Our fathers understood not your wonders in Egypt; they remembered not the multitude of your mercies; but provoked him at the sea…
I. THEIR UNWORTHY AND UNGRATEFUL DEPORTMENT TOWARDS GOD UPON A MOST SIGNAL MERCY AND DELIVERANCE. To provoke, is an expression setting forth a peculiar and more than ordinary degree of misbehaviour; and seems to import an insolent daring resolution to offend. A resolution not contented with one single stroke of disobedience, but such a one as multiplies and repeats the action, till the offence greatens, and rises into an affront: and as it relates to God, so I conceive it strikes at Him in a threefold respect:
1. Of His power;
2. Of His goodness;
3. Of His patience.
II. THE AGGRAVATION OF THEIR UNWORTHY DEPORTMENT TOWARDS THEIR ALMIGHTY DELIVERER. The baseness and ingratitude of which He casts in their teeth, by confronting it with the eminent obligation laid upon them, by the glorious deliverance He vouchsafed them: a deliverance heightened and ennobled with these four qualifications:
1. Its greatness;
2. Its unexpectedness;
3. Its seasonableness:
4. Its undeservedness.
III. THE CAUSE OF THIS UNWORTHY BEHAVIOUR, which was their not understanding the designs of mercy in the several instances of it: "They understood not Thy wonders in Egypt." Now, in every wonderful passage of providence, two things are to be considered:
1. The author, by whom;
2. The end, for which it is done: neither of which were understood by the Israelites as they ought to have been
(R. South, D.D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Our fathers understood not thy wonders in Egypt; they remembered not the multitude of thy mercies; but provoked him at the sea, even at the Red sea.