|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
106:13-33 Those that will not wait for God's counsel, shall justly be given up to their own hearts' lusts, to walk in their own counsels. An undue desire, even for lawful things, becomes sinful. God showed his displeasure for this. He filled them with uneasiness of mind, terror of conscience, and self-reproach. Many that fare deliciously every day, and whose bodies are healthful, have leanness in their souls: no love to God, no thankfulness, no appetite for the Bread of life, and then the soul must be lean. Those wretchedly forget themselves, that feast their bodies and starve their souls. Even the true believer will see abundant cause to say, It is of the Lord's mercies that I am not consumed. Often have we set up idols in our hearts, cleaved to some forbidden object; so that if a greater than Moses had not stood to turn away the anger of the Lord, we should have been destroyed. If God dealt severely with Moses for unadvised words, what do those deserve who speak many proud and wicked words? It is just in God to remove those relations that are blessings to us, when we are peevish and provoking to them, and grieve their spirits.
Verse 32. - They angered him also at the waters of strife; or, "at the waters of Meribah" (Revised Version, Kay, Cheyne); comp. Numbers 20:2, 10, 13. So that it went ill with Moses for their sakes. Moses was not punished for the people's sin, but for his own sin (Numbers 20:10-12), to which theirs led. The expression, "for their sakes," is used loosely (comp. Deuteronomy 1:37; Deuteronomy 3:26).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
They angered him also at the waters of strife,.... Or, "at the waters of Meribah" (z); that is, Meribahkadesh, as it is called in Deuteronomy 32:51 to distinguish it from Meribahrephidim, where also were waters of strife or contradiction; at which the people murmured and strove with the Lord, and greatly displeased him, Exodus 17:7.
So that it went ill with Moses for their sakes; he was not suffered to go with them into the good land; though he most earnestly desired it, it could not be granted: but when he was just upon the borders of it, he is bid to go up to the mount, and take a view of it, and die; and all because of what was done at this place; see Numbers 20:12.
(z) "super aquas Meribah", Montanus; "apud Memeriba", Tigurine version; "juxta aquas Meriba", Gejerus; so Ainsworth.
The Treasury of David
32 They angered him also at the waters of strife, so that it went ill with Moses for their sakes:
33 Because they provoked his spirit, so that he spake unadvisedly with his lips.
"They angered him also at the waters of strife." Will they never have done? The scene changes, but the sin continues. Aforetime they had mutinied about water when prayer would soon have turned the desert into a standing pool, but now they do it again after their former experience of the divine goodness. This made the sin a double, yea a sevenfold offence, and caused the anger of the Lord to be the more intense. "So that it went ill with Moses for their sakes." Moses was at last wearied out, and began to grow angry with them, and utterly hopeless of their ever improving; can we wonder at it, for he was man and not God? After forty years bearing with them the meek man's temper gave way, and he called them rebels, and showed unhallowed anger; and therefore he was not permitted to enter the land which he desired to inherit. Truly, he had a sight of the goodly country from the top of Pisgah, but entrance was denied him, and thus it went ill with him. It was their sin Which angered him, but he had to bear the consequences; however clear it may be that others are more guilty than ourselves, we should always remember that this will not screen us, but every man must bear his own burden.
"Because they provoked his spirit, so that he spake unadvisedly with his lips." Which seems a small sin compared with that of others, but then it was the sin of Moses, the Lord's chosen servant, who had seen and known so much of the Lord, and therefore it could not be passed by. He did not speak blasphemously, or falsely, but only hastily and without care; but this is a serious fault in a lawgiver, and especially in one who speaks for God. This passage is to our mind one of the most terrible in the Bible. Truly we serve a jealous God. Yet he is not a hard master, or austere; we must not think so, but we must the rather be jealous of ourselves, and watch that we live the more carefully, and speak the more advisedly, because we serve such a Lord. We ought also to be very careful how we treat the ministers of the gospel, lest by provoking their spirit we should drive them into any unseemly behaviour which should bring upon them the chastisement of the Lord. Little do a murmuring, quarrelsome people dream of the perils in which they involve their pastors by their untoward behaviour.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
32, 33. (Compare Nu 20:3-12; De 1:37; 3:26).
went ill with—literally, "was bad for"
Moses—His conduct, though under great provocation, was punished by exclusion from Canaan.
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