Numbers 14:4

Hebrew Bible

2 And all the Israelites murmured against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt, or if only we had perished in this wilderness! 3 Why has the Lord brought us into this land only to be killed by the sword, that our wives and our children should become plunder? Wouldn’t it be better for us to return to Egypt?” 4 So they said to one another, “Let’s appoint a leader and return to Egypt.” 5 Then Moses and Aaron fell down with their faces to the ground before the whole assembled community of the Israelites. 6 And Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, two of those who had investigated the land, tore their garments.

Nehemiah 9:17

Hebrew Bible

15 You provided bread from heaven for them in their time of hunger, and you brought forth water from the rock for them in their time of thirst. You told them to enter in order to possess the land that you had sworn to give them. 16 “But they—our ancestors—behaved presumptuously; they rebelled and did not obey your commandments. 17 They refused to obey and did not recall your miracles that you had performed among them. Instead, they rebelled and appointed a leader to return to their bondage in Egypt. But you are a God of forgiveness, merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and unfailing in your loyal love. You did not abandon them, 18 even when they made a cast image of a calf for themselves and said, ‘This is your God who brought you up from Egypt,’ or when they committed atrocious blasphemies. 19 “Due to your great compassion you did not abandon them in the wilderness. The pillar of cloud did not stop guiding them in the path by day, nor did the pillar of fire stop illuminating for them by night the path on which they should travel.

 Notes and References

"... If Nehemiah 9:17 is read with Exodus 34:6–7, then it is clear that only the first part of the latter is alluded to by the former. The order of the first two adjectives in Exodus 34:6 is reversed in Nehemiah 9:17 ... In Exodus 34:6–7, the divine attributes are preceded by a twofold repetition of the Tetragrammaton whereas in Nehemiah 9:17 they are preceded by an affirmation directed to YHWH considering his forgiving ְnature. Newman observes that both serve to stress to an even greater extent the merciful aspects of God: God forgives and God did not abandon the Israelites.” Newman says nothing more about these two modifications. Duggan suggests that the use probably reflects the influence of the prayer of Moses in Numbers 14:18–20, especially verse 19, which petitions for God’s pardon or forgiveness ..."

Vincent, Kean Hong Scripture and Its Readers: Readings of Israel's Story in Nehemiah 9:6-37, Ezekiel 20:5-31 and Acts 7:2-6 (pp. 120-121) Durham University, 2011

 User Comments

Do you have questions or comments about these texts? Please submit them here.