Exodus 32:18

18 Moses replied: “It is not the sound of victory, it is not the sound of defeat; it is the sound of singing that I hear.”

Read Exodus 32:18 Using Other Translations

And he said, It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome: but the noise of them that sing do I hear.
But he said, "It is not the sound of shouting for victory, or the sound of the cry of defeat, but the sound of singing that I hear."
But Moses replied, “No, it’s not a shout of victory nor the wailing of defeat. I hear the sound of a celebration.”

What does Exodus 32:18 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Exodus 32:18

And he said
Not Joshua, as Saadiah Gaon thinks, but Moses, in answer to what Joshua had said:

[it is] not the voice of [them that] shout for mastery;
that have got the better of it, and have obtained the victory, and shout on that account; or, "not the voice of a cry of strength", or "of a strong cry" {h}; that is, of men who have got the victory, and are in high spirits, and shout with a strong voice; and so the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan,

``not the voice of strong men that overcome in battle:''

neither [is it] the voice of [them that] cry for being overcome;
which is not a voice of shouting, but of howling; or, "not the voice of the cry of weakness", or "of a weak cry" F9; who being unable to stand their ground are conquered, and make a bitter outcry on falling into the enemy's hands, or being wounded shriek terribly, and so the above Targums,

``not the voice of the weak who are overcome by the enemy in battle:''

[but] the noise of [them that] sing do I hear;
as at a merry entertainment, either on a civil or religious account: Moses, who knew what the children of Israel had done, and what they were about, could better judge of the nature of the sound he heard than Joshua could, who knew nothing of what was transacting,


FOOTNOTES:

F8 (hrwbg twne lwq) "vox eorum qui respondeant fortiter", Tigurine version; "vox clamoris fortis", Drusius.
F9 (hvwlh twne lwq) "vox eorum qui respondeant infirmiter", Tigurine version; "vox clamoris debilis", Drusius.
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