Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against you; pray to the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Deuteronomy 8:15; Isaiah 14:29; Isaiah 30:6 denotes the inflammatory effect of their bite. The peninsula of Sinai, and not least, the Arabah, abounds in mottled snakes of large size, marked with fiery red spots and wavy stripes, which belong to the most poisonous species, as the formation of the teeth clearly show.
for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; murmuring at their being brought out of Egypt, and because they had no better provision in the wilderness; concluding they should die there for want, and never enter into the land of Canaan, of which evils they were now sensible, and confessed them:
pray unto the Lord that he take away the serpents from us; or "the serpent" (c), in the singular, which is put for the plural, as it often is; or the plague of the serpent, as the Targum of Jonathan, that it might cease, and they be no more distressed by them: they were sensible they came from God, and that none could remove them but him; and knowing that Moses was powerful in prayer, and had interest with God, they entreat him to be their intercessor, though they had spoken against him and used him ill:
and Moses prayed for the people; which proves him to be of a meek and forgiving spirit; who, though he had been so sadly reflected on, yet readily undertakes to pray to God for them.Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 7. - Pray unto the Lord. This is the first and only (recorded) occasion on which the people directly asked for the intercession of Moses (cf., however, chapter Numbers 11:2), although Pharaoh had done so several times, and never in vain. Numbers 13:17), heard that Israel was coming the way of the spies, he made war upon the Israelites, and took some of them prisoners. Arad is mentioned both here and in the parallel passage, Numbers 33:40, and also by the side of Hormah, in Joshua 12:14, as the seat of a Canaanitish king (cf. Judges 1:16-17). According to Eusebius and Jerome in the Onomast., it was twenty Roman miles to the south of Hebron, and has been preserved in the ruins of Tell Arad, which v. Schubert (ii. pp. 457ff.) and Robinson (ii. pp. 473, 620, and 624) saw in the distance; and, according to Roth in Petermann's geographische Mittheilungen (1858, p. 269), it was situated to the south-east of Kurmul (Carmel), in an undulating plain, without trees or shrubs, with isolated hills and ranges of hills in all directions, among which was Tell Arad. The meaning of האתרים שדרך is uncertain. The lxx, Saad., and others, take the word Atharim as the proper name of a place not mentioned again; but the Chaldee, Samar., and Syr. render it with much greater probability as an appellative noun formed from תּוּר with א prosthet., and synonymous with התּרים, the spies (Numbers 14:6). The way of the spies was the way through the desert of Zin, which the Israelitish spies had previously taken to Canaan (Numbers 13:21). The territory of the king of Arad extended to the southern frontier of Canaan, to the desert of Zin, through which the Israelites went from Kadesh to Mount Hor. The Canaanites attacked them when upon their march, and made some of them prisoners.
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