Food;   Freely;   Garlic;   Goshen;   Grass;   Leeks;   Moses;   Numbers, Book of;   Onions;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Cucumber,;   Fish, Fishers, Fishing;   Garlic, ;   Leeks,;   Melons,;   Onions;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Egypt;   Food;   Grass;   Leek;   Melons;   Nile;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Cucumbers;   Food;   Garlic,;   Leeks;   Melons;   Onion;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Fish;   Arlic;   Leek;   Onion;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Cucumber;   Garlick;   Leek;   Melon;   Onion;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - On to Canaan;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Cucumber;   Food;   Freely;   Garlic;   Grass;   Israel, History of the People;   Leeks;   Meals;   Melons;   Moses;   Onions;   Pentateuch;   Wrath (Anger);   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Cookery;   Cucumber;   Egypt;   Food;   Media;   Nile;   Sanhedrin;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

We remember, etc. - The choice aliments which those murmurers complained of having lost by their leaving Egypt, were the following: fish, cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic. A European may smile at such delicacies; but delicacies they were in that country. Their fish is excellent; their cucumbers and water melons highly salubrious and refreshing; and their onions, garlic, etc., exquisitely flavoured, differing as much from vegetables of the same species in these northern climes as a bad turnip does from a good apple. In short, this enumeration takes in almost all the commonly attainable delicacies in those countries.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Numbers 11:5". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/numbers-11.html. 1832.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

We remember the fish which we did eat in Egypt freely,.... Fish was food the Egyptians much lived upon; for though Herodotus says the priests might not taste of fish, the common people ate much; yea, he himself says that some lived upon nothing else but fish gutted and dried in the sun; and he observes, that the kings of Egypt had a great revenue from henceF23Euterpe, sive, l. 2. c. 37,92,149. ; the river Nile, as Diodorus SiculusF24Bibliothec. l. 1. p. 32. says, abounded with all kind of fish, and with an incredible number, so that there was a plenty of them, and to be bought cheap; and so Aben Ezra and Ben Gersom interpret the word freely, of a small price, as if they had them for nothing almost; but surely they forgot how dear they paid for their fish, by their hard toil, labour, and service. Now this, with what follows, they call to mind, to increase their lust, and aggravate their present condition and circumstances:

the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic; in the Hebrew language, the word for "cucumbers" has the signification of hardness, because they are hard of digestion In the TalmudF25T. Bab. Avodah Zarah, fol. 11. 1. they are so called, because they are as harmful to the body as swords; though it is said in the same, that Antoninus always had them at his table; and SuetoniusF26In Vit. August. c. 77. and PlinyF1Nat. Hist. l. 19. c. 5. say, that they were in great esteem with the emperors Augustus and Tiberias; though some think what they call cucumbers were melons. We are toldF2Alpinus de Plant. Aegypt. l. 1. p. 114. apud Scheuchzer. Physic. Saer. vol. 3. p. 369. , that the Egyptian cucumbers are very different from our European ones, which in the eastern countries serve only to feed hogs with, and not men; but the Egyptian cucumber, called "chate", differs from the common one in size, colour, and softness; and not only its leaves, but its fruit, are different from ours, being sweeter to the taste, and of more easy digestion, and reckoned to be very wholesome to the bodies of men: and so their "melons" are different from ours, which they call "abdellavi", to distinguish them from others called "chajar", which are of little use for food, and not pleasant, and more insipid, and of a softer pulpF3Alpinus ib. : as for the "leeks, onions, and garlic", that these were commonly and in great plenty eaten of by the Egyptians appears from the vast sums of money spent upon the men that worked in building one of the pyramids, in radishes, onions, and garlic only, which HerodotusF4Ut supra, (Euterpe, sive, l. 2.) c. 125. , Diodorus SiculusF5Ut supra. (Bibliothec. l. 1. p. 58.) , and PlinyF6Nat. Hist. l. 36. c. 12. make mention of. Indeed, in later times these were worshipped as gods, and not suffered to be eaten, as PlinyF7lb. l. 19. c. 6. and JuvenalF8"Porrum et coepe nefas violare", &c. Satyr. 15. inform us; but there is little reason to believe that this kind of idolatry obtained so early as the time of Israel's being in Egypt; though some have thought that these were cheaper because of that, and so the Israelites could more easily come at them; but if that had been the case, it is more reasonable to believe that the Egyptians would not have allowed them to have eat of them at all: however, these are still in great plenty, and much used in Egypt to this day, as VanslebF9Relation of a Voyage to Egypt, p. 186. relates, who says, for desserts they have fruits, as onions, dried dates, rotten olives, melons, or cucumbers, or pompions, or such like fruits as are in season: thus carnal men prefer their sensual lusts and pleasures, and self-righteous men their righteousness, to Christ, the heavenly manna, his grace and righteousness.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Gill, John. "Commentary on Numbers 11:5". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/numbers-11.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt c freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick:

(c) For a final price, or good cheap.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Numbers 11:5". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/numbers-11.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely — (See on Exodus 7:17). The people of Egypt are accustomed to an almost exclusive diet of fish, either fresh or sun-dried, during the hot season in April and May - the very season when the Israelites were travelling in this desert. Lower Egypt, where were the brick-kilns in which they were employed, afforded great facilities for obtaining fish in the Mediterranean, the lakes, and the canals of the Nile.

cucumbers — The Egyptian species is smooth, of a cylindrical form, and about a foot in length. It is highly esteemed by the natives and when in season is liberally partaken of, being greatly mellowed by the influence of the sun.

melons — The watermelons are meant, which grow on the deep, loamy soil after the subsidence of the Nile; and as they afford a juicy and cooling fruit, all classes make use of them for food, drink, and medicine.

leeks — by some said to be a species of grass cresses, which is much relished as a kind of seasoning.

onions — the same as ours; but instead of being nauseous and affecting the eyes, they are sweet to the taste, good for the stomach, and form to a large extent the aliment of the laboring classes.

garlic — is now nearly if not altogether extinct in Egypt although it seems to have grown anciently in great abundance. The herbs now mentioned form a diet very grateful in warm countries where vegetables and other fruits of the season are much used. We can scarcely wonder that both the Egyptian hangers-on and the general body of the Israelites, incited by their clamors, complained bitterly of the want of the refreshing viands in their toilsome wanderings. But after all their experience of the bounty and care of God, their vehement longing for the luxuries of Egypt was an impeachment of the divine arrangements; and if it was the sin that beset them in the desert, it became them more strenuously to repress a rebellious spirit, as dishonoring to God and unbecoming their relation to Him as a chosen people.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Numbers 11:5". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/numbers-11.html. 1871-8.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

Observe, to what a desperate state of daring impiety the soul may be led, when no longer under the restraints of grace. See an awful instance in the case of Jonah, Numbers 4:8-9. How could Israel be so lost, as to talk of their pleasures and enjoyments in Egypt, when they had so long groaned under their oppressive bondage? Exodus 1:8-14. The melons were probably the same fruit which the Arabians call Baltechim. They grow on the banks of the Nile, in the rich clayey earth. The Egyptians found this fruit useful, both for meat, drink, and medicine.

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Numbers 11:5". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/numbers-11.html. 1828.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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:

Freely — Either without price, for fish was very plentiful, and fishing was there free, or with a very small price. And this is the more probable because the Egyptians might not taste of fish, nor of the leeks and onions, which they worshipped for Gods, and therefore the Israelites, might have them upon cheap terms.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Numbers 11:5". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/numbers-11.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Numbers 11:5 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:

Ver. 5. We remember the fish.] They forgat their servitude. Discontent is ever harping upon wants, and enjoys nothing: no more than Haman did his honour, or Ahab his kingdom, when he longed for a salad out of Naboth’s garden.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Numbers 11:5". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/numbers-11.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Numbers 11:5. We remember the fish, &c.— The author of the observations remarks, that the fish of Egypt are eaten, in common, with pleasure by the inhabitants of that country; but that in April and May, which is the hot season there, they scarce eat any thing else but fish, with pulse and herbs; the great heat taking away their appetite for all sorts of meat. This is Bishop Pococke's account, vol. 1 p. 182 with whom other travellers agree. Whence some have thought, that this complaint of the Israelites arose from the peculiar sultriness of the weather, and their being accustomed, in these hot seasons, to eat fish, and refreshing vegetables. But it is evident from the text, that the complaint of Israel proceeded from a wayward and perverse kind of luxuriousness; and for that reason drew down such a severe animadversion from heaven. De Vitriacho tells us, that some of the more delicate Egyptians pined to death when Damiata was besieged (anno Dom. 1218.) though they had a sufficiency of corn, for want of the food they were used to; pompions, garlick, onions, fish, birds, fruit, herbs, &c. It appears, at least, very clear from ch. Numbers 10:11 that the Israelites did not arrive at this station till the latter end of May, if before June; and it seems to have been some time after their arrival that this murmuring arose; (Numbers 11:4.) so that either the hot south winds do not blow at the same time in the desart, as they are wont to do in Egypt, or this complaint did not arise from that cause.

The cucumbers, &c.— Those who are inclined to enter into a minute account of these plants, will find their curiosity gratified, by referring to the third volume of Scheuchzer's learned and laborious Physique Sacree. He translates the words rendered cucumbers and melons, by melons et citrouilles, melons and gourds; and he observes, that the ancients called all the fruits of that species cucumbers and melons. The word which we render leeks, he takes to signify a plant of the lotus kind, which grew in the low lands of Egypt; and which, he says, was of a very delicate taste, and held in great estimation. Homer says, that the lotus is the first of the plants which grew for the pleasure of the gods, Iliad 22. See Alpinus de plant. Egypt. p. 103. With respect to the onions and garlick, Scheuchzer further observes, upon the credit of the best travellers, that they are far better, and of a much sweeter taste in the east, than in our parts of the world. The Jews, and the Orientals in general, are to the present time very fond of them: and Calmet well remarks, that garlick was in so much request among the ancients, that Homer makes it a part of the entertainment which Nestor serves up to his guest Machaon. Iliad 11.

Honey new prest, the sacred flour of wheat, And wholesome garlick, crown'd the sav'ry treat. POPE.

Juvenal observes, at the beginning of his 15th Satire,

How Egypt, mad with superstition grown, Makes gods of monsters but too well is known—

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

'Tis mortal sin an onion to devour; Each clove of garlick is a sacred pow'r. Religious nations sure, and blest abodes, Where every garden is o'er-run with gods! DRYDEN.

Upon which Calmet and others have started a question, How the Israelites durst venture to violate the national worship, by eating those sacred plants? To which it may be replied, in the first place, that whatever might be the case with the Egyptians in later ages, it is not probable that they were arrived at such a pitch of superstition in Moses's time; for we find no footsteps thereof in the time of Herodotus, the most ancient of the Greek historians. 2nd, Juvenal, and the other writers who speak of this superstition, appear to be mistaken, in imagining those herbs to have been really the objects of religious worship. The priests, indeed, abstained from the use of them, and of several other vegetables: and this might give rise to the opinion of their being reverenced as divinities; but they were not prohibited to the people, as is plain from the testimonies of ancient writers; particularly Diodorus, lib. 1: p. 80.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Numbers 11:5". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/numbers-11.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Freely; either without price, for fish was very plentiful, and fishing was there free; or with a very small price; for nothing is sometimes put for a little, as John 18:20 Acts 27:33; and none for few, as Jeremiah 8:6 1 Corinthians 2:8. And this is the more probable, because the Egyptians might not taste of fish, nor of the leeks and onions, which they worshipped for gods, and therefore the Israelites, who speak these words, might have them there upon cheaper terms.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Numbers 11:5". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/numbers-11.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

5.The fish’ freely — Hebrew, for nothing. So abundant were the fish in the Nile that they were very cheap. Herodotus repeatedly speaks of the great use of fish as an article of food in Egypt. Not only man, but myriads of waterfowl, which swarm in Lower Egypt more than in any other country in the world, depend on fish, and yet the supply is as inexhaustible as ever. They were eaten either dried in the sun or salted.

[image]

The Egyptians are the first people mentioned in history as curing any kind of meat with salt.

Cucumbers — These differ from the ordinary kind both in size, colour, softness, and sweetness of flavour. They are described by Forskal as “the most common of all the fruits in Egypt, being planted in whole fields.” Enormous quantities of them are eaten in the East. They are eaten with the rind on, without any condiment. They are the commonest and cheapest summer vegetable, and are never complained of as indigestible. “I remember seeing dinner served out to an Arab school in Jerusalem, which consisted of a thin barley-cake, and a raw cucumber to each boy.” — Tristram.

Melons — These are mentioned nowhere else in the Bible. In modern Egypt water-melons in immense numbers are sold so cheaply that the poor share their cooling properties. The very Hebrew name is retained slightly changed. “A traveller in the East who recollects the intense gratitude which the gift of a slice of melon inspired while journeying over the hot and dry plains, or one who remembers the consciousness of wealth and security which he derived from the possession of a melon while preparing for a day’s journey over the same plains — he will readily comprehend the regret with which the Hebrews in the Arabian desert looked back upon the melons of Egypt.” “Nothing could be more regretted in the burning desert than these delicious melons, whose exuberant juice is so refreshing to the thirsty pilgrim.” — W.M. Thomson.

Leeks — The Hebrew word occurs twenty-two times, once rendered court, seventeen times grass, once herb, twice hay, and once leek. It is evident that leek, which is found only here, is a mistaken translation for grass. Hengstenberg and Kitto strongly contend for grass as the correct rendering. Says the latter, “Among the wonders of the natural history of Egypt, it is mentioned by travelers that the common people there eat with special relish a kind of grass similar to clover.” Mayer says of this plant, whose scientific name is Trigonella foenum Graecum, that its leaves are more pointed than clover, and that great quantities of it are eaten by the people. In Cairo it is a garden-plant called halbeh. In November it is sold in large bunches in the streets, and is eaten with incredible greediness without any kind of seasoning. The Targum of Onkelos for leeks has “cresses,” one species of which is the pepper-grass. But all the old versions and commentators insist that leeks is the proper translation. They were a favourite vegetable with the Egyptians — indeed they were reverenced by them as sacred. Hence a Roman satirist ridicules the Egyptians for growing their gods in their gardens. Onions of a mild and pleasant taste flourish in Egypt better than elsewhere. According to Herodotus they were the ordinary food of the workmen at the pyramids. They are still almost the only food of the poor, eaten roasted, cut into four pieces, with some bits of meat. With this dish the Turks in Egypt are so delighted that they wish they may enjoy it in paradise. Garlic is the Allium sativum of Linnaeus, which abounds in Egypt, and is akin to the onion. Herodotus states that the allowance of this vegetable to the workman was inscribed on the great pyramid. Not one of all these refreshing vegetables could be found in the desert, and yet they are those after which there would be the most intense craving under the wilting heat of the desert. There was therefore some ground for the complaint of the people. But their culpability lay in their forgetfulness of the providential compensations: manna, emancipation from servitude, the written law of God, Jehovah visibly guiding them, and the inspiring hope of a home in Canaan. All the miseries of Egypt, the toil, the taskmaster, the contumely, and the degradation of bondage are forgotten in the discomforts of the present moment, and only the gross animal pleasures now come into mind. “Thus when once the heart loses its freshness in the divine life, and heavenly things begin to lose their savour, and first love declines, and Christ ceases to be a satisfying and altogether precious portion, and the Bible and communion with God lose their charm, and become dull and mechanical; then the eye wanders back to the world, the heart follows the eye, and the feet follow the heart. We forget, at such moments, what the world was to us when we were in it and of it.”

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Numbers 11:5". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/numbers-11.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Fish. The Nile abounds in fish, which they might catch freely. The fish of the lake Mœris, brought a considerable revenue to the king of Egypt. (Herodotus, ii. 149.) The Hebrews had dwelt also near the Mediterranean Sea. Fish was formerly in greater esteem than it is at present. The priests of Egypt abstained from it, (Herodotus, ii. 37,) and the people from such as had scales, and from eels, because they believed they were sacred. (Herodotus, ii. 72). Porphyrius and Ovid even maintain that they refrained from all fish, as well as the Syrians. But they had not probably carried their superstition so far, in the days of Moses. --- Garlic. These things are much more delicious and wholesome in hot countries. The Greeks fed much on cucumbers and garlic. (Aristophanes) --- The Turks still delight in them, eating the former raw with sour milk, (which would be very dangerous in our climate), and onions, which are as good as our pears. (Spon. Bellon. iii. 18, &c.) The wounded Machaon feasts upon onions, &c. (Homer, Iliad ix.) The Egyptians afterwards scrupled to eat leeks and onions. (Calmet) --- Porrum & cepe nefas violare....O sanctas gentes! quibus hæc nascuntur in hortis---Numina. (Juvenal, Sat. xv.) But in the earlier ages Moses represents them as accustomed to such food. (Haydock)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Numbers 11:5". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/numbers-11.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

the fish. Six items given of Egypt"s food: seven of Canaan"s, in Deuteronomy 8:8. See App-10.

freely = gratuitously.

and. Note Figure of speech Polysyndeton in this verse (App-6), to emphasize the six items. See Numbers 11:8.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Numbers 11:5". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/numbers-11.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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:

We remember the fish - see the note at Exodus 7:21.) All classes among the people of Egypt, except the priests, to whom that food was forbidden (Wilkinson's 'Ancient Egypt.,' vol. 1:, p. 275), were accustomed to an almost exclusive diet of fish, either fresh or sun-dried, also shellfish, particularly a small kind of mussels, during the hot season in April and May-the very season when the Israelites were traveling in this desert. Lower Egypt, where were the brick-kilns in which they were employed, afforded great facilities for obtaining fish in the Nile (Exodus 7:21); but the supply was greatly increased by what was obtained from the lakes, ponds, and canals, in which the artificial propagation of the finny tribe was carefully carried on. 'The supply has not failed in modern times. The right of fishery on the canals and lakes is annually farmed out by the government to certain individuals who pay very large sums for the privilege' (Taylor, 'Bible Illustrated by the Egyptian Monuments,' p. 63).

Cucumbers, [ haqishu'iym (Hebrew #7180); Septuagint, tous sikuous] - now called katteh. The Egyptian species is smooth, of a cylindrical form, and about one foot in length. It is highly esteemed by the natives, and when in season is liberally partaken of, being greatly mellowed by the influence of the sun.

Melons, [ haa'abaTichiym (Hebrew #20); Septuagint, tous peponas]. The water melons are meant, which grow on the deep loamy soil after the subsidence of the Nile; and as they afford juicy and cooling fruit, all classes make use of them for meat, drink, and medicine. In Egypt the season of water melons, which are especially in request, and on which the common people then principally subsist, lasts only about three weeks. In fact throughout all the countries of the Levant, fruits of the gourd species are extensively made use of, and greatly prized on account of their cooling quality.

Leeks - [ hechaatsiyr (Hebrew #2682), a word in the singular, used collectively, elsewhere translated grass (1 Kings 18:5; Job 8:12; Job 40:15; Psalms 104:14).] It is a vegetable peculiar to Egypt. Our translators have followed the Septuagint, which has ta 'prasa, the leeks. Theirs, however, is a wrong interpretation. For, 'among the wonders of the natural history of Egypt, it is mentioned by travelers that the common people there eat with avidity and special relish a kind of grass called helbeh, similar to clover. Sonnini tells us that in the month of November they cry, "Green helbeh for sale." in the streets of the towns. It is tied up in large bunches, which the inhabitants eagerly purchase at a low price, and which they eat with incredible greediness, without any species of seasoning. They allege that this singular diet is an excellent stomachic, a specific against worms and dysentery-in short, a preservative against a great number of maladies. Finally, the Egyptians regard this plant as endowed with so many good qualities that it is in their estimation a true panacea' (Hengstenberg's 'Egypt and the Books of Moses,' pp. 209, 210).

Onions, [ hab

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Numbers 11:5". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/numbers-11.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(5) We remember the fish . . . —Classical writers and modern travellers agree in bearing testimony to the abundance of the fish in the Nile and in the neighbouring canals and reservoirs. The cucumbers in Egypt are of great size and finely flavoured. The watermelons serve to moderate the internal heat which the climate produces. (See The Land and the Book, p. 508.) The word rendered leeks (in Psalms 104:14, grass for cattle) is supposed by some to denote a species of clover which is peculiar to Egypt, and of which the young and fresh shoots are said to be used as food and to be an excellent stomachic. The onions of Egypt are said to be the sweetest in the world, and they constitute the common food of the lowest class of the people. Garlic is still much used by the modern Arabs. It is only the fish, which was probably equally within the reach of all, of which the Israelites are said to have eaten freely, i.e., not abundantly, but gratuitously. It is probable, however, that many of them cultivated the land to a greater or lesser degree, and so procured vegetables for themselves.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Numbers 11:5". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/numbers-11.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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.
Reciprocal: Numbers 11:18 - it was well;  Numbers 16:13 - out of a;  Numbers 20:4 - why;  Numbers 20:15 - vexed us;  2 Samuel 23:15 - longed;  1 Chronicles 11:17 - longed;  Isaiah 19:8 - GeneralJeremiah 42:14 - nor hear;  Jeremiah 44:18 - we have;  Acts 7:39 - and in

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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Numbers 11:5". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/numbers-11.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

5.We remember the fish which we did eat in Egypt. By this comparison with the former mode of living, they depreciate the present grace of God: and yet they enumerate no delicacies, when they speak of leeks, and onions, and garlic. Some, therefore, thus explain it, When such great abundance and variety was commonly to be met with, how painful and grievous must it be to us to be deprived of greater delicacies! My own opinion is, that these lowly people, who had been used to live on humble fare, praised their accustomed food, as if they had been the greatest luxuries. Surely rustics and artisans value as much their pork and beef, their cheese and curds, their onions and cabbage, as most of the rich do their sumptuous fare. Scornfully, therefore, do the Israelites magnify things which, in themselves, are but of little value, in order the more to stimulate their depraved appetite, already sufficiently excited. Still there is no doubt but that those who had been accustomed to a diet of herbs and fish, would think themselves happy with that kind of food. Moreover, to make the matter more invidious, they say in general, that they ate gratis (15) of that, which cost them but little: although such a phrase is common in all languages. For even profane writers testify that all that sea-shore abounds with fish. (16) The fisheries of the Nile also are very productive, and a part: of the wealth of Egypt: whilst the country is so well watered, that it produces abundance of vegetables and fruits. (17)

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Bibliographical Information
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Numbers 11:5". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/numbers-11.html. 1840-57.