And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD: and the LORD heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the LORD burned among them, and consumed some that were in the outlying parts of the camp.
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George Leo Haydock
Fatigue. Hebrew simply, "and the people were like those who complain of evil, or who seek pretexts, inwardly, in the ears of the Lord. "St. Jerome explains this evil to mean the fatigue of the journey, which lasted for three days together. (Calmet)
Hence, some who were ready to lay hold of every pretext, took occasion to murmur, and to contrast their present wearisome life with the false pleasures of Egypt. The people of that country were now desirous of returning, and prevailed upon many of the Hebrews to join with them, ver. 4. (Haydock)
They were chiefly those who were farthest from the ark, the dregs of the people; though some pretend that the uttermost part means the principal men of the camp. See Genesis xlviii. 2. "The fire devoured one part of the camp "Septuagint.