13 murmurings: Exo 5:21; 14:10; 15:24; 16:2; 17:2; 32:1; Num
11:1,4; 12:2; 14:2; 16:3; 20:2; 21:5. Cp Joh 6:41-43. Those who murmur without
cause are soon given cause to murmur.
THIS MISERABLE FOOD: A transparent contradiction: "No
bread" because they cared not for the bread God gave them. How many of our
complaints are similar: we do not recognize the blessings we have for what they
are. Instead, we desire those "blessings" that we do not have.
MISERABLE: But it was "angels' food" (Psa
Sin brings punishment. Bitten by "serpents" (cp Gen 3), brings
death. "Sin when finished brings death" (Jam 1:15). Eden, scene of first lie,
beginning of sin!
MANY ISRAELITES DIED: The Negev viper's poison is
hemolytic: ie, it breaks down the blood vessels painlessly, until -- 4 days
after bite -- the victim dies of hemorrhaging (Adv 98:195).
Necessary action: recognition of sin, repentance.
THE PEOPLE CAME TO MOSES...: The people appeal to
Moses, ignoring the existing priesthood! "Hitherto the tabernacle had been the
center of all religion and piety, but if he (the man bitten by the snake)
persisted in looking to it for redemption in this hour of need, he would die"
Snake lifted up = a condemnation of "sin" in the flesh (Rom
8:3), or the "devil" (Heb 2:14,15; Rev 20:2), in the "lifting up" of crucifixion
(Joh 3:14-16; 12:32,33).
A POLE: The "standard" (RV), prob of Judah. This
connection with Judah is suggested by two facts: (a) the leader, or prince, of
Judah at this time was Nahshon (Num 2:3; 7:12; 10:14; 1Ch 4:10; Mat 1:4); his
name is closely related to the Hebrew "nachash" -- the "snake" or "serpent" here
in Num 21:6,7; and (2) Bezaleel, the craftsman in brass, belonged to this tribe
as well (Num 35:30,32).
A BRONZE SNAKE: The wisdom of serpent (cp Mat 10:16;
Isa 52:13; Col 2:15). Brass = copper... red... flesh. The form of a serpent, but
no venom (cp Rom 8:3). Lifeless, transfixed.
Do we think that the serpent that was made was a beautiful
detailed model of the serpents that were biting the Israelites? Probably not. As
people were dying from the bites, there would have been a great concern to get
the serpent onto the pole. The image would have been rough and ready -- though
it was of God's provision. Likewise, "he (Jesus) has no form nor comeliness"
Footnote: The brazen serpent was later removed by Hezekiah
(2Ki 18:4n). See Lesson, Nehushtan.
"Through the desert... toward the sunrise": Trials for a
SING ABOUT IT: A common Bedouin custom. Each song
peculiar to well or tribe. Vital importance of well in Negev (Dawn 63:5). "But
the water I shall give him shall be a well of water springing up unto eternal
life" (Joh 4:14). Even as elders today have obligation to provide living waters
for others in ecclesia. Elders act as servants, ministers, to "draw