Numbers 14:33
And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your prostitutions, until your carcasses be wasted in the wilderness.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(33) And your children shall wander.—Better, shall be shepherds, or, shall feed their flocks.

Forty years.—The forty years were reckoned from the exodus, not from the return of the spies to Kadesh. (See Numbers 14:34 and Note.)

And bear your whoredoms.—The children were doomed to bear the penalty of their fathers’ apostasy. (Comp. Exodus 34:16.)

Numbers 14:33. Shall wander in the wilderness — Hebrew, יהיו רעים, Jehju rognim, shall feed, shall seek their food from place to place, after the manner of the Arabian shepherds, that were forced to remove their tents from one place to another, that they might find pasture for their flocks. Forty years — Reckoning from the time of their first coming out of Egypt into the wilderness, where they had already wandered a year and a half. And bear your whoredoms — The punishment of your whoredoms, that is, of your idolatries, of your apostacy from, and perfidiousness against the Lord, who was your husband, having espoused you to himself by covenant. Idolatry and apostacy from God’s worship are continually represented under the idea of whoredom in the Scripture. And it appears from Amos 5:25-26, that the Israelites were every now and then falling off to this sin during the whole period of these forty years in the wilderness.14:20-35 The Lord granted the prayer of Moses so far as not at once to destroy the congregation. But disbelief of the promise forbids the benefit. Those who despise the pleasant land shall be shut out of it. The promise of God should be fulfilled to their children. They wished to die in the wilderness; God made their sin their ruin, took them at their word, and their carcases fell in the wilderness. They were made to groan under the burden of their own sin, which was too heavy for them to bear. Ye shall know my breach of promise, both the causes of it, that it is procured by your sin, for God never leaves any till they first leave him; and the consequences of it, that will produce your ruin. But your little ones, now under twenty years old, which ye, in your unbelief, said should be a prey, them will I bring in. God will let them know that he can put a difference between the guilty and the innocent, and cut them off without touching their children. Thus God would not utterly take away his loving kindness.Your whoredoms - Their several rebellions had been so many acts of faithless departure from the Lord who had taken them unto Himself. And as the children of the unchaste have generally to bear in their earthly careers much of the disgrace and the misery which forms the natural penalty of their parents' transgression; so here the children of the Israelites, although suffered to hope for an eventual entry into Canaan, were yet to endure, through many long years' wandering, the appropriate punishment of their fathers' willfulness. 30. save Caleb … and Joshua—These are specially mentioned, as honorable exceptions to the rest of the scouts, and also as the future leaders of the people. But it appears that some of the old generation did not join in the mutinous murmuring, including in that number the whole order of the priests (Jos 14:1). Wander, like sheep, feeding in the deserts; or shall be shepherds, i.e. shall live like the shepherds of Arabia, in tents, and removing from place to place, having no certain dwelling.

Forty years, i.e. so long as to make up the time of your dwelling in the wilderness forty years, as appears from Numbers 33:8 Deu 1:3 2:14. Compare Amos 5:25. It is manifest that one whole year and part of another were past before this sin or judgment.

Your whoredoms, i.e. the punishment of your whoredoms, to wit, of your apostacy from, and perfidiousness against, your Lord, who was your Husband, and had married you to himself. See Jeremiah 3:14. Whence idolatry is called whoredom. And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years,.... Or "feed" (b), as shepherds, who go from place to place, and seek fresh pasture for their sheep; it being the custom of a shepherd, as Aben Ezra observes, not to stand or rest in a place; and so like sheep grazing in a wilderness, where they have short commons, and wander about in search, of better. These forty years are to be reckoned from their coming out of Egypt, from whence they had now been come about a year and a half:

and bear your whoredoms; the punishment of their idolatries, which are frequently signified by this phrase, and particularly of the idolatry of the calf, which God threatened to punish whenever he visited for sin, Exodus 32:34; and of other sins, as their murmurings, &c. for it was on account of them their children wandered so long in the wilderness, and were kept out of the possession of the land of Canaan:

until your carcasses be wasted in the wilderness; everyone of them be consumed by death, save those before excepted, Numbers 14:30.

(b) "erunt pascentes", Pagninus, Montanus, Drusius, Junius & Tremellius; "pascent", Tigurine version, Piscator.

And your children shall {n} wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your {o} whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness.

(n) The word signifies to be shepherds, or to wander like shepherds to and fro.

(o) Your infidelity and disobedience against God.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
33. your children shall be shepherds] as R.V. marg. They were to continue to rove about with their flocks, instead of settling down to agricultural life in Canaan. The rendering ‘wanderers’ is due to the Vulg. vagi.

and shall bear your whoredoms] Your children, though they will not die in the wilderness, must suffer for your unfaithfulness to God. The metaphor of whoredom, the action of a woman who deserts her husband for another, is frequently applied to Israel. By defiant unbelief (as here), or by the worship of foreign gods (as Hosea 2:7; Hosea 9:1), or by foreign alliances (as Ezekiel 16:26; Ezekiel 23:1-35), she proved, time after time, unfaithful to Jehovah.Verse 33. - Your children shall wander. Literally, "shall pasture." רֹעִים. Septuagint, ἔσονται νεμόμενοι. It was not altogether a threat, for it implied that the Lord would be their Shepherd and would provide for their wants in their wanderings. Forty years. This period was made up by counting in the year and a half since the exodus. It was one of those many cases in which the word of God was fulfilled in the meaning and substance of it, but not in the letter. The delay which had already occurred was itself practically due to the same spirit of mutiny which had grown to a head at Kadesh; it was therefore strictly equitable to count it as part of the punishment inflicted (see on Deuteronomy 2:14). And bear your whoredoms. "Whoredom" had been already used (Exodus 34:16) as a synonym for idolatry in its aspect of spiritual unfaithfulness, and there is no reason to depart from that well-marked meaning here. That the Jews were guilty of idolatry in the wilderness is distinctly asserted (cf. Acts 7:42, 43); and these idolatrous practices, carried on no doubt in secret, must have been a sore trial to the generation which grew up amidst them (cf. Joshua 24:14, 23). This announcement commences in a tone of anger, with an aposiopesis, "How long this evil congregation" (sc., "shall I forgive it," the simplest plan being to supply אשּׂא, as Rosenmller suggests, from Numbers 14:18), "that they murmur against Me?"
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