Is it a small thing that thou hast brought us up out of a land that floweth with milk and honey, to kill us in the wilderness, except thou make thyself altogether a prince over us?
Is it a small thing that thou hast brought us up out of a land that floweth with milk and honey?.... Meaning Egypt, as the Targum of Jonathan expresses it; which, though a plentiful country, never had, nor deserved to have this epithet given it, which is peculiar to the land of Canaan, and is here given, in opposition to the description of that land, which the Lord himself had so described; and argues great impudence and want of reverence of the divine Being, as well as great ingratitude to Moses, the instrument of their being brought out of Egypt, where they laboured under bondage and servitude intolerable; and yet here represent it as an injury done to them, and as if the intent and design of it was purely to destroy them: for they add,
to kill us in the wilderness; with want of food, of which they had plenty in Egypt, they suggest; referring, it may be, to what the Lord by Moses had said to them, that their carcasses should fall in the wilderness; but that would not be for want of provisions, but because of their sins. It was bad enough, they intimate, to be brought out of such a plentiful country, into a barren wilderness; but what was still worse, the despotic and tyrannical government of Moses, as they represent it, they were brought under:
except thou make thyself altogether a prince over us? ruling in an arbitrary way, making laws, and setting up offices and officers at pleasure, so that it is more eligible to be in bondage in Egypt than under thy government. Aben Ezra takes their meaning to be, as if the end of bringing them out of Egypt was to assume and exercise such rule and authority over them. His words are,
"hast thou brought us up out of Egypt, that thou mayest exercise dominion over us as a prince, yea, many dominions, thou and thy brother?''
and who also observes, that Egypt lay to the south of the land of Israel, so that one that came from Egypt to the land of Canaan may be truly said to come up, that part of Canaan lying higher than Egypt.