|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
14:36-39 Here is the sudden death of the ten evil spies. They sinned in bringing a slander upon the land of promise. Those greatly provoke God, who misrepresent religion, raise dislike in men's minds toward it, or give opportunity to those to do so, who seek occasion. Justly are murmurers made mourners. If they had mourned for the sin, when they were faithfully reproved, the sentence had been prevented; but as they mourned for the judgment only, it did them no service. There is in hell such mourning as this; but tears will not quench the flames, nor cool the tongue.
Verse 37. - Died by the plague before the Lord. Septuagint, ἐν τῇ πληγῇ. "Plague" has here its older signification of "stroke," or visitation of God. We are not told what death they died, but it was sudden and exceptional enough to mark it as the direct consequence of their sinful conduct.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Even those men that did bring up the evil report upon the land,.... They, and they only at this time:
died by the plague before the Lord; either by the pestilence immediately sent upon them by the Lord, or by a flash of lightning from him, or in some other way; however, by the immediate hand of God, and in his presence, being in the tabernacle of the congregation, Numbers 14:10; though the Jews differently relate the manner of their death; some say worms came out of their navels, and up to their jaws, and ate them and their tongues; and others that they came out of their tongues, and entered their navels, which they take to be a just retaliation for sinning with their tongues: and the time of their death they differ about; some say, as the Targum of Jonathan, that it was upon the seventh, and others that it was on the seventeenth of Elul or August they died (d).
(d) Schulchan Aruch, par. 1. c. 580. sect. 2. Shalshalet Hakabala, fol. 7. 2.
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