|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 49. - Fourteen thousand and seven hundred. A very large number to have died in the course of a few minutes, as the narrative seems to imply. The plague was undoubtedly of a supernatural character, and cannot be considered as a pestilence or other natural visitation. Beside them that died about the matter of Korah. These were
(1) the two hundred and fifty men who offered incense,
(2) Dathan and Abiram, and their families,
(3) probably Korah himself,
(4) possibly some other partisans of Korah (see on verse 32), making in all about 300 souls.
Thus we get the round number of 15,000 as the total of those that perished on this occasion.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Now they that died in the plague were fourteen thousand and seven hundred,.... 14,700. Thus what they were threatened with, that their carcasses should fall in the wilderness, Numbers 14:29, was more and more fulfilled:
beside them that died about the matter of Korah; these are not taken into the number here, even the two hundred fifty men of Korah's company, and the families of Dathan and Abiram, Numbers 16:32; how many they were is not certain, but they were but few in comparison of these.
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