MINGLED PEOPLE; (MIXED MULTITUDE)
(1) "Mixed multitude" occurs in Numbers 11:4 as a translation of asaphcuph, "collection," "rabble." The same phrase in Exodus 12:38; Nehemiah 13:3 is the rendition of erebh. "Mingled people" is used also to translate `erebh, and is found in Jeremiah 25:20,24; 50:37; Ezekiel 30:5, and in 1 Kings 10:15 the Revised Version (British and American) (the King James Version "Arabia"; compare the American Revised Version margin). In the last case both revised versions have followed the pointing of the Massoretic Text, and this pointing alone distinguishes "mingled people" (`erebh) from "Arabia" (`arabh); in the unvocalized text both words are equally `-r-b. Now "the traffic of the merchants, and of all the kings of the mingled people, and of the governors of the country" is very awkward, and the correction into "Arabia," as in the Massoretic Text (and English Versions of the Bible) of the parallel 2 Chronicles 9:14, is indicated. Probably the same change should be made in Ezekiel 30:5, reading "Ethiopia, and Put, and Lud, and Arabia, and Cub." A similar textual confusion seems to be responsible for either "and all the kings of Arabia" or "and all the kings of the mingled people" in Jeremiah 25:24. On all these verses see the commentaries.
(2) In Jeremiah 25:20; 50:37, "mingled people" is a term of contempt for the hybrid blood of certain of Israel's enemies. Something of this same contempt may be contained in Exodus 12:38, where a multitude of non-Israelite camp-followers are mentioned as accompanying the children of Israel in the exodus, and in Numbers 11:4 it is this motley body that seduced Israel to sin. But who they were, why they wished or were permitted to join in the exodus, and what eventually became of them or of their descendants is a very perplexing puzzle. In Nehemiah 13:3, the "mixed multitude" consists of the inhabitants of Palestine whom the Jews found there after the return from the exile (see SAMARIA). In accord with the command of Deuteronomy 23:3-5, the Jews withdrew from all religious intercourse whatever had been established with these.
Burton Scott Easton
These files are public domain.