|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
16:23-34 The seventy elders of Israel attend Moses. It is our duty to do what we can to countenance and support lawful authority when it is opposed. And those who would not perish with sinners, must come out from among them, and be separate. It was in answer to the prayer of Moses, that God stirred up the hearts of the congregation to remove for their own safety. Grace to separate from evil-doers is one of the things that accompany salvation. God, in justice, left the rebels to the obstinacy and hardness of their own hearts. Moses, by Divine direction, when all Israel were waiting the event, declares that if the rebels die a common death, he will be content to be called and counted an imposter. As soon as Moses had spoken the word, God caused the earth to open and swallow them all up. The children perished with their parents; in which, though we cannot tell how bad they might be to deserve it, or how good God might be otherwise to them; yet of this we are sure, that Infinite Justice did them no wrong. It was altogether miraculous. God has, when he pleases, strange punishments for the workers of iniquity. It was very significant. Considering how the earth is still in like manner loaded with the weight of man's sins, we have reason to wonder that it does not now sink under its load. The ruin of others should be our warning. Could we, by faith, hear the outcries of those that are gone down to the bottomless pit, we should give more diligence than we do to escape for our lives, lest we also come into their condemnation.
Verse 29. - If they be visited after the visitation of all men. פָקַד is of somewhat doubtful meaning; it seems to answer to the ἐπίσκεψις and ἐπισκοπὴ of the Septuagint,, and to our "oversight," or "visitation" (German, heimsuchung. Thus it may mean practically the providence of God for good, i.e., in the way of protection, or for evil, i.e., in the way of judgment. In either sense providence showed itself in no ordinary form towards these men.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
If these men die the common death of all men,.... Or "as every man dies" (r), or the generality of men, who for the most part die of one disease or another, as a fever, and the like, or through old age:
or if they be visited after the visitation of all men; with such visitations as men in all ages for their sins are visited with, meaning public calamities, such as pestilence, famine, and sword:
then the Lord hath not sent me; it may be concluded that I had no mission nor commission from the Lord to do what I have done, but may be reckoned a deceiver and an impostor; and I am content to be accounted so, should either of the above things be the case of these men.
(r) "ut moriuntur omnes homines", Pagninus; "reliqui homines", Junius & Tremellius; "alii homines", Piscator.
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