Numbers 11:4

4 And the mixt multitude that was among them fell a lusting*: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat?

Numbers 11:4 Meaning and Commentary

Numbers 11:4

And the mixed multitude that [was] among them fell a lusting,
&c.] These came out of Egypt with them, ( Exodus 12:38 ) ; having either contracted affinity with them, or such intimacy of conversation, that they could not part, or being proselyted to the Jewish religion, at least in pretence; these were not only Egyptians, but a mixture of divers people, who having heard or seen the wonderful things done for Israel, joined them in hopes of sharing the blessings of divine goodness with them; so the Targum of Jonathan calls them proselytes, that were gathered among them: these "lusted a lusting" F20, as the words may be rendered; not after women, as some Jewish writers F21 think, even after such that were near akin to them, with whom they were forbidden to marry, and therefore desired to have those laws dissolved; but they lusted after eating flesh taken in a proper sense, as the latter part of the verse and the whole context show:

and the children of Israel also wept again;
they lusted after flesh likewise, following the example of the mixed multitude; thus evil communication corrupts good manners, ( 1 Corinthians 15:33 ) ; and a little leaven leavens the whole lamp, ( 1 Corinthians 5:6 ) ( Galatians 5:9 ) ; wicked men prove great snares to, and do much mischief among good men, when they get into their societies, ( Jeremiah 5:26 ) : and because the Israelites could not have what they would to gratify their lusts, they wept as children do, when they cannot have what they are desirous of; and they wept "again", for it seems they had wept before, either when they complained, ( Numbers 11:1 ) ; or at Rephidim, where they wanted water, ( Exodus 17:1 ) , as here flesh, or before that when they wanted bread, ( Exodus 16:3 ) ;

and said, who shall give us flesh to eat?
shall Moses, or even the Lord himself? from lusting they fell to unbelief and distrust of the power and providence of God; for so the Psalmist interprets this saying of theirs, ( Psalms 78:19 Psalms 78:20 ) .


F20 (xwat wwath) "concupiverunt concupiscentiam", Pagninus: Montanus, Drusius.
F21 Bemidbar Rabba, sect. 15. fol. 219. 1.

Numbers 11:4 In-Context

2 And the people cried unto Moses; and when Moses prayed unto the LORD, the fire was quenched.
3 And he called the name of the place Taberah: because the fire of the LORD burnt among them.
4 And the mixt multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat?
5 We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick:
6 But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes.