Numbers 11:15
And if you deal thus with me, kill me, I pray you, out of hand, if I have found favor in your sight; and let me not see my wretchedness.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(15) Kill me, I pray thee, out of hand.—Or, Make an utter end of me.

Numbers 11:15. If thou deal thus with me, kill me — He begs that God would be pleased either to ease him of the burdensome charge, or take him out of the world, and rid him of a life so troublesome and insupportable. See my wretchedness — Hebrew, my evil, my torment, arising from the difficulty of my office, and work of ruling this people, and from the dread of their utter extirpation, and the dishonour which will thence accrue to thee and religion; as if not only I, but thou also wast a deceiver. He speaks like an affectionate father of a people who makes their sufferings his own. And, indeed, what could make a ruler of such paternal tenderness more distressed than to see the people he was appointed to govern so untoward, not only toward himself, but God? and to see them, by their perverseness, drawing down upon themselves such dire calamities, and the enemies of God rejoicing in their ruin?11:10-15 The provocation was very great; yet Moses expressed himself otherwise than became him. He undervalued the honour God had put upon him. He magnified his own performances, while he had the Divine wisdom to direct him, and Almighty power to dispense rewards and punishments. He speaks distrustfully of the Divine grace. Had the work been much less he could not have gone through it in his own strength; but had it been much greater, through God strengthening him, he might have done it. Let us pray, Lord, lead us not into temptation.The complaint and remonstrance of Moses may be compared with that in 1 Kings 19:4 ff; Jonah 4:1-3, and contrasted with the language of Abraham (Genesis 18:23 ff) The meekness of Moses (compare Numbers 12:3) sank under vexation into despair. His language shows us how imperfect and prone to degeneracy are the best saints on earth.10-15. Moses said unto the Lord, Wherefore hast thou afflicted thy servant, &c.—It is impossible not to sympathize with his feelings although the tone and language of his remonstrances to God cannot be justified. He was in a most distressing situation—having a mighty multitude under his care, with no means of satisfying their clamorous demands. Their conduct shows how deeply they had been debased and demoralized by long oppression: while his reveals a state of mind agonized and almost overwhelmed by a sense of the undivided responsibilities of his office. Heb. my evil, i.e. my intolerable anguish and torment, arising from the insuperable difficulty of my office and work of ruling this people, and from the dread of their utter extirpation which they will bring upon themselves, and the dishonour which thence will accrue to God and to religion; as if not I only, but God also, were an impostor. Seeing is here put for feeling, as to see death, Psalm 89:48 Luke 2:26, is to suffer it; and to see the salvation of God, Psalm 50:23 91:16, is to enjoy it. And if thou deal thus with me,.... Let the whole weight of government lie upon me, and leave the alone to bear it:

kill me, I pray thee, out of hand; take me out of the world at once, or "kill me now, in killing" (n); dispatch me immediately, and make a thorough end of me directly:

if I have found favour in thy sight; if thou hast any love for me, or art willing to show me a kindness, to remove me by death, I shall take as one:

and let me not see my wretchedness; or live to be the unhappy man I shall be; pressed with such a weight of government, affected and afflicted with the wants of a people I cannot relieve, or seeing them bore down with judgments and punishments inflicted on them for their sins and transgressions I am not able to prevail upon them to abstain from: so the Targum of Jerusalem,"that I may not see their evil, who are thy people;''so Abendana, and in the margin of some Hebrew copies, it is read,"this is one of the eighteen words, the correction of the scribes;''who, instead of "my wretchedness" or evil, corrected it, "their wretchedness" or evil; but Aben Ezra says there is no need of this correction.

(n) "occide me nunc occidendo", Drusius; "occide me jam, occide", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.

And if thou deal thus with me, kill me, I pray thee, out of hand, if I have found favour in thy {i} sight; and let me not see my wretchedness.

(i) I would rather die than see my grief and misery daily increased by their rebellion.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 15. - Kill me, I pray thee, out of hand, or "quite." Hebrew, תָרֹג, inf. abs. And let me not see my wretchedness. Let me not live to see the total failure of my hopes and efforts. The first impulse to this came from the mob that had come out of Egypt along with the Israelites. "The mixed multitude:" see at Exodus 12:38. They felt and expressed a longing for the better food which they had enjoyed in Egypt, and which was not to be had in the desert, and urged on the Israelites to cry out for flesh again, especially for the flesh and the savoury vegetables in which Egypt abounded. The words "they wept again" (שׁוּב used adverbially, as in Genesis 26:18, etc.) point back to the former complaints of the people respecting the absence of flesh in the desert of Sin (Exodus 16:2.), although there is nothing said about their weeping there. By the flesh which they missed, we are not to understand either the fish which they expressly mention in the following verse (as in Leviticus 11:11), or merely oxen, sheep, and goats; but the word בּשׂר signifies flesh generally, as being a better kind of food than the bread-like manna. It is true they possessed herds of cattle, but these would not have been sufficient to supply their wants, as cattle could not be bought for slaughtering, and it was necessary to spare what they had. The greedy people also longed for other flesh, and said, "We remember the fish which we ate in Egypt for nothing." Even if fish could not be had for nothing in Egypt, according to the extravagant assertions of the murmurers, it is certain that it could be procured for such nominal prices that even the poorest of the people could eat it. The abundance of the fish in the Nile and the neighbouring waters is attested unanimously by both classical writers (e.g., Diod. Sic. i. 36, 52; Herod. ii. 93; Strabo, xvii. p. 829) and modern travellers (cf. Hengstenberg, Egypt, etc., p. 211 Eng. tr.). This also applies to the vegetables for which the Israelites longed in the desert. The קשּׁאים, or cucumbers, which are still called katteh or chate in the present day, are a species differing from the ordinary cucumbers in size and colour, and distinguished for softness and sweet flavour, and are described by Forskal (Flor. Aeg. p. 168), as fructus in Aegypto omnium vulgatissimus, totis plantatus agris. אבטּחים: water-melons, which are still called battieh in modern Egypt, and are both cultivated in immense quantities and sold so cheaply in the market, that the poor as well as the rich can enjoy their refreshing flesh and cooling juice (see Sonnini in Hengstenberg, ut sup. p. 212). חציר does not signify grass here, but, according to the ancient versions, chives, from their grass-like appearance; laudatissimus porrus in Aegypto (Plin. h. n. 19, 33). בּצלים: onions, which flourish better in Egypt than elsewhere, and have a mild and pleasant taste. According to Herod. ii. 125, they were the ordinary food of the workmen at the pyramids; and, according to Hasselquist, Sonnini, and others, they still form almost the only food of the poor, and are also a favourite dish with all classes, either roasted, or boiled as a vegetable, and eaten with animal food. שׁוּמים: garlic, which is still called tum, tom in the East (Seetzen, iii. p. 234), and is mentioned by Herodotus in connection with onions, as forming a leading article of food with the Egyptian workmen. Of all these things, which had been cheap as well as refreshing, not one was to be had in the desert. Hence the people complained still further, "and now our soul is dried away," i.e., faint for want of strong and refreshing food, and wanting in fresh vital power (cf. Psalm 22:16; Psalm 102:5): "we have nothing (כּל אין, there is nothing in existence, equivalent to nothing to be had) except that our eye (falls) upon this manna," i.e., we see nothing else before us but the manna, sc., which has no juice, and supplies no vital force. Greediness longs for juicy and savoury food, and in fact, as a rule, for change of food and stimulating flavour. "This is the perverted nature of man, which cannot continue in the quiet enjoyment of what is clean and unmixed, but, from its own inward discord, desires a stimulating admixture of what is sharp and sour" (Baumgarten). To point out this inward perversion on the part of the murmuring people, Moses once more described the nature, form, and taste of the manna, and its mode of preparation, as a pleasant food which God sent down to His people with the dew of heaven (see at Exodus 16:14-15, and Exodus 16:31). But this sweet bread of heaven wanted "the sharp and sour, which are required to give a stimulating flavour to the food of man, on account of his sinful, restless desires, and the incessant changes of his earthly life." In this respect the manna resembled the spiritual food supplied by the word of God, of which the sinful heart of man may also speedily become weary, and turn to the more piquant productions of the spirit of the world.
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