Numbers 11:5
Parallel Verses
New International Version
We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost--also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic.

New Living Translation
"We remember the fish we used to eat for free in Egypt. And we had all the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic we wanted.

English Standard Version
We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic.

New American Standard Bible
"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,

King James Bible
We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick:

Holman Christian Standard Bible
We remember the free fish we ate in Egypt, along with the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic.

International Standard Version
How we remember the fish that we used to eat in Egypt for free! And the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic!

NET Bible
We remember the fish we used to eat freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Remember all the free fish we ate in Egypt and the cucumbers, watermelons, leeks, onions, and garlic we had?

Jubilee Bible 2000
We remember the fish, which we freely ate in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic,

King James 2000 Bible
We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic:

American King James Version
We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic:

American Standard Version
We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt for nought; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic:

Douay-Rheims Bible
We remember the Ash that we ate in Egypt free cost: the cucumbers come into our mind, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic.

Darby Bible Translation
We remember the fish that we ate in Egypt for nothing; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic;

English Revised Version
We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt for nought; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick:

Webster's Bible Translation
We remember the fish which we ate in Egypt freely: the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic:

World English Bible
We remember the fish, which we ate in Egypt for nothing; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic;

Young's Literal Translation
We have remembered the fish which we do eat in Egypt for nought, the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick;
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

11:4-9 Man, having forsaken his proper rest, feels uneasy and wretched, though prosperous. They were weary of the provision God had made for them, although wholesome food and nourishing. It cost no money or care, and the labour of gathering it was very little indeed; yet they talked of Egypt's cheapness, and the fish they ate there freely; as if that cost them nothing, when they paid dearly for it with hard service! While they lived on manna, they seemed exempt from the curse sin has brought on man, that in the sweat of his face he should eat bread; yet they speak of it with scorn. Peevish, discontented minds will find fault with that which has no fault in it, but that it is too good for them. Those who might be happy, often make themselves miserable by discontent. They could not be satisfied unless they had flesh to eat. It is evidence of the dominion of the carnal mind, when we want to have the delights and satisfaction of sense. We should not indulge in any desire which we cannot in faith turn into prayer, as we cannot when we ask meat for our lust. What is lawful of itself becomes evil, when God does not allot it to us, yet we desire it.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 5. - We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely, i.e., gratis. No doubt this was an exaggeration on the part of the murmurers, but it is attested by classical writers that fish swarmed in the Nile waters, and cost next to nothing (Died. Sic., 1:36, 52; Herod., 2:93; Strabo, 17. page 829). Cucumbers. קִשֻׁאִים. Cucumbers of peculiar softness and flavour are spoken of by Egyptian travelers as fructus in Egypto omnium vulgatissimus. Melons. אַבַטִּחִים. Water-melons, still called battieh, grow in Egypt, as in all hot, moist lands, like weeds, and are as much the luxury of the poorest as of the richest. Leeks. חָצִיר. This word usually means grass (as in Psalm 104:14), and may do so hare, for the modern Egyptians eat a kind of field-clover freely. The Septuagint, however, translates it by τὰ πράσα, leeks or chives, which agrees better with the context. Pliny (Nat. Hist. 19:33) speaks of it as "laudatissimus porrus in Egypto." Onions. בְּצָלִים. Garlic. שׁוּמְים. These are mentioned in the well-known passage of Herodotus (2:125) as forming the staple food of the workmen at the pyramids; these still form a large part of the diet of the labouring classes in Egypt, as in other Mediterranean countries. If we look at these different articles of food together, so naturally and inartificially mentioned in this verse, we find a strong argument for the genuineness of the narrative. They are exactly the luxuries which an Egyptian labourer of that day would have cried out for, if deprived of them; they are not the luxuries which a Jew of Palestine would covet, or would even think cf. The very words here used for the cucumber, the melon, and the garlic were probably Egyptian, for they may still be recognized in the common names of those vegetables in Egypt.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

We remember the fish which we did eat in Egypt freely,.... Fish was food the Egyptians much lived upon; for though Herodotus says the priests might not taste of fish, the common people ate much; yea, he himself says that some lived upon nothing else but fish gutted and dried in the sun; and he observes, that the kings of Egypt had a great revenue from hence (w); the river Nile, as Diodorus Siculus (x) says, abounded with all kind of fish, and with an incredible number, so that there was a plenty of them, and to be bought cheap; and so Aben Ezra and Ben Gersom interpret the word freely, of a small price, as if they had them for nothing almost; but surely they forgot how dear they paid for their fish, by their hard toil, labour, and service. Now this, with what follows, they call to mind, to increase their lust, and aggravate their present condition and circumstances:

the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic; in the Hebrew language, the word for "cucumbers" has the signification of hardness, because they are hard of digestion In the Talmud (y) they are so called, because they are as harmful to the body as swords; though it is said in the same, that Antoninus always had them at his table; and Suetonius (z) and Pliny (a) say, that they were in great esteem with the emperors Augustus and Tiberias; though some think what they call cucumbers were melons. We are told (b), that the Egyptian cucumbers are very different from our European ones, which in the eastern countries serve only to feed hogs with, and not men; but the Egyptian cucumber, called "chate", differs from the common one in size, colour, and softness; and not only its leaves, but its fruit, are different from ours, being sweeter to the taste, and of more easy digestion, and reckoned to be very wholesome to the bodies of men: and so their "melons" are different from ours, which they call "abdellavi", to distinguish them from others called "chajar", which are of little use for food, and not pleasant, and more insipid, and of a softer pulp (c): as for the "leeks, onions, and garlic", that these were commonly and in great plenty eaten of by the Egyptians appears from the vast sums of money spent upon the men that worked in building one of the pyramids, in radishes, onions, and garlic only, which Herodotus (d), Diodorus Siculus (e), and Pliny (f) make mention of. Indeed, in later times these were worshipped as gods, and not suffered to be eaten, as Pliny (g) and Juvenal (h) inform us; but there is little reason to believe that this kind of idolatry obtained so early as the time of Israel's being in Egypt; though some have thought that these were cheaper because of that, and so the Israelites could more easily come at them; but if that had been the case, it is more reasonable to believe that the Egyptians would not have allowed them to have eat of them at all: however, these are still in great plenty, and much used in Egypt to this day, as Vansleb (i) relates, who says, for desserts they have fruits, as onions, dried dates, rotten olives, melons, or cucumbers, or pompions, or such like fruits as are in season: thus carnal men prefer their sensual lusts and pleasures, and self-righteous men their righteousness, to Christ, the heavenly manna, his grace and righteousness.

(w) Euterpe, sive, l. 2. c. 37, 92, 149. (x) Bibliothec. l. 1. p. 32. (y) T. Bab. Avodah Zarah, fol. 11. 1.((z) In Vit. August. c. 77. (a) Nat. Hist. l. 19. c. 5. (b) Alpinus de Plant. Aegypt. l. 1. p. 114. apud Scheuchzer. Physic. Saer. vol. 3. p. 369. (c) Alpinus ib. (d) Ut supra, (Euterpe, sive, l. 2.) c. 125. (e) Ut supra. (Bibliothec. l. 1. p. 58.) (f) Nat. Hist. l. 36. c. 12. (g) lb. l. 19. c. 6. (h) "Porrum et coepe nefas violare", &c. Satyr. 15. (i) Relation of a Voyage to Egypt, p. 186.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

5. We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely—(See on [74]Ex 7:17). The people of Egypt are accustomed to an almost exclusive diet of fish, either fresh or sun-dried, during the hot season in April and May—the very season when the Israelites were travelling in this desert. Lower Egypt, where were the brick-kilns in which they were employed, afforded great facilities for obtaining fish in the Mediterranean, the lakes, and the canals of the Nile.

cucumbers—The Egyptian species is smooth, of a cylindrical form, and about a foot in length. It is highly esteemed by the natives and when in season is liberally partaken of, being greatly mellowed by the influence of the sun.

melons—The watermelons are meant, which grow on the deep, loamy soil after the subsidence of the Nile; and as they afford a juicy and cooling fruit, all classes make use of them for food, drink, and medicine.

leeks—by some said to be a species of grass cresses, which is much relished as a kind of seasoning.

onions—the same as ours; but instead of being nauseous and affecting the eyes, they are sweet to the taste, good for the stomach, and form to a large extent the aliment of the laboring classes.

garlic—is now nearly if not altogether extinct in Egypt although it seems to have grown anciently in great abundance. The herbs now mentioned form a diet very grateful in warm countries where vegetables and other fruits of the season are much used. We can scarcely wonder that both the Egyptian hangers-on and the general body of the Israelites, incited by their clamors, complained bitterly of the want of the refreshing viands in their toilsome wanderings. But after all their experience of the bounty and care of God, their vehement longing for the luxuries of Egypt was an impeachment of the divine arrangements; and if it was the sin that beset them in the desert, it became them more strenuously to repress a rebellious spirit, as dishonoring to God and unbecoming their relation to Him as a chosen people.

Numbers 11:5 Additional Commentaries
Context
The People Complain
4The 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? 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, 6but now our appetite is gone. There is nothing at all to look at except this manna."…
Cross References
Exodus 16:3
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."

Numbers 14:2
All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, "If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness!

Isaiah 1:8
Daughter Zion is left like a shelter in a vineyard, like a hut in a cucumber field, like a city under siege.

Jeremiah 44:18
But ever since we stopped burning incense to the Queen of Heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have had nothing and have been perishing by sword and famine."
Treasury of Scripture

We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic:

the fish

Exodus 16:3 And the children of Israel said to them, Would to God we had died …

Psalm 17:14 From men which are your hand, O LORD, from men of the world, which …

Philippians 3:19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory …

the cucumbers. A species of cucumber peculiar to Egypt, smooth, of a longish cylindrical shape, and about a foot long. Prosper Alpinus says that it differs from the common sort by its size, colour, and softness; that its leaves are smaller, whiter, softer, and rounder; its fruit larger, greener, smoother, softer, sweeter, and more easy of digestion than ours. Hasselquist describes it in the same manner; and adds, that it is very little watery, but firm like a melon, sweet and cool to the taste, but not so cold as the watermelon, which is meant by the avutichim of the text.

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