Neither murmur you, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Neither murmur ye.—The reference here is to Numbers 16:41-47, and the historical event alluded to—viz., the murmuring of the Israelites against their God-given leaders, Moses and Aaron—is analogous to the murmuring of the Corinthians against their Apostle, St. Paul. It is noticeable that St. Paul attributes the death of the people to the Destroyer—i.e., God’s messenger sent to destroy—while in Numbers they are said to have perished by the “plague.” Every pestilence that swept over nations to purify them was a messenger from God. Thus in Psalm 78:50 God is said to give “their life over to the pestilence,” which in Exodus 12:23 is spoken of as “the destroyer.”
As some of them also murmured - Numbers 14:2. The ground of their complaining was, that they had been disappointed; that they had been brought out of a land of plenty into a wilderness of want; and that instead of being conducted at once to the land of promise, they were left to perish in the desert. They therefore complained of their leaders, and proposed to return again into Egypt.
And were destroyed of the destroyer - That is, they were doomed to die in the wilderness without seeing the land of Canaan; Exodus 14:29. The "destroyer" here is understood by many to mean the "angel of death," so often referred to in the Old Testament, and usually called by the Jews "Sammael." The work of death, however, is attributed to an angel in Exodus 12:23; compare Hebrews 11:28. It was customary for the Hebrews to regard most human events as under the direction of angels. In Hebrews 2:14, he is described as he "that had the power of death;" compare the Book of Wisdom 18:22, 25. The simple idea here, however, is, that they died for their sin, and were not permitted to enter the promised land,
destroyed—fourteen thousand seven hundred perished.
the destroyer—THE same destroying angel sent by God as in Ex 12:23, and 2Sa 24:16.Exodus 15:24 16:7,8 17:3 Numbers 14:27 16:11,41. The apostle may either refer to all their murmurings, when he saith they
were (as the punishment of their sin) destroyed of the destroyer, or to that more universal murmuring upon the ill report the spies brought up of the land of Canaan, of which we read, Numbers 14:1-45.
as some of them also murmured: as against the Lord, so against Moses and Aaron. The people of Israel were very prone unto, and often guilty of this sin; but what the apostle here has respect unto, is either their murmuring upon the report the spies made of the good land, in Numbers 14:1, or that of Korah and his company against Moses and Aaron, as principal officers, who were for setting all upon a level; and of all the people against them, for the death of these men, Numbers 16:1,
and were destroyed of the destroyer; meaning either some judgment of God upon them, as the earth's opening and swallowing up Korah and all that belonged unto him; and the fire that came down from heaven, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense; and the plague which swept away fourteen thousand and seven hundred of those that murmured against Moses and Aaron, on the account of the death of the said persons; and any other judgment by which the carcasses of those fell in the wilderness, that murmured upon the report of the spies; or else since angels were usually employed by God, in inflicting such judgments, by the destroyer may be meant an angel, such an one as smote the firstborn in Egypt, and bears the same name, Hebrews 11:28 and as smote Israel with a pestilence upon David's numbering the people, and was about to have destroyed Jerusalem, had he not been restrained, 2 Samuel 24:15 and as, smote an hundred fourscore and five thousand in the camp of the Assyrians, in one night, 2 Kings 19:35. So that though an angel may be intended, it is not necessary, on account of the character given him, to understand an evil angel; it is true indeed, that Satan is by the Jews (a) called "the destroyer"; and Samuel, the same with Satan, is called "the angel of death"; to which the allusion is in Hebrews 2:14 and evil angels are frequently styled , "destroying angels" (b); as distinct from ministering ones, and to which some think the apostle here refers.Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)1 Corinthians 10:10. Nor murmur, etc.; expression of contumacious discontent (Matthew 20:11; Php 2:14), without right or reason. Against whom? is discovered from the narrative, to which Paul here refers us. That this is to be found not in Numbers 14 (the more common view), but in Numbers 16:41; Numbers 16:49 (Calvin, de Wette, Osiander, Neander, Maier, Ewald), is clear, in the first place, because ἀπώλλ. ὑπὸ τ. ὀλοθρ. denotes a violent death, which does not tally with Numbers 14; and, in the second, because τινὲς αὐτῶν cannot apply to the whole people (except Caleb and Joshua), which it would have to do according to Numbers 14. If, however, what Paul has here in view is the murmuring against Moses and Aaron after the death of Korah and his company (Numbers 16:41; Numbers 16:49), then his prohibition must refer not to discontent against God (which was, moreover, referred to already in 1 Corinthians 10:9), but only to murmuring against the divinely commissioned teachers (Paul, Apollos, and others), who, in their position and authoritative exercise of discipline, corresponded to the type of Moses and Aaron as the theocratic leaders and teachers of the rebellious people. And it is for this reason that he uses the second person here, although the first both precedes and follows it. Amidst the self-conceit and frivolity which were so rife at Corinth, and under the influences of the party-spirit that prevailed, there could not fail to be perverse dispositions of the kind indicated, which would find abundant expression. Comp the evils prevalent in the same community at a later date, against which Clement contends in his epistle.
ἀπώλλ. ὑπὸ τ. ὀλοθρ.] namely, the 14,700, whose destruction (Numbers 16:46 ff.) is ascribed to the plague (מַגֵּפָף) of God. Paul defines this more closely as wrought by the Destroyer (Hesychius, ΛΥΜΕΏΝ), who is the executor of the divine plague, just as in Exodus 12:23 the מַשְׁחִית executes the plague (נגף) of God,—this personal rendering of משׁחית (according to others, pernicies), which was the traditional one from the earliest times among Jews and Christians alike, being followed by the apostle also. The ὈΛΟΘΡΕΥΤΉς (Ὁ ὈΛΟΘΡΕΎΩΝ, Exodus 12:23; Hebrews 11:28; Wis 18:25. Comp 2 Samuel 24:16; Isaiah 37:36; Job 33:22, al; Acts 12:23) is the angel commissioned by God to carry out the slaughter; and he again is neither to be conceived of as an evil angel (a conception still foreign to the old Hebrew theology in general; see also 1 Chronicles 21:12; 2 Chronicles 32:21; 2Ma 15:22-23), nor rationalized into a pestilence. The Rabbinical doctrine of the מלאך המות (see Eisenmenger, entdecktes Judenth. I. p. 854 ff.) developed itself out of the Hebrew idea.
Ὀλοθρεύω, and the words formed from it, belong to the Alexandrian Greek. See Bleek on Heb. II. p. 809. But the reading ὈΛΕΘΡ., although in itself more correct, is very weakly attested here.
 l. and others; and other passages; and other editions.10. Neither murmur ye] See Exodus 16:2; Exodus 17:2; Numbers 14:2-29; Numbers 16:41.
of the destroyer] The angel of death. Cf Exodus 12:23, Wis 18:25, where nearly the same Greek word is used in the Septuagint as here. Cf. also Genesis 19; 2 Samuel 24:16; 1 Chronicles 21:12; 1 Chronicles 21:15-16; 1 Chronicles 21:20; 2 Kings 19:35; 2 Chronicles 32:21; Acts 12:23. Estius concludes from Judges 5, 9, that this was the Archangel Michael, but the passage does not seem to warrant the conclusion.1 Corinthians 10:10. Μηδὲ γογγύζετε, do not murmur) comp. 1 Corinthians 10:22. Moses and Aaron were the secondary objects of murmuring in the Old Testament.—ἐγόγγυσαν, murmured) Numbers 16:41. With Moses, murmuring preceded the temptation; but Paul places murmuring after the temptation in the last place, as being most like to that sin, into which the Corinthians were liable to fall. He who is weaker [than the Lord], ought not to murmur; comp. 1 Corinthians 10:22; Exodus 16:8; Exodus 16:10, at the end of the ver.—ἀπώλοντο, perished) ibid. 10:49.—ὀλοθρευτοῦ, destroyer) Comp. Wis 18:22; Wis 18:25; Hebrews 11:28, note.Verse 10. - Neither murmur ye (Numbers 14:2, 29; Numbers 16:41, 49). The Corinthians were at this time murmuring against their teacher and apostle. Of the destroyer. All plagues and similar great catastrophes, as well as all individual deaths, were believed by the Jews to be the work of an angel whom they called Sammael (see Exodus 12:23; 2 Samuel 24:16; Job 33:22; 2 Macc. 15:22). In the retribution narrated in Numbers 16:41, etc., fourteen thousand seven hundred perished.
See on John 6:41.
The destroyer (τοῦ ὀλοθρευτοῦ)
The destroying angel, who is called ὁ ὀλοθρεύων, Exodus 12:23.
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