Numbers 14:4

4 And they said to each other, “We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.”

Numbers 14:4 in Other Translations

4 And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt.
4 And they said to one another, "Let us choose a leader and go back to Egypt."
4 Then they plotted among themselves, “Let’s choose a new leader and go back to Egypt!”
4 Soon they were all saying it to one another: "Let's pick a new leader; let's head back to Egypt."
4 So they said to one another, "Let's appoint a leader and go back to Egypt."

Numbers 14:4 Meaning and Commentary

Numbers 14:4

And they said one to another, let us make a captain
An head over them instead of Moses, who they knew would never take the government and care of them, should they resolve to return to Egypt as they proposed, and besides were now so disaffected to him, that they might not care he should. Captains they had over their several tribes, but they chose to have one chief commander and general over them all; Nehemiah says they did appoint one; which they either actually did, or this proposal was interpreted as if really put in execution, they being so desirous of it, and bent upon it; wherefore their will is taken for the deed, and so understood; see ( Nehemiah 9:17 ) ;

and let us return into Egypt:
which was downright madness, as some interpreters have justly observed; they must not only expect to be deserted by Moses, through whose means so many miracles had been wrought for them, and who was so wise and faithful a governor of them; and by Aaron their priest, who offered their sacrifices, and prayed for them, and blessed them; and by such a valiant general as Joshua, who had fought for them against their enemies; but by the Lord himself, so that they could not expect the manna to be continued as food for them, nor the pillar of cloud and fire as a guide unto them, nor to be protected from their enemies, on the borders of whose countries they must pass; so that their destruction in the wilderness seemed inevitable; and if they could have surmounted these and other difficulties, what manner of reception could they expect to find in Egypt, on whose account all the firstborn of man and beast among them were slain, whom they had spoiled of their riches, and whose king and his army, and in it perhaps the, flower of the nation, were drowned in the Red sea, for their sakes? What therefore could they think of, if they had any sober thought at all, but utter ruin, should they return there again?

Numbers 14:4 In-Context

2 All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness!
3 Why is the LORD bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?”
4 And they said to each other, “We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.”
5 Then Moses and Aaron fell facedown in front of the whole Israelite assembly gathered there.
6 Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes

Cross References 1

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