Numbers 11:18 MEANING

Numbers 11:18
(18) Sanctify yourselves against to-morrow.--(Comp. Exodus 19:10.) The Israelites were required to sanctify themselves by purification for the more immediate manifestation of the Divine presence, although their request was a sinful one, and was granted in judgment as well as--or even more than--in mercy. Comp. Psalm 106:15 : "And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul."

Verse 18. - Sanctify yourselves against tomorrow. By certain ablutions, and by avoidance of legal pollution (see Exodus 19:10, 14, 15). The people were to prepare themselves as for some revelation of God's holiness and majesty. In truth it was for a revelation of his wrath, and of the bitter consequences of sin. There is about the words, as interpreted by the result, a depth of very terrible meaning; it was as though a traitor, unknowing of his doom, were bidden to a grand ceremonial on the morrow, which ceremonial should be his own execution. For it was well with us in Egypt. These false and wicked words, in which the base ingratitude of the people reached its highest pitch, are repeated to them in the message of God with a quiet sternness which gave no sign to their callous ears of the wrath they had aroused.

11:16-23 Moses is to choose such as he knew to be elders, that is, wise and experienced men. God promises to qualify them. If they were not found fit for the employ, they should be made fit. Even the discontented people shall be gratified too, that every mouth may be stopped. See here, I. The vanity of all the delights of sense; they will cloy, but they will not satisfy. Spiritual pleasures alone will satisfy and last. As the world passes away, so do the lusts of it. 2. What brutish sins gluttony and drunkenness are! they make that to hurt the body which should be its health. Moses objects. Even true and great believers sometimes find it hard to trust God under the discouragements of second causes, and against hope to believe in hope. God here brings Moses to this point, The Lord God is Almighty; and puts the proof upon the issue, Thou shalt see whether my word shall come to pass or not. If he speaks, it is done.And say thou unto the people,.... For what follows respects them, as what goes before regarded himself:

sanctify yourselves against tomorrow; or prepare yourselves, as the Targums of Onkelos, and Jonathan, either to receive mercies, or to meet the Lord in the way of his judgments; so Jarchi interprets it,"prepare for punishments,''for what is said should be, and what they had, was not as a blessing, but in a way of punishment:

and ye shall eat flesh; which they lusted after, wept for, and could not be easy without:

for ye have wept in the ears of the Lord; complaining of him, and which he has taken notice of:

saying, who shall give us flesh to eat? for though they so earnestly desired it, they despaired of it, and even called in question the power of God to give it:

for it was well with us in Egypt; where they had their fleshpots, as well as their cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic, Exodus 16:3; but they forgot how ill it went with them by reason of their hard bondage, when their lives were made bitter by it, notwithstanding their fleshpots, and of which there is not much reason to believe any great share came to them: like to them were their posterity in later times, Jeremiah 44:17,

therefore the Lord will give you flesh; to show his power:

and ye shall eat; to your shame and confusion, not for pleasure or profit.

Courtesy of Open Bible