Numbers 11:4-6, 10-16, 24-29

Numbers 11:4-6, 10-16, 24-29
Ordinary B44


The rabbleI amongII them hadIII a strong craving;IV

Notes on verse 4a

I “rabble” = asaphsuph. 1x in OT. From asoph (storehouse, group of offerings, Asuppim); asaph (to gather, assemble, bring, take away, destroy, or remove). This is a mixed group of people gathered together.
II “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.
III “had” = avah. This is to desire, wish for, crave, lust after, to incline.
IV “craving” = taavah. Related to “had” in v4. From the same as avah (see note III above). This is what is desirable, a delight, greedy, satisfaction, a charm.

and the IsraelitesV also weptVI again,VII and said, “If only we had meatVIII to eat!IX 

Notes on verse 4b

V “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.
VI “wept” = bakah. This is to weep, complain, or lament.
VII “again” = shub. To turn back, return, turn away – literally or figuratively. Doesn’t necessarily imply going back to where you started from. This is also the root verb for the Hebrew word for repentance “teshubah.”
VIII “meat” = basar. From basar (being a messenger, publish, carry preach; properly, this is being fresh, rosy or cheerful as one bearing news). This is flesh, the body, fat, skin, self, nakedness, humankind, or kin. It can also refer to private parts.
IX “eat” = akal. This is to eat, devour, burn up, or otherwise consume. It can be eating in a literal or figurative sense.

We rememberX the fishXI we used to eat in EgyptXII for nothing,XIII

Notes on verse 5a

X “remember” = zakar. This is to remember, to mark something so that it can be recalled, to be mindful of, to mention.
XI “fish” = dagah. 15x in OT. From dag (fish, fishing); perhaps from da’ag (to fear, be worried, sorrow, be concerned, be anxious, be sorry). This is fish – perhaps as creatures that move by squirming.
XII “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.
XIII “for nothing” = chinnam. From chen (grace, favor, kindness, beauty, precious); from chanan (beseech, show favor, be gracious; properly, to bend in kindness to someone with less status). This is out of favor, so it can mean without cost, without payment, nothing, vain, or useless.

the cucumbers,XIV the melons,XV the leeks,XVI the onions,XVII and the garlic;XVIII 

Notes on verse 5b

XIV “cucumbers” = qishshuah. 1x in OT. Root may mean to be hard. This is cucumber.
XV “melons” = abattich. 1x in OT. This is a melon or watermelon.
XVI “leeks” = chatsir. Perhaps from the same as chatsir (village, settlement); from chatser (enclosure or court – a yard that is fenced in. It could also be a village or hamlet that is walled in); from chatsar (to blow a trumpet, trumpeter, to surround); from chatsotsrah (trumpet). This is grass, plant, hay, leeks.
XVII “onions” = batsal. 1x in OT. Root may mean to peel. This is onion.
XVIII “garlic” = shum. 1x in OT. Root may mean to breathe out in reference to the scent. This is garlic.

but now our strengthXIX is dried up,XX and there is nothing at all but this mannaXXI to look at.”XXII

Notes on verse 6

XIX “strength” = nephesh. Related to naphash (to refresh or be refreshed). This is soul, self, person, emotion. It is a breathing creature. Can also refer to appetites and desires.
XX “dried up” = yabesh. 9x in OT. From yabesh (to dry up, be withered, be dry; to be ashamed, confused, or disappointed). This is dry, withered (as for plants), or gone.
XXI “manna” = man. 14x in OT. From mah (what, how, how long, why – a question or exclamation). This is manna, literally a whatzit.
XXII “look at” = ayin. Literally, “to…our eyes.”  This is eye in a literal or figurative sense so eye, appearance, favor, or a fountain (the eye of the landscape).

10 MosesXXIII heardXXIV the peopleXXV weeping throughout their families,XXVI

Notes on verse 10a

XXIII “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.
XXIV “heard” = shama. This is to hear, call, consent, or consider. It implies listening intelligently, giving attention, and, because of these two factors, obedience and action are often implied.
XXV “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.
XXVI “families” = mishpachah. From the same as shiphcah (maid, maidservant); root means to spread out. This is one’s circle of relatives – clan, family, kindred.

allXXVII at the entrancesXXVIII of their tents.XXIX

Notes on verse 10b

XXVII “all” = ish. Perhaps from enosh (human, humankind, mortal); from anash (to be weak, sick, or frail). This is man, husband, another, or humankind.
XXVIII “entrances” = petach. From patach (to open wide in a literal or figurative sense, loosen, plow, carve). This is opening, door, gate, entrance.
XXIX “tents” = ohel. Perhaps from ahal (to shine, be clear). This is a tent, covering, home, or side pillar.

Then the LordXXX became very angry,XXXI andXXXII Moses was displeased.XXXIII 

Notes on verse 10c

XXX “Lord” = YHVH. 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.
XXXI “became…angry” = charah + aph. Charah is perhaps related to charar (to be hot, burn, glow, melt, be scorched; figuratively, to incite passion, be angry). This is to be displeased, burn with anger, glow, become warn. Figuratively it is a blaze of anger, zeal, or jealousy. Aph is from anaph (to be angry; properly, breathing hard as a signifier of being enraged). This properly refers to the nose or nostril and by extension the face. It can specifically refer to anger or wrath as one breathes hard and nostrils flare in times of great anger.
XXXII {untranslated} = ayin. Same as “look at” in v6. See note XXII above.
XXXIII “displeased” = ra’a’. From ra’a’ (to be evil, bad, afflict; properly, to spoil – to destroy by breaking into pieces; figuratively, to cause something to be worthless; this is bad in a physical, social, or moral sense; that which displeases, to do harm or mischief, to punish or vex). This is evil, injury, brining pain, adversity, wrong.

11 So Moses said to the Lord,XXXIV “Why have you treated your servantXXXV so badly?XXXVI

Notes on verse 11a

XXXIV “Lord” = YHVH. Related to “Lord” in v10. It has a different vowel pointing, but the same meaning.
XXXV “servant” = ebed. From abad (to work, serve, compel; any kind of work; used causatively, can mean to enslave or keep in bondage). This is a servant, slave, or bondservant.
XXXVI “treated…so badly” = ra’a’. See note XXXIII above.

Why have I not foundXXXVII favorXXXVIII in your sight,XXXIX that you layXL the burdenXLI of all this people on me? 

Notes on verse 11b

XXXVII “found” = matsa. This is to find, catch or acquire. It can also mean to come forth or appear. Figuratively, this can mean to meet or be together with.
XXXVIII “favor” = chen. Related to “for nothing” in v5. See note XIII above.
XXXIX “sight” = ayin. Same as “look at” in v6. See note XXII above.
XL “lay” = sum. This is to put or place in a literal or figurative sense. It can be appoint, care, change, make, and may other things.
XLI “burden” = massa. From nasa (to lift in a broad sense, literally and figuratively; to carry, take, or arise; to bring forth, advance, accept). This is burden, bearing, load, utterance, tribute, prophecy, desire, song.

12 Did I conceiveXLII all this people? Did I give birth toXLIII them, that you should say to me, ‘CarryXLIV them in your bosom,XLV

Notes on verse 12a

XLII “conceive” = harah. This is to conceive or be pregnant – it can be literal or figurative.
XLIII “give birth to” = yalad. This is to bear or bring forth. It can mean to act as midwife or to show one’s lineage. This is often used for birth or begetting.
XLIV “carry” = nasa. Related to “burden” in v11. See note XLI above.
XLV “bosom” = cheq. Root may mean to enclose. This is bosom in a literal or figurative sense. So, this could be arms, lap, or midst. It can also be care or cherish.

as a nurseXLVI carries a sucking child,XLVII to the landXLVIII that you promised on oathXLIX to their ancestors’?L 

Notes on verse 12b

XLVI “nurse” = aman. This is to believe, endure, fulfill, confirm, support, be faithful. It is to put one’s trust in, be steadfast. Figuratively, this is to be firm, steadfast, or faithful, trusting, believing, being permanent, morally solid. It can be to take care of like a parent or nurse does. This is where the word “amen” comes from.
XLVII “sucking child” = yanaq. This is to suckle or to nurse. In a causative sense, it can mean to give milk. So, this word can be used for a nursing mother or for her suckling child.
XLVIII “land” = adamah. From the same as adam (man, humankind); perhaps from ‘adom (to be red). This is ground, earth, soil as red, or land.
XLIX “promised on oath” = shaba. Perhaps from sheba (seven – the number of perfection/sacred fullness). This is to swear, curse, vow, make a covenant. Properly, it can mean to be complete. This is to seven oneself – as in affirming something so strongly it is as though it were said seven times.
L “ancestors” = ab. This is father, chief, or ancestor. It is father in a literal or figurative sense.

13 Where am I to get meat to giveLI to all this people? For they come weeping to me and say, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ 14 I am not ableLII to carry all this people alone,LIII for they are too heavyLIV for me. 

Notes on verses 13-14

LI “give” = natan. This is to give, put, set, offer. It is to give literally or figuratively.
LII “am…able” = yakol. This is to be able, endure, overcome, prevail.
LIII “alone” = bad. From badad (to divide or be separated; alone, solitary, lonely, isolated, straggler). This is apart, alone, separation, body part, tree branch, except. It can also be a city’s chief.
LIV “too heavy” = 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).

15 If this is the way you are going to treatLV me, put me to death at onceLVI, LVII—if I have found favor in your sight—and do not let me seeLVIII my misery.”LIX

Notes on verse 15

LV “treat” = asah. This is to make, do, act, appoint, become in many senses.
LVI “put to death at once” = haragharag. This is to strike with deadly intent so it can be kill, destroy, murder, or put to death. The word is repeated twice – the second 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.”
LVII {untranslated} = na. This particle is used for requests or for urging. It can be we pray, now, I ask you, oh. This is the same “na” in “hosanna.”
LVIII “see” = raah. This is to see in a literal or figurative sense so stare, advise, think, view.
LIX “misery” = ra’a’. Same as “displeased” in v10. See note XXXIII above.

16 So the Lord said to Moses, “GatherLX for me seventyLXI of theLXII eldersLXIII of Israel,

Notes on verse 16a

LX “gather” = asaph. Related to “rabble” in v4. See note I above.
LXI “seventy” = shibim. Related to “promised on “oath” in v12. From sheba (see note XLIX above). This is seventy.
LXII {untranslated} = ish. Same as “all” in v10. See note XXVII above.
LXIII “elders” = zaqen. From the same as zaqan (beard or chin – the beard represents old age). This is old, aged, or elder.

whom you knowLXIV to be the elders of the people and officersLXV over them; bringLXVI them to the tent of meeting,LXVII and have them take their placeLXVIII there with you.

Notes on verse 16b

LXIV “know” = yada. This is to know, acknowledge, advise, answer, be aware, be acquainted with. Properly, this is to figure something out by seeing. It includes ideas of observation, recognition, and care about something. It can be used causatively for instruction, designation, and punishment.
LXV “officers” = shoter. The root may mean write. This is perhaps originally a scribe and so it was used more broadly for an official, officer, ruler, overseer, or magistrate.
LXVI “bring” = laqach. This is to take, accept, carry away, receive. It can also have the sense of take a wife or take in marriage.
LXVII “meeting” = moed. From yaad (to appoint, assemble or gather selves, agree). This is a meeting, assembly, fixed time. It can be used for a festival or feast. It can also refer to a meeting place.
LXVIII “take their place” = yatsab. This is to set oneself, take a stand, remain, continue, to station or set something in place.

24 So Moses went outLXIX and toldLXX the people the wordsLXXI of the Lord;

Notes on verse 24a

LXIX “went out” = yatsa. This is to go or come out, bring forth, appear. It is to go out in a literal or figurative sense.
LXX “told” = dabar. This is generally to speak, answer, declare, or command. It might mean to arrange and so to speak in a figurative sense as arranging words.
LXXI “words” = dabar. Related to “told” in v24. From dabar (see note LXX above). This is speech, a word, a matter, an affair, charge, command, message, promise, purpose, report, request. It is a word, which implies things that are spoken of in a wide sense.

and he gathered seventyLXXII elders of the people, and placedLXXIII them all aroundLXXIV the tent. 

Notes on verse 24b

LXXII {untranslated} = enosh. Related to “all” in v10. See note XXVII above.
LXXIII “placed” = 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.
LXXIV “all around” = sabib. From sabab (turning around, going around; to surround, cast, walk, fetch; to revolve or border in a literal or figurative sense). This is a circuit or a circle. It could refer to an environment, one’s neighbors, or a circular path round about.

25 Then the Lord came downLXXV in the cloudLXXVI and spokeLXXVII to him,

Notes on verse 25a

LXXV “came down” = yarad. This is to go down, descend; going down in a literal or figurative sense. It can be going to the shore or a boundary, bringing down an enemy.
LXXVI “cloud” = anan. May be from anan (cover, cloud over; figuratively, acting in a secret way, practicing magic or soothsaying). This is a cloud as something that covers the sky.
LXXVII “spoke” = dabar. Same as “told” in v24. See note LXX above.

and tookLXXVIII some of the spiritLXXIX that was on him and putLXXX it on the seventyLXXXI elders;

Notes on verse 25b

LXXVIII “took” = atsal. 5x in OT. From the same as etsel (nearby, toward, joining). This is to reserve, refuse, join, separate, keep.
LXXIX “spirit” = ruach. This is breath, wind, air, cool, spirit. This is wind, which resembles the breath and so this can be used figuratively for life itself or being frail/mortal/impermanent. It can refer to the air of the sky or the spirit.
LXXX “put” = natan. Same as “give” in v13. See note LI above.
LXXXI {untranslated} = ish. Same as “all” in v10. See note XXVII above.

and whenLXXXII the spirit restedLXXXIII upon them, they prophesied.LXXXIV But they did not do so again.LXXXV

Notes on verse 25c

LXXXII “when” = hayah. Related to “Lord” in v10 & “Lord” in v11. See note XXX above.
LXXXIII “rested” = 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.”
LXXXIV “prophesied” = naba. Related to nabi (prophet, prophecy, speaker; someone inspired). This is to prophesy. It can also refer to an ecstatic state – raving. It is associated with speech, song, teachings, and predictions.
LXXXV “do…again” = yasaph. This is to add, increase, continue, exceed.

26 TwoLXXXVI menLXXXVII remainedLXXXVIII in the camp,LXXXIX

Notes on verse 26a

LXXXVI “two” = shenayim. From sheni (double, again, another, second); from shanah (to fold, repeat, double, alter, or disguise). This is two, both, second, couple.
LXXXVII “men” = ish. Same as “all” in v10. See note XXVII above.
LXXXVIII “remained” = shaar. Properly, this is swelling up i.e. being left over, a remnant, remaining, being redundant.
LXXXIX “camp” = machaneh. From chanah (to decline, bending down, or living in tents; can be camping to create a home or camping as a part of battle). This is an encampment, whether of people traveling together or soldiers. So, it can be a camp band, or company as well as an army of soldiers. Also can be used of other groups like animals, angels or stars.

oneXC namedXCI Eldad,XCII and the otherXCIII named Medad,XCIV and the spirit rested on them; they were among those registered,XCV but they had not gone out to the tent, and so they prophesied in the camp. 

Notes on verse 26b

XC “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.
XCI “named” = shem. Related to “lay” in v11. Perhaps from sum (see note XL above). 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.
XCII “Eldad” = Eldad. Related to “Israelites” in v4. 2x in OT. From el (see note V above) + dod (beloved, love, uncle); the root may mean to boil, which is used figuratively to describe love. This is Eldad, meaning “God has loved.”
XCIII “other” = sheni. Related to “two” in v26. See note LXXXVI above.
XCIV “Medad” = Medad. Related to “Eldad” in v26. 2x in OT. From the same as yadid (beloved, lovely, amiable); from the same as dod (see note XCII above). This is Medad, meaning “affectionate.”
XCV “registered” = kathab. This is to inscribe, write, record, or decree.

27 And a young manXCVI ranXCVII and toldXCVIII Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.” 

Notes on verse 27

XCVI “young man” = naar. May be from na’ar (to shake, toss up and down, tumble around). This is a child or a servant. It is a child in their active years so they could be aged anywhere from infancy to adolescence.
XCVII “ran” = ruts. This is to run or rush, divide quickly, bring swiftly. It can also refer to a footman or guard.
XCVIII “told” = nagad. This is to declare, make conspicuous, stand in front, manifest, predict, explain.

28 And JoshuaXCIX sonC of Nun,CI the assistantCII of Moses,

Notes on verse 28a

XCIX “Joshua” = Yehoshua. Related to “Lord” in v10 & “Lord” in v11 & “when” in v25. From YHVH (see note XXX 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.”
C “son” = ben. Related to “Israelites” in v4. See note V above.
CI “Nun” = Nun. From nun (to propagate, continue, re-sprout, be perpetual). This is Nun or Non, meaning “perpetuity.”
CII “assistant” = sharat. This is ministering, serving, or waiting on. It can refer to one offering service as a worshipper or one serving as a servant.

one of his chosen men,CIII said,CIV “My lordCV Moses, stopCVI them!” 

Notes on verse 28b

CIII “chosen men” = bechurim. 3x in OT. From bachur (choice, chosen, selected; a youth or young man); from bachar (to choose, appoint, try, excellent). This is youth or the time of young manhood.
CIV “said” = anah. This is answer, respond, announce, sing, shout, or testify. It means to pay attention, which implies responding and, by extension, starting to talk. Used in a specific sense for singing, shouting, testifying, etc.
CV “lord” = adon. From a root that means ruling or being sovereign. This is lord, master, or owner.
CVI “stop” = kala. 18x in OT. This is to stop in the sense of holding back or restraining. It could be keep, refuse, forbid, or to prohibit by word.

29 But Moses said to him, “Are you jealousCVII for my sake? Would thatCVIII all the Lord’s people were prophets,CIX and that the Lord would put his spirit on them!”

Notes on verse 29

CVII “are…jealous” = qanah. From qinah (zeal, jealousy). This is to be zealous or to provoke to jealousy.
CVIII “would that” = natan. Same as “give” in v13. See note LI above.
CIX “prophets” = nabi. Related to “prophesied” in v25. See note LXXXIV above.

Image credit: “The Exodus (Path to Freedom)” by Curtis and Pip Reid of Bible Pathway Adventures.

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