Psalm 106:15
And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(15) Leanness.—The LXX., Vulg., and Syriac read satiety.” As Mr. Burgess points out, by accepting this reading, and giving nephesh its very usual signification of “lust” (comp. Psalm 78:18, where also the word rendered “request” occurs) we get two exact synthetical clauses:—

And he gave them their request,

And sent satiety for their lust.”

106:13-33 Those that will not wait for God's counsel, shall justly be given up to their own hearts' lusts, to walk in their own counsels. An undue desire, even for lawful things, becomes sinful. God showed his displeasure for this. He filled them with uneasiness of mind, terror of conscience, and self-reproach. Many that fare deliciously every day, and whose bodies are healthful, have leanness in their souls: no love to God, no thankfulness, no appetite for the Bread of life, and then the soul must be lean. Those wretchedly forget themselves, that feast their bodies and starve their souls. Even the true believer will see abundant cause to say, It is of the Lord's mercies that I am not consumed. Often have we set up idols in our hearts, cleaved to some forbidden object; so that if a greater than Moses had not stood to turn away the anger of the Lord, we should have been destroyed. If God dealt severely with Moses for unadvised words, what do those deserve who speak many proud and wicked words? It is just in God to remove those relations that are blessings to us, when we are peevish and provoking to them, and grieve their spirits.And he gave them their request - By sending great quantities of quails. Numbers 11:31-32.

But sent leanness into their soul - The word translated "leanness" is from a verb - רזה râzeh - to make thin; to cause to waste away; to destroy. The radical idea is that of abrading or "scraping;" and hence, it means to become lean, to waste away. It occurs only here and in Isaiah 10:16, rendered "leanness," and in Micah 6:10, rendered "scant;" margin, "leanness." It means here that the effect of all this on their souls was similar to the effect on the body when it wastes away by disease or want of food. This effect often occurs. In the gratification of their desires, in great temporal success and prosperity, individuals, churches, nations, often forget their dependence on God; lose their sense of the value of spiritual privileges and blessings: are satisfied with their condition; become selfconfident and proud, and forfeit the favor of God. If we pray for temporal prosperity, we should also pray that we may at the same time have grace commensurate with it, that it may be a blessing and not a curse; if we are visited with prosperity when it has not been a direct object of our prayer - if we inherit riches, or if our plans are successful beyond our expectations - or, in the language of the world, if "fortune smiles upon us," there should be special prayer on our part that it may not be a curse rather than a blessing; that it may be so received and used as not to alienate our minds from God. Few are the Christian people who can bear continued success in life; few are those who are not injured by it; rare is it that growth in grace keeps pace with uninterrupted worldly prosperity; rare is it that the blessings of earth are so received and employed that they are seen to be a means of grace, and not a hindrance to growth in piety. A man does not know what is best for him when his heart is set on worldly prosperity; and God is more benevolent to people than they are to themselves, in withholding what is so often the object of their intense desire. "What is asked in passion, is often given in wrath" - Henry.

15. but sent leanness—rather, "and sent," that is, and thus, even in doing so, the punishment was inflicted at the very time their request was granted. So Ps 78:30, "While their meat was yet in their mouths, the wrath of God came upon them."

soul—the animal soul, which craves for food (Nu 11:6; Ps 107:18). This soul got its wish, and with it and in it its own punishment. The place was therefore called Kibroth-hattaavah, "the graves of lust" [Nu 11:34], because there they buried the people who had lusted. Animal desires when gratified mostly give only a hungry craving for more (Jer 2:13).

Either into their persons; or rather, their bodies, which are oft understood by this word; of which see the notes upon Psalm 16:10. So their inordinate desire of pleasing and pampering their bodies was the occasion of destroying them; whilst God denied his blessing, which alone makes food able to nourish us, and inflicted his curse, which made their food as destructive as poison to them. And he gave them their request,.... Flesh and feathered fowl in great abundance; see Psalm 78:27. So God sometimes gives to wicked men what they ask for, as much as they can desire, yea, more than heart could wish.

But sent leanness into their soul: or "body"; the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, and all the Oriental versions, read, "he sent fulness into their souls"; he gave them flesh to the full, even to a nausea; they fed too heartily on it, and were surfeited with it; which not being digested brought a repletion, and issued in a consumption; or rather death, immediate death, is meant, as Jarchi, Aben Ezra, Kimchi, and Ben Melech, interpret it; for while the flesh was in their mouths, and they were chewing it between their teeth, the wrath of God came upon them and slew them, Numbers 11:33. It is true in a spiritual sense, that while the bodies of wicked men are fed and pampered, their souls are starved, and at last eternally lost; as the rich man's in the Gospel, who fared sumptuously every day: and worldly professors are very lean ones; such who mind earth and earthly things never thrive in spirituals; and either they soon drop their profession, err from the faith, and turn apostates; or, if they continue, the cares of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word; so that it is unprofitable to them, not being mixed with faith by them; and hence leanness under the best of means: yea, there is sometimes a leanness in the souls of the people of God, when corruptions prevail, the graces of the spirit are low in exercise; when there is a want of a spiritual appetite to the word; and when they fall into bad company, or do not improve conversation with one another in a spiritual way; or are too much taken up, ensnared, and entangled with the things of the world; see Isaiah 24:16.

And he gave them their request; but sent {h} leanness into their soul.

(h) The abundance that God gave them did not profit, but made them pine away, because God cursed it.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
15. They complained “Our soul is dried away” (Numbers 11:6), our vitality is exhausted; but the satisfaction of their self-willed lust brought sickness and death not life and vigour, and “the graves of lust” marked the scene of their sin and its punishment.Verse 15. - And he gave them their request. By sending the quails (Numbers 11:31, 32). But sent leanness into their soul. By "leanness" is meant dissatisfaction or disgust. After eating freely of the quails for a full month, the food became "loathsome" to them (Numbers 11:20). Whether it actually produced the pestilence which followed (Numbers 11:33). or whether that was a separate and distinct affliction, it is impossible to determine (compare, on the whole subject, Psalm 78:18-31, and the comment ad loc.). The key-note of the vidduj, which is a settled expression since 1 Kings 8:47 (Daniel 9:5, cf. Bar. 2:12), makes itself heard here in Psalm 106:6; Israel is bearing at this time the punishment of its sins, by which it has made itself like its forefathers. In this needy and helpless condition the poet, who all along speaks as a member of the assembly, takes the way of the confession of sin, which leads to the forgiveness of sin and to the removal of the punishment of sin. רשׁע, 1 Kings 8:47, signifies to be, and the Hiph. to prove one's self to be, a רשׁע. עם in Psalm 106:6 is equivalent to aeque ac, as in Ecclesiastes 2:16; Job 9:26. With Psalm 106:7 the retrospect begins. The fathers contended with Moses and Aaron in Egypt (Exodus 5:21), and gave no heed to the prospect of redemption (Exodus 6:9). The miraculous judgments which Moses executed (Exodus 3:20) had no more effect in bringing them to a right state of mind, and the abundant tokens of loving-kindness (Isaiah 63:7) amidst which God redeemed them made so little impression on their memories that they began to despair and to murmur even at the Red Sea (Exodus 14:11.). With על, Psalm 106:7, alternates בּ (as in Ezekiel 10:15, בּנהר); cf. the alternation of prepositions in Joel 3:8. When they behaved thus, Jahve might have left their redemption unaccomplished, but out of unmerited mercy He nevertheless redeemed them. Psalm 106:8-11 are closely dependent upon Exodus 14. Psalm 106:11 is a transposition (cf. Psalm 34:21; Isaiah 34:16) from Exodus 14:28. On the other hand, Psalm 106:9 is taken out of Isaiah 63:13 (cf. Wisd. 19:9); Isaiah 63:7-64:12 is a prayer for redemption which has a similar ground-colouring. The sea through which they passed is called, as in the Tפra, ים־סוּף, which seems, according to Exodus 2:3; Isaiah 19:3, to signify the sea of reed or sedge, although the sedge does not grow in the Red Sea itself, but only on the marshy places of the coast; but it can also signify the sea of sea-weed, mare algosum, after the Egyptian sippe, wool and sea-weed (just as Arab. ṣûf also signifies both these). The word is certainly Egyptian, whether it is to be referred back to the Egyptian word sippe (sea-weed) or seebe (sedge), and is therefore used after the manner of a proper name; so that the inference drawn by Knobel on Exodus 8:18 from the absence of the article, that סוּף is the name of a town on the northern point of the gulf, is groundless. The miracle at the sea of sedge or sea-weed - as Psalm 106:12 says - also was not without effect. Exodus 14:31 tells us that they believed on Jahve and Moses His servant, and the song which they sang follows in Exodus 15. But they then only too quickly added sins of ingratitude.
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