|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
11:1-3 Here is the people's sin; they complained. See the sinfulness of sin, which takes occasion from the commandment to be provoking. The weakness of the law discovered sin, but could not destroy it; checked, but could not conquer it. They complained. Those who are of a discontented spirit, will always find something to quarrel or fret about, though the circumstances of their outward condition be ever so favourable. The Lord heard it, though Moses did not. God knows the secret frettings and murmurings of the heart, though concealed from men. What he noticed, he was much displeased with, and he chastised them for this sin. The fire of their wrath against God burned in their minds; justly did the fire of God's wrath fasten on their bodies; but God's judgments came on them gradually, that they might take warning. It appeared that God delights not in punishing; when he begins, he is soon prevailed with to let it fall.
Verse 2. - And the people cried unto Moses. Fear brought them to their senses, and they knew that their only hope was in their mediator, who had already saved them by his intercession from a worse destruction (Exodus 32:30-34). The fire was quenched. Rather, "went out." As its beginning was supernatural, or at least was so ordered as to appear so, its end also was due to the Divine intervention, not to human efforts.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the people cried unto Moses,.... And entreated him to pray for them, being frightened at the fire which consumed many of them, lest it should spread and become general among them:
and when Moses prayed unto the Lord; as he did, in which he was a type of Christ, the mediator between God and man, the advocate of his people, an intercessor for transgressors:
the fire was quenched; it stopped and proceeded no further; as through Christ's mediation God is pacified with his people for all that they have done, and his wrath, and all the effects of it, are turned away from them, and entirely cease with respect to them; or it "sunk down" (r) into its place, as the Targum of Jonathan, as if it rose out of the earth. This may serve to confirm the notion of its being a burning wind, to which the idea of sinking down and subsiding well agrees.
(r) "sunk down", so Ainsworth; "compressus est", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Drusius; "resedit", Tigurine version.
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