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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

Mixed Multitude

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MIXED MULTITUDE. A description given (1) to certain persons who joined Israel in the Exodus from Egypt ( Exodus 12:38 ), and who fell a lusting at Kibroth-hattaavah ( Numbers 11:4 ); (2) to those who were separated from the Israelites after the return from the Captivity ( Nehemiah 13:3 ).

In Exodus 12:38 those referred to are probably strangers of non-Israelitic or half-Israelitic origin. The Hebrew consonants (differently pointed) mean either ‘mixed’ or ‘Arabian,’ and some have suggested that we ought here to translate ‘Arabians.’ In Jeremiah 25:20 ; Jeremiah 50:37 , Ezekiel 30:5 , the same Hebrew word is translated by the expression ‘mingled people,’ where it has been supposed by some to refer to foreign mercenaries. In Ezekiel 30:5 at least ‘Arabians’ gives a better meaning. The Hebrew word in Numbers 11:4 is a different one, and is probably a contemptuous term signifying the mob, the rabble.

The context in Nehemiah 13:3 leaves no doubt as to the meaning. The reference is to the strangers with whom the Israelites had intermarried and the children of such alliances.

W. F. Boyd.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Mixed Multitude'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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