Behold, he smote the rock, that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed; can he give bread also? can he provide flesh for his people?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Psalm 78:15. The smiting of the rock the first time occurred "before" the complaining about the food. The fact that the rock had been smitten could not be doubted. They had thus had abundant evidence that God was able to do that, and to furnish "water" for them in the desert. It was unreasonable, therefore, to doubt whether he could provide "food" for them - for this in itself was no more difficult than to furnish water. Yet they are represented as affirming that this was far more difficult, and that, although it was admitted that God had provided "water," yet that to provide "food" was wholly beyond his power. Their special sin, therefore, was, that they doubted the power of God in one case, when, in another, equally difficult, they had had abundant proof of it. The spirit of complaining had not been put down by one surprising and undoubted miracle performed in their behalf - a miracle which proved that God had all the power necessary to meet their needs.
Can he give bread also? - Does the ability to cause water to flow from a rock prove that there is also ability to produce bread when necessary? They doubted it, and thus complained against God.
Can he provide flesh for his people? - They supposed that this required greater power than the providing of water, or even of bread, and that if it were admitted that God could furnish the two former, it would by no means follow that he could provide the latter. It was this, as the next verse shows, which was the immediate occasion of the special anger of the Lord.The waters gushed out; which, all things consider seems not so wonderful, since fountains of water something break forth unexpectedly from or through rocks. But it is far more difficult to give us bread and flesh, which we know not whether he can do. Or at least we have just cause to doubt of his good will to us, who hath made a a penurious provision for us, and denies us these common blessings of bread and flesh, which he gives to the was of men.
but can he give bread also? solid, substantial bread, and not like this light bread, the manna, as they called it, Numbers 21:5, can he give us bread of corn, in a wilderness which is not a place of seed, where no corn grows? can he do this? this would show his power indeed:
can he provide flesh for his people? for so great a multitude, and in a place where no cattle are? let him do this, and we will believe his power; or else the words intimate that the smiting of the rock, and the waters flowing in such large streams, were an instance of his power, and therefore he that could do the one could do the other; he that could bring such large quantities of water out of a rock could give them solid bread and suitable flesh, and fulness of both; and should he not do so, they must conclude that he bore no good will to them, and had no love and kindness for them.Behold, he smote the rock, that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed; can he give bread also? can he provide flesh for his people?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)20. can he provide] R.V., Will he provide? The narrative is thrown into a graphic poetical form. Unbelief reaches its climax in the words for his people. If, as He says, we are His people, let Him provide, and provide liberally, for our wants. Bread … flesh, as in Exodus 16:8; Exodus 16:12.Verse 20. - Behold, he smote the rock, that the waters gushed out, and the streams (literally, the torrent courses) overflowed; can he give bread also? can he provide flesh for his people? These were probably the people's thoughts rather than their words. An "evil heart of unbelief" underlay their clamours and their murmurings. They doubted God's power to relieve their wants, notwithstanding all the proofs that they had had of his omnipotence. Numbers 13:22) very ancient Zoan (Tanis), ancient Egyptian Zane, Coptic G'ane, on the east bank of the Tanitic arm of the Nile, so called therefrom - according to the researches to which the Turin Papyrus No. 112 has led, identical with Avaris (vid., on Isaiah 19:11)
(Note: The identity of Avaris and Tanis is in the meanwhile again become doubtful. Tanis was the Hyksos city, but Pelusium equals Avaris the Hyksos fortress; vid., Petermann's Mittheilungen, 1866, S. 296-298.)
- was the seat of the Hyksos dynasties that ruled in the eastern Delta, where after their overthrow Rameses II, the Pharaoh of the bondage, in order to propitiate the enraged mass of the Semitic population of Lower Egypt, embraced the worship of Baal instituted by King Apophis. The colossal sitting figure of Rameses II in the pillared court of the Royal Museum in Berlin, says Brugsch (Aus dem Orient ii. 45), is the figure which Rameses himself dedicated to the temple of Baal in Tanis and set up before its entrance. This mighty colossus is a contemporary of Moses, who certainly once looked upon this monument, when, as Psalm 78 says, he "wrought wonders in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan." The psalmist, moreover, keeps very close to the Tra in his reproduction of the history of the Exodus, and in fact so close that he must have had it before him in the entirety of its several parts, the Deuteronomic, Elohimistic, and Jehovistic. Concerning the rule by which it is appointed ‛ā'sa phéle, vid., on Psalm 52:5. The primary passage to Psalm 78:13 (cf. נוזלים Psalm 78:16) is Exodus 15:8. נד is a pile, i.e., a piled up heap or mass, as in Psalm 33:7. And Psalm 78:14 is the abbreviation of Exodus 13:21. In Psalm 78:15. the writer condenses into one the two instances of the giving of water from the rock, in the first year of the Exodus (Exodus 17) and in the fortieth year (Numbers 20). The Piel יבקּע and the plural צרים correspond to this compression. רבּה is not an adjective (after the analogy of תּהום רבּה), but an adverb as in Psalm 62:3; for the giving to drink needs a qualificative, but תהמות does not need any enhancement. ויּוצא has ı̂ instead of ē as in Psalm 105:43.
The fact that the subject is continued in Psalm 78:17 with ויּוסיפוּ without mention having been made of any sinning on the part of the generation of the desert, is explicable from the consideration that the remembrance of that murmuring is closely connected with the giving of water from the rock to which the names Massah u-Merı̂bah and Merı̂bath-Kadesh (cf. Numbers 20:13 with Numbers 27:14; Deuteronomy 32:51) point back: they went on (עוד) winning against Him, in spite of the miracles they experienced. למרות is syncopated from להמרות as in Isaiah 3:8. The poet in Psalm 78:18 condenses the account of the manifestations of discontent which preceded the giving of the quails and manna (Exodus 16), and the second giving of quails (Numbers 11), as he has done the two cases of the giving of water from the rock in Psalm 78:15. They tempted God by unbelievingly and defiantly demanding (לשׁאל, postulando, Ew. 280, d) instead of trustfully hoping and praying. בּלבבם points to the evil fountain of the heart, and לנפשׁם describes their longing as a sensual eagerness, a lusting after it. Instead of allowing the miracles hitherto wrought to work faith in them, they made the miracles themselves the starting-point of fresh doubts. The poet here clothes what we read in Exodus 16:3; Numbers 11:4., Psalm 21:5, in a poetic dress. In לעמּו the unbelief reaches it climax, it sounds like self-irony. On the co-ordinating construction "therefore Jahve heard it and was wroth," cf. Isaiah 5:4; Isaiah 12:1; Isaiah 50:2; Romans 6:17. The allusion is to the wrath-burning at Taberah (Tab'eera), Numbers 11:1-3, which preceded the giving of the quails in the second year of the Exodus. For it is obvious that Psalm 78:21 and Numbers 11:1 coincide, ויתעבר ואשׁ here being suggested by the ותבער־בם אשׁ eht yb d of that passage, and אף עלה being the opposite of ותשׁקע האשׁ in Psalm 78:2. A conflagration broke out at that time in the camp, at the same time, however, with the breaking out of God's anger. The nexus between the anger and the fire is here an outward one, whereas in Numbers 11:1 it is an internal one. The ground upon which the wrathful decree is based, which is only hinted at there, is here more minutely given in Psalm 78:22 : they believed not in Elohim (vid., Numbers 14:11), i.e., did not rest with believing confidence in Him, and trusted not in His salvation, viz., that which they had experienced in the redemption out of Egypt (Exodus 14:13; Exodus 15:2), and which was thereby guaranteed for time to come. Now, however, when Taberah is here followed first by the giving of the manna, Psalm 78:23-25, then by the giving of the quails, Psalm 78:26-29, the course of the events is deranged, since the giving of the manna had preceded that burning, and it was only the giving of the quails that followed it. This putting together of the two givings out of order was rendered necessary by the preceding condensation (in Psalm 78:18-20) of the clamorous desire for a more abundant supply of food before each of these events. Notwithstanding Israel's unbelief, He still remained faithful: He caused manna to rain down out of the opened gates of heaven (cf. "the windows of heaven," Genesis 7:11; 2 Kings 7:2; Malachi 3:10), that is to say, in richest abundance. The manna is called corn (as in Psalm 105:40, after Exodus 16:4, it is called bread) of heaven, because it descended in the form of grains of corn, and supplied the place of bread-corn during the forty years. לחם אבּירים the lxx correctly renders ἄρτον ἀγγέλων (אבּירים equals גּבּרי כח, Psalm 103:20). The manna is called "bread of angels" (Wisd. 16:20) as being bread from heaven (Psalm 78:24, Psalm 105:40), the dwelling-place of angels, as being mann es-semâ, heaven's gift, its Arabic name, - a name which also belongs to the vegetable manna which flows out of the Tamarix mannifera in consequence of the puncture of the Coccus manniparus, and is even at the present day invaluable to the inhabitants of the desert of Sinai. אישׁ is the antithesis to אבירים; for if it signified "every one," אכלוּ would have been said (Hitzig). צידהּ as in Exodus 12:39; לשׂבע as in Exodus 16:3, cf. Psalm 78:8.
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