Psalm 106:17
The earth opened and swallowed up Dathan, and covered the company of Abiram.
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(17) The omission of Korah is in keeping with the historical accounts, which indicate a difference both in the attitude of Korah and his family from that of Dathan and Abiram, and also a difference of fate. (Comp. Numbers 16:23, seqq.; Deuteronomy 11:6; Numbers 26:10.)

106:13-33 Those that will not wait for God's counsel, shall justly be given up to their own hearts' lusts, to walk in their own counsels. An undue desire, even for lawful things, becomes sinful. God showed his displeasure for this. He filled them with uneasiness of mind, terror of conscience, and self-reproach. Many that fare deliciously every day, and whose bodies are healthful, have leanness in their souls: no love to God, no thankfulness, no appetite for the Bread of life, and then the soul must be lean. Those wretchedly forget themselves, that feast their bodies and starve their souls. Even the true believer will see abundant cause to say, It is of the Lord's mercies that I am not consumed. Often have we set up idols in our hearts, cleaved to some forbidden object; so that if a greater than Moses had not stood to turn away the anger of the Lord, we should have been destroyed. If God dealt severely with Moses for unadvised words, what do those deserve who speak many proud and wicked words? It is just in God to remove those relations that are blessings to us, when we are peevish and provoking to them, and grieve their spirits.On these verses see Numbers 16:31-35. This refers to the time when they rebelled against Moses. 17. covered—"closed upon them" (Nu 16:33). (2) Of the Levitical rebels, with Korah at their head (Nu 16:35; 26:10); these had sinned by fire, and were punished by fire, as Aaron's (being high priest) sons had been (Le 10:2; Nu 16:1-35). Dathan, with his company, which is sufficiently understood out of the following clause, and out of the history, Numbers 16.

The earth opened and swallowed up Dathan,.... One of the heads of the conspirators against Moses and Aaron; the earth clave asunder under him and his company; opened itself, or its mouth, and devoured them at once. This was a new, marvellous, and unheard of thing, and which manifestly showed the divine displeasure and resentment at their proceedings; and served greatly to confirm the authority and office of Moses and Aaron; see Numbers 16:30.

And covered the company of Abiram; another of the heads of the confederacy. Korah is not mentioned, though the earth swallowed up him and all that belonged to him, their houses and their goods; some think the reason is because it was well known that this was his case, when Dathan and Abiram are not so expressly mentioned in the history by Moses; as also because the sons of Korah were now in esteem as singers; nor is On the son of Peleth mentioned, because, as Kimchi says, he repented, and desisted from the conspiracy.

The earth opened and {i} swallowed up Dathan, and covered the company of Abiram.

(i) By the greatness of the punishment the heinousness of the offence may be considered: for they who rise against God's ministers rebel against him.

17. The Psalmist follows Deuteronomy 11:6 in naming Dathan and Abiram only. Korah’s family did not perish (Numbers 26:11).

Verse 17. - The earth opened and swallowed up Dathan (see Numbers 16:31-33). And covered the company of Abiram. It is asked why there is no mention of Korah here, and suggested that he owed his escape from mention to the favouritism of the Levitical "temple poets" (Cheyne). But the real reason seems to be that Korah was not "swallowed up;" he and his company were destroyed by fire, and are alluded to in ver. 18 (so Hengstenberg). Psalm 106:17The first of the principal sins on the other side of the Red Sea was the unthankful, impatient, unbelieving murmuring about their meat and drink, Psalm 106:13-15. For what Psalm 106:13 places foremost was the root of the whole evil, that, falling away from faith in God's promise, they forgot the works of God which had been wrought in confirmation of it, and did not wait for the carrying out of His counsel. The poet has before his eye the murmuring for water on the third day after the miraculous deliverance (Exodus 15:22-24) and in Rephidim (Exodus 17:2). Then the murmuring for flesh in the first and second years of the exodus which was followed by the sending of the quails (Exodus 16 and Numbers 11), together with the wrathful judgment by which the murmuring for the second time was punished (Kibrôth ha-Ta'avah, Numbers 11:33-35). This dispensation of wrath the poet calls רזון (lxx, Vulgate, and Syriac erroneously πλησμονήν, perhaps מזון, nourishment), inasmuch as he interprets Numbers 11:33-35 of a wasting disease, which swept away the people in consequence of eating inordinately of the flesh, and in the expression (cf. Psalm 78:31) he closely follows Isaiah 10:16. The "counsel" of God for which they would not wait, is His plan with respect to the time and manner of the help. חכּה, root Arab. ḥk, a weaker power of Arab. ḥq, whence also Arab. ḥkl, p. 111, ḥkm, p. 49 note 1, signifies prop. to make firm, e.g., a knot (cf. on Psalm 33:20), and starting from this (without the intervention of the metaphor moras nectere, as Schultens thinks) is transferred to a firm bent of mind, and the tension of long expectation. The epigrammatic expression ויּתאוּוּ תאוה (plural of ויתאו, Isaiah 45:12, for which codices, as also in Proverbs 23:3, Proverbs 23:6; Proverbs 24:1, the Complutensian, Venetian 1521, Elias Levita, and Baer have ויתאו without the tonic lengthening) is taken from Numbers 11:4.

The second principal sin was the insurrection against their superiors, Psalm 106:16-18. The poet has Numbers 16:1 in his eye. The rebellious ones were swallowed up by the earth, and their two hundred and fifty noble, non-Levite partisans consumed by fire. The fact that the poet does not mention Korah among those who were swallowed up is in perfect harmony with Numbers 16:25., Deuteronomy 11:6; cf. however Numbers 26:10. The elliptical תפתּה in Psalm 106:17 is explained from Numbers 16:32; Numbers 26:10.

The third principal sin was the worship of the calf, Psalm 106:19-23. The poet here glances back at Exodus 32, but not without at the same time having Deuteronomy 9:8-12 in his mind; for the expression "in Horeb" is Deuteronomic, e.g., Deuteronomy 4:15; Deuteronomy 5:2, and frequently. Psalm 106:20 is also based upon the Book of Deuteronomy: they exchanged their glory, i.e., the God who was their distinction before all peoples according to Deuteronomy 4:6-8; Deuteronomy 10:21 (cf. also Jeremiah 2:11), for the likeness (תּבנית) of a plough-ox (for this is pre-eminently called שׁוּר, in the dialects תּור), contrary to the prohibition in Deuteronomy 4:17. On Psalm 106:21 cf. the warning in Deuteronomy 6:12. "Land of Cham" equals Egypt, as in Psalm 78:51; Psalm 105:23, Psalm 105:27. With ויאמר in Psalm 106:23 the expression becomes again Deuteronomic: Deuteronomy 9:25, cf. Exodus 32:10. God made and also expressed the resolve to destroy Israel. Then Moses stepped into the gap (before the gap), i.e., as it were covered the breach, inasmuch as he placed himself in it and exposed his own life; cf. on the fact, besides Exodus 32, also Deuteronomy 9:18., Psalm 10:10, and on the expression, Ezekiel 22:30 and also Jeremiah 18:20.

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