Numbers 11:4

Quail From the LORD

4 The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat!

Numbers 11:4 in Other Translations

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?
4 Now the rabble that was among them had a strong craving. And the people of Israel also wept again and said, "Oh that we had meat to eat!
4 Then the foreign rabble who were traveling with the Israelites began to crave the good things of Egypt. And the people of Israel also began to complain. “Oh, for some meat!” they exclaimed.
4 The riff-raff among the people had a craving and soon they had the People of Israel whining, "Why can't we have meat?
4 Contemptible people among them had a strong craving [for other food]. The Israelites cried again and said, "Who will feed us meat?

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 When the people cried out to Moses, he prayed to the LORD and the fire died down.
3 So that place was called Taberah, because fire from the LORD had burned among them.
4 The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat!
5 We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic.
6 But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!”

Cross References 2

  • 1. S Exodus 16:3; Exodus 12:38
  • 2. ver 18; Psalms 78:18; 1 Corinthians 10:6
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