|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 45. - Get you up. הֵרֹמּוּ, from רָמַם. The command is substantially the same as that in verse 21. Since it was not obeyed, we must conclude (as before) that it was not intended to be obeyed. They fell on their faces. In horror and dismay. No doubt they would have interceded (as in verse 22), but that Moses perceived through some Divine intimation that wrath had gone forth, and that some more prevailing form of mediation than mere words must be sought.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Get you up from among this congregation,.... That is, withdraw from them, and be separate, that they might not be involved in the same destruction with them, as well as that they might have no concern for them, or plead with the Lord in prayer on their account, but let him alone to destroy them, as follows:
that I may consume them in a moment; as he was able to do, and had proposed to do it before, but they entreated him that he would not, Numbers 16:21; as they again do:
and they fell upon their faces; in prayer, as the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem; and so Aben Ezra observes, it was to pray to deprecate the wrath of God, and to implore his pardoning mercy for this sinful people; which shows what an excellent temper and disposition these men were of, to pray for them that had so despitefully used them as to charge them with murder, and were about to commit it on them; see Matthew 5:44.
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