Numbers 16:30
But if the LORD make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain to them, and they go down quick into the pit; then you shall understand that these men have provoked the LORD.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(30) Make a new thing.—Literally, create a creationi.e., do something hitherto unknown.

Into the pit.—Literally, into Sheol.

16:23-34 The seventy elders of Israel attend Moses. It is our duty to do what we can to countenance and support lawful authority when it is opposed. And those who would not perish with sinners, must come out from among them, and be separate. It was in answer to the prayer of Moses, that God stirred up the hearts of the congregation to remove for their own safety. Grace to separate from evil-doers is one of the things that accompany salvation. God, in justice, left the rebels to the obstinacy and hardness of their own hearts. Moses, by Divine direction, when all Israel were waiting the event, declares that if the rebels die a common death, he will be content to be called and counted an imposter. As soon as Moses had spoken the word, God caused the earth to open and swallow them all up. The children perished with their parents; in which, though we cannot tell how bad they might be to deserve it, or how good God might be otherwise to them; yet of this we are sure, that Infinite Justice did them no wrong. It was altogether miraculous. God has, when he pleases, strange punishments for the workers of iniquity. It was very significant. Considering how the earth is still in like manner loaded with the weight of man's sins, we have reason to wonder that it does not now sink under its load. The ruin of others should be our warning. Could we, by faith, hear the outcries of those that are gone down to the bottomless pit, we should give more diligence than we do to escape for our lives, lest we also come into their condemnation.Stood in the door of their tents - Apparently in contumacious defiance. 28-34. Moses said, Hereby ye shall know that the Lord hath sent me to do all these works—The awful catastrophe of the earthquake which, as predicted by Moses, swallowed up those impious rebels in a living tomb, gave the divine attestation to the mission of Moses and struck the spectators with solemn awe. Make a new thing, i.e. do such a work as was never heard before.

Into the pit, i.e. into the grave which God thereby makes. The Hebrew word scheol sometimes signifies hell, and sometimes the grave, as Genesis 37:35 Psalm 55:15.

Have provoked the Lord by making his words and works to be nothing but my devices and artifices. But if the Lord make a new thing,.... Or "create a creation", or "creature" (s), what never was before, or put those persons to a death that none ever in the world died of yet; what that is he means is next expressed:

and the earth open her mouth and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them; their persons, their wives, children and substance:

and they go down quick into the pit; alive into the grave the opening earth makes for them; this is the new thing created; though the Rabbins say (t), the mouth of the earth, or the opening of the earth, was created from the days of the creation, that is, it was determined or decreed so early that it should be:

then ye shall understated that these men have provoked the Lord; by rising up against Moses and Aaron, and so against the Lord; by falsely accusing his servants, and endeavouring to set the people against them, and so alter the constitution of things in church and state.

(s) "creationem, creaverit", Pagninus, Montanus, Munster, Fagius; "creaturam", Vatablus, Drusius. (t) Pirke Abot, c. 5. sect. 6. Pirke Eliezer, c. 19.

But if the LORD make {m} a new thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into {n} the pit; then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the LORD.

(m) Or, show a strange sight.

(n) Or, deep and dark places of the earth.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
30. into the pit] into Sheol, the place of departed human beings. It was thought of as lying beneath the earth, or deep within it.

We are probably to think of the catastrophe as taking place in the form of an earthquake; or possibly the tradition may have grown up as a popular explanation of some deep fissure or chasm in the rocks.

32b. and all the men … their goods] This half verse is the work of the compiler who combined the narratives. Korah’s company of adherents (‘the men that appertained unto K.’) were not swallowed up in the earth; they died afterwards by fire (Numbers 16:35).Verse 30. - Make a new thing. "Create a creation." בְּרִיאָה יִבְרָא. Into the pit. Rather, "into Sheol." שְׁאֹלָה. Septuagint, εἰς ἄδου. Sheol is not "the pit," but Hades, the place of departed spirits (Genesis 37:35; Genesis 42:38), which is regarded, according to the general instinct of mankind, as being "under the earth" (cf. Philippians 2:10 b; Revelation 5:13). They were to go down "quick" into Sheol, because they were still alive at the moment that they were lost to sight for ever. Jehovah then instructed Moses, that the congregation was to remove away (עלה, to get up and away) from about the dwelling-place of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram; and, as we may supply from the context, the congregation fell back from Korah's tent, whilst Dathan and Abiram, possibly at the very first appearance of the divine glory, drew back into their tents. Moses therefore betook himself to the tents of Dathan and Abiram, with the elders following him, and there also commanded the congregation to depart from the tents of these wicked men, and not touch anything they possessed, that they might not be swept away in all their sins.
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