Numbers 16:42
And it came to pass, when the congregation was gathered against Moses and against Aaron, that they looked toward the tabernacle of the congregation: and, behold, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the LORD appeared.
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(42) And, behold, the cloud covered it.—The cloud had probably been removed on the preceding day when the rebels were consumed, and was now again restored in order to encourage Moses and Aaron.

16:41-50 The gaping earth was scarcely closed, before the same sins are again committed, and all these warnings slighted. They called the rebels the people of the Lord; and find fault with Divine justice. The obstinacy of Israel notwithstanding the terrors of God's law, as given on mount Sinai, and the terrors of his judgments, shows how necessary the grace of God is to change men's hearts and lives. Love will do what fear cannot. Moses and Aaron interceded with God for mercy, knowing how great the provocation was. Aaron went, and burned incense between the living and the dead, not to purify the air, but to pacify an offended God. As one tender of the life of every Israelite, Aaron made all possible speed. We must render good for evil. Observe especially, that Aaron was a type of Christ. There is an infection of sin in the world, which only the cross and intercession of Jesus Christ can stay and remove. He enters the defiled and dying camp. He stands between the dead and the living; between the eternal Judge and the souls under condemnation. We must have redemption through His blood, even the remission of sins. We admire the ready devotion of Aaron: shall we not bless and praise the unspeakable grace and love which filled the Saviour's heart, when he placed himself in our stead, and bought us with his life? Greatly indeed hath God commended his love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us, Ro 5:8.These sinners against their own souls - That is, "against their own lives." By their sin they had brought destruction upon themselves. 41. the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron, saying, Ye have killed the people of the Lord—What a strange exhibition of popular prejudice and passion—to blame the leaders for saving the rebels! Yet Moses and Aaron interceded for the people—the high priest perilling his own life in doing good to that perverse race. They looked, i.e. Moses and Aaron, who in all their distresses made God their refuge. And it came to pass, when the congregation was gathered against Moses and against Aaron,.... To kill them, as the Targum of Jonathan adds; who, perhaps, upon uttering their murmurs, made up to them, and by their gestures showed an intention to murder them:

that they looked toward the tabernacle of the congregation; either the people did, to see whether they could observe any appearance of the displeasure of God against them; or rather Moses and Aaron looked that way for help and deliverance in this extreme danger, knowing there was no salvation for them but of the Lord, Jeremiah 3:23,

and, behold, the cloud covered it; as when it was first erected, and which was a token of the divine Presence, Numbers 9:15; perhaps it had dispersed immediately upon the death of the rebels, and now returned again in favour of the servants of the Lord:

and the glory of the Lord appeared; in the cloud, as in Numbers 16:19; to encourage Moses and Aaron, and to deliver them out of the hands of the people, and to the terror of them.

And it came to pass, when the congregation was gathered against Moses and against Aaron, that they looked toward the tabernacle of the congregation: and, behold, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the LORD appeared.
Verse 42. - The cloud covered it. Not soaring above it, as usual, but lying close down upon it, to signify that the presence of the Lord had passed in some special sense into the tabernacle (see on Numbers 12:5, 10). (Or Numbers 17:1-5). After the destruction of the sinners, the Lord commanded that Eleazar should take up the censers "from between the burning," i.e., from the midst of the men that had been burned, and scatter the fire (the burning coals in the pans) far away, that it might not be used any more. "For they (the censers) are holy;" that is to say, they had become holy through being brought before Jehovah (Numbers 16:39); and therefore, when the men who brought them were slain, they fell as banned articles to the Lord (Leviticus 27:28). "The censers of these sinners against their souls" (i.e., the men who have forfeited their lives through their sin: cf. Proverbs 20:2; Habakkuk 2:10), "let them make into broad plates for a covering to the altar" (of burnt-offering). Through this application of them they became a sign, or, according to Numbers 16:39, a memorial to all who drew near to the sanctuary, which was to remind them continually of this judgment of God, and warn the congregation of grasping at the priestly prerogatives. The words, יהיה ולא, in Numbers 16:40, introduce the predicate in the form of an apodosis to the subject, which is written absolutely, and consists of an entire sentence. היה with כּ signifies, "to experience the same fate as" another.
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