“We must not grumble,
As some of them did.
They were destroyed
By the destroyer.”
μηδὲ γογγύζετε, καθάπερ τινὲς αὐτῶν ἐγόγγυσαν, καὶ ἀπώλοντο ὑπὸ τοῦ ὀλοθρευτοῦ.
Paul said that we must not grumble or complain (μηδὲ γογγύζετε), as some of the Israelites had complained (τινὲς αὐτῶν ἐγόγγυσαν). They were destroyed (καὶ ἀπώλοντο) by the destroyer (ὑπὸ τοῦ ὀλοθρευτοῦ). Only the Pauline letters used this word ὀλοθρευτοῦ, that means a destroyer. This was a reference to the angel of death in Exodus, chapter 12:23, at the time of the original Passover, where he inflicted death on the first born of those who had not put the blood of a lamb on the lintel or doorpost. Paul was the only one to use this term of “destroyer ὀλοθρευτοῦ” and only here. Instead of the Egyptians, Paul seemed to indicate that it was the grumbling Israelites in the wilderness who were destroyed by this angel of death destroyer. Do you grumble a lot?