Numbers 20:3
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
They quarreled with Moses and said, "If only we had died when our brothers fell dead before the LORD!

New Living Translation
The people blamed Moses and said, "If only we had died in the LORD's presence with our brothers!

English Standard Version
And the people quarreled with Moses and said, “Would that we had perished when our brothers perished before the LORD!

New American Standard Bible
The people thus contended with Moses and spoke, saying, "If only we had perished when our brothers perished before the LORD!

King James Bible
And the people chode with Moses, and spake, saying, Would God that we had died when our brethren died before the LORD!

Holman Christian Standard Bible
The people quarreled with Moses and said, "If only we had perished when our brothers perished before the LORD.

International Standard Version
As the people argued with Moses, they told him, "We wish that we had died when our relatives died in the LORD's presence!

NET Bible
The people contended with Moses, saying, "If only we had died when our brothers died before the LORD!

New Heart English Bible
The people strove with Moses, and spoke, saying, "We wish that we had died when our brothers died before the LORD.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
The people complained to Moses and said, "If only we had died when the other Israelites died in the LORD's presence!

JPS Tanakh 1917
And the people strove with Moses, and spoke, saying: 'Would that we had perished when our brethren perished before the LORD!

New American Standard 1977
The people thus contended with Moses and spoke, saying, “If only we had perished when our brothers perished before the LORD!

Jubilee Bible 2000
And the people contended with Moses and spoke, saying, Oh, that we had died when our brethren died before the LORD!

King James 2000 Bible
And the people contended with Moses, and spoke, saying, Would God that we had died when our brethren died before the LORD!

American King James Version
And the people strived with Moses, and spoke, saying, Would God that we had died when our brothers died before the LORD!

American Standard Version
And the people strove with Moses, and spake, saying, Would that we had died when our brethren died before Jehovah!

Douay-Rheims Bible
And making a sedition, they said: Would God we had perished among our brethren before the Lord.

Darby Bible Translation
And the people contended with Moses, and spoke, saying, Would that we had died when our brethren died before Jehovah!

English Revised Version
And the people strove with Moses, and spake, saying, Would God that we had died when our brethren died before the LORD!

Webster's Bible Translation
And the people chid with Moses, and spoke, saying, O that we had died when our brethren died before the LORD!

World English Bible
The people strove with Moses, and spoke, saying, "We wish that we had died when our brothers died before Yahweh!

Young's Literal Translation
and the people strive with Moses, and speak, saying, 'And oh that we had expired when our brethren expired before Jehovah!
Study Bible
Water from the Rock
2There was no water for the congregation, and they assembled themselves against Moses and Aaron. 3The people thus contended with Moses and spoke, saying, "If only we had perished when our brothers perished before the LORD! 4"Why then have you brought the LORD'S assembly into this wilderness, for us and our beasts to die here?…
Cross References
Exodus 16:3
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."

Exodus 17:2
Therefore the people quarreled with Moses and said, "Give us water that we may drink." And Moses said to them, "Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the LORD?"

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 16:31
As he finished speaking all these words, the ground that was under them split open;

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

Psalm 106:33
Because they were rebellious against His Spirit, He spoke rashly with his lips.
Treasury of Scripture

And the people strived with Moses, and spoke, saying, Would God that we had died when our brothers died before the LORD!

God

Numbers 14:1,2 And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the …

Exodus 16:2,3 And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against …

Exodus 17:2 Why the people did chide with Moses, and said, Give us water that …

Job 3:10,11 Because it shut not up the doors of my mother's womb, nor hid sorrow …

when

Numbers 11:1,33,34 And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD: and the LORD …

Numbers 14:36,37 And the men, which Moses sent to search the land, who returned, and …

Numbers 16:31-35,49 And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these …

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

(3) Would God that we had died . . . --The reference seems to be to the plague which broke out after the insurrection of Korah. The language of the murmurers is very similar to that which is recorded in Numbers 16:14, and the word gava (die, or expire), which is twice used in this verse, and which occurs in Numbers 16:26; Numbers 16:28, in connection with the history of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, is found only in one other place throughout the last four books of the Pentateuch--viz., Numbers 20:29. The probability that that plague was of comparatively recent occurrence, and not separated from the present murmuring by a period of nearly forty years, has been inferred from the use of the word brethren in this verse. The generation which was contemporary with those who perished in the plague which followed the rebellion of Korah is supposed by some to have been almost extinct at the time to which the events recorded in this chapter are commonly referred, and the word fathers, it is alleged, would, in that case, have been more applicable to those who perished than brethren. It may be observed, further, that the inquiry, "Wherefore have ye made us to come up out of Egypt?" is more natural when regarded as the language of the generation which had come up out of Egypt as adults, and who looked back to the exodus as to a recent event, than when regarded as that of a generation of which a large number had been born in the wilderness, and the rest had left Egypt nearly forty years previously. These considerations, however, do not appear to be entitled to much weight. The older portion of the congregation, who would naturally be the spokesmen, would speak of those who perished in the insurrection of Korah as their brethren, whether the event itself was of recent occurrence or not; and the words which are rendered "Why have ye brought up, &c.?" may, with equal propriety, be rendered "Why did ye bring up, &c.?"(Comp. Numbers 20:16 and Note).

Verse 3. - And the people abode with Moses. As their fathers had done in similar circumstances, as recorded in Exodus 17. Would God that we had died. See on Numbers 14:2. When our brethren died before the Lord. This is difficult, because the visitations of God at Kibroth-hattaavah (Numbers 11:34) and at Kadesh (Numbers 14:37) had overtaken not their brethren, but their fathers, some thirty-eight years before. On the other hand, the daily mortality which had carried off their brethren is clearly excluded by the phrase, "before the Lord." It may he that the rebellion of Korah happened towards the end of the period of wandering, and that the reference is to the plague which followed it; or it may be that the formula of complaint had become stereotyped, as those of children often do, and was employed from time to time without variation and without definite reference. The latter supposition is strongly supported by the character of the words which follow. And the people chode with Moses,.... Contended with him in a wrangling and litigious manner, showing no reverence nor respect unto his person on account of the dignity of his office, and the many favours they had received from him; and this at a time, when, instead of quarrelling with him, they should have condoled him on the loss of his sister, and bewailed their own loss also of one who had been a prophetess to them, and a leader of them, Micah 6:4.

and spake, saying, would God that we had died when our brethren died before the Lord; either at Taberah by fire, or as Korah and his company in like manner, or as the fourteen thousand and seven hundred by a pestilence, Numbers 11:1 which they thought a much easier death, either of them, than to die of thirst: they might well call them brethren, not only because of the same nation, and nearly related to them, but because they were of the same temper and disposition, and indeed brethren in iniquity; and they seem to use this appellation, as being of the same sentiments with them, and in vindication of them, and adopt almost their very language; see Numbers 14:2. 20:1-13 After thirty-eight years' tedious abode in the wilderness, the armies of Israel advanced towards Canaan again. There was no water for the congregation. We live in a wanting world, and wherever we are, must expect to meet with something to put us out. It is a great mercy to have plenty of water, a mercy which, if we found the want of, we should more own the worth of. Hereupon they murmured against Moses and Aaron. They spake the same absurd and brutish language their fathers had done. It made their crime the worse, that they had smarted so long for the discontent and distrusts of their fathers, yet they venture in the same steps. Moses must again, in God's name, command water out of a rock for them; God is as able as ever to supply his people with what is needful for them. But Moses and Aaron acted wrong. They took much of the glory of this work of wonder to themselves; Must we fetch water? As if it were done by some power or worthiness of their own. They were to speak to the rock, but they smote it. Therefore it is charged upon them, that they did not sanctify God, that is, they did not give to him alone that glory of this miracle which was due unto his name. And being provoked by the people, Moses spake unadvisedly with his lips. The same pride of man would still usurp the office of the appointed Mediator; and become to ourselves wisdom, righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption. Such a state of sinful independence, such a rebellion of the soul against its Saviour, the voice of God condemns in every page of the gospel.
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