Mingled People; (Mixed Multitude)
(1) "Mixed multitude" occurs in Nu 11:4 as a translation of asaphcuph, "collection," "rabble." The same phrase in Ex 12:38; Ne 13:3 is the rendition of erebh. "Mingled people" is used also to translate `erebh, and is found in Jer 15:20-21; 50:37; Eze 30:5, and in 1Ki 10:15 the Revised Version (British and American) (the King James Version "Arabia"; compare the American Revised Version margin). In the last case both revised versions have followed the pointing of the Massoretic Text, and this pointing alone distinguishes "mingled people" (`erebh) from "Arabia" (`arabh); in the unvocalized text both words are equally `-r-b. Now "the traffic of the merchants, and of all the kings of the mingled people, and of the governors of the country" is very awkward, and the correction into "Arabia," as in the Massoretic Text (and English Versions of the Bible) of the parallel 2Ch 9:14, is indicated. Probably the same change should be made in Eze 30:5, reading "Ethiopia, and Put, and Lud, and Arabia, and Cub." A similar textual confusion seems to be responsible for either "and all the kings of Arabia" or "and all the kings of the mingled people" in Jer 25:24. On all these verses see the commentaries.
(2) In Jer 25:20; 50:37, "mingled people" is a term of contempt for the hybrid blood of certain of Israel's enemies. Something of this same contempt may be contained in Ex 12:38, where a multitude of non-Israelite camp-followers are mentioned as accompanying the children of Israel in the exodus, and in Nu 11:4 it is this motley body that seduced Israel to sin. But who they were, why they wished or were permitted to join in the exodus, and what eventually became of them or of their descendants is a very perplexing puzzle. In Ne 13:3, the "mixed multitude" consists of the inhabitants of Palestine whom the Jews found there after the return from the exile (see SAMARIA). In accord with the command of De 23:3-5, the Jews withdrew from all religious intercourse whatever had been established with these.
NOTE.--The Hebrew noun for "mingled people" may or may not be connected with the verb translated "mingle" in Ezr 9:2; Ps 106:35; Da 2:43. On this see the lexicons.
Burton Scott Easton