Numbers 14:33 MEANING

Numbers 14:33
(33) And your children shall wander.--Better, shall be shepherds, or, shall feed their flocks.

Forty years.--The forty years were reckoned from the exodus, not from the return of the spies to Kadesh. (See Numbers 14:34 and Note.)

And bear your whoredoms.--The children were doomed to bear the penalty of their fathers' apostasy. (Comp. Exodus 34:16.)

Verse 33. - Your children shall wander. Literally, "shall pasture." רֹעִים. Septuagint, ἔσονται νεμόμενοι. It was not altogether a threat, for it implied that the Lord would be their Shepherd and would provide for their wants in their wanderings. Forty years. This period was made up by counting in the year and a half since the exodus. It was one of those many cases in which the word of God was fulfilled in the meaning and substance of it, but not in the letter. The delay which had already occurred was itself practically due to the same spirit of mutiny which had grown to a head at Kadesh; it was therefore strictly equitable to count it as part of the punishment inflicted (see on Deuteronomy 2:14). And bear your whoredoms. "Whoredom" had been already used (Exodus 34:16) as a synonym for idolatry in its aspect of spiritual unfaithfulness, and there is no reason to depart from that well-marked meaning here. That the Jews were guilty of idolatry in the wilderness is distinctly asserted (cf. Acts 7:42, 43); and these idolatrous practices, carried on no doubt in secret, must have been a sore trial to the generation which grew up amidst them (cf. Joshua 24:14, 23).

14:20-35 The Lord granted the prayer of Moses so far as not at once to destroy the congregation. But disbelief of the promise forbids the benefit. Those who despise the pleasant land shall be shut out of it. The promise of God should be fulfilled to their children. They wished to die in the wilderness; God made their sin their ruin, took them at their word, and their carcases fell in the wilderness. They were made to groan under the burden of their own sin, which was too heavy for them to bear. Ye shall know my breach of promise, both the causes of it, that it is procured by your sin, for God never leaves any till they first leave him; and the consequences of it, that will produce your ruin. But your little ones, now under twenty years old, which ye, in your unbelief, said should be a prey, them will I bring in. God will let them know that he can put a difference between the guilty and the innocent, and cut them off without touching their children. Thus God would not utterly take away his loving kindness.And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years,.... Or "feed" (b), as shepherds, who go from place to place, and seek fresh pasture for their sheep; it being the custom of a shepherd, as Aben Ezra observes, not to stand or rest in a place; and so like sheep grazing in a wilderness, where they have short commons, and wander about in search, of better. These forty years are to be reckoned from their coming out of Egypt, from whence they had now been come about a year and a half:

and bear your whoredoms; the punishment of their idolatries, which are frequently signified by this phrase, and particularly of the idolatry of the calf, which God threatened to punish whenever he visited for sin, Exodus 32:34; and of other sins, as their murmurings, &c. for it was on account of them their children wandered so long in the wilderness, and were kept out of the possession of the land of Canaan:

until your carcasses be wasted in the wilderness; everyone of them be consumed by death, save those before excepted, Numbers 14:30.

(b) "erunt pascentes", Pagninus, Montanus, Drusius, Junius & Tremellius; "pascent", Tigurine version, Piscator.

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