And Moses was very wroth, and said to the LORD, Respect not you their offering: I have not taken one ass from them, neither have I hurt one of them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)I have not taken one ass from them . . . —In answer to the accusation preferred against him in Numbers 16:13, Moses vindicates himself from the charge of oppression or extortion.Numbers 16:15. Respect not their offering — Accept not their incense which they are now going to offer, but show some eminent dislike of it. He calls it their offering, though it was offered by Korah and his companions, because it was offered in the name and by the consent of all the conspirators, for the decision of the present controversy between them and Moses. I have not hurt one of them — I have never injured them, nor used my power to defraud or oppress them, as I might have done; I have done them many good offices, but no hurt; therefore their crime is without any cause or provocation.
and said unto the Lord, Respect not thou their offering—He calls it their offering, because, though it was to be offered by Korah and his Levitical associates, it was the united appeal of all the mutineers for deciding the contested claims of Moses and Aaron.Moses was very wroth, not so much for his own sake, for he had learnt to bear indignities, Num 12, as for God’s sake, who was highly dishonoured, blasphemed, and provoked by these speeches and carriages, in which case he ought to be angry, as Christ was, Mark 3:5.
Respect not thou their offering, i.e. accept not their incense which they are now going to offer, but show some eminent dislike of it. He calls it their offering, though it was offered by Korah and his companions, because it was offered in the name and by the consent of all the conspirators, for the decision of the present controversy between them and Moses.
Not one ass, i.e. not any thing of the smallest value, as an ass was; see 1 Samuel 12:3 neither have I injured them, nor used my power to defraud or oppress them, as I might have done; but, which is here implied, I have done them many good offices, but no hurt; therefore their crime is inexcusable, because without any cause or provocation on my part.
and said unto the Lord, respect not thou their offering; their "Minchah", the word is commonly used for the meat or bread offering. Aben Ezra observes, that Dathan and Abiram were great men, and had offered such kind of offerings before this fact; and therefore Moses desires that the Lord would have no respect to any they had offered, but have respect to him, who had never injured any of them. Jarchi gives it as the sense of some, that whereas these men had a part in the daily sacrifices of the congregation (with which a meat offering always went), the request is, that it might not be received with acceptance by the Lord; but he himself thinks it is to be understood of the offering of incense they were to offer on the morrow; and Moses desires that God would show his disapprobation of it, and which is the common interpretation. The Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem render it, "their gift":
I have not taken one ass from them; either by force, or as a bribe, or by way of gratuity for any service done them; the sense is, that he had not taken from them the least thing in the world, anything of the meanest worth and value, on any consideration. Aben Ezra interprets the word "take", of taking and laying any burden upon an ass of theirs; so far was he from laying any burdens on them, and using them in a cruel and tyrannical manner, as they suggested, that he never laid the least burden on any ass of theirs, and much less on them:
neither have I hurt any of them; never did any injury to the person or property of anyone of them, but, on the contrary, had done them many good offices.And Moses was very wroth, and said unto the LORD, Respect not thou their offering: I have not taken one ass from them, neither have I hurt one of them.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)15. their offering] This refers, apparently, ‘to the sacrifice which every Israelite might offer for his household and may be compared with Genesis 4:4 f.… The writer is not thinking of any special priesthood, but simply takes it for granted that Yahwè, whose favour was always sought by sacrifice, will not accept the offering of rebels against just authority’ (Addis).Verse 15. - And Moses was very wroth. The bitter taunts of the Reubenites had just enough semblance of truth in them to make them very hard to bear, and especially the imputation of low personal ambition; but it is impossible to say that Moses did not err through anger. Respect not thou their offering. Cf. Genesis 4:4. It is not quite clear what offering Moses meant, since they do not seem to have wished to offer incense. Probably it was equivalent to saying, Do not thou accept them when they approach thee; for such approach was always by sacrifice (cf. Psalm 109:7). I have not taken one ass from them. Cf. 1 Samuel 12:3. The ass was the least valuable of the ordinary live stock of those days (cf. Exodus 20:17). The Septuagint has here οὐκ ἐπιθύμημα οὐδενὸς αὐτῶν εἴληφα, which is apparently an intentional paraphrase with a reference to the tenth commandment (οὐκ ἐπιθυμήσεις κ.τ.λ.). Neither have I hurt one of them. As absolute ruler he might have made himself very burdensome to all, and very terrible to his personal enemies. Compare Samuel's description of the Eastern autocrat (1 Samuel 8:11-17). Numbers 16:7, Moses gives the rebels back their own words in Numbers 16:3. The divine decision was connected with the offering of incense, because this was the holiest function of the priestly service, which brought the priest into the immediate presence of God, and in connection with which Jehovah had already shown to the whole congregation how He sanctified Himself, by a penal judgment on those who took this office upon themselves without a divine call (Leviticus 10:1-3). Numbers 16:8. He then set before them the wickedness of their enterprise, to lead them to search themselves, and avert the judgment which threatened them. In doing this, he made a distinction between Korah the Levite, and Dathan and Abiram the Reubenites, according to the difference in the motives which prompted their rebellion, and the claims which they asserted. He first of all (Numbers 16:8-11) reminded Korah the Levite of the way in which God had distinguished his tribe, by separating the Levites from the rest of the congregation, to attend to the service of the sanctuary (Numbers 3:5., Numbers 8:6.), and asked him, "Is this too little for you? The God of Israel (this epithet is used emphatically for Jehovah) has brought thee near to Himself, and all thy brethren the sons of Levi with thee, and ye strive after the priesthood also. Therefore...thou and thy company, who have leagued themselves against Jehovah:...and Aaron, what is he, that he murmur against him?" These last words, as an expression of wrath, are elliptical, or rather an aposiopesis, and are to be filled up in the following manner: "Therefore,...as Jehovah has distinguished you in this manner,...what do ye want? Ye rebel against Jehovah! why do ye murmur against Aaron? He has not seized upon the priesthood of his own accord, but Jehovah has called him to it, and he is only a feeble servant of God" (cf. Exodus 16:7). Moses then (Numbers 16:12-14) sent for Dathan and Abiram, who, as is tacitly assumed, had gone back to their tents during the warning given to Korah. But they replied, "We shall not come up." עלה, to go up, is used either with reference to the tabernacle, as being in a spiritual sense the culminating point of the entire camp, or with reference to appearance before Moses, the head and ruler of the nation. "Is it too little that thou hast brought us out of a land flowing with milk and honey (they apply this expression in bitter irony to Egypt), to kill us in the wilderness (deliver us up to death), that thou wilt be always playing the lord over us?" The idea of continuance, which is implied in the inf. abs., השׂתּרר, from שׂרר, to exalt one's self as ruler (Ges. 131, 36), is here still further intensified by גּם. "Moreover, thou hast not brought us into a land flowing with milk and honey, or given us fields and vineyards for an inheritance (i.e., thou hast not kept thy promise, Exodus 4:30 compared with Numbers 3:7.). Wilt thou put out the eyes of these people?" i.e., wilt thou blind them as to thy doings and designs?
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