Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness
The wilderness of Paran, which was great and large, reaching from Sinai to Kadesh, eleven days' journey, and terrible to the sight, nothing being to be seen but dry rocks and barren mountains; see ( Deuteronomy 1:19 ) , and especially for what follows: wherein were fiery serpents and scorpions; fiery serpents, such as bit the Israelites, of which see ( Numbers 21:6 ) and scorpions, a kind of serpents, venomous and mischievous, which have stings in their tails they are continually thrusting out and striking with, as Pliny says F21; and have their name from their great sting; for Aristotle F23 says, this alone of insects has a large sting:
and drought where there was no water;
a dry and barren place where no water was to be had; see ( Psalms 63:1 ) or it may be rather another kind of serpents may be meant, which is called "dipsas"; and so the Vulgate Latin, Septuagint, and Samaritan versions render it; the biting of which produces such a thirst as proves mortal, and which must be intolerable in a wilderness where no water is; and from whence it has its name, which signifies thirsty, as does the Hebrew word here used:
who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint;
which was done both at Horeb and Kadesh, ( Exodus 17:6 ) ( Numbers 20:11 ) and was very extraordinary; by striking flint, fire is ordinarily produced, and not water. Dr. Shaw observes F24, that it may be more properly named, with other sorts of graphite marble here to be met with, "the rock of amethyst", from their reddish or purple colour and complexion.
F21 Nat. Hist. l. 11. c. 25.
F23 Hist. Animal. l. 4. c. 7.
F24 Travels, p. 317, 442.