'Multitude' in the Bible
Then the Angel of the Lord said to her, “I will greatly multiply your descendants so that they will be too many to count.”
“No longer shall your name be Abram (exalted father),But your name shall be Abraham (father of a multitude);For I will make you the father of many nations.
And You [Lord] said, ‘I will certainly make you prosper and make your descendants as [numerous as] the sand of the sea, which is too great to be counted.’”
and said to me, ‘Behold, I will make you fruitful and numerous, and I will make you a great company of people, and will give this land to your descendants after you as an everlasting possession.’
The Angel [that is, the Lord Himself] who has redeemed me [continually] from all evil,Bless the boys;And may my name live on in them [may they be worthy of having their names linked with mine],And the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac;And may they grow into a [great] multitude in the midst of the earth.”
But his father refused and said, “I know, my son, I know; Manasseh also will become a people and he will be great; but his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his descendants shall become a multitude of nations.”
A mixed multitude [of non-Israelites from foreign nations] also went with them, along with both flocks and herds, a very large number of livestock.
You shall not follow a crowd to do [something] evil, nor shall you testify at a trial or in a dispute so as to side with a crowd in order to pervert justice;
The rabble among them [who followed Israel from Egypt] had greedy desires [for familiar and delicious food], and the Israelites wept again and said, “Who will give us meat to eat?
Moab said to the elders of Midian, “Now this horde will lick up all that is around us, just as the ox licks up the grass of the field.” And Balak the son of Zippor was the king of Moab at that time.
Now the sons of Reuben and the sons of Gad had very large herds of cattle, and they saw the land of Jazer and the land of Gilead [on the east side of the Jordan River], and indeed, the place was suitable for raising livestock.
The Lord your God has multiplied you, and look, today you are as numerous as the stars of heaven.
Your fathers went down to Egypt, seventy persons [in all], and now the Lord your God has made you as numerous as the stars of heaven.
Because you did not obey the voice of the Lord your God, you who were as numerous as the stars of heaven shall be left few in number.
I will draw out Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his infantry to meet you at the river Kishon, and I will hand him over to you.’”
For they would come up with their livestock and their tents, and they would come in as numerous as locusts; both they and their camels were innumerable. So they came into the land to devastate it.
Now the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the sons of the east were lying [camped] in the valley, as countless as locusts; and their camels were without number, as numerous as the sand on the seashore.
Now the Philistines gathered to fight against Israel, 30,000 chariots and 6,000 horsemen, and troops in multitude, like sand on the seashore. They came up and camped at Michmash, east of Beth-aven.
Saul’s watchmen in Gibeah of Benjamin looked, and behold, the multitude melted away and they went here and there.
and distributed to all the people, the entire multitude of Israel, both to men and women, to each a [ring-shaped] loaf of bread, a cake of dates, and a cake of raisins. Then all the people departed, each to his house.
But I advise that all [the men of] Israel be summoned to you, from Dan [in the north] to Beersheba [in the south], like the sand that is by the sea in abundance, and that you personally go into battle.
Your servant is among Your people whom You have chosen, a great people who are too many to be numbered or counted.
[The people of] Judah and Israel were as numerous as the sand that is in abundance by the sea; they were eating and drinking and rejoicing.
Then a prophet approached Ahab king of Israel and said, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Have you seen all this great army? Behold, I will hand them over to you, and you shall know [without any doubt] that I am the Lord.’”
A man of God approached and said to the king of Israel, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Because the Arameans have said, “The Lord is a god of the hills, but He is not a god of the valleys,” I will give this great army into your hand, and you shall know [by experience] that I am the Lord.’”
One of his servants replied, “Please let some men take five of the horses which remain inside the city. Consider this: [if they are caught then at worst] they will be like all the people of Israel who are left in the city; [even if they are killed then] they will be like all the people of Israel who have already died. So let us send [them] and see [what happens].”
Then Nebuzaradan the captain of the bodyguard deported [into exile] the rest of the people who were left in the city and the deserters who had joined the king of Babylon, and the rest of the multitude.
Now, O Lord God, Your promise to my father David is fulfilled, for You have made me king over a people as numerous as the dust of the earth.
“And now you intend to assert yourselves against the kingdom of the Lord which is in the hands of the sons of David, since you are a great multitude and have with you the golden calves (idols) which Jeroboam made for you as gods.
Asa called out to the Lord his God, saying, “O Lord, there is no one besides You to help in the battle between the powerful and the weak; so help us, O Lord our God, for we trust in and rely on You, and in Your name we have come against this multitude. O Lord, You are our God; let not man prevail against You.”
Then it was reported to Jehoshaphat, “A great multitude has come against you from beyond the [Dead] Sea, out of Aram (Syria); and behold, they are in Hazazon-tamar (that is, Engedi).”
He said, “Listen carefully, all [you people of] Judah, and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and King Jehoshaphat. The Lord says this to you: ‘Be not afraid or dismayed at this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.
When [the men of] Judah came to the lookout tower of the wilderness, they looked toward the multitude, and behold, they were dead bodies lying on the ground, and no one had escaped.
Therefore the Lord his God handed over Ahaz to the king of Aram (Syria), who defeated him and led away a great number [of the people] as captives, and brought them to Damascus. And he was also handed over to the king of Israel, who struck Judah with a great slaughter.
For the majority of the people, many from Ephraim and Manasseh, Issachar and Zebulun, had not purified themselves, and yet they ate the Passover contrary to what had been prescribed. For Hezekiah had prayed for them, saying, “May the good Lord pardon
For Mordecai the Jew was second only to King Ahasuerus, and great among the Jews and in favor with his many fellow people, for he worked for the good of his people and spoke for the welfare and peace of his whole nation.
“Shall a multitude of words not be answered?And should a talkative man [making such a long-winded defense] be acquitted?
Because I feared the great multitude,And the contempt of families terrified me,So that I kept silence and did not acknowledge my sin and did not go out of the door?
“I thought age should speak,And a multitude of years should teach wisdom.
Hold them guilty, O God;Let them fall by their own designs and councils!Cast them out because of the abundance of their transgressions,For they are mutinous and have rebelled against You.
Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness;According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.
But as for me, my prayer is to You, O Lord, at an acceptable and opportune time;O God, in the greatness of Your favor and in the abundance of Your lovingkindness,Answer me with truth [that is, the faithfulness of Your salvation].
Oh, do not hand over the soul of your turtledove to the wild beast;Do not forget the life of Your afflicted forever.
When my anxious thoughts multiply within me,Your comforts delight me.
The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice;Let the many islands and coastlands be glad.
Our fathers in Egypt did not understand nor appreciate Your miracles;They did not remember the abundance of Your mercies nor imprint Your lovingkindnesses on their hearts,But they were rebellious at the sea, at the Red Sea.
I will give great praise and thanks to the Lord with my mouth;And in the midst of many I will praise Him.
When there are many words, transgression and offense are unavoidable,But he who controls his lips and keeps thoughtful silence is wise.
Where there is no [wise, intelligent] guidance, the people fall [and go off course like a ship without a helm],But in the abundance of [wise and godly] counselors there is victory.
Assuredly, the evil man will not go unpunished,But the descendants of the righteous will be freed.
In a multitude of people is a king’s glory,But in a lack of people is a [pretentious] prince’s ruin.
There is gold, and an abundance of pearls,But the lips of knowledge are a vessel of preciousness [the most precious of all].
For in a multitude of dreams and in a flood of words there is worthlessness. Rather [reverently] fear God [and worship Him with awe-filled respect, knowing who He is].
“What are your multiplied sacrifices to Me [without your repentance]?”Says the Lord.“I have had enough of [your] burnt offerings of ramsAnd the fat of well-fed cattle [without your obedience];And I take no pleasure in the blood of bulls or lambs or goats [offered without repentance].
Therefore Sheol (the realm of the dead) has increased its appetite and opened its mouth beyond measure;And Jerusalem’s splendor, her multitude, her [boisterous] uproar and her [drunken] revelers descend into it.
A sound of tumult on the mountains,Like that of many people!A sound of the uproar of the kingdoms,Of nations gathered together!The Lord of hosts is mustering an army for battle.
Oh, the uproar of many peoplesWho roar like the roaring of the seas,And the noise of nationsWho roar like the rumbling of mighty waters!
But the multitude of your enemies [that assault you] will become like fine dust,And the multitude of the tyrants like the chaff which blows away;And it will happen in an instant, suddenly [that your enemy is destroyed].
And the multitude of all the nations that fight against Ariel (Jerusalem),Even all who fight against her and her stronghold, and who distress her,Will be like a dream, a vision of the night.
It will be as when a hungry man dreamsThat he is eating,But when he awakens, his hunger is not satisfied;Or as when a thirsty man dreamsThat he is drinking,But when he awakens, in fact, he is faintAnd his thirst is not quenched.So will the multitude of all the nations beWho fight against Mount Zion.
“But these two things shall come to you abruptly, in one day:Loss of children and widowhood.They will come on you in full measureIn spite of your many [claims of power through your] sorceries,In spite of the great power of your enchantments.
“Persist, then, [Babylon] in your enchantmentsAnd your many sorceriesWith which you have labored from your youth;Perhaps you will be able to profit [from them],Perhaps you may prevail and cause trembling.
“A multitude of camels [from the eastern trading tribes] will cover you [Jerusalem],The young camels of Midian and Ephah;All those from Sheba [who once came to trade] will comeBringing gold and frankincenseAnd proclaiming the praises of the Lord.
I will tell of the lovingkindnesses of the Lord, and the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord,According to all that the Lord has done for us,And His great goodness toward the house of Israel,Which He has shown them according to His compassionAnd according to the abundance of His lovingkindnesses.
Look down from heaven and see from Your lofty dwelling place, holy and glorious.Where are Your zeal and Your mighty acts [Your miracles which you did for Your people]?The stirring of Your heart and Your compassion are restrained and withheld from me.
“The sea has come up over Babylon;She has been engulfed with its tumultuous waves.
Then Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard took away into exile some of the poorest of the people, those who were left in the city [at the time it was captured], along with those who deserted to join the king of Babylon [during the siege] and the rest of the artisans.
Her adversaries have become her masters,Her enemies prosper;For the Lord has caused her griefBecause of the multitude of her transgressions;Her young children have goneInto captivity before the enemy.
For if He causes grief,Then He will have compassionAccording to His abundant lovingkindness and tender mercy.
The time has come, the day has arrived. Let not the buyer rejoice nor the seller mourn, for wrath is against all their multitude [of people].
For the seller will not regain and return to what he sold, even were they yet alive; for the vision [of punishment] regarding all the multitude [of people] will not be turned back, nor will any one of them sustain his life because of his sin.
‘They have blown the trumpet and have made everything ready, but no one is going to the battle, for My wrath is against all their multitude [of people].
Therefore speak to them and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Any man of the house of Israel who takes his idols [of rebellion] into his heart, and puts the [vile] stumbling block of his wickedness and guilt [images of silver and gold] before his face, and yet comes to the prophet [to ask of him], I the Lord will answer him, [but I will answer him] in accordance with the number of his idols,
‘And it had strong branches for the scepters of rulers,And its height was raised above the thick branches and into the cloudsSo that it was seen [easily] in its height with the mass of its branches.
Aram traded with you because of the abundance of the goods you made. They paid for your merchandise with emeralds, purple, embroidered work, fine linen, coral, and rubies.
“You profaned your sanctuariesBy the great quantity of your sins and the enormity of your guilt,By the unrighteousness of your trade.Therefore I have brought forth a fire from your midst;It has consumed you,And I have reduced you to ashes on the earthIn the sight of all who look at you.
“Son of man, say to Pharaoh king of Egypt and to his hordes,‘Whom are you like in your greatness?
‘I made it beautiful with the great mass of its branches,So that all the trees of Eden which were in the garden of God were jealous of it (Assyria).
“Which among the trees of Eden do you equal in glory and in greatness [O Egypt]? Yet you [also] will be brought down with the trees of Eden to the earth beneath (nether world). You will lie among the uncircumcised (the barbaric, the boorish, the crude) with those who were slain by the sword. This is how it shall be with Pharaoh and all his hordes!”’ says the Lord God.”
I will make your horde [of people] fall by the swords of the mighty—all of them are tyrants among the nations,And they will devastate the pride and presumption of Egypt,And all its hordes will be destroyed.
This is the dirge (funeral poem to be sung) and they shall sing it [for her]. The daughters of the nations shall sing it; for Egypt and for all her hordes they shall sing it,” says the Lord God.
“Son of man, wail over the hordes of Egypt and cast them down, both her and the daughters of the powerful and majestic nations, to the nether world (the place of the dead), with those who go down to the pit;
“Elam [a conquest of Assyria] is there and all her hordes around her grave; all of them slain, fallen by the sword, who have gone down uncircumcised to the lower parts of the earth, who made their terror spread in the land of the living and bore their shame and defeat with those who went down to the pit.
They have made a bed for her among the slain with all her hordes. Her graves are around it; they are all uncircumcised (barbaric, boorish, crude), slain by the sword (for their terror had been spread in the land of the living), and they bore their disgrace with those who go down to the pit; they were laid among the slain.
“Meshech, Tubal, and all their hordes are there; their graves surround them. All of them uncircumcised, slain by the sword, for they spread their terror in the land of the living.
“Pharaoh will see them, and he will be comforted for all his hordes slain by the sword—Pharaoh and all his army,” says the Lord God.
“Though I instilled a terror of him in the land of the living, yet he will be made to lie down among the uncircumcised along with those slain by the sword, even Pharaoh and all his hordes,” says the Lord God.
“And on that day I will give Gog a place for burial there in Israel, the valley of those who pass through east of the sea, and it will block the way of those who would pass through. So they will bury Gog there with all his hordes, and they will call it the Valley of Hamon-gog (the multitude of Gog).
As those who pass through the land pass through and anyone sees a human bone, he will set up a marker beside it, until the buriers have buried it in the Valley of Hamon-gog.
And even the name of the city will be Hamonah. In this manner they shall cleanse the land.”’
His body also was like beryl [with a golden luster], his face had the appearance of lightning, his eyes were like flaming torches, his arms and his feet like the gleam of burnished bronze, and the sound of his words was like the noise of a multitude [of people or the roaring of the sea].
“His sons will prepare for battle and assemble a multitude of great forces; which will keep on coming and overflow [the land], and pass through, so that they may again wage war as far as his fortress.
The king of the South (Ptolemy IV Philopator of Egypt) will be enraged and go out and fight with the king of the North (Antiochus III the Great); and the Syrian king will raise a great multitude (army), but the multitude shall be given into the hand of the Egyptian king.
When the multitude (army) is captured and carried away, the heart of the Egyptian king will be proud (arrogant), and he will cause tens of thousands to fall, but he will not prevail.
For the king of the North will again raise a multitude (army) greater than the one before, and after several years he will advance with a great army and substantial equipment.
You have plowed and planted wickedness, you have reaped the [willful] injustice [of oppressors],You have eaten the fruit of lies.Because you have trusted in your own way and your chariots, and in your many warriors,
“I wounded you with blight [from the hot, blasting east wind] and with mildew;And the caterpillar devouredYour many gardens and vineyards, your fig trees and your olive trees;Yet you have not returned to Me [in repentance],” says the Lord.
Horsemen charging,Swords flashing, spears gleaming,Many slain, a mass of corpses,No end of corpses—The horsemen stumble over the corpses!
All because of the many acts of prostitution of [Nineveh] the prostitute,The charming and well-favored one, the mistress of sorceries,Who betrays nations by her acts of prostitution (idolatry)And families by her sorceries.
and he said to the second angel, “Run, speak to that young man, saying, ‘Jerusalem will be inhabited [like villages] without walls [spreading out into the open country] because of the great number of people and livestock in it.
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