Exodus 16:3
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
The Israelites said to them, "If only we had died by the LORD's hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death."

New Living Translation
"If only the LORD had killed us back in Egypt," they moaned. "There we sat around pots filled with meat and ate all the bread we wanted. But now you have brought us into this wilderness to starve us all to death."

English Standard Version
and the people of Israel said to them, “Would that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”

New American Standard Bible
The sons of Israel said to them, "Would that we had died by the LORD'S hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat, when we ate bread to the full; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger."

King James Bible
And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
The Israelites said to them, "If only we had died by the LORD's hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by pots of meat and ate all the bread we wanted. Instead, you brought us into this wilderness to make this whole assembly die of hunger!"

International Standard Version
The Israelis told them, "If only we had died by the LORD's hand in the land of Egypt when we sat by the cooking pots, when we ate bread until we were filled—because you brought us to this desert to kill this entire congregation with hunger."

NET Bible
The Israelites said to them, "If only we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat, when we ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this desert to kill this whole assembly with hunger!"

New Heart English Bible
and the children of Israel said to them, "We wish that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots, when we ate our fill of bread, for you have brought us out into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger."

GOD'S WORD® Translation
The Israelites said to them, "If only the LORD had let us die in Egypt! There we sat by our pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted! You brought us out into this desert to let us all starve to death!"

JPS Tanakh 1917
and the children of Israel said unto them: 'Would that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh-pots, when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.'

New American Standard 1977
And the sons of Israel said to them, “Would that we had died by the LORD’S hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat, when we ate bread to the full; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”

Jubilee Bible 2000
and the sons of Israel said unto them, It would have been better if we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots and when we ate bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.

King James 2000 Bible
And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for you have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.

American King James Version
And the children of Israel said to them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for you have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.

American Standard Version
and the children of Israel said unto them, Would that we had died by the hand of Jehovah in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh-pots, when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And the children of Israel said to them: Would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat over the flesh pots, and ate bread to the full. Why have you brought us into this desert, that you might destroy all the multitude with famine?

Darby Bible Translation
And the children of Israel said to them, Would that we had died by the hand of Jehovah in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh-pots, when we ate bread to the full; for ye have brought us out into this wilderness, to kill this whole congregation with hunger!

English Revised Version
and the children of Israel said unto them, Would that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.

Webster's Bible Translation
And the children of Israel said to them, O that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh-pots, and when we did eat bread to the full: for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.

World English Bible
and the children of Israel said to them, "We wish that we had died by the hand of Yahweh in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots, when we ate our fill of bread, for you have brought us out into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger."

Young's Literal Translation
and the sons of Israel say unto them, 'Oh that we had died by the hand of Jehovah in the land of Egypt, in our sitting by the flesh-pot, in our eating bread to satiety -- for ye have brought us out unto this wilderness to put all this assembly to death with hunger.'
Study Bible
Manna and Quail from Heaven
2The whole congregation of the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. 3The sons of Israel said to them, "Would that we had died by the LORD'S hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat, when we ate bread to the full; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger." 4Then the LORD said to Moses, "Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day's portion every day, that I may test them, whether or not they will walk in My instruction.…
Cross References
Exodus 17:3
But the people thirsted there for water; and they grumbled against Moses and said, "Why, now, have you brought us up from Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?"

Numbers 11:4
The rabble who were among them had greedy desires; and also the sons of Israel wept again and said, "Who will give us meat to eat?

Numbers 11:5
"We remember the fish which we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic,

Numbers 14:2
All the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron; and the whole congregation said to them, "Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness!

Numbers 14:3
"Why is the LORD bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become plunder; would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?"

Numbers 16:13
"Is it not enough that you have brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honey to have us die in the wilderness, but you would also lord it over us?

Numbers 20:3
The people thus contended with Moses and spoke, saying, "If only we had perished when our brothers perished before the LORD!

Psalm 78:19
Then they spoke against God; They said, "Can God prepare a table in the wilderness?

Psalm 78:25
Man did eat the bread of angels; He sent them food in abundance.

Jeremiah 42:14
saying, "No, but we will go to the land of Egypt, where we will not see war or hear the sound of a trumpet or hunger for bread, and we will stay there";
Treasury of Scripture

And the children of Israel said to them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for you have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.

would

Numbers 20:3-6 And the people strived with Moses, and spoke, saying, Would God that …

Deuteronomy 28:67 In the morning you shall say, Would God it were even! and at even …

Joshua 7:7 And Joshua said, Alas, O LORD God, why have you at all brought this …

2 Samuel 18:33 And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the …

Lamentations 4:9 They that be slain with the sword are better than they that be slain …

Acts 26:29 And Paul said, I would to God, that not only you, but also all that …

1 Corinthians 4:8 Now you are full, now you are rich, you have reigned as kings without …

2 Corinthians 11:1 Would to God you could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed …

we had

Numbers 11:15 And if you deal thus with me, kill me, I pray you, out of hand, if …

Numbers 14:2 And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against …

Job 3:1,10,20 After this opened Job his mouth, and cursed his day…

Jeremiah 20:14-18 Cursed be the day wherein I was born: let not the day wherein my …

Jonah 4:8,9 And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a …

flesh

Exodus 2:23 And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: …

Numbers 11:4,5 And the mixed multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the …

to kill

Exodus 5:21 And they said to them, The LORD look on you, and judge; because you …

Exodus 17:3 And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured …

Numbers 16:13,41 Is it a small thing that you have brought us up out of a land that …

hunger

Deuteronomy 8:3 And he humbled you, and suffered you to hunger, and fed you with …

Jeremiah 2:6 Neither said they, Where is the LORD that brought us up out of the …

Lamentations 4:9 They that be slain with the sword are better than they that be slain …

(3) Would to God we had died.--Heb., Would that we had died. There is no mention of "God."

By the hand of the Lord.--There is, perhaps, an allusion to the last of the plagues, "Would that we had not been spared, but had been smitten, as the Egyptians were! A sudden death would have been far better than a long and lingering one." (Comp, Lamentations 4:9.)

When we did eat bread to the full.--The Israelites had been well fed in Egypt. They had been nourished upon flesh, fish, bread, and abundant vegetables, especially cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlick (Numbers 11:5). It was the habit of the Egyptians to feed well those whom they employed in forced labours (Herod. ii. 125), just as slave-owners commonly do their slaves. The remembrance of the past abundance intensified the pain felt at the present want.

To kill this whole assembly with hunger.--It is difficult to imagine that there could have been as yet any real danger of starvation. The cattle may have suffered considerably in the passage through the wilderness of Shur, but the bulk of it survived (Exodus 17:3), and there were lambs enough for the whole nation to observe a Passover a few months later at Sinai (Numbers 9:1-5). But it may well be that a considerable number of the Israelites had had no cattle; others may have lost what they had, or have consumed them. Want may have stared some in the face, and the nation generally may have come to see that the prospect before them was a dismal one. Even supposing that the desert was anciently four or five times as productive as it is now, it could not possibly have afforded sufficient pasturage to maintain such flocks and herds as would have been requisite to support on their milk and flesh a population of two millions. It may have been brought home to the people that their flocks and herds were rapidly diminishing, and they may have realised the danger that impended of ultimate starvation after the cattle was all gone.

Verse 3. - Would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt - i.e., "Would that God had smitten us with a painless death, as he did the first-born of the Egyptians! Then we should have avoided the painful and lingering death from starvation which we now see before us." The cry puts on the garb of piety, and names the name of Jehovah, but indicates a want of faith in him, his power, and his promises (Exodus 4:8, 17; Exodus 6:8; Exodus 12:25; Exodus 13:5, 11), which was sinful, and, after the miracles that they had seen, barely excusable. When we sat by the flesh-pots of Egypt. Compare Numbers 11:5. Both passages make it clear that, whatever the sufferings of the Israelites in Egypt from the cruelty of the taskmasters and the hard tasks set them, at any rate their sustenance was well cared for - they had abundance of agreeable food. Did eat bread. It has been said that "bread" here means "food in general" (Kalisch); and no doubt the word has sometimes that sense. But it was probably actual bread, rather than anything else, for which the Israelites were longing. See the Introduction to the chapter.

CHAPTER 16:4-8 And the children of Israel said unto them,.... They not only inwardly murmured, and privately complained among themselves, but they spoke out their complaints, and that in a very extravagant manner:

would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt; by one of the plagues, or some such like plague as were inflicted on the Egyptians, which killed many of them, and particularly the hailstorm and plague on the firstborn; suggesting that death, even by the hand of the Lord, whether in an ordinary or extraordinary way, was more eligible than their present circumstances: when we sat by the fleshpots, and when we did eat bread to the full; which is an exaggeration of their former circumstances, and the happiness of them, in order to aggravate the misery of their present ones; for it can hardly be thought strictly true, that while they were in hard bondage in Egypt, they had often flesh in their pots, and leisure time to sit and attend them, either the boiling of it in them, or the eating of it when served up in dishes at the table; which they seem to boast of, as if they had several dishes of meat at table, and sat in great splendour, and took a great deal of time to regale themselves, and when they indulged themselves to satiety, having fulness of bread and all provisions:

for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger: but there was no danger of that at present, since they had so many flocks and herds with them; though indeed so large a number would soon have ate them up, and which could not so comfortably be fed upon without bread; and, besides, these they did not choose to slay, unless under great necessity, which they reserved for sacrifice, and for an increase. 3. Would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt—How unreasonable and absurd the charge against Moses and Aaron! how ungrateful and impious against God! After all their experience of the divine wisdom, goodness, and power, we pause and wonder over the sacred narrative of their hardness and unbelief. But the expression of feeling is contagious in so vast a multitude, and there is a feeling of solitude and despondency in the desert which numbers cannot dispel; and besides, we must remember that they were men engrossed with the present—that the Comforter was not then given—and that they were destitute of all visible means of sustenance and cut off from every visible comfort, with only the promises of an unseen God to look to as the ground of their hope. And though we may lament they should tempt God in the wilderness and freely admit their sin in so doing, we can be at no loss for a reason why those who had all their lives been accustomed to walk by sight should, in circumstances of unparalleled difficulty and perplexity, find it hard to walk by faith. Do not even we find it difficult to walk by faith through the wilderness of this world, though in the light of a clearer revelation, and under a nobler leader than Moses? [Fisk]. (See 1Co 10:11, 12).16:1-12 The provisions of Israel, brought from Egypt, were spent by the middle of the second month, and they murmured. It is no new thing for the greatest kindness to be basely represented as the greatest injuries. They so far undervalue their deliverance, that they wished they had died in Egypt; and by the hand of the Lord, that is, by the plagues which cut off the Egyptians. We cannot suppose they had plenty in Egypt, nor could they fear dying for want in the wilderness, while they had flocks and herds: none talk more absurdly than murmurers. When we begin to fret, we ought to consider, that God hears all our murmurings. God promises a speedy and constant supply. He tried whether they would trust him, and rest satisfied with the bread of the day in its day. Thus he tried if they would serve him, and it appeared how ungrateful they were. When God plagued the Egyptians, it was to make them know he was their Lord; when he provided for the Israelites, it was to make them know he was their God.
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