Psalm 106:15
And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.
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(15) Leanness.—The LXX., Vulg., and Syriac read satiety.” As Mr. Burgess points out, by accepting this reading, and giving nephesh its very usual signification of “lust” (comp. Psalm 78:18, where also the word rendered “request” occurs) we get two exact synthetical clauses:—

And he gave them their request,

And sent satiety for their lust.”

106:13-33 Those that will not wait for God's counsel, shall justly be given up to their own hearts' lusts, to walk in their own counsels. An undue desire, even for lawful things, becomes sinful. God showed his displeasure for this. He filled them with uneasiness of mind, terror of conscience, and self-reproach. Many that fare deliciously every day, and whose bodies are healthful, have leanness in their souls: no love to God, no thankfulness, no appetite for the Bread of life, and then the soul must be lean. Those wretchedly forget themselves, that feast their bodies and starve their souls. Even the true believer will see abundant cause to say, It is of the Lord's mercies that I am not consumed. Often have we set up idols in our hearts, cleaved to some forbidden object; so that if a greater than Moses had not stood to turn away the anger of the Lord, we should have been destroyed. If God dealt severely with Moses for unadvised words, what do those deserve who speak many proud and wicked words? It is just in God to remove those relations that are blessings to us, when we are peevish and provoking to them, and grieve their spirits.And he gave them their request - By sending great quantities of quails. Numbers 11:31-32.

But sent leanness into their soul - The word translated "leanness" is from a verb - רזה râzeh - to make thin; to cause to waste away; to destroy. The radical idea is that of abrading or "scraping;" and hence, it means to become lean, to waste away. It occurs only here and in Isaiah 10:16, rendered "leanness," and in Micah 6:10, rendered "scant;" margin, "leanness." It means here that the effect of all this on their souls was similar to the effect on the body when it wastes away by disease or want of food. This effect often occurs. In the gratification of their desires, in great temporal success and prosperity, individuals, churches, nations, often forget their dependence on God; lose their sense of the value of spiritual privileges and blessings: are satisfied with their condition; become selfconfident and proud, and forfeit the favor of God. If we pray for temporal prosperity, we should also pray that we may at the same time have grace commensurate with it, that it may be a blessing and not a curse; if we are visited with prosperity when it has not been a direct object of our prayer - if we inherit riches, or if our plans are successful beyond our expectations - or, in the language of the world, if "fortune smiles upon us," there should be special prayer on our part that it may not be a curse rather than a blessing; that it may be so received and used as not to alienate our minds from God. Few are the Christian people who can bear continued success in life; few are those who are not injured by it; rare is it that growth in grace keeps pace with uninterrupted worldly prosperity; rare is it that the blessings of earth are so received and employed that they are seen to be a means of grace, and not a hindrance to growth in piety. A man does not know what is best for him when his heart is set on worldly prosperity; and God is more benevolent to people than they are to themselves, in withholding what is so often the object of their intense desire. "What is asked in passion, is often given in wrath" - Henry.

15. but sent leanness—rather, "and sent," that is, and thus, even in doing so, the punishment was inflicted at the very time their request was granted. So Ps 78:30, "While their meat was yet in their mouths, the wrath of God came upon them."

soul—the animal soul, which craves for food (Nu 11:6; Ps 107:18). This soul got its wish, and with it and in it its own punishment. The place was therefore called Kibroth-hattaavah, "the graves of lust" [Nu 11:34], because there they buried the people who had lusted. Animal desires when gratified mostly give only a hungry craving for more (Jer 2:13).

Either into their persons; or rather, their bodies, which are oft understood by this word; of which see the notes upon Psalm 16:10. So their inordinate desire of pleasing and pampering their bodies was the occasion of destroying them; whilst God denied his blessing, which alone makes food able to nourish us, and inflicted his curse, which made their food as destructive as poison to them.

And he gave them their request,.... Flesh and feathered fowl in great abundance; see Psalm 78:27. So God sometimes gives to wicked men what they ask for, as much as they can desire, yea, more than heart could wish.

But sent leanness into their soul: or "body"; the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, and all the Oriental versions, read, "he sent fulness into their souls"; he gave them flesh to the full, even to a nausea; they fed too heartily on it, and were surfeited with it; which not being digested brought a repletion, and issued in a consumption; or rather death, immediate death, is meant, as Jarchi, Aben Ezra, Kimchi, and Ben Melech, interpret it; for while the flesh was in their mouths, and they were chewing it between their teeth, the wrath of God came upon them and slew them, Numbers 11:33. It is true in a spiritual sense, that while the bodies of wicked men are fed and pampered, their souls are starved, and at last eternally lost; as the rich man's in the Gospel, who fared sumptuously every day: and worldly professors are very lean ones; such who mind earth and earthly things never thrive in spirituals; and either they soon drop their profession, err from the faith, and turn apostates; or, if they continue, the cares of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word; so that it is unprofitable to them, not being mixed with faith by them; and hence leanness under the best of means: yea, there is sometimes a leanness in the souls of the people of God, when corruptions prevail, the graces of the spirit are low in exercise; when there is a want of a spiritual appetite to the word; and when they fall into bad company, or do not improve conversation with one another in a spiritual way; or are too much taken up, ensnared, and entangled with the things of the world; see Isaiah 24:16.

And he gave them their request; but sent {h} leanness into their soul.

(h) The abundance that God gave them did not profit, but made them pine away, because God cursed it.

15. They complained “Our soul is dried away” (Numbers 11:6), our vitality is exhausted; but the satisfaction of their self-willed lust brought sickness and death not life and vigour, and “the graves of lust” marked the scene of their sin and its punishment.

Verse 15. - And he gave them their request. By sending the quails (Numbers 11:31, 32). But sent leanness into their soul. By "leanness" is meant dissatisfaction or disgust. After eating freely of the quails for a full month, the food became "loathsome" to them (Numbers 11:20). Whether it actually produced the pestilence which followed (Numbers 11:33). or whether that was a separate and distinct affliction, it is impossible to determine (compare, on the whole subject, Psalm 78:18-31, and the comment ad loc.). Psalm 106:15The first of the principal sins on the other side of the Red Sea was the unthankful, impatient, unbelieving murmuring about their meat and drink, Psalm 106:13-15. For what Psalm 106:13 places foremost was the root of the whole evil, that, falling away from faith in God's promise, they forgot the works of God which had been wrought in confirmation of it, and did not wait for the carrying out of His counsel. The poet has before his eye the murmuring for water on the third day after the miraculous deliverance (Exodus 15:22-24) and in Rephidim (Exodus 17:2). Then the murmuring for flesh in the first and second years of the exodus which was followed by the sending of the quails (Exodus 16 and Numbers 11), together with the wrathful judgment by which the murmuring for the second time was punished (Kibrôth ha-Ta'avah, Numbers 11:33-35). This dispensation of wrath the poet calls רזון (lxx, Vulgate, and Syriac erroneously πλησμονήν, perhaps מזון, nourishment), inasmuch as he interprets Numbers 11:33-35 of a wasting disease, which swept away the people in consequence of eating inordinately of the flesh, and in the expression (cf. Psalm 78:31) he closely follows Isaiah 10:16. The "counsel" of God for which they would not wait, is His plan with respect to the time and manner of the help. חכּה, root Arab. ḥk, a weaker power of Arab. ḥq, whence also Arab. ḥkl, p. 111, ḥkm, p. 49 note 1, signifies prop. to make firm, e.g., a knot (cf. on Psalm 33:20), and starting from this (without the intervention of the metaphor moras nectere, as Schultens thinks) is transferred to a firm bent of mind, and the tension of long expectation. The epigrammatic expression ויּתאוּוּ תאוה (plural of ויתאו, Isaiah 45:12, for which codices, as also in Proverbs 23:3, Proverbs 23:6; Proverbs 24:1, the Complutensian, Venetian 1521, Elias Levita, and Baer have ויתאו without the tonic lengthening) is taken from Numbers 11:4.

The second principal sin was the insurrection against their superiors, Psalm 106:16-18. The poet has Numbers 16:1 in his eye. The rebellious ones were swallowed up by the earth, and their two hundred and fifty noble, non-Levite partisans consumed by fire. The fact that the poet does not mention Korah among those who were swallowed up is in perfect harmony with Numbers 16:25., Deuteronomy 11:6; cf. however Numbers 26:10. The elliptical תפתּה in Psalm 106:17 is explained from Numbers 16:32; Numbers 26:10.

The third principal sin was the worship of the calf, Psalm 106:19-23. The poet here glances back at Exodus 32, but not without at the same time having Deuteronomy 9:8-12 in his mind; for the expression "in Horeb" is Deuteronomic, e.g., Deuteronomy 4:15; Deuteronomy 5:2, and frequently. Psalm 106:20 is also based upon the Book of Deuteronomy: they exchanged their glory, i.e., the God who was their distinction before all peoples according to Deuteronomy 4:6-8; Deuteronomy 10:21 (cf. also Jeremiah 2:11), for the likeness (תּבנית) of a plough-ox (for this is pre-eminently called שׁוּר, in the dialects תּור), contrary to the prohibition in Deuteronomy 4:17. On Psalm 106:21 cf. the warning in Deuteronomy 6:12. "Land of Cham" equals Egypt, as in Psalm 78:51; Psalm 105:23, Psalm 105:27. With ויאמר in Psalm 106:23 the expression becomes again Deuteronomic: Deuteronomy 9:25, cf. Exodus 32:10. God made and also expressed the resolve to destroy Israel. Then Moses stepped into the gap (before the gap), i.e., as it were covered the breach, inasmuch as he placed himself in it and exposed his own life; cf. on the fact, besides Exodus 32, also Deuteronomy 9:18., Psalm 10:10, and on the expression, Ezekiel 22:30 and also Jeremiah 18:20.

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