Numbers 21:4

4 From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; but the people became impatient on the way.

Numbers 21:4 Meaning and Commentary

Numbers 21:4

And they journeyed from Mount Hor
After the battle with the king of Arad, and the defeat of him:

by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom;
which lay by it, and from whence it had the name of the Red sea, Edom signifying red; and by the way of that the Israelites must needs go, to go round that country:

and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way;
because it was going back instead of going forward to Canaan's land, and because of the length of the way; it was a round about way they were going; when, could they have been admitted to have passed through the country of Edom, the way would have been short; or had they pursued their victory over the Canaanite, they would have gone directly into the land; and this perhaps was what fretted, vexed, and discouraged them, that they were obliged to go back, and take such a circuit, when they had such an opportunity of entering; and they might be distressed also with the badness and the roughness of the way, the borders of Edom being rocky and craggy: it is in the original text, "their soul or breath was short" F16; they fetched their breath short, being weary and faint with travelling, or through anger, as angry persons do, when in a great passion: so the people of God travelling through the wilderness of this world are often discouraged, because of the difficulties, trials, and troubles they meet with in the way, from sin, Satan, and the world, and are fretful and impatient; but though they are led about and walk in a round about way, and in a rough way, yet in a right way to the city of their habitation, ( Psalms 107:7 ) .


F16 (vpn ruqtw) "et abbreviata est anima", Montanus, Munster, Fagius, Vatablus; "decurtata", Piscator.

Numbers 21:4 In-Context

2 Then Israel made a vow to the Lord and said, "If you will indeed give this people into our hands, then we will utterly destroy their towns."
3 The Lord listened to the voice of Israel, and handed over the Canaanites; and they utterly destroyed them and their towns; so the place was called Hormah.
4 From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; but the people became impatient on the way.
5 The people spoke against God and against Moses, "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we detest this miserable food."
6 Then the Lord sent poisonous serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many Israelites died.

Footnotes 1

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.