Exodus 15:23
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New International Version
When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That is why the place is called Marah.)

New Living Translation
When they came to the oasis of Marah, the water was too bitter to drink. So they called the place Marah (which means "bitter").

English Standard Version
When they came to Marah, they could not drink the water of Marah because it was bitter; therefore it was named Marah.

New American Standard Bible
When they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter; therefore it was named Marah.

King James Bible
And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
They came to Marah, but they could not drink the water at Marah because it was bitter--that is why it was named Marah.

International Standard Version
When they came to Marah, they could not drink the water at Marah because it was bitter. (That is why it's called Marah.)

NET Bible
Then they came to Marah, but they were not able to drink the waters of Marah, because they were bitter. (That is why its name was Marah.)

New Heart English Bible
When they came to Marah, they couldn't drink from the waters of Marah, for they were bitter. Therefore its name was called Marah.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
When they came to Marah, they couldn't drink the water because it tasted bitter. That's why the place was called Marah [Bitter Place].

JPS Tanakh 1917
And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter. Therefore the name of it was called Marah.

New American Standard 1977
And when they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter; therefore it was named Marah.

Jubilee Bible 2000
And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter; therefore the name of it was called Marah.

King James 2000 Bible
And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah.

American King James Version
And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah.

American Standard Version
And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And they came into Mara, and they could not drink the waters of Mara, because they were bitter: whereupon he gave a name also agreeable to the place, calling it Mara, that is, bitterness.

Darby Bible Translation
And they came to Marah, and could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter; therefore the name of it was called Marah.

English Revised Version
And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah.

Webster's Bible Translation
And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah; for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah.

World English Bible
When they came to Marah, they couldn't drink from the waters of Marah, for they were bitter. Therefore its name was called Marah.

Young's Literal Translation
and they come in to Marah, and have not been able to drink the waters of Marah, for they are bitter; therefore hath one called its name Marah.
Study Bible
The Waters of Marah
22Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness and found no water. 23When they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter; therefore it was named Marah. 24So the people grumbled at Moses, saying, "What shall we drink?"…
Cross References
Numbers 33:8
They journeyed from before Hahiroth and passed through the midst of the sea into the wilderness; and they went three days' journey in the wilderness of Etham and camped at Marah.

Ruth 1:20
She said to them, "Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me.
Treasury of Scripture

And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah.

Marah

Numbers 33:8 And they departed from before Pihahiroth, and passed through the …

marah. i.e. bitterness

Ruth 1:20 And she said to them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty …

(23) The waters of Marah . . . were bitter.--The extreme bitterness of the springs at the southern extremity of the wilderness of Shur is witnessed to by all travellers. (Burckhardt: Travels in Syria, p. 777; Robinson: Palestine, vol. i., p. 106; Wellsted, Arabia, vol. ii., p. 38, &c.) There are several such springs, that called Ain Howarah being the most copious, but scarcely so bitter as some others.

Therefore the name of it was called Marah.--"Marah" means "bitterness" both in Hebrew and in Arabic. It appears to be a form of the root which we find also in mare and amarus.

Verse 23. - And when they came to Marah. It is not clear whether the place already bore the name on the arrival of the Israelites, or only received it from them. Marah would mean "bitter" in Arabic no less than in Hebrew. The identification of Marah with the present Ain Howarah, in which most modern writers acquiesce, is uncertain from the fact that there are several bitter springs in the vicinity - one of them even bitterer than Howarah. (See Winer, Realworterbuch, ad voc. MARAH) We may, however, feel confident that the bitter waters of which the Israelites "would not drink" were in this neighbourhood, a little north of the Wady Ghurundel. And when they came to Marah,.... A place in the wilderness, afterwards so called from the quality of the waters found here; wherefore this name is by anticipation:

they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter; and they must be very bitter for people in such circumstances, having been without water for three days, not to be able to drink of them: some have thought these to be the bitter fountains Pliny (f) speaks of, somewhere between the Nile and the Red sea, but these were in the desert of Arabia; more probably they were near, and of the same kind with those that Diodorus Siculus (g) makes mention of, who, speaking of the Troglodytes that inhabited near the Red sea, and in the wilderness, observes, that from the city Arsinoe, as you go along the shores of the continent on the right hand, there are several rivers that gush out of the rocks into the sea, of a bitter taste: and so Strabo (h) speaks of a foss or ditch, which runs out into the Red sea and Arabian gulf, and by the city Arsinoe, and flows through those lakes which are called bitter; and that those which were of old time bitter, being made a foss and mixed with the river, are changed, and now produce good fish, and abound with water fowl: but what some late travellers have discovered seems to be nearer the truth: Doctor Shaw (i) thinks these waters may be properly fixed at Corondel, where there is a small rill, which, unless it be diluted by the dews and rain, still continues to be brackish: another traveller (k) tells us that, at the foot of the mountain of Hamam-El-Faron, a small but most delightful valley, a place called Garondu, in the bottom of the vale, is a rivulet that comes from the afore mentioned mountain, the water of which is tolerably good, and in sufficient plenty, but is however not free from being somewhat bitter, though it is very clear: Doctor Pocock says there is a mountain known to this day by the name of Le-Marah; and toward the sea is a salt well called Bithammer, which is probably the same here called Marah: this Le-Marah, he says, is sixteen hours south of the springs of Moses; that is, forty miles from the landing place of the children of Israel; from whence to the end of the wilderness were six hours' travelling, or about fifteen miles; which were their three days' travel in the wilderness, and from thence two hours' travel, which were five miles, to a winter torrent called Ouarden; where, it may be supposed, Moses encamped and refreshed his people, and from thence went on to Marsh, about the distance of eight hours, or twenty miles southward from the torrent of Ouarden:

therefore the name of it is called Marah; from the bitterness of the waters, which the word Marah signifies; see Ruth 1:20.

(f) Nat. Hist. l. 6. c. 29. (g) Bibliothec. l. 3. p. 172. (h) Geograph. l. 17. p. 553. (i) Travels, p. 314. (k) A Journal from Grand Cairo to Mount Sinai, A. D. 1722, p. 14, 15. 23. when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters—Following the general route of all travellers southward, between the sea and the tableland of the Tih ("valley of wandering"), Marah is almost universally believed to be what is now called Howarah, in Wady Amarah, about thirty miles from the place where the Israelites landed on the eastern shore of the Red Sea—a distance quite sufficient for their march of three days. There is no other perennial spring in the intermediate space. The water still retains its ancient character, and has a bad name among the Arabs, who seldom allow their camels to partake of it.15:22-27 In the wilderness of Shur the Israelites had no water. At Marah they had water, but it was bitter; so that they could not drink it. God can make bitter to us that from which we promise ourselves most, and often does so in the wilderness of this world, that our wants, and disappointments in the creature, may drive us to the Creator, in whose favour alone true comfort is to be had. In this distress the people fretted, and quarrelled with Moses. Hypocrites may show high affections, and appear earnest in religious exercises, but in the time of temptation they fall away. Even true believers, in seasons of sharp trial, will be tempted to fret, distrust, and murmur. But in every trial we should cast our care upon the Lord, and pour out our hearts before him. We shall then find that a submissive will, a peaceful conscience, and the comforts of the Holy Ghost, will render the bitterest trial tolerable, yea, pleasant. Moses did what the people had neglected to do; he cried unto the Lord. And God provided graciously for them. He directed Moses to a tree which he cast into the waters, when, at once, they were made sweet. Some make this tree typical of the cross of Christ, which sweetens the bitter waters of affliction to all the faithful, and enables them to rejoice in tribulation. But a rebellious Israelite shall fare no better than a rebellious Egyptian. The threatening is implied only, the promise is expressed. God is the great Physician. If we are kept well, it is he that keeps us; if we are made well, it is he that recovers us. He is our life and the length of our days. Let us not forget that we are kept from destruction, and delivered from our enemies, to be the Lord's servants. At Elim they had good water, and enough of it. Though God may, for a time, order his people to encamp by the bitter waters of Marah, that shall not always be their lot. Let us not faint at tribulations.
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