And Moses rose up and went to Dathan and Abiram; and the elders of Israel followed him.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)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.
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 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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)25–34. The destruction of Dathan and Abiram.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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