Numbers 14:2
And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said to them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness!
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
XIV.

(2) And all the children of Israel murmured.—When the people murmured in like manner in the wilderness of Sin (Exodus 16:2-3) against Moses and Aaron because they had brought them forth into the wilderness, Moses assured them that at even they should know that it was Jehovah Himself who had brought them out from the land of Egypt (Ibid, Numbers 14:6). On the present occasion their murmuring was not against Moses and Aaron only, but they openly rebelled against Jehovah Himself, to whom they ascribed, in the way of reproach, their exodus from the land of Egypt.

Numbers 14:2-3. Against Moses and Aaron — As the instruments and causes of their present calamity. That we had died in the wilderness — It was not long till they had their desire, and did die in the wilderness. Wherefore hath the Lord brought us, &c. — From instruments they rise higher, and not only vent their passion against his servants, but strike at God himself, as the cause and author of their journey most impiously accusing him as if he had dealt deceitfully with them. By this we see the rapid and prodigious growth and progress of sin when it is not resisted. A prey — To the Canaanites, whose land we were made to believe we should possess.14:1-4 Those who do not trust God, continually vex themselves. The sorrow of the world worketh death. The Israelites murmured against Moses and Aaron, and in them reproached the Lord. They look back with causeless discontent. See the madness of unbridled passions, which makes men prodigal of what nature accounts most dear, life itself. They wish rather to die criminals under God's justice, than to live conquerors in his favour. At last they resolve, that, instead of going forward to Canaan, they would go back to Egypt. Those who walk not in God's counsels, seek their own ruin. Could they expect that God's cloud would lead them, or his manna attend them? Suppose the difficulties of conquering Canaan were as they imagined, those of returning to Egypt were much greater. We complain of our place and lot, and we would change; but is there any place or condition in this world, that has not something in it to make us uneasy, if we are disposed to be so? The way to better our condition, is to get our spirits in a better frame. See the folly of turning from the ways of God. But men run on the certain fatal consequences of a sinful course.A land that eateth up ... - i. e. it is a land which from its position is exposed to incessant attacks from one quarter and another, and so its occupants must be always armed and watchful. 2-4. Would God that we had died in Egypt—Such insolence to their generous leaders, and such base ingratitude to God, show the deep degradation of the Israelites, and the absolute necessity of the decree that debarred that generation from entering the promised land [Nu 14:29-35]. They were punished by their wishes being granted to die in that wilderness [Heb 3:17; Jude 5]. A leader to reconduct them to Egypt is spoken of (Ne 9:17) as actually nominated. The sinfulness and insane folly of their conduct are almost incredible. Their conduct, however, is paralleled by too many among us, who shrink from the smallest difficulties and rather remain slaves to sin than resolutely try to surmount the obstacles that lie in their way to the Canaan above. Against Moses and against Aaron, as the instruments and occasions of their present calamity.

That we had died in the wilderness: it was not long before they had their desire, and did die in the wilderness. And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses, and against Aaron,.... They being the instruments of bringing them out of Egypt, and conducting them hither:

and the whole congregation said unto them; some of them, the rest assenting to it by their cries and tears and gestures:

would God we had died in the land of Egypt; and then what they left behind they thought might have come into the hands of their children or relations; but now they concluded it would become a prey to the Canaanites:

or would God we had died in this wilderness; the wilderness of Paran, at Taberah, where many of them had been destroyed by fire, Numbers 11:1, and now they wish they had perished with them.

And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness!
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2. would that we had died] ‘God’ does not form part of the Heb. expression. The R.V. is not consistent; see Numbers 20:4, Exodus 16:3.Verse 2. - Murmured against Moses and against Aaron; whom they probably suspected and accused of seeking their own personal ends. Here we may see the true reason why Joshua had not been put forward to advocate an immediate advance. The Septuagint has διεγόγγυζον (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:10). Would God we had died. לוּ־מָתְנוּ. Septuagint, ὄφελον ἀπεθάνομεν. The A.V. is unnecessarily strong. In forty days the spies returned to the camp at Kadesh (see at Numbers 16:6), and reported the great fertility of the land ("it floweth with milk and honey," see at Exodus 3:8), pointing, at the same time, to the fruit they had brought with them; "nevertheless," they added (כּי אפס, "only that"), "the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are fortified, very large: and, moreover, we saw the children of Anak there." Amalekites dwelt in the south (see at Genesis 36:12); Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites in the mountains (see at Genesis 10:15-16); and Canaanites by the (Mediterranean) Sea and on the side of the Jordan, i.e., in the Arabah or Ghor (see at Genesis 13:7 and Genesis 10:15-18).
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