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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Deuteronomy 11:6

 

 

and what He did to Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, the son of Reuben, when the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them, their households, their tents, and every living thing that followed them, among all Israel--

Adam Clarke Commentary

What he did unto Dathan, etc. - See the notes on Numbers 16 (note).


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 11:6". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/deuteronomy-11.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

See the margin. literally, “every living thing at their feet.” The expression does not mean their goods, which would be included in their “households and tents,” but their followers Numbers 16:32.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 11:6". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/deuteronomy-11.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Deuteronomy 11:6

And what He did unto Dathan and Abiram.

The spirit of revolution

Moses recalls the revolt against his authority in the wilderness. It took place in conjunction with the revolt of Korah (Numbers 17:1-13). The point which Moses emphasises is the revolt against Divinely constituted authority, and the result thereof. At the head of the civil rebellion were the sons of Reuben, Dathan and Abiram. As descendants of the first-born of Israel they grudged Moses his lofty position. They allied themselves with the Levitical revolt, and under the cloak of asserting the universal priesthood of the people (Numbers 16:3) led many to follow them into the vortex of revolution. This insurrection against the Divinely ordered religious and political order threatened the very existence of Israel. God therefore visited the rebels with special Divine judgment, and the nation was saved. This episode in Israel’s history gives us a glimpse of the motives which underlie most revolutionary movements. In these--

I. Vice decks herself in the appearance of virtue.

1. The revolutionaries profess ardent desires for the commonweal, for freedom--to save the “enslaved community,” etc. Liberty, equality, etc., is their cry, war against tyranny and oppression. They seek to play the role of unselfish friends of the people.

2. But in their depths such movements are mostly dominated by selfishness. In the revolt here referred to Korah was simply an ambitious Levite, hypocritical and selfish. The Reubenites were moved by tribal ambition. Selfishness, ambition, special interests were the moving springs of this as of other revolutions.

3. The revolution of Dathan and Abiram took its rise first on an ecclesiastical ground; but the political movement was not far behind the ecclesiastical. Men with widely differing opinions joined in opposing constituted authority. The cry for “illumination” is speedily followed by that for so-called “freedom.”

4. Revolution is not accompanied by penitence. It never seeks the ground of its complaints in the faults of the people themselves.

5. Most revolutions are dominated by some “phrase” or party cry. Here it was: “All the people are holy.” The power of the partial truth in it lay in God’s Word: “Ye shall be to Me . . . an holy nation.” But God had appointed leaders in Church and State, therefore it was against His authority Dathan and Abiram rebelled.

II. The prophetic significance of this typical event.

1. The deepest fulfilment lies in the future--in the days of antichrist. Then the political and ecclesiastical order will be overturned--when antichrist comes offering promise of deliverance from all ecclesiastical and political ills.

2. But the punishment meted out to Dathan and Abiram with their fellow rebels shall fall more fiercely on antichrist (Revelation 19:20).

3. A veil, however, overhangs this future. Still there are experiences in history which prepare us to understand what shall be. The French Revolution is a striking example. It was not merely a revolt of ruled against rulers. It was first a spiritual revolution. Scepticism had loosened religious authority, and the political crisis speedily followed, as in the rebellion of Korah. So in France ambitious leaders shrieked of liberty, etc. The whole foundations of order were overturned. Then from the Revolution rose one who had no law but his own will. He trod men under his feet; for twenty-five years the storm raged. Here was a faint experience of what will be in the times of antichrist. A respite has been given; but he who has eyes may conceive somewhat of the trend of that great future revolt.

III. What shall we do in view of what is coming?

1. Let us ask, guided by God’s Word, what revolts in Church and State will lead to. What is the meaning of much of so-called “progress” and “freedom”? “If the Son shall make you free,” etc. (John 8:36). What is “culture” if not found in Christ’s Gospel?--this is the only “culture” of eternal worth. Modern “progress” does not always mean progress in righteousness.

2. Do not let the hollow “phrases” of the modern age influence us. In God’s Word the madness of rebellion, its falseness and hypocrisy are seen, and its terrible end. The way of righteousness is conformity to the Divine order. The sin of participation in rebellion must be shunned. Those who stand on the side of revolution, of the antichristian age, or (in the future) of antichrist, lay themselves open to the punishment of the rebellious Reubenites. (W. Grashoff.)


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Deuteronomy 11:6". The Biblical Illustrator. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/deuteronomy-11.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And what he did unto Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, the son of Reuben,.... When they with Korah and his company quarrelled with Moses and Aaron about the priesthood, Numbers 16:1, how the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up; the history of which see in Numbers 16:30.

and their households and their tents; not their houses and their tents, as the Septuagint and some other versions; for though the word signifies houses, and is often used for them, yet here it must signify families, their wives, and children; since they had no houses, but dwelt in tents, all which were swallowed up with them:

and all the substance that was in their possession; gold, silver, cattle, household goods, and whatever they were possessed of:

or was at their feetF3אשר ברגליהם "quae erat in pedibus eorum", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus. ; or which followed them, their living creatures; or was for them, as Aben Ezra interprets it; for, their use, service, and necessity: and this was done

in the midst of all Israel; openly and publicly, they beholding it, as follows; and therefore should be rendered, "before all Israel"F4בקרב "coram omni Israele", Noldius, p. 212. No. 975. ; and, besides, the tents of Dathan and Abiram, Reubenites, were not in the midst of Israel.


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 11:6". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/deuteronomy-11.html. 1999.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Deuteronomy 11:6 And what he did unto Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, the son of Reuben: how the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their households, and their tents, and all the substance that [was] in their possession, in the midst of all Israel:

Ver. 6. Dathan and Abiram.] Who were Reubenites; and therefore discontented, say the Jewish doctors, because the birthright was taken from Reuben, for his incest, and given to Judah and Joseph. Korah is here, though not mentioned yet, neither excluded nor excused.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 11:6". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/deuteronomy-11.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

In their possession, Heb. at their feet, i.e. under their power, Psalms 8:6, which followed them, or belonged to them.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Deuteronomy 11:6". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/deuteronomy-11.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

6. What he did unto Dathan and Abiram — Korah is not here mentioned, though in Numbers xvi the destruction of Korah and his company is recorded as well as that of Dathan and Abiram. Keil suggests that Korah is omitted out of regard to the feelings of his kindred who were then living. Another suggestion to account for the omission is that the rebellion was sufficiently characterized by the two names Dathan and Abiram. There is the same omission of Korah in Psalms 106:17 : “The earth opened and swallowed up Dathan, and covered the company of Abiram.” Moses is not giving a full history of the misdeeds of the people. Nor does he mention all the rebellions. He is not writing as an annalist, he is talking as a prophet, and he introduces the historical incidents to add force to his admonitions.

The substance… in their possession — Literally, the living thing which was at their feet. Undoubtedly it means all their servants. In Numbers 16:32, all the men that belonged to Korah is the correct rendering of the Hebrew expression, and is analogous to this.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 11:6". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/deuteronomy-11.html. 1874-1909.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Dathan and Abiram. Compare Numbers 16.

substance = living things.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 11:6". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/deuteronomy-11.html. 1909-1922.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(6) What he did unto Dathan and Abiram. . . .—See Numbers 16. It is impossible to separate the rebellion of Korah from that of Dathan and Abiram, and seeing that the whole point of Korah’s rebellion was the priesthood, it is difficult to see how the writer of Deuteronomy could be ignorant of any priesthood save that of the whole tribe of Levi. The object of Koran’s rebellion was to abolish the distinction between a Kohathite and a priest,


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 11:6". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/deuteronomy-11.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And what he did unto Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, the son of Reuben: how the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their households, and their tents, and all the substance that was in their possession, in the midst of all Israel:
he did unto
Numbers 16:1,31-33; 26:9,10; 27:3; Psalms 106:17
substance, or, living substance which followed them
in their possession. Heb. at their feet.

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 11:6". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/deuteronomy-11.html.

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