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19 You will eat, not just one day, nor two days, nor five days, nor ten days, nor twenty days, 20 but a whole month,[a] until it comes out your nostrils and makes you sick,[b] because you have despised[c] the Lord who is among you and have wept before him, saying, “Why[d] did we ever come out of Egypt?”’”

21 Moses said, “The people around me[e] are 600,000 on foot;[f] but you say, ‘I will give them meat,[g] that they may eat[h] for a whole month.’

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  1. Numbers 11:20 tn Heb “a month of days.” So also in v. 21.
  2. Numbers 11:20 tn The expression לְזָרָה (lezarah) has been translated “ill” or “loathsome.” It occurs only here in the Hebrew Bible. The Greek text interprets it as “sickness.” It could be nausea or vomiting (so G. B. Gray, Numbers [ICC], 112) from overeating.
  3. Numbers 11:20 sn The explanation is the interpretation of their behavior—it is in reality what they have done, even though they would not say they despised the Lord. They had complained and shown a lack of faith and a contempt for the program, which was in essence despising the Lord.
  4. Numbers 11:20 tn The use of the demonstrative pronoun here (“why is this we went out…”) is enclitic, providing emphasis to the sentence: “Why in the world did we ever leave Egypt?”
  5. Numbers 11:21 tn Heb “the people who I am in their midst,” i.e., among whom I am.
  6. Numbers 11:21 tn The Hebrew sentence stresses the number. The sentence begins “600,000….”
  7. Numbers 11:21 tn The word order places the object first here: “Meat I will give them.” This adds to the contrast between the number and the statement of the Lord.
  8. Numbers 11:21 tn The verb is the perfect tense with a vav (ו) consecutive, carrying the sequence from the preceding imperfect tense. However, this verb may be subordinated to the preceding to express a purpose clause.

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