To get what Numbers 14:3 means based on its source text, scroll down or follow these links for the original scriptural meaning , biblical context and relative popularity.

“And wherefore hath the Lord brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt?”

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Popularity relative to other verses in Numbers chapter 14 using average monthly Google searches.

Numbers 14:3 Translation & Meaning

What does this verse really mean? Use this table to get a word-for-word translation of the original Hebrew Scripture. This shows the English words related to the source biblical texts along with brief definitions. Follow the buttons in the right-hand column for detailed definitions and verses that use the same root words. Use this reference information to gain deeper insight into the Bible and enrich your understanding. Information based on Strong's Exhaustive Concordance[1].

KJV Verse Original Hebrew Meaning/ Definition
This is a simplified translation of the original Hebrew word. Follow the buttons on the right to get more detail.
Use the buttons below to get details on the Hebrew word and view related Bible verses that use the same root word.
And wherefore וְלָמָ֣ה Properly, interrogative what? (including how? why? when?); but also exclamation, what! (including how!), or indefinitely what (including whatever, and even relatively, that which); often used with prefixes in various adverbial or conjunctive senses wherefore
hath the Lord יְ֠הוָה (the) self-Existent or Eternal; Jeho-vah, Jewish national name of God Lord
brought מֵבִ֨יא To go or come (in a wide variety of applications) brought
us unto אֶל Near, with or among; often in general, to us unto
this הַזֹּאת֙ This (often used adverb) this
land, הָאָ֤רֶץ The earth (at large, or partitively a land) land
to fall לִנְפֹּ֣ל To fall, in a great variety of applications (intransitive or causative, literal or figurative) fall
by the sword, בַּחֶ֔רֶב Drought; also a cutting instrument (from its destructive effect), as a knife, sword, or other sharp implement sword
that our wives נָשֵׁ֥ינוּ A woman wives
and our children וְטַפֵּ֖נוּ A family (mostly used collectively in the singular) children
should be יִֽהְי֣וּ To exist, i.e., be or become, come to pass (always emphatic, and not a mere copula or auxiliary) should
a prey? לָבַ֑ז Plunder prey
were it not הֲל֧וֹא Not (the simple or abs. negation); by implication, no; often used with other particles not
better ט֦וֹב Good (as an adjective) in the widest sense; used likewise as a noun, both in the masculine and the feminine, the singular and the plural (good, a good or good thing, a good man or woman; the good, goods or good things, good men or women), also as an adverb (well) better
for us to return שׁ֥וּב To turn back (hence, away) transitively or intransitively, literally or figuratively (not necessarily with the idea of return to the starting point); generally to retreat; often adverbial, again return
into Egypt? מִצְרָֽיְמָה׃ Mitsrajim, i.e., Upper and Lower Egypt Egypt

Verse Context

See Numbers 14:3 with its adjacent verses in bold below. Follow either of the two large buttons below to see these verses in their broader context of the King James Bible or a Bible concordance.

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  • 1  And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night.

  • 2  And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness!

  • 3  And wherefore hath the Lord brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt?

  • 4  And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt.

  • 5  Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel.


The King James Bible (1611) and Strong's Concordance (1890) with Hebrew and Greek dictionaries are sourced from the BibleForgeDB database ( within the BibleForge project ( Popularity rankings are based on search volume data from the Google AdWords Keyword Planner tool.

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