|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
14:20-35 The Lord granted the prayer of Moses so far as not at once to destroy the congregation. But disbelief of the promise forbids the benefit. Those who despise the pleasant land shall be shut out of it. The promise of God should be fulfilled to their children. They wished to die in the wilderness; God made their sin their ruin, took them at their word, and their carcases fell in the wilderness. They were made to groan under the burden of their own sin, which was too heavy for them to bear. Ye shall know my breach of promise, both the causes of it, that it is procured by your sin, for God never leaves any till they first leave him; and the consequences of it, that will produce your ruin. But your little ones, now under twenty years old, which ye, in your unbelief, said should be a prey, them will I bring in. God will let them know that he can put a difference between the guilty and the innocent, and cut them off without touching their children. Thus God would not utterly take away his loving kindness.
Verse 20. - I have pardoned. Whatever necessary exceptions and qualifications might remain to be afterwards declared, the great fact that he forgave the nation, and that the nation should not die, is announced without delay and without reservation (cf. 2 Samuel 12:13). According to thy word. Such power had God been pleased to give unto man, that at the intercession of the mediator a whole nation is delivered from imminent death and destruction.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the Lord said, I have pardoned, according to thy word. So as not to kill them utterly as one man: which is an instance of his being plenteous in mercy, and ready to forgive; and of the virtue and efficacy of the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man, and of the great regard the Lord has to the prayers of a good man for others. The Jerusalem Targum is,"and the Word of the Lord said, lo, I have remitted and forgiven according to thy word;''which must be understood of Christ, the essential Word, and shows, according to the sense of the Targumist, that he has a power to forgive sin, and must be a divine Person, for none can forgive sin but God; see Mark 2:7.
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