But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness
Or, "lusted a lust" F16 as in ( Numbers 11:4 ) to which story there related this refers; they were not content with the manna they had every day, though very nourishing and of a sweet taste; they lusted after the fish and flesh of Egypt, and other things they ate there; so that this was not a natural lust, or craving after food and drink, to satisfy nature, which would not have been criminal; but a voluptuous last to gratify their appetite: it was lusting after evil tidings, as the apostle interprets it, ( 1 Corinthians 10:6 ) , lust after sinful things, or any unlawful object, or after anything in an unlawful way, is sin.
And tempted God in the desert;
which is expressly forbidden by a law which our Lord referred to when he was tempted by Satan in the wilderness: a very ungrateful action this, since God tempts no man to sin; a very daring impiety, a sin of the first magnitude, and which lay in making experiments, in trying whether the presence of God was among them or not; and putting God as it were on proving that he had power sufficient to provide for them in the wilderness; see ( Exodus 17:7 ) ( Psalms 78:18-20 ) . It seems it was Jesus Christ whom they tempted, from whence it appears that he is truly God, ( 1 Corinthians 10:9 ) . Both in this and the preceding clause an emphasis lies on the place where all this was done, the wilderness or desert, where God had done such great things for them, and where they could not help themselves, but were wholly and immediately dependent on him.