The Meaning of Exodus 17:7 Explained

Exodus 17:7

KJV: And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the LORD, saying, Is the LORD among us, or not?

YLT: and he calleth the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the 'strife' of the sons of Israel, and because of their 'trying' Jehovah, saying, 'Is Jehovah in our midst or not?'

Darby: And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the contention of the children of Israel, and because they had tempted Jehovah, saying, Is Jehovah among us, or not?

ASV: And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the striving of the children of Israel, and because they tempted Jehovah, saying, Is Jehovah among us, or not?

What does Exodus 17:7 Mean?

Context Summary

Exodus 17:1-16 - Water From The Rock Victory Over Amalek
From the smitten rock flowed the water for the thirsty hosts. So the Rock of Ages was smitten, and from His riven side has flowed out blood and water, for the sin and thirst of the world. He that eateth His flesh and drinketh His blood, spiritually, hath eternal life. Such refreshment is in preparation for warfare. Then came Amalek! When our physical needs are satisfied, there is always the fear of Amalek, who, in the typology of Scripture, stands for the flesh. Between this wilderness tribe and Israel the conflict was long and bitter. The old Adam, said Luther, is too strong for the young Melanchthon. But let the Lord fight for you! Lift up your hands with opened palms to Him; He will not fail. See r.v. margin and Matthew 1:21. But guard the rear, and ask that Jesus shall beset you behind as well as before. See Deuteronomy 25:17-18.
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Chapter Summary: Exodus 17

1  The people murmur for water to Rephidim
6  God send them for water to the rock in Horeb
7  The place is called Massah and Meribah
8  Amalek is overcome by Joshua, while Moses holds up his hand
14  Amalek is doomed to destruction; and Moses builds the altar Jehovah-nissi

What do the individual words in Exodus 17:7 mean?

So he called the name of the place Massah and Meribah because of the contention of the sons of Israel and because they tempted - Yahweh saying is Yahweh among us or not -
וַיִּקְרָא֙ שֵׁ֣ם הַמָּק֔וֹם מַסָּ֖ה וּמְרִיבָ֑ה עַל־ רִ֣יב ׀ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל וְעַ֨ל נַסֹּתָ֤ם אֶת־ יְהוָה֙ לֵאמֹ֔ר הֲיֵ֧שׁ יְהוָ֛ה בְּקִרְבֵּ֖נוּ אִם־ ؟ אָֽיִן פ

וַיִּקְרָא֙  So  he  called 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Verb, Qal, Consecutive imperfect, third person masculine singular
Root: קָרָא  
Sense: to call, call out, recite, read, cry out, proclaim.
שֵׁ֣ם  the  name 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular construct
Root: שֵׁם  
Sense: name.
הַמָּק֔וֹם  of  the  place 
Parse: Article, Noun, masculine singular
Root: מָקֹום  
Sense: standing place, place.
מַסָּ֖ה  Massah 
Parse: Proper Noun, feminine singular
Root: מַסָּה  
Sense: the place in the wilderness where the Israelites tested Jehovah.
וּמְרִיבָ֑ה  and  Meribah 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Proper Noun, feminine singular
Root: מְרִיבָה 
Sense: a fountain at Rephidim, in the desert of Sin; so called because the Israelites murmured against God.
עַל־  because 
Parse: Preposition
Root: עַל 
Sense: upon, on the ground of, according to, on account of, on behalf of, concerning, beside, in addition to, together with, beyond, above, over, by, on to, towards, to, against.
רִ֣יב ׀  of  the  contention 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular construct
Root: רִיב 
Sense: strife, controversy, dispute.
בְּנֵ֣י  of  the  sons 
Parse: Noun, masculine plural construct
Root: בֵּן 
Sense: son, grandson, child, member of a group.
יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל  of  Israel 
Parse: Proper Noun, masculine singular
Root: יִשְׂרָאֵל  
Sense: the second name for Jacob given to him by God after his wrestling with the angel at Peniel.
וְעַ֨ל  and  because 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Preposition
Root: עַל 
Sense: upon, on the ground of, according to, on account of, on behalf of, concerning, beside, in addition to, together with, beyond, above, over, by, on to, towards, to, against.
נַסֹּתָ֤ם  they  tempted 
Parse: Verb, Piel, Infinitive construct, third person masculine plural
Root: נָסָה  
Sense: to test, try, prove, tempt, assay, put to the proof or test.
אֶת־  - 
Parse: Direct object marker
Root: אֹות 
Sense: sign of the definite direct object, not translated in English but generally preceding and indicating the accusative.
יְהוָה֙  Yahweh 
Parse: Proper Noun, masculine singular
Root: יהוה 
Sense: the proper name of the one true God.
לֵאמֹ֔ר  saying 
Parse: Preposition-l, Verb, Qal, Infinitive construct
Root: אָמַר 
Sense: to say, speak, utter.
יְהוָ֛ה  Yahweh 
Parse: Proper Noun, masculine singular
Root: יהוה 
Sense: the proper name of the one true God.
בְּקִרְבֵּ֖נוּ  among  us 
Parse: Preposition-b, Noun, masculine singular construct, first person common plural
Root: קֶרֶב  
Sense: midst, among, inner part, middle.
פ  - 
Parse: Punctuation