Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Numbers 21:5

The people spoke against God and Moses, "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this miserable food."
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Blasphemy;   Infidelity;   Intercession;   Israel;   Moses;   Murmuring;   Presumption;   Repentance;   Salvation;   Thompson Chain Reference - Bible Stories for Children;   Children;   Content-Discontent;   Home;   Israel;   Murmuring;   Pleasant Sunday Afternoons;   Religion;   Stories for Children;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Desert, Journey of Israel through the;   Manna;   Murmuring;   Salvation;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Serpents;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Snake;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Israel;   Soul;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Brass;   Murmuring;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Manna;   Serpent;   Serpent, Brazen;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Hezekiah;   Numbers, Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Israel;   Jephthah;   Moses;   Numbers, Book of;   Serpent, Brazen;   Simeon;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Rock ;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Serpent;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - On to Canaan;   Moses, the Man of God;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Images;   Moses;   Pentateuch;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Brazen Serpent;   Elohist;   Jacob ben Zabda;   Laban;   Manna;   Nehushtan;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

This light bread - הקלקל hakkelokel, a word of excessive scorn; as if they had said, This innutritive, unsubstantial, cheat - stomach stuff.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Numbers 21:5". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/numbers-21.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

This light bread - i. e. “this vile, contemptible bread.”

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Numbers 21:5". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/numbers-21.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And the people spake against God,.... Who went before them in the pillar of cloud and fire, for leading them in such a way; that is, against Christ, as the apostle has taught us to interpret it, 1 Corinthians 10:9, and is no inconsiderable proof of the deity of Christ; and so the Targum of Jonathan paraphrases it,"and the people thought in their heart, and spake against the Word of the Lord,'the essential Word and Son of God:

and against Moses; his servant, for obeying the orders of the Lord, and leading and guiding the people as he directed him:

wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? ascribing this equally to God and to Moses; using a strange word, as Aben Ezra calls it, being in a great passion, and not considering well what they said; showing great ingratitude for such a mercy, and representing it in a wrong light, as if the intent of bringing them from thence was to slay them in the wilderness:

for there is no bread; no bread corn, nothing in the wilderness to make bread of; nothing that they called and accounted bread, otherwise they had manna, as is presently owned:

neither is there any water; any fresh water fit to drink, otherwise they were near the sea; what they had from the rock, lately, perhaps was now spent, and it did not follow them as the other rock had:

and our soul loatheth this light bread; the manna; this very light, this exceeding light bread, the radicals of the wordF17הקלקל "levissime", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Fagius, Vatablus; "vilissimi", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. used being doubled, which increases the signification: if to be understood of light and easy digestion, it was the more to be valued; but perhaps they meant, it had but little substance and virtue in it, and was not filling and satisfying; or rather that it was exceeding vile, mean, and despicable; so they called the bread of heaven, angel's food, this wonderful gift of Providence; in like manner is Christ, the hidden manna, treated, and his Gospel, and the precious truths of it, by unregenerate men and carnal professors, 1 Corinthians 1:23.

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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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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Numbers 21:5". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/numbers-21.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for [there is] no bread, neither [is there any] water; and our soul loatheth this light c bread.

(c) Meaning manna, which they thought did not nourish.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Numbers 21:5". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/numbers-21.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

our soul loatheth this light bread — that is, bread without substance or nutritious quality. The refutation of this calumny appears in the fact, that on the strength of this food they performed for forty years so many and toilsome journeys. But they had been indulging a hope of the better and more varied fare enjoyed by a settled people; and disappointment, always the more bitter as the hope of enjoyment seems near, drove them to speak against God and against Moses (1 Corinthians 10:9).

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Numbers 21:5". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/numbers-21.html. 1871-8.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

What perpetual proofs doth Israel's history afford of the corruption and deceitfulness of the human heart? Reader! do not overlook, in the instance of this people, the universal conduct of mankind. Alas! how often may we detect our hearts loathing a fulness of divine mercies.

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Numbers 21:5". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/numbers-21.html. 1828.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.

Against God — Against Christ, their chief conductor, whom they tempted, 1 Corinthians 10:19. Thus contemptuously did they speak of Manna, whereas it appears it yielded excellent nourishment, because in the strength of it they were able to go so many and such tedious journeys.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Numbers 21:5". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/numbers-21.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Numbers 21:5 And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for [there is] no bread, neither [is there any] water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.

Ver. 5. This light bread.] {See Trapp on "Numbers 11:6"}

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Numbers 21:5". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/numbers-21.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Against God; against Christ, their chief Conductor, whom they tempted, 1 Corinthians 10:9.

This light bread, i.e. of small substance and virtue. Thus contemptuously do they speak of manna, whereas it appears it yielded excellent nourishment, because in the strength of it they were able to go so many and such tedious journeys.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Numbers 21:5". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/numbers-21.html. 1685.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Numbers 21:5. The people spake against God — Against Christ, their chief conductor, whom they tempted. Our soul loatheth this light bread — Thus contemptuously did they speak of manna, whereas it appears it yielded excellent nourishment, because in the strength of it they were able to go so many and such tedious journeys.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Numbers 21:5". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/numbers-21.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

God. They had before often directed their complaints against the two brothers. Now, Aaron being no more, they attack God himself, who had always resented the injury done to his ministers. --- Food. So they call the heavenly manna: thus worldlings loathe the things of heaven, for which they have no relish. (Challoner) --- Septuagint, "our soul is indignant at this most empty bread," which has no solidity in it, nor support. Many translate the Hebrew, "most vile bread." Thus, in the blessed eucharist, the substance of bread is removed, and the accidents only appear; so that to the worldly receiver, it seems very empty and light, though in reality it be supersubstantial; containing Christ himself, who fills the worthy communicant with grace and comfort, and enables him to go forward on the road to heaven, without fainting. (Haydock)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Numbers 21:5". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/numbers-21.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

God = Elohim. They had lost sight of the covenant God, Jehovah.

Wherefore . . . ? Figure of speech Erotesis. App-6.

our soul = we. Hebrew. nephesh. App-13.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Numbers 21:5". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/numbers-21.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.

Our soul loatheth this light bread - i:e., bread without substance or nutritious quality. The refutation of this calumny appears in the fact, that on the strength of this food they performed for 40 years so many and toilsome journeys. But they had been indulging a hope of the better and more varied fare enjoyed by a settled people: and disappointment, always the more bitter as the hope of enjoyment seems near, drove them to speak against God and against Moses (1 Corinthians 10:9).

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Numbers 21:5". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/numbers-21.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(5) This light bread.—The word rendered light denotes something vile or worthless. It was thus that the Israelites regarded the manna which was given to them from heaven; even as the “spiritual meat” which is given to Christ’s Church in His word and ordinances is too commonly regarded amongst ourselves.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Numbers 21:5". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/numbers-21.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.
spake
11:1-6; 14:1-4; 16:13,14,41; 17:12; Exodus 14:11; 15:24; 16:2,3,7,8; Exodus 17:2,3; Psalms 68:6; 78:19
and our soul
11:6-9; Exodus 16:15,31; Psalms 78:24,25; Proverbs 27:7
Reciprocal: Exodus 7:18 - shall loathe;  Numbers 11:10 - weep throughout;  Numbers 11:20 - and it;  Numbers 20:2 - gathered;  Numbers 24:8 - God;  Deuteronomy 1:27 - The Lord hated us;  Deuteronomy 6:16 - tempted him;  Deuteronomy 9:7 - from the day;  2 Kings 3:9 - no water;  Psalm 107:17 - because;  Ezekiel 20:21 - the children;  Acts 7:39 - and in;  1 Corinthians 10:9 - tempt

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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Numbers 21:5". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/numbers-21.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

5.And the people spake against God and against Moses. Either because they murmured against God in the person of Moses, or else because their impiety broke forth to such a furious extent, that they openly blasphemed against God; and this latter opinion is most in accordance with the words, because by their use of the plural number they accuse two parties together. (120) But, inasmuch as Moses had nothing separate from God, no one could enter into a contest with him without warring also against God Himself. Here, however, as I have said, their insolence proceeded still further, so as not only to rail against the minister, but to vomit forth also their wicked blasphemy against God Himself, as if He had injured them most grossly by their deliverance.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Numbers 21:5". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/numbers-21.html. 1840-57.