EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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.
All the men ... - Not his sons (see Numbers 26:11
), but all belonging to him who had associated themselves with him in this rebellion.
28-34. Moses said, Hereby ye shall know that the Lord hath sent me to do all these works—The awful catastrophe of the earthquake which, as predicted by Moses, swallowed up those impious rebels in a living tomb, gave the divine attestation to the mission of Moses and struck the spectators with solemn awe.
No text from Poole on this verse.
And all Israel that were round about them fled at the cry of them,.... Or because of it, as Aben Ezra; their cry was so loud, their shrieks so dreadful and piercing, that the Israelites about them fled to get out of the sound of them, as well as for their own safety. The Targum of Jonathan not only represents their cry as terrible, but gives the words they expressed at it;"and all Israel that were round about them fled, because of the terror of their voice, when they cried and said, the Lord is righteous and his judgments truth, and truth are the words of Moses his servant, but we are wicked who have rebelled against him:"
for they said, lest the earth swallow us up also; which they might fear, since they had provoked the Lord, by associating with these men, and countenancing them by their presence, as they had done; who would have consumed them in a moment at first, had it not been for the intercession of Moses and Aaron. And all Israel that were round about them fled at the cry of them: for they said, Lest the earth swallow us up also.