Exodus 17

Exodus 17


From the wildernessA of SinB the wholeC congregationD

Notes on verse 1a

A “wilderness” = midbar. From dabar (to speak, command, declare). This is mouth or speech. It can also be desert or wilderness. Additionally, it can be used for a pasture to which one drives cattle.
B “Sin” = Sin. 6x in OT. Perhaps from asam (to gather, store) OR from seneh (thorn bush) OR related to Aramaic siyn (a god called Sin) OR perhaps Hebrew siyn (related to mud or clay). This is Sin, the name of a city. It may mean, “clay” or “bush.” See https://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Sinai.html
C “whole” = kol. From kalal (to complete). This is all or every.
D “congregation” = edah. From yaad (to appoint, assemble or gather selves, agree) OR from ed (witness, testimony, recorder); from ud (to admonish, repeat, duplicate, testify, restore, record, relieve). This is a congregation, assembly, or company. It could be a family, crowd, or fixture.

of the IsraelitesE journeyedF by stages,G as the Lord commanded.H

Notes on verse 1b

E “Israelites” = ben + Yisrael. Literally, “children of Israel.” Ben is from banah (to build or obtain children). This is son, age, child. It is son in a literal or figurative sense. Yisrael is from sarah (to persist, exert oneself, contend, persevere, wrestle, prevail) + el (God or god). This is Israel, meaning God strives or one who strives with God; new name for Jacob and for his offspring. This refers to the people and to the land.
F “journeyed” = nasa. This is properly pulling up as when one pulls up tent pegs or stakes. This would imply striking tents in order to start a journey. So this could be bring, pullout, set out, journey, or cause to go away.
G “stages” = massa. Related to “journeyed” in v1. 12x in OT– all in the first five books of the Bible. From nasa (see note F above). This is a departure, striking camp, travelling by stages a station or march.
H “as the Lord commanded” = al + peh + YHVH. Literally, “according to the mouth of the Lord.” Peh is mouth in a literal or figurative sense. So, more literally, it can be beak or jaws. More figuratively, it refers to speech, commands, or promises. YHVH is from havah (to be, become) or hayah (to come to pass, become, be). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place.

They campedI at Rephidim,J but there was no waterK for the peopleL to drink.M 

Notes on verse 1c

I “camped” = chanah. This is decline, bending down, or living in tents. It can be camping to create a home or camping as a part of battle.
J “Rephidim” = Rephidim. 5x in OT. From raphad (to spread, make a bed, refresh, comfort). This is Rephidim, meaning supports.
K “water” = mayim. This is water, waters, or waterway in a general sense. Figuratively, it can also mean juice, urine, or semen.
L “people” = am. From amam (to darken, hide, associate; creating shadows by huddling together). This is people or nation. It can be used specifically for a tribe, collectively of troops or armies, or figuratively to refer to a flock of animals.
M “drink” = shathah. This is to drink literally or figuratively. It could also be a drinker.

The people quarreledN with Moses,O and said, “GiveP us water to drink.”

Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you testQ the Lord?” 

Notes on verse 2

N “quarreled” = rib. This is properly to toss or grapple. It is used figuratively to mean wrangling and so for arguments, complaints, or disputes. It is used in a legal setting for pleading or defending a case.
O “Moses” = Mosheh. From mashah (to pull out in a literal or figurative sense, to draw out) OR from Egyptian mes or mesu (child, son i.e. child of…). This is Moses – the one drawn out from the water, which is to say, rescued. If derived from the Egyptian, his name would share a root with Rameses and Thutmose.
P “give” = natan. This is to give, put, set, offer. It is to give literally or figuratively.
Q “test” = nasah. This is to test, prove, try, tempt, or attempt.

But the people thirstedR there for water; and the people complainedS against Moses and said, “Why did you bringT us out of Egypt,U

Notes on verse 3a

R “thirsted” = tsame. 10x in OT. This is to thirst in a literal or figurative sense.
S “complained” = lun. This is to stop – usually to lodge for the night. It can imply dwelling, enduring, or staying permanently. Figuratively, it can mean being obstinate, particularly with one’s words – to complain.
T “bring” = alah. This is to go up, approach, ascend, be high, be a priority; to arise in a literal or figurative sense.
U “Egypt” = Mitsrayim. Perhaps from matsor (besieged or fortified place, bulwark, entrenchment; something hemmed in; a siege or distress or fastness); from tsur (to confine, besiege, to cramp). This is Egypt.

to killV us and our childrenW and livestockX with thirst?”Y 

Notes on verse 3b

V “kill” = mut. This is to die in a literal or figurative sense. It can also refer to being a dead body.
W “children” = ben. Same as “Israelites” in v1. See note E above.
X “livestock” = miqneh. From qanah (to get, acquire, purchase, move to jealousy, buyer, keep cattle). This is something that is bought, which implies property or possession. However, it is generally used of livestock – cattle, flock, herds.
Y “thirst” = tsama. Related to “thirsted” in v3. 17x in OT. From tsame (see note R above). This is thirst in a literal or figurative sense. It could also refer to dry ground.

So Moses cried outZ to the Lord, “What shall I doAA with this people? They are almostBB ready to stoneCC me.” 

Notes on verse 4

Z “cried out” = tsaaq. This is to cry out or call together, to shriek. It can mean, by implication, calling for an assembly.
AA “do” = asah. This is to make, do, act, appoint, become in many senses.
BB “almost” = me’at. From ma’at (being or becoming small, decrease, diminish, pare off). This is a little or few, lightly little while, very small matter.
CC “stone” = saqal. Properly, this means being weighty. However, it is used for stoning someone (to death) or for removing stones.

The Lord said to Moses, “Go onDD aheadEE of the people, and takeFF some of the eldersGG of Israel with you;

Notes on verse 5a

DD “go on” = abar. This is to pass over or cross over. It is used for transitions, whether literal or figurative. It can also mean to escape, alienate, or fail. This is the root verb from which “Hebrew” is drawn.
EE “ahead” = paneh. From panah (to turn, face, appear). This is face in a literal or figurative sense. It could be face, presence, anger, respect. It can also be used of God to indicate divine favor or presence.
FF “take” = laqach. This is to take, accept, carry away, receive. It can also have the sense of take a wife or take in marriage.
GG “elders” = zaqen. From the same as zaqan (beard or chin – the beard represents old age). This is old, aged, or elder.

take in your handHH the staffII with which you struckJJ the Nile,KK and go.LL 

Notes on verse 5b

HH “hand” = yad. This is hand, ability, power. Hand in a literal sense, but also what one can do or the means by which one does it.
II “staff” = matteh. From natah (to stretch or spread out, extend, bend). This is a staff, rod, branch, or tribe. It could be a rod for discipline or correction. It could be a scepter to indicate authority, a throwing lance, or a walking staff. Figuratively, it could also be something that supports life (like bread).
JJ “struck” = nakah. This is to hit whether lightly or severely. It can be used in a literal or figurative sense. So, this could be beat, punish, give wounds, kill, or slaughter.
KK “Nile” = Yeor. From Egyptian yeor (river). This is the Nile as the main river in Egypt. It is also used for the Tigris for its similar status in Assyria. It can also more generally mean river, steam, channel, or flood.
LL “go” = halak. This is go, come, walk. It is walk literally and figuratively and includes people and animals. It can be used figuratively for one’s moral life – how we walk according to God’s way or against it. It can also refer to the walk of life as in the course one’s life takes, the choices we make, etc.

6 MMI will be standingNN there in front ofOO you on the rockPP at Horeb.QQ Strike the rock, and water will comeRR out of it, soSS that the people may drink.” Moses did so, in the sightTT of the elders of Israel. 

Notes on verse 6

MM {untranslated} = hen. This is a remark of surprise or excitement: lo! Behold! It can also mean if or though.
NN “standing” = amad. This is to stand up in a literal or figurative sense. So it can be establish, continue, endure, take a stand, act, be a servant, stand still, remain, stand against an enemy.
OO “in front of” = paneh. Same as “ahead” in v5. See note EE above.
PP “rock” = tsur. Perhaps related to “Egypt” in v3. Perhaps from tsur (see note U above). This is rock, stone, cliff, boulder, rocky. It can also be a refuge, a way to refer to God.
QQ “Horeb” = Choreb. 17x in OT. From chareb (to devastate, desolate, or be waste). Horeb means waste or desolate.
RR “come” = yatsa. This is to go or come out, bring forth, appear. It is to go out in a literal or figurative sense.
SS “so” = ken. Perhaps from kun (properly, in a perpendicular position; literally, to establish, fix, fasten, prepare; figuratively, it is certainty, to be firm, faithfulness, render sure or prosperous). This is to set upright. Generally used figuratively to mean thus, so, afterwards, rightly so.
TT “sight” = ayin. This is eye in a literal or figurative sense so eye, appearance, favor, or a fountain (the eye of the landscape).

He calledUU the placeVV MassahWW and Meribah,XX because the Israelites quarreledYY and tested the Lord, saying, “Is the Lord amongZZ us or not?”

Notes on verse 7

UU “called” = qara + shem. Qara is to call or call out – to call someone by name. Also used more broadly for calling forth. Shem may be from sum (to put, place, set). This is name, fame, renown. A name was thought to indicate something essential about a person – something about their individuality. So, this word can also mean honor, authority, or character.
VV “place” = maqom. From qum(to arise, stand, accomplish, establish, abide; rising against, getting up after being sick or asleep, arising from one state to another, becoming powerful, or rising for action; standing in a figurative sense). This is a standing, which is to say a spot or space a place. It can also refer to a locality or a physical/mental condition. HaMaqom is also a Jewish name for God – the place, i.e. the Omnipresent One.
WW “Massah” = Massah. Related to “test” in v2. 4x in OT. From nasah (see note Q above). This is Massah, a place whose name means “test” or “proving” or “temptation.” See https://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Massah.html
XX “Meribah” = Meribah. Related to “quarreled” in v2. 6x in OT. From the same as meribah (strife, quarrel); from rib (see note N above). This is Meribah, a place whose name means “strife” or “quarrel” or “chiding.” See https://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Meribah.html
YY “quarreled” = rib. Related to “quarreled” in v2 & “Meribah” in v7. From rib (see note N above). This is strife or dispute – whether a personal one or one in a court of law.
ZZ “among” = qereb. Perhaps from qarab (to come near or approach). This is among, in the midst, before, the center It is the inward part, whether literal or figurative. It can also be used for the heart, the site of thoughts and feelings. This word is also used as a technical term for the entrails of the animals who are sacrificed.

Then AmalekAAA cameBBB and foughtCCC with Israel at Rephidim. 

Notes on verse 8

AAA “Amalek” = Amaleq. Perhaps from amal (to work – hard labor) OR from am (people or nation; a tribe, troops or armies, or figuratively to refer to a flock of animals); {from amam (to darken, hide, associate; creating shadows by huddling together)} + laqaq (to lap, lick) OR from am (see above) + malaq (to wring, nip; to remove a bird’s head). This is Amalek or Amalekite. It may mean “people that wring,” “people that lap,” “nippers,” or “lickers.” See https://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Amalekite.html & https://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Amalek.html
BBB “came” = bo. This is to enter, come in, advance, fulfill, bring offerings, enter to worship, attack. It can also have a sexual connotation.
CCC “fought” = lacham. This is to eat or feed on. Figuratively, it is to battle as a kind of consumption/destruction.

Moses said to Joshua,DDD “ChooseEEE some menFFF for us and go out,GGG fight with Amalek.

Notes on verse 9a

DDD “Joshua” = Yehoshua. Related to “Lord” in v1. From YHVH (see note H above)} + yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue; properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. So, in a causative sense, this is to free someone). This is Joshua, Jeshua, or Yehoshua, which means “the Lord is salvation.”
EEE “choose” = bachar. This is to choose, appoint, try, excellent.
FFF “men” = ish. Perhaps from enosh (human, humankind, mortal); from anash (to be weak, sick, or frail). This is man, husband, another, or humankind.
GGG “go out” = yatsa. Same as “come” in v6. See note RR above.

TomorrowHHH I will standIII on the topJJJ of the hillKKK with the staff of GodLLL in my hand.” 

Notes on verse 9b

HHH “tomorrow” = machar. Perhaps from achar (to be behind, delay, be late, procrastinate, continue). This is tomorrow or later. It is some kind of deferred time, so it could also mean indefinitely or refer to the time to come.
III “stand” = natsab. This is to station, appoint, establish, take a stand.
JJJ “top” = rosh. This may come a word that means to shake. It is the head, captain, or chief. It can also be excellent or the forefront. It can be first in position or in statue or in time (i.e. the beginning).
KKK “hill” = gibah. From the same as Geba (Geba or Gibeah; hillock); from the same as gabia (cup, bowl, flower; root might mean being convex). This is hill or little hill.
LLL “God” = Elohim.

10 So Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought with Amalek, while Moses, Aaron,MMM and HurNNN went upOOO to the top of the hill. 11 PPPWhenever Moses held upQQQ his hand, Israel prevailed;RRR and whenever he loweredSSS his hand, Amalek prevailed. 

Notes on verses 10-11

MMM “Aaron” = Aharon. Derivation uncertain. May mean “bearer of martyrs” OR be related to Ancient Egyptian ꜥḥꜣ rw (warrior lion) OR elevated, exalted, high mountain. This is Aaron. See https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Aaron
NNN “Hur” = Chur. 15x in OT. From chavar (to be or become white or pale) OR from the same as chur (white things, white, white linen) OR from the same as chur (hole; a hole that was bored; a crevice where a snake lives; the cell of a prison). This is Hur or Chur, its meaning is uncertain.
OOO “went up” = alah. Same as “bring” in v3. See note T above.
PPP {untranslated} = hayah. Related to “Lord” in v1 & “Joshua” in v9. See note H above.
QQQ “held up” = rum. This is to rise or raise, to be high literally or figuratively. So it can also mean to exalt or extol.
RRR “prevailed” = gabar. This is to be strong or mighty. It can mean to prevail or to be insolent.
SSS “lowered” = nuach. This is to rest, calm, camp, free, place, remain, satisfy, settle, station, or wait. It is rest and so implies settling down in a literal or figurative sense. This is perhaps the root verb of the name “Noah.”

12 But Moses’ hands grew weary;TTT so they took a stoneUUU and putVVV it under him, and he satWWW on it.

Notes on verse 12a

TTT “weary” = kabed. From kabad (to be heavy, weighty, burdensome). This is heavy, grievous, sore. It can also be weighty in the sense of gravitas. The word for “glory” in Hebrew comes from this root (kabod).
UUU “stone” = eben. This is a stone, weight, or mason. It is part of the word “Ebenezer.”
VVV “put” = sum. Related to “called” in v7. See note UU above.
WWW “sat” = yashab. This is to sit and so to remain and so to dwell. It is sitting for any reason – as a judge, in order to ambush, or just sitting quietly. Causatively, this can mean settling or marrying. This can also mean continue, endure, or establish.

Aaron and Hur held upXXX his hands, oneYYY on one side, and the other on the other side; so his hands wereZZZ steadyAAAA until the sunBBBB set.CCCC 13 And Joshua defeatedDDDD Amalek and his people withEEEE the sword.FFFF

Notes on verses 12b-13

XXX “held up” = tamak. This is to sustain, support, maintain, grasp. Figuratively, it can be to help or uphold.
YYY “one” = echad. Perhaps from achad (to unify, continue on a path; figuratively, to gather one’s thoughts). This is the number one, first, united. It can also be alone, altogether, a certain, a few.
ZZZ “were” = hayah. Same as {untranslated} in v11. See note PPP above.
AAAA “steady” = emunah. From aman (to believe, endure, fulfill, confirm, support, be faithful, put one’s trust in, be steadfast. Figuratively, this is to be firm, steadfast, or faithful, trusting, believing, being permanent, morally solid). This word is literally firmness, but figuratively fidelity, faithfulness, honesty, responsibility, trust, truth, steadfastness. This word shares a root with the word “Amen.”
BBBB “sun” = shemesh. This is sun or toward the east. Its root may mean being brilliant. Figuratively, this could be a ray or an arch.
CCCC “set” = bo. Same as “came” in v8. See note BBB above.
DDDD “defeated” = chalash. 3x in OT. This is to be weak, overwhelm, weaken, decay, prostrate.
EEEE {untranslated} = peh. Same as “commanded” in v1. See note H above.
FFFF “sword” = chereb. From charab (to attack, slay). This is any sharp instrument like a sword, dagger, axe, or mattock.

14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “WriteGGGG this as a reminderHHHH in a bookIIII and reciteJJJJ it in the hearingKKKK of Joshua:

Notes on verse 14a

GGGG “write” = katab. This is to inscribe, write, record, or decree.
HHHH “reminder” = zikkaron. From zakar (to remember, to mark something so that it can be recalled, to be mindful of, to mention). This is remembrance, memorial, or record. It can also be a day that is memorable.
IIII “book” = sepher. Perhaps from saphar (to tally or record something; to enumerate, recount, number, celebrate, or declare). This is can be writing itself or something that is written like a document, book, letter, evidence, bill, scroll, or register.
JJJJ “recite” = sum. Same as “put” in v12. See note VVV above.
KKKK “hearing” = ozen. This is ear, hearing, audience, show. Properly, it is broadness – applied to its ear in reference to its shape.

I will utterly blot outLLLL the remembranceMMMM of Amalek from under heaven.”NNNN 

Notes on verse 14b

LLLL “utterly blot out” = machah + machah. This is to rub, which implies to erase. It can also be making something smooth with grease or oil. So, this could we wipe out, blot out, or destroy. Also, to touch or reach. The word is repeated twice – the first time as an Infinitive Absolute. The Infinitive Absolute serves to emphasize the sentiment of the word. It is rather like Foghorn Leghorn’s speech pattern, “I said, I said.”
MMMM “remembrance” = zeker. Related to “reminder” in v14. From zakar (see note HHHH above). This is remembrance, renown, memento, recollection, or commemoration.
NNNN “heaven” = shamayim. Root may mean being lofty. This is sky, the air, or heaven. It is in a dual noun form so this might refer to the part of the sky where the clouds move on the one hand and the part beyond that where the sun, moon, and stars are on the other hand.

15 And Moses builtOOOO an altarPPPP and called it, The Lord is my banner.QQQQ 

Notes on verse 15

OOOO “built” = banah. Related to “Israelites” in v1. See note E above.
PPPP “altar” = mizbeach. From zabach (to kill, slay, offer; slaughtering an animal to offer as a sacrifice). This is an altar.
QQQQ “banner” = nes. From nasas (to be high, easy to see, sparkling, to gleam, to raise a flag or signal). This is a flag, pole, sail, warning, signal, token.

16 He said, “A hand upon the bannerRRRR of the Lord!SSSS The Lord will have warTTTT with Amalek from generationUUUU to generation.”

Notes on verse 16

RRRR “banner” = kes. 1x in OT. Perhaps from kisse (throne – a seat that is covered or has a canopy; a seat that conveys authority); from the same as kese (full moon); perhaps from kasah (to cover, conceal, overwhelm; to cover as clothes do or to hide a secret). This is sworn. Alternately, it may be a miswriting of nes. See note QQQQ above.
SSSS “Lord” = Yah. Related to “Lord” in v1 & “Joshua” in v9 & {untranslated} in v11. From YHVH (see note H above). This is Lord or God – a  shortened form of God’s most holy name.
TTTT “war” = milchamah. Related to “fought” in v8. From lacham (see note CCC above). This is battle, war, fighting, or one who fights (i.e. a warrior).
UUUU “generation” = dor. From dur (to move in a circle, which implies living somewhere or remaining there; it can also be the sense of piling or heaping up). This is a revolution of time, which is to say, an age or generation. It can also be a dwelling or one’s posterity.

Image credit: “Victory O Lord!” by John Everett Millais, 1871.

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