Exodus 17:4

4 Then Moses cried out to the LORD, “What am I to do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me.”

Read Exodus 17:4 Using Other Translations

And Moses cried unto the LORD, saying, What shall I do unto this people? they be almost ready to stone me.
So Moses cried to the LORD, "What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me."
Then Moses cried out to the LORD, “What should I do with these people? They are ready to stone me!”

What does Exodus 17:4 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Exodus 17:4

And Moses cried unto the Lord.
&c.] Or prayed unto him, as the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan; which shows the distress he was thrown into, the vehemence of his prayer, and perhaps the loud and lamentable tone in which he expressed it: this was the method he always took, and the refuge he fled unto in all his times of trouble; in which he did well, and set a good example of piety and devotion to God, of faith and trust in him: saying,

what shall I do unto this people?
or, "for this people" F8; to relieve them in their present exigency; suggesting his own inability to do any thing for them: yet not despairing of relief, but rather expressing faith in the power and goodness of God to keep them, by his application to him; desiring that he would open a way for their help, and direct him what he must do in this case for them: something, he intimates, must be done speedily for the glory of God, for his own safety, and to prevent the people sinning yet more and more, and so bring destruction upon them; for, adds he,

they be almost ready to stone me
or, "yet a little, and they will stone me" F9; if the time of help is protracted, if relief is not in a short time given, he had reason to believe from the menaces they had given out, the impatience they had showed, the rage they were in, they would certainly take up stones and stone him, being in a stony and rocky place; and this they would do, not as a formal punishment of him as a false prophet, telling them they should be brought to Canaan, when they were brought into the wilderness and perishing there; which law respecting such an one was not yet in being; but this he supposed as what an enraged multitude was wont to do, and which was more ready at hand for them to do than anything else, see ( Exodus 8:26 ) .


FOOTNOTES:

F8 (hzh Mel) "populo haic", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus
F9 (jem dwe) "adhuc paululum et lapidabit me." V. L. "parum abest", Tigurine version; "adhuc modicum", Pagninus, Montanus; "adhuc paulisper", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; so Ainsworth.
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