Forty years long was I grieved with this generation
The generation of the wilderness, as the Jews commonly call them; and which was a stubborn and a rebellious one, whose heart and spirit were not right with God, ( Psalms 78:8 ) , wherefore, speaking after the manner of men, God was grieved with them, as he was with the old world, ( Genesis 6:6 ) , or he was "weary" of them, and "loathed" them as the word F12 sometimes signifies; wherefore, after the affair of the spies, to which Aben Ezra thinks this had reference, they did not hear from the mouth of the Lord, there was no prophecy sent them by the hand of Moses, as the same writer observes; nor any history or account of them, from that time till they came to the border of Canaan; so greatly was their conduct and behaviour resented: and it was much such a term of time that was between the beginning of the ministry of John the Baptist and of Christ, and the destruction of Jerusalem; during which time the Jews tempted Christ, tried his patience, saw his works, and grieved his Spirit, which brought at last ruin upon them:
and said, it is a people that do err in their heart;
he was not only inwardly grieved with them, but, speaking after the same human manner, he gave his grief vent, he spoke and gave this just character of them. The apostle adds "alway", ( Hebrews 3:10 ) and so does the Arabic version here, and which is implied in the words "do err"; they not only had erred, but they continued to do so; and their errors were not merely through weakness, ignorance, and mistake, but were voluntary, and with their whole hearts; they sprung from their hearts, which were desperately wicked; they erred willingly and wilfully; and this the Lord, the searcher of hearts, knew and took notice of:
and they have not known my ways;
they had his law, his statutes, and his judgments, and so must know the ways he prescribed them to walk in; but they did not practically observe them: or his ways of providence; which they did not take that notice of as they ought to have done; they did not consider them as they should, nor improve them in the manner as became them; they were not thankful for their mercies as they ought; nor did the goodness of God lead them to repentance.