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Bible Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Numbers 14



1The people murmur at the news.
6Joshua and Caleb labour to still them.
11God threatens them.
13Moses intercedes with God, and obtains pardon.
26The murmurers are debarred from entering into the land.
36The men who raised the evil report die by a plague.
40The people that would invade the land against the will of God are smitten.

Verse 1
And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night.
11:1-4; Deuteronomy 1:45

Verse 2
And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness!
16:41; Exodus 15:24; 16:2,3; 17:3; Deuteronomy 1:27; Psalms 106:24,45; 1 Corinthians 10:10; Philippians 2:14,15; Jude 1:16
28,29; 11:15; 1 Kings 19:4; Job 3:11; 7:15,16; Jonah 4:3,8

Verse 3
And wherefore hath the LORD brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt?
the Lord
Psalms 78:40; Jeremiah 9:3
our wives

Verse 4
And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt.
Deuteronomy 17:16; 28:68; Nehemiah 9:16,17; Luke 17:32; Acts 7:39; Hebrews 10:38,39; 11:15; 2 Peter 2:21,22

Verse 5
Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel.
16:4,22,45; Genesis 17:3; Leviticus 9:24; Joshua 5:14; 7:10; 1 Kings 18:39; 1 Chronicles 21:16; Ezekiel 9:8; Daniel 10:9; Matthew 26:39; Revelation 4:10; 5:14; 7:11

Verse 6
And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes:
24,30,38; 13:6,8,30
rent their clothes
Genesis 37:29,34; 44:13; Joshua 7:6; Judges 11:35; 2 Samuel 3:31; 2 Kings 18:37; Job 1:20; Joel 2:12,13; Matthew 26:65

Verse 7
And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land.
an exceeding good land
13:27; Deuteronomy 1:25; 6:10,11; 8:7-9

Verse 8
If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey.
Deuteronomy 10:15; 2 Samuel 15:25,26; 22:20; 1 Kings 10:9; Psalms 22:8; 147:10,11; Isaiah 62:4; Jeremiah 32:41; Zephaniah 3:17; Romans 8:31
a land which

Verse 9
Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not.
Only rebel
Deuteronomy 9:7,23,24; Isaiah 1:2; 63:10; Daniel 9:5,9; Philippians 1:27
Deuteronomy 7:18; 20:3
are bread
24:8; Deuteronomy 32:42; Psalms 14:4; 74:14
Heb. shadow. Tzillam, a metaphor highly expressive of protection and support in the sultry eastern countries. (See the Parallel Passages.) The Arabs and Persians use the same word to express the same thing; using the expressions, "May the shadow zulli of thy prosperity be extended." "May the shadow of thy prosperity be spread over the heads of thy well-wishers." And in an elegant distich, "May your protection never be removed from my head; may God extend your shadow zullikem eternally." The loftiest and most esteemed title of the sultan, says Thornton, because given him by the kings of Persia, is zil ullah, shadow of God.
Psalms 91:1; 121:5; Isaiah 30:2,3; 32:2; Jeremiah 48:45
the Lord
Genesis 48:21; Exodus 33:16; Deuteronomy 7:21; 20:1-4; 31:6,8; Joshua 1:5; Judges 1:22; 2 Chronicles 13:12; 15:2; 20:17; 32:8; Psalms 46:1,2,7,11; Isaiah 8:9,10; 41:10; Matthew 1:23; Romans 8:31
fear them not
Isaiah 41:14

Verse 10
But all the congregation bade stone them with stones. And the glory of the LORD appeared in the tabernacle of the congregation before all the children of Israel.
But all
Exodus 17:4; 1 Samuel 30:6; Matthew 23:37; Acts 7:52,59
And the
16:19,42; 20:6; Exodus 16:7,10; 24:16,17; 40:34; Leviticus 9:23

Verse 11
And the LORD said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them?
How long will this
27; Exodus 10:3; 16:28; Proverbs 1:22; Jeremiah 4:14; Hosea 8:5; Zechariah 8:14; Matthew 17:17
23; Deuteronomy 9:7,8,22,23; Psalms 95:8; Hebrews 3:8,16
believe me
Deuteronomy 1:32; Psalms 78:22,32,41,42; 106:24; Mark 9:19; John 10:38; 12:37; John 15:24; Hebrews 3:18

Verse 12
I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of thee a greater nation and mightier than they.
16:46-49; 25:9; Exodus 5:3; 2 Samuel 24:1,12-15
will make
Exodus 32:10

Verse 13
And Moses said unto the LORD, Then the Egyptians shall hear it, (for thou broughtest up this people in thy might from among them;)
And Moses said unto the Lord
From this verse to ver. 19, inclusive, we have the words of the earnest intercession of Moses: they need no explanation; they are full of simplicity and energy.
Then the
Exodus 32:12; Deuteronomy 9:26-28; 32:27; Joshua 7:8,9; Psalms 106:23; Ezekiel 20:9,14

Verse 14
And they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land: for they have heard that thou LORD art among this people, that thou LORD art seen face to face, and that thy cloud standeth over them, and that thou goest before them, by day time in a pillar of a cloud, and in a pillar of fire by night.
they have
Exodus 15:14; Joshua 2:9,10; 5:1
art seen
12:8; Genesis 32:30; Exodus 33:11; Deuteronomy 5:4; 34:10; John 1:18; 14:9; 1 Corinthians 13:12; 1 John 3:2
thy cloud
9:15-21; 10:34; Exodus 13:21,22; 40:38; Nehemiah 9:12,19; Psalms 78:14; 105:39

Verse 15
Now if thou shalt kill all this people as one man, then the nations which have heard the fame of thee will speak, saying,
Judges 6:16

Verse 16
Because the LORD was not able to bring this people into the land which he sware unto them, therefore he hath slain them in the wilderness.
Deuteronomy 9:28; 32:26,27; Joshua 7:9

Verse 17
And now, I beseech thee, let the power of my Lord be great, according as thou hast spoken, saying,
Micah 3:8; Matthew 9:6,8

Verse 18
The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.
Exodus 34:6,7; Psalms 103:8; 145:8; Jonah 4:2; Micah 7:18; Nahum 1:2,3; Romans 3:24-26; Romans 5:21; Ephesians 1:7,8
Exodus 20:5; 34:7; Jeremiah 23:2

Verse 19
Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.
Exodus 32:32; 34:9; 1 Kings 8:34; Psalms 51:1,2; Ezekiel 20:8,9; Daniel 9:19
Isaiah 55:7; Titus 3:4-7
and as thou
Exodus 32:10-14; 33:17; Psalms 78:38; 106:7,8,45; Jonah 3:10; 4:2; Micah 7:18; James 5:15; 1 John 5:14-16
until now
or, hitherto.

Verse 21
But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD.
as truly
Deuteronomy 32:40; Isaiah 49:18; Jeremiah 22:24; Ezekiel 5:11; 18:3; 33:11,27; Zephaniah 2:9
all the
Psalms 72:19; Habakkuk 2:14; Matthew 6:10

Verse 22
Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice;
which have
11; Deuteronomy 1:31-35; Psalms 95:9-11; 106:26; Hebrews 3:17,18
Exodus 17:2; Psalms 95:9; 106:14; Malachi 3:15; Matthew 4:7; 1 Corinthians 10:9; Hebrews 3:9
ten times
Genesis 31:7,41; Job 19:3

Verse 23
Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it:
Surely they shall not see
Heb. If they see.
26:64; 32:11; Deuteronomy 1:35-45; Nehemiah 9:23; Psalms 95:11; 106:26; Ezekiel 20:15; Hebrews 3:17,18; 4:3

Verse 24
But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.
my servant
6-9; 13:30; 26:65; Deuteronomy 1:36; Joshua 14:6-14
another spirit
Caleb had another spirit; not only a bold, generous, courageous, noble, and heroic spirit, but the Spirit and influence of God, which thus raised him above human inquietudes and earthly fears. Therefore he followed God fully; literally, "and he filled after me:" God shewed him the way he was to take and the line of conduct he was to pursue, and he filled up this line, and in all things followed the will of his Maker.
followed me
32:11,12; Deuteronomy 6:5; Joshua 14:8,9; 1 Chronicles 29:9,18; 2 Chronicles 25:2; Psalms 119:80,145; Proverbs 23:26; Acts 11:23; Ephesians 6:6; Colossians 3:23

Verse 25
(Now the Amalekites and the Canaanites dwelt in the valley.) To morrow turn you, and get you into the wilderness by the way of the Red sea.
the Amalekites
turn you
4; Deuteronomy 1:40; Psalms 81:11-13; Proverbs 1:31

Verse 27
How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me.
How long
11; Exodus 16:28; Matthew 17:7; Mark 9:19
I have heard
Exodus 16:12; 1 Corinthians 10:10

Verse 28
Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the LORD, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you:
As truly
21,23; 26:64,65; 32:11; Deuteronomy 1:35; Psalms 90:8,9; Hebrews 3:17
as ye have

Verse 29
Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me,
32,33; 1 Corinthians 10:5; Hebrews 3:17; Jude 1:5
all that were
1:45; 26:64

Verse 30
Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun.
Heb. lifted up my hand.
Genesis 14:22
save Caleb
38; 26:65; 32:12; Deuteronomy 1:36-38

Verse 31
But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised.
little ones
26:6,64; Deuteronomy 1:39
ye said
Their children, by possessing Canaan, knew what a good land their fathers had despised.
the land
Genesis 25:34; Psalms 106:24; Proverbs 1:25,30; Matthew 22:5; Acts 13:41; Hebrews 12:16,17

Verse 32
But as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness.
29; 1 Corinthians 10:5; Hebrews 3:17

Verse 33
And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness.
shall wander in the wilderness
or, feed. This implies, that they should move from place to place in the deserts, as the Bedounin Arabs, who have no certain dwelling, but rove about seeking pasture for their flocks.
32:13; Joshua 14:10; Psalms 107:4,40
forty years
33:38; Deuteronomy 1:3; 2:14
5:31; Jeremiah 3:1,2; Ezekiel 23:35,45-49; Hosea 9:1

Verse 34
After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise.
13:25; 2 Chronicles 36:21
the number
Psalms 95:10; Ezekiel 4:6; Daniel 9:24; Revelation 11:3
shall ye bear
18:23; Leviticus 20:19; Psalms 38:4; Ezekiel 14:10
ye shall
1 Kings 8:56; Psalms 77:8; 105:42; Jeremiah 18:9,10; Lamentations 3:31-33; Hebrews 4:1
breach of promise
or, altering of my purpose. Tenooathi, rather, my failure, or disannulling, from noo, to fail, disannul; for as they had broken their engagements, God was no longer held by his covenant.
Deuteronomy 31:16,17; 1 Samuel 2:30; Zechariah 11:10

Verse 35
I the LORD have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die.
I will surely
this evil
27-29; 26:65; 1 Corinthians 10:5,11; Hebrews 3:19

Verse 36
And the men, which Moses sent to search the land, who returned, and made all the congregation to murmur against him, by bringing up a slander upon the land,

Verse 37
Even those men that did bring up the evil report upon the land, died by the plague before the LORD.
those men
Thus ten of the twelve who searched out the land were struck dead, by the justice of God, on the spot. In commemoration of this event, the Jews, to this day, celebrate a fast, on the seventh day of the month Elul.
12; 16:49; 25:9; Jeremiah 28:16,17; 29:32; 1 Corinthians 10:10; Hebrews 3:17; Jude 1:5

Verse 38
But Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of the men that went to search the land, lived still.
26:65; Joshua 14:6-10

Verse 39
And Moses told these sayings unto all the children of Israel: and the people mourned greatly.
mourned greatly
Exodus 33:4; Proverbs 19:3; Isaiah 26:16; Matthew 8:12; Hebrews 12:17

Verse 40
And they rose up early in the morning, and gat them up into the top of the mountain, saying, Lo, we be here, and will go up unto the place which the LORD hath promised: for we have sinned.
rose up
Deuteronomy 1:41; Ecclesiastes 9:3; Matthew 7:21-23; 26:11,12; Luke 13:25
for we have sinned
We are sensible of our sin, and repent of it; and are now ready to do as Caleb and Joshua exhorted us. Or, though we have sinned, yet we hope God will make good his promise.

Verse 41
And Moses said, Wherefore now do ye transgress the commandment of the LORD? but it shall not prosper.
do ye
25; 2 Chronicles 24:20
but it shall
Job 4:9; Jeremiah 2:37; 32:5

Verse 42
Go not up, for the LORD is not among you; that ye be not smitten before your enemies.
Deuteronomy 1:42; Joshua 7:8,12; Psalms 44:1,2-11

Verse 43
For the Amalekites and the Canaanites are there before you, and ye shall fall by the sword: because ye are turned away from the LORD, therefore the LORD will not be with you.
25; 13:29; Leviticus 26:17; Deuteronomy 28:25
Judges 16:20; 1 Chronicles 28:9; 2 Chronicles 15:2; Isaiah 63:10; Hosea 9:12

Verse 44
But they presumed to go up unto the hill top: nevertheless the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and Moses, departed not out of the camp.
they presumed
This miserable people a short time ago, thought that, though Omnipotence was with them, they could not conquer and possess the land! Now they imagine, that though God himself go not with them, yet they shall be sufficient to drive out the inhabitants, and take possession of their country! Man is ever supposing he can do all things, or do nothing: he is therefore sometimes presumptuous, and at other times in despair.
15:30; Deuteronomy 1:43
the ark
10:33; 1 Samuel 4:3-11

Verse 45
Then the Amalekites came down, and the Canaanites which dwelt in that hill, and smote them, and discomfited them, even unto Hormah.
the Amalekites
43; Exodus 17:16; Deuteronomy 1:44; 32:30; Joshua 7:5,11,12
21:3; Judges 1:17


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Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Numbers 14:4". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge".

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