|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
16:41-50 The gaping earth was scarcely closed, before the same sins are again committed, and all these warnings slighted. They called the rebels the people of the Lord; and find fault with Divine justice. The obstinacy of Israel notwithstanding the terrors of God's law, as given on mount Sinai, and the terrors of his judgments, shows how necessary the grace of God is to change men's hearts and lives. Love will do what fear cannot. Moses and Aaron interceded with God for mercy, knowing how great the provocation was. Aaron went, and burned incense between the living and the dead, not to purify the air, but to pacify an offended God. As one tender of the life of every Israelite, Aaron made all possible speed. We must render good for evil. Observe especially, that Aaron was a type of Christ. There is an infection of sin in the world, which only the cross and intercession of Jesus Christ can stay and remove. He enters the defiled and dying camp. He stands between the dead and the living; between the eternal Judge and the souls under condemnation. We must have redemption through His blood, even the remission of sins. We admire the ready devotion of Aaron: shall we not bless and praise the unspeakable grace and love which filled the Saviour's heart, when he placed himself in our stead, and bought us with his life? Greatly indeed hath God commended his love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us, Ro 5:8.
Verse 41. - Ye have killed the people of the Lord. They had in truth forfeited their own lives, and Moses and Aaron had no more part in their death than St. Peter had in the death of Ananias and Sapphira. But it was easy to represent the matter as a personal conflict between two parties, in which the one had triumphed by destroying the other. In speaking of Korah and his company as the "people of the Lord," they meant to say that their lives were as sacred as the lives of Moses and Aaron, and the crime of taking them as great; they did not know, or did not heed, that their own immunity was due to the intercession of those whom they thus charged with sacrilegious murder.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
But on the morrow,.... The day following the dreadful catastrophe, the earth swallowing up Dathan and Abiram, and all that belonged to them, the burning of Korah and the two hundred fifty men of his company:
all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses,
and against Aaron; not the princes and heads of the people only, but the whole body of them; though the above persons that murmured against them had but the day before been made such dreadful examples of divine vengeance. This is a most surprising instance of the corruption and depravity of human nature, of the blindness, hardness, and stupidity of the hearts of men, which nothing but the grace of God can remove; the images of the awful sights many of them had seen must be strong in their minds; the shrieks of the wretched creatures perishing must be as yet as it were in their ears; the smell of the fire was scarce out of their nostrils; and yet, notwithstanding this shocking scene of things, they fell into the same evil, and murmur against the men, whose authority, being called in question, had been confirmed by the above awful instances:
saying, ye have killed the people of the Lord; so they called the rebels, and hereby justified them in all the wickedness they had been guilty of; and though their death was so manifestly by the immediate hand of God, yet they lay it to the charge of Moses and Aaron, because it was in vindication of them that it was done, and because they did not intercede by prayer for them; though it is certain they did all they could to reclaim them from their sin, and prevent their ruin; yet the people insist on it that they were the cause or occasion of their death, as the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan express it.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
41. the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron, saying, Ye have killed the people of the Lord—What a strange exhibition of popular prejudice and passion—to blame the leaders for saving the rebels! Yet Moses and Aaron interceded for the people—the high priest perilling his own life in doing good to that perverse race.
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