Exodus 16:3
New International Version
The Israelites said to them, "If only we had died by the LORD's hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death."

New Living Translation
“If only the LORD had killed us back in Egypt,” they moaned. “There we sat around pots filled with meat and ate all the bread we wanted. But now you have brought us into this wilderness to starve us all to death.”

English Standard Version
and the people of Israel said to them, “Would that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”

Berean Study Bible
“If only we had died by the LORD’s hand in the land of Egypt!” they said. “There we sat by pots of meat and ate our fill of bread, but you have brought us into this desert to starve this whole assembly to death!”

King James Bible
And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.

New King James Version
And the children of Israel said to them, “Oh, that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”

New American Standard Bible
The sons of Israel said to them, “If only we had died by the LORD’S hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat, when we ate bread until we were full; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this entire assembly with hunger!”

NASB 1995
The sons of Israel said to them, "Would that we had died by the LORD'S hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat, when we ate bread to the full; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger."

NASB 1977
And the sons of Israel said to them, “Would that we had died by the LORD’S hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat, when we ate bread to the full; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”

Amplified Bible
and the Israelites said to them, “Would that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and ate bread until we were full; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this entire assembly with hunger.”

Christian Standard Bible
The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the LORD’s hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by pots of meat and ate all the bread we wanted. Instead, you brought us into this wilderness to make this whole assembly die of hunger! ”

Holman Christian Standard Bible
The Israelites said to them, "If only we had died by the LORD's hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by pots of meat and ate all the bread we wanted. Instead, you brought us into this wilderness to make this whole assembly die of hunger!"

American Standard Version
and the children of Israel said unto them, Would that we had died by the hand of Jehovah in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh-pots, when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And the children of Israel said to them: “We were wishing that we had died by the hand of LORD JEHOVAH in the land of Egypt when we were sitting by the pots of flesh and we were eating bread and were full, for you brought us to this wilderness to destroy the whole assembly of the children of Israel with hunger.”

Brenton Septuagint Translation
And the children of Israel said to them, Would we had died smitten by the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh-pots, and ate bread to satiety! for ye have brought us out into this wilderness, to slay all this congregation with hunger.

Contemporary English Version
"We wish the LORD had killed us in Egypt. When we lived there, we could at least sit down and eat all the bread and meat we wanted. But you have brought us out here into this desert, where we are going to starve."

Douay-Rheims Bible
And the children of Israel said to them: Would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat over the flesh pots, and ate bread to the full. Why have you brought us into this desert, that you might destroy all the multitude with famine?

English Revised Version
and the children of Israel said unto them, Would that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.

Good News Translation
and said to them, "We wish that the LORD had killed us in Egypt. There we could at least sit down and eat meat and as much other food as we wanted. But you have brought us out into this desert to starve us all to death."

GOD'S WORD® Translation
The Israelites said to them, "If only the LORD had let us die in Egypt! There we sat by our pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted! You brought us out into this desert to let us all starve to death!"

International Standard Version
The Israelis told them, "If only we had died by the LORD's hand in the land of Egypt when we sat by the cooking pots, when we ate bread until we were filled—because you brought us to this desert to kill this entire congregation with hunger."

JPS Tanakh 1917
and the children of Israel said unto them: 'Would that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh-pots, when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.'

Literal Standard Version
and the sons of Israel say to them, “Oh that we had died by the hand of YHWH in the land of Egypt, in our sitting by the flesh-pot, in our eating bread to satiety—for you have brought us out to this wilderness to put all this assembly to death with hunger.”

NET Bible
The Israelites said to them, "If only we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat, when we ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this desert to kill this whole assembly with hunger!"

New Heart English Bible
and the children of Israel said to them, "We wish that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots, when we ate our fill of bread, for you have brought us out into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger."

World English Bible
and the children of Israel said to them, "We wish that we had died by the hand of Yahweh in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots, when we ate our fill of bread, for you have brought us out into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger."

Young's Literal Translation
and the sons of Israel say unto them, 'Oh that we had died by the hand of Jehovah in the land of Egypt, in our sitting by the flesh-pot, in our eating bread to satiety -- for ye have brought us out unto this wilderness to put all this assembly to death with hunger.'

Additional Translations ...
Context
Manna and Quail from Heaven
2And there in the desert they all grumbled against Moses and Aaron. 3“If only we had died by the LORD’s hand in the land of Egypt!” they said. “There we sat by pots of meat and ate our fill of bread, but you have brought us into this desert to starve this whole assembly to death!” 4Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain down bread from heaven for you. Each day the people are to go out and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test whether or not they will follow My instructions.…

Cross References
Exodus 17:3
But the people thirsted for water there, and they grumbled against Moses: "Why have you brought us out of Egypt--to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?"

Numbers 11:4
Meanwhile, the rabble among them had a strong craving for other food, and again the Israelites wept and said, "Who will feed us meat?

Numbers 11:5
We remember the fish we ate freely in Egypt, along with the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic.

Numbers 14:2
All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, "If only we had died in the land of Egypt, or if only we had died in this wilderness!

Numbers 14:3
Why is the LORD bringing us into this land to fall by the sword? Our wives and children will become plunder. Would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?"

Numbers 16:13
Is it not enough that you have brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honey to kill us in the wilderness? Must you also appoint yourself as ruler over us?

Numbers 20:3
The people quarreled with Moses and said, "If only we had perished with our brothers before the LORD!

Psalm 78:19
They spoke against God, saying, "Can God really prepare a table in the wilderness?

Psalm 78:25
Man ate the bread of angels; He sent them food in abundance.

Jeremiah 42:14
and if you say, 'No, but we will go to the land of Egypt and live there, where we will not see war or hear the sound of the ram's horn or hunger for bread,'

Jeremiah 44:17
Instead, we will do everything we vowed to do: We will burn incense to the Queen of Heaven and offer drink offerings to her, just as we, our fathers, our kings, and our officials did in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. At that time we had plenty of food and good things, and we saw no disaster.

Lamentations 4:9
Those slain by the sword are better off than those who die of hunger, who waste away, pierced with pain because the fields lack produce.


Treasury of Scripture

And the children of Israel said to them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for you have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.

would

Numbers 20:3-6
And the people chode with Moses, and spake, saying, Would God that we had died when our brethren died before the LORD! …

Deuteronomy 28:67
In the morning thou shalt say, Would God it were even! and at even thou shalt say, Would God it were morning! for the fear of thine heart wherewith thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see.

Joshua 7:7
And Joshua said, Alas, O Lord GOD, wherefore hast thou at all brought this people over Jordan, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? would to God we had been content, and dwelt on the other side Jordan!

we had

Numbers 11:15
And if thou deal thus with me, kill me, I pray thee, out of hand, if I have found favour in thy sight; and let me not see my wretchedness.

Numbers 14:2
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!

Job 3:1,10,20
After this opened Job his mouth, and cursed his day…

flesh

Exodus 2:23
And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage.

Numbers 11:4,5
And the mixt multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat? …

to kill

Exodus 5:21
And they said unto them, The LORD look upon you, and judge; because ye have made our savour to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to slay us.

Exodus 17:3
And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses, and said, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?

Numbers 16:13,41
Is it a small thing that thou hast brought us up out of a land that floweth with milk and honey, to kill us in the wilderness, except thou make thyself altogether a prince over us? …

hunger

Deuteronomy 8:3
And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.

Jeremiah 2:6
Neither said they, Where is the LORD that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, that led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and of pits, through a land of drought, and of the shadow of death, through a land that no man passed through, and where no man dwelt?

Lamentations 4:9
They that be slain with the sword are better than they that be slain with hunger: for these pine away, stricken through for want of the fruits of the field.









(3) Would to God we had died.--Heb., Would that we had died. There is no mention of "God."

By the hand of the Lord.--There is, perhaps, an allusion to the last of the plagues, "Would that we had not been spared, but had been smitten, as the Egyptians were! A sudden death would have been far better than a long and lingering one." (Comp, Lamentations 4:9.)

When we did eat bread to the full.--The Israelites had been well fed in Egypt. They had been nourished upon flesh, fish, bread, and abundant vegetables, especially cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlick (Numbers 11:5). It was the habit of the Egyptians to feed well those whom they employed in forced labours (Herod. ii. 125), just as slave-owners commonly do their slaves. The remembrance of the past abundance intensified the pain felt at the present want.

To kill this whole assembly with hunger.--It is difficult to imagine that there could have been as yet any real danger of starvation. The cattle may have suffered considerably in the passage through the wilderness of Shur, but the bulk of it survived (Exodus 17:3), and there were lambs enough for the whole nation to observe a Passover a few months later at Sinai (Numbers 9:1-5). But it may well be that a considerable number of the Israelites had had no cattle; others may have lost what they had, or have consumed them. Want may have stared some in the face, and the nation generally may have come to see that the prospect before them was a dismal one. Even supposing that the desert was anciently four or five times as productive as it is now, it could not possibly have afforded sufficient pasturage to maintain such flocks and herds as would have been requisite to support on their milk and flesh a population of two millions. It may have been brought home to the people that their flocks and herds were rapidly diminishing, and they may have realised the danger that impended of ultimate starvation after the cattle was all gone.

Verse 3. - Would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt - i.e., "Would that God had smitten us with a painless death, as he did the first-born of the Egyptians! Then we should have avoided the painful and lingering death from starvation which we now see before us." The cry puts on the garb of piety, and names the name of Jehovah, but indicates a want of faith in him, his power, and his promises (Exodus 4:8, 17; Exodus 6:8; Exodus 12:25; Exodus 13:5, 11), which was sinful, and, after the miracles that they had seen, barely excusable. When we sat by the flesh-pots of Egypt. Compare Numbers 11:5. Both passages make it clear that, whatever the sufferings of the Israelites in Egypt from the cruelty of the taskmasters and the hard tasks set them, at any rate their sustenance was well cared for - they had abundance of agreeable food. Did eat bread. It has been said that "bread" here means "food in general" (Kalisch); and no doubt the word has sometimes that sense. But it was probably actual bread, rather than anything else, for which the Israelites were longing. See the Introduction to the chapter.

CHAPTER 16:4-8

Parallel Commentaries ...


Hebrew
“If only
מִֽי־ (mî-)
Interjection
Strong's 4310: Who?, whoever, in oblique construction with prefix, suffix

we had died
מוּתֵ֤נוּ (mū·ṯê·nū)
Verb - Qal - Infinitive construct | first person common plural
Strong's 4191: To die, to kill

by the LORD’s
יְהוָה֙ (Yah·weh)
Noun - proper - masculine singular
Strong's 3068: LORD -- the proper name of the God of Israel

hand
בְיַד־ (ḇə·yaḏ-)
Preposition-b | Noun - feminine singular construct
Strong's 3027: A hand

in the land
בְּאֶ֣רֶץ (bə·’e·reṣ)
Preposition-b | Noun - feminine singular construct
Strong's 776: Earth, land

of Egypt!”
מִצְרַ֔יִם (miṣ·ra·yim)
Noun - proper - feminine singular
Strong's 4714: Egypt -- a son of Ham, also his descendants and their country in Northwest Africa

[they said].
בְּנֵ֣י (bə·nê)
Noun - masculine plural construct
Strong's 1121: A son

“There we sat
בְּשִׁבְתֵּ֙נוּ֙ (bə·šiḇ·tê·nū)
Preposition-b | Verb - Qal - Infinitive construct | first person common plural
Strong's 3427: To sit down, to dwell, to remain, to settle, to marry

by
עַל־ (‘al-)
Preposition
Strong's 5921: Above, over, upon, against

pots
סִ֣יר (sîr)
Noun - common singular construct
Strong's 5518: A pot, a thorn, a hook

of meat
הַבָּשָׂ֔ר (hab·bā·śār)
Article | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 1320: Flesh, body, person, the pudenda of a, man

and ate
בְּאָכְלֵ֥נוּ (bə·’ā·ḵə·lê·nū)
Preposition-b | Verb - Qal - Infinitive construct | first person common plural
Strong's 398: To eat

our fill
לָשֹׂ֑בַע (lā·śō·ḇa‘)
Preposition-l | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 7648: Satisfaction, joy)

of bread,
לֶ֖חֶם (le·ḥem)
Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 3899: Food, bread, grain

but
כִּֽי־ (kî-)
Conjunction
Strong's 3588: A relative conjunction

you have brought
הוֹצֵאתֶ֤ם (hō·w·ṣê·ṯem)
Verb - Hifil - Perfect - second person masculine plural
Strong's 3318: To go, bring, out, direct and proxim

us into
אֶל־ (’el-)
Preposition
Strong's 413: Near, with, among, to

this
הַזֶּ֔ה (haz·zeh)
Article | Pronoun - masculine singular
Strong's 2088: This, that

desert
הַמִּדְבָּ֣ר (ham·miḏ·bār)
Article | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 4057: A pasture, a desert, speech

to starve
בָּרָעָֽב׃ (bā·rā·‘āḇ)
Preposition-b, Article | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 7458: Famine, hunger

this
הַזֶּ֖ה (haz·zeh)
Article | Pronoun - masculine singular
Strong's 2088: This, that

whole
כָּל־ (kāl-)
Noun - masculine singular construct
Strong's 3605: The whole, all, any, every

assembly
הַקָּהָ֥ל (haq·qā·hāl)
Article | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 6951: Assembly, convocation, congregation

to death!”
לְהָמִ֛ית (lə·hā·mîṯ)
Preposition-l | Verb - Hifil - Infinitive construct
Strong's 4191: To die, to kill


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OT Law: Exodus 16:3 And the children of Israel said (Exo. Ex)
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