Numbers 16:25
And Moses rose up and went to Dathan and Abiram; and the elders of Israel followed him.
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16:23-34 The seventy elders of Israel attend Moses. It is our duty to do what we can to countenance and support lawful authority when it is opposed. And those who would not perish with sinners, must come out from among them, and be separate. It was in answer to the prayer of Moses, that God stirred up the hearts of the congregation to remove for their own safety. Grace to separate from evil-doers is one of the things that accompany salvation. God, in justice, left the rebels to the obstinacy and hardness of their own hearts. Moses, by Divine direction, when all Israel were waiting the event, declares that if the rebels die a common death, he will be content to be called and counted an imposter. As soon as Moses had spoken the word, God caused the earth to open and swallow them all up. The children perished with their parents; in which, though we cannot tell how bad they might be to deserve it, or how good God might be otherwise to them; yet of this we are sure, that Infinite Justice did them no wrong. It was altogether miraculous. God has, when he pleases, strange punishments for the workers of iniquity. It was very significant. Considering how the earth is still in like manner loaded with the weight of man's sins, we have reason to wonder that it does not now sink under its load. The ruin of others should be our warning. Could we, by faith, hear the outcries of those that are gone down to the bottomless pit, we should give more diligence than we do to escape for our lives, lest we also come into their condemnation.The tent, "the tabernacle" of Korah, as a Kohathite, stood on the south side of the tabernacle of the Lord; and those of Dathan and Abiram, as Reubenites, in the outer line of encampment on the same side. Yet though the tents of these three were thus contiguous, they did not share the same fate. Korah and his company who dared to intrude themselves on the priestly office were destroyed by fire from the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of the Lord Numbers 16:35; the Reubenites, who had reviled Moses for the failure of the promises about the pleasant land, were suddenly engulfed while standing at their own tent-doors in the barren wilderness Numbers 16:31-33. 24-26. Speak unto the congregation, … Get you up from about the tabernacle—Moses was attended in the execution of this mission by the elders. The united and urgent entreaties of so many dignified personages produced the desired effect of convincing the people of their crime, and of withdrawing them from the company of men who were doomed to destruction, lest, being partakers of their sins, they should perish along with them. Because they refused to come to him, he goes to them to their cost.

The elders of Israel; the seventy rulers, whom he carried with him for the greater solemnity of the action, and for his own better vindication, because he lay under such calumnies, and to encourage them in their work, not-withstanding the obstinate and intractable nature of the people they were to govern. And Moses rose up,.... Either from the ground, upon which he fell on his face, or from the seat on which he sat at the door of the tabernacle; though he seems to have stood there; it may be, it only signifies that he obeyed the divine order, and went about it directly, as often in Scripture persons are said to arise, when they go about any thing they are directed, or choose to do:

and went unto Dathan and Abiram; to endeavour to convince them of their evil, and bring them to repentance for it, and to reclaim them from their folly:

and the elders of Israel followed him; either some principal persons of the tribes, called elders, both from their age and prudence; or the seventy elders lately chosen to assist Moses in the affairs of government, as Aben Ezra thinks these followed him to show their respect unto him, and their approbation of his conduct, and for vindication of his character, which had been aspersed by those men, and to give the more weight to what should be said unto them, for their conviction and reformation.

And Moses rose up and went unto Dathan and Abiram; and the elders of Israel followed him.
25–34. The destruction of Dathan and Abiram.The next day the rebels presented themselves with censers before the tabernacle, along with Moses and Aaron; and the whole congregation also assembled there at the instigation of Korah. The Lord then interposed in judgment. Appearing in His glory to the whole congregation (just as in Numbers 14:10), He said to Moses and Aaron, "Separate yourselves from this congregation; I will destroy them in a moment." By assembling in front of the tabernacle, the whole congregation had made common cause with the rebels. God threatened them, therefore, with sudden destruction. But the two men of God, who ere so despised by the rebellious faction, fell on their faces, interceding with God, and praying, "God, Thou God of the spirits of all flesh! this one man (i.e., Korah, the author of the conspiracy) hath sinned, and wilt Thou be wrathful with all the congregation?" i.e., let Thine anger fall upon the whole congregation. The Creator and Preserver of all beings, who has given and still gives life and breath to all flesh, is God of the spirits of all flesh. As the author of the spirit of life in all perishable flesh, God cannot destroy His own creatures in wrath; this would be opposed to His own paternal love and mercy. In this epithet, as applied to God, therefore, Moses appeals "to the universal blessing of creation. It is of little consequence whether these words are to be understood as relating to all the animal kingdom, or to the human race alone; because Moses simply prayed, that as God was the creator and architect of the world, He would not destroy the men whom He had created, but rather have mercy upon the works of His own hands" (Calvin). The intercession of the prophet Isaiah, in Isaiah 64:8, is similar to this, though that is founded upon the special relation in which God stood to Israel.
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