Numbers 14:10 MEANING

Numbers 14:10
(10) But all the congregation bade stone them with stones.--All the congregation here, as elsewhere, seems to denote the princes or chief men of the congregation; otherwise it is difficult to understand to whom the order was addressed to stone Joshua and Caleb. Stoning appears to have been a mode of death commonly adopted in Egypt (Exodus 8:26). Under the Jewish law stoning was the ordinary, and, as some think, the only prescribed mode of death, and was inflicted as the punishment for crimes such as adultery (Deuteronomy 22:22; Deuteronomy 22:24), idolatry (Deuteronomy 13:10), witchcraft (Leviticus 20:27), sabbath-breaking (Numbers 15:35), and blasphemy (Leviticus 24:16). Moses had apprehended the same outbreak of popular violence on a former occasion (Exodus 17:4), and, at a later period, David was threatened in a similar manner (1 Samuel 30:6).

And the glory of the Lord appeared in the tabernacle of the congregation.--The meaning probably is in the court of the Tabernacle, or, as some think, above the Tabernacle. (See the Targum of Jonathan and the Vulgate and Septuagint Versions.) The children of Israel could not have seen the glory of the Lord had it been manifested within the Tabernacle.

Verse 10. - Bade stone them with stones. Angry people cannot endure the counsels of calm reason, and perhaps the hostility which they felt against Moses they were very ready to vent upon his "minister." The glory of the Lord appeared., before all the children of Israel. At the moment when they were about to proceed to violence, the Divine glory filled the tabernacle, and flashed forth with a brilliancy which compelled their awe. struck attention.

14:5-10 Moses and Aaron were astonished to see a people throw away their own mercies. Caleb and Joshua assured the people of the goodness of the land. They made nothing of the difficulties in the way of their gaining it. If men were convinced of the desirableness of the gains of religion, they would not stick at the services of it. Though the Canaanites dwell in walled cities, their defence was departed from them. The other spies took notice of their strength, but these of their wickedness. No people can be safe, when they have provoked God to leave them. Though Israel dwell in tents, they are fortified. While we have the presence of God with us, we need not fear the most powerful force against us. Sinners are ruined by their own rebellion. But those who, like Caleb and Joshua, faithfully expose themselves for God, are sure to be taken under his special protection, and shall be hid from the rage of men, either under heaven or in heaven.But all the congregation bade stone them with stones,.... Namely, Joshua and Caleb, who had made such a faithful report of the good land, and had delivered such an animating and encouraging speech to the people. This is not to be understood of the body of the people, and of all the individuals thereof, for who then should they bid to stone Joshua and Caleb? unless the sense is, that they stirred up and animated one another to it; but rather it means the princes and heads of the congregation, who commanded the common people to rise up and stone them; for notwithstanding the affecting behaviour of Moses and Aaron, and the arguments of Joshua and Caleb, they still persisted in their mutiny and rebellion, until the Lord himself appeared as he did:

and the glory of the Lord appeared in the tabernacle of the congregation, before all the children of Israel; the Shechinah, or divine Majesty, which dwelt between the cherubim in the most holy place, came into the court of the tabernacle; for neither in the holy nor in the most holy place could the people see it, or the token of it: in Deuteronomy 31:15 it is said, "the pillar of cloud stood over the door of the tabernacle"; and Noldius (s) renders it here, "and the glory of the Lord appeared above the tabernacle of the congregation"; with which agree the Targum of Jonathan and the Vulgate Latin and Septuagint versions; and so Jarchi says, the cloud descended there, and from thence very probably some coruscations, or flashes of lightning came forth, which plainly showed the Lord was there; and this was done to terrify the people, and restrain them from their evil, purposes; and to encourage the servants of the Lord, who hereby might expect the divine protection.

(s) Concord. Ebr. Part. p. 164. No. 737.

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