Numbers 14:12
I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of you a greater nation and mightier than they.
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(12) And will make of thee a greater nation and mightier than they.—A similar promise had been given to Moses on occasion of the rebellion at Sinai, and Moses on that occasion interceded with God on behalf of His people in like manner as at this time (Exodus 32:10-12).

Numbers 14:12. I will smite them — This was not an absolute determination, but a commination, like that of Nineveh’s destruction, with a condition implied, except there be speedy repentance, or powerful intercession.14:11-19 Moses made humble intercession for Israel. Herein he was a type of Christ, who prayed for those that despitefully used him. The pardon of a nation's sin, is the turning away the nation's punishment; and for that Moses is here so earnest. Moses argued that, consistently with God's character, in his abundant mercies, he could forgive them.And disinherit them - By the proposed extinction of Israel the blessings of the covenant would revert to their original donor. 12. the Lord said, … I will smite them with the pestilence—not a final decree, but a threatening, suspended, as appeared from the issue, on the intercession of Moses and the repentance of Israel. This was not an absolute determination, as the event showed, but only a condition, like that of Nineveh’s destruction within forty days, with a condition implied, except there be speedy repentance, or powerful intercession. I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them,.... Deprive them of inhabiting the land; so as many as died of the pestilence were even all the spies who brought an evil report of the good land, Numbers 14:37; with respect to the body of the people, this is to be considered not as a peremptory decree or a determined point; but is delivered partly by way of proposal to Moses, to draw out from him what he would say to it; and partly by way of threatening to the people, to bring them to a sense of their sin and repentance for it:

and will make of thee a greater nation, and mightier than they: this anticipates an objection that might be made, should the people of Israel be cut off by the plague, and so disinherited of the land of Canaan, what will become of the oath of God made to their fathers? to which the answer is, it would be fulfilled in making the posterity of Moses as great or a greater and more powerful nation than Israel now was, and by introducing them into the land of Canaan, who would be of the seed of the fathers of Israel, as Jarchi observes, as those people were; and this was said to prove Moses, and try his affection to the people of Israel; and give him an opportunity of showing his public and disinterested spirit.

I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of thee a greater nation and mightier than they.
12. make of thee a nation] Moses would be a second Abraham, the whole nation being descended from him.Verse 12. - And will make of thee a greater nation and mightier than they. By electing Moses, in the place of Jacob, to be the founder and ancestor of the chosen race, God would still have made good his promises to Abraham, and would only have vindicated for himself the same freedom of choice which he had used in the case of Ishmael and of Esau. We cannot, however, regard this offer as embodying a deliberate intention, for we know that God did not really mean to cast off Israel; nor can we regard it as expressing the anger of the moment, for it is not of God to be hasty. We must understand it distinctly as intended to try the loyalty and charity of Moses, and to give him an opportunity of rising to the loftiest height of magnanimity, unselfishness, and courage. Moses would unquestionably have been less noble than he was if he had listened to the offer; it is therefore certain that the offer was only made in order that it might be refused (cf. Exodus 32:10). At this murmuring, which was growing into open rebellion, Moses and Aaron fell upon their faces before the whole of the assembled congregation, namely, to pour out their distress before the Lord, and move Him to interpose; that is to say, after they had made an unsuccessful attempt, as we may supply from Deuteronomy 1:29-31, to cheer up the people, by pointing them to the help they had thus far received from God. "In such distress, nothing remained but to pour out their desires before God; offering their prayer in public, however, and in the sight of all the people, in the hope of turning their minds" (Calvin). Joshua and Caleb, who had gone with the others to explore the land, also rent their clothes, as a sign of their deep distress at the rebellious attitude of the people (see at Leviticus 10:6), and tried to convince them of the goodness and glory of the land they had travelled through, and to incite them to trust in the Lord. "If Jehovah take pleasure in us,"; they said, "He will bring us into this land. Only rebel not ye against Jehovah, neither fear ye that people of the land; for they are our food;" i.e., we can and shall swallow them up, or easily destroy them (cf. Numbers 22:4; Numbers 24:8; Deuteronomy 7:16; Psalm 14:4). "Their shadow is departed from them, and Jehovah is with us: fear them not!" "Their shadow" is the shelter and protection of God (cf. Psalm 91; Psalm 121:5). The shadow, which defends from the burning heat of the sun, was a very natural figure in the sultry East, to describe defence from injury, a refuge from danger and destruction (Isaiah 30:2). The protection of God had departed from the Canaanites, because God had determined to destroy them when the measure of their iniquity was full (Genesis 15:16; cf. Exodus 34:24; Leviticus 18:25; Leviticus 20:23). But the excited people resolved to stone them, when Jehovah interposed with His judgment, and His glory appeared in the tabernacle to all the Israelites; that is to say, the majesty of God flashed out before the eyes of the people in a light which suddenly burst forth from the tabernacle (see at Exodus 16:10).
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