Psalm 106:16
They envied Moses also in the camp, and Aaron the saint of the LORD.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(16-18) The poet has Numbers 16, 17 in his mind.

(16) Saint.—The holy one. The complaint of the disaffected party was that Moses and Aaron usurped this title, which belonged to all the congregation (Numbers 16:3-5).

Psalm 106:16-18. They envied Moses also — His authority; in the camp — As generalissimo of the armies of Israel, and chief justice in all their courts; and Aaron — They envied him his power, as high-priest, on account of his consecration to which office he is here termed the saint of the Lord, and not on account of his inherent holiness, of which, undoubtedly, Moses had a greater share. Hereby the psalmist intimates, that their envy and rebellion were not only against Aaron, but against God himself. The earth swallowed up Dathan — With his company, Numbers 16. A fire was kindled in their company — Among their associates or confederates, those wicked men, as he calls them in the next clause, namely, Korah and his company, who were consumed by a fire from the Lord, Numbers 16:35.106:13-33 Those that will not wait for God's counsel, shall justly be given up to their own hearts' lusts, to walk in their own counsels. An undue desire, even for lawful things, becomes sinful. God showed his displeasure for this. He filled them with uneasiness of mind, terror of conscience, and self-reproach. Many that fare deliciously every day, and whose bodies are healthful, have leanness in their souls: no love to God, no thankfulness, no appetite for the Bread of life, and then the soul must be lean. Those wretchedly forget themselves, that feast their bodies and starve their souls. Even the true believer will see abundant cause to say, It is of the Lord's mercies that I am not consumed. Often have we set up idols in our hearts, cleaved to some forbidden object; so that if a greater than Moses had not stood to turn away the anger of the Lord, we should have been destroyed. If God dealt severely with Moses for unadvised words, what do those deserve who speak many proud and wicked words? It is just in God to remove those relations that are blessings to us, when we are peevish and provoking to them, and grieve their spirits.They envied Moses also in the camp - They were envious of him, or rebelled against him, as assuming too much authority. See Numbers 16:1-2. The reference here is rather to the "result" of that envy in producing rebellion than to the envy itself. It is true, however, that the foundation of their opposition to him "was" envy.

And Aaron the saint of the Lord - That is, as set apart to the service of the Lord; or, as employed in holy things. The reference is to his "office," not to his personal character.

16-18. All the congregation took part with Dathan, Korah, &c., and their accomplices (Nu 16:41).

Aaron the saint—literally, "the holy one," as consecrated priest; not a moral attribute, but one designating his office as holy to the Lord. The rebellion was followed by a double punishment: (1) of the non-Levitical rebels, the Reubenites, Dathan and Abiram, &c. (De 11:6; Nu 26:10); these were swallowed up by the earth.

16 They envied Moses also in the camp, and Aaron the saint of the Lout).

17 The earth opened and swallowed up Dathan, and covered the company of Abiram.

18 And a fire was kindled in their company; the flame burned up the wicked.

Psalm 106:16

"They envied Moses also in the camp." Though to him as the Lord's chosen instrument they owed everything they grudged him the authority which it was needful that he should exercise for their good. Some were more openly rebellious than others, and became leaders of the mutiny, but a spirit of dissatisfaction was general, and therefore the whole nation is charged with it. Who can hope to escape envy when the meekest of men was subject to it? How unreasonable was this envy, for Moses was the one man in all the camp who laboured hardest and had most to bear. They should have sympathised with him; to envy him was ridiculous. "And Aaron the saint of the Lord." By divine choice Aaron was set apart to be holiness unto the Lord, and instead of thanking God that he had favoured them with a high priest by whose intercession their prayers would be presented, they cavilled at the divine election, and quarrelled with the man who was to offer sacrifice for them. Thus neither church nor state was ordered aright for them; they would snatch from Moses his sceptre, and from Aaron his mitre. It is the mark of bad men that they are envious of the good, and spiteful against their best benefactors.

Psalm 106:17

"The earth opened and swallowed up Dathan, and covered the company of Abiram." Korah is not mentioned, for mercy was extended to his household, though he himself perished. The earth could no longer bear up under the weight of these rebels and ingrates: God's patience was exhausted when they began to assail his servants, for his children are very dear to him, and he that toucheth them touches the apple of his eye. Moses had opened the sea for their deliverance, and now that they provoke him, the earth opens for their destruction. It was time that the nakedness of their sin was covered, and that the earth should open her mouth to devour those who opened their mouths against the Lord and his servants.

Psalm 106:18

"And a fire was kindled in their company; the flame burned up the wicked." The Levites who were with Korah perished by fire, which was a most fitting death for those who intruded into the priesthood, and so offered strange fire. God has more than one arrow in his quiver, the fire can consume those whom the earthquake spares. These terrible things in righteousness are mentioned here to show the obstinacy of the people in continuing to rebel against the Lord. Terrors were as much lost upon them as mercies had been; they could neither be drawn nor driven.

So called here, not so much for his inherent holiness, whereof Moses had a greater share, but because he was consecrated or set apart by God for that sacred office of the priesthood, in which respect all the priests are said to be holy, Leviticus 21:6-8. Hereby he intimates that their envy and rebellion was not only against Aaron, but against God himself. They envied Moses also in the camp,.... That he should be generalissimo there, have the sole command of the people, and be their leader and chief magistrate. Gifts qualifying men for civil government are from the Lord, and these commonly draw the envy of others upon them; who, though they pretend patriotism and the good of their country, yet seek themselves; and would be in the places of those they envy and speak against; which was the case of Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Reuben, who thought themselves as fit, and had a better right, as being the sons of Jacob's firstborn, to command, than Moses.

And Aaron the saint of the Lord; who was not only a holy good man, but was separated from his brethren, sanctified, and put into the priest's office, and this drew upon him the envy of many of the Levites, at the head of whom was Korah, a Levite; these envied that he should be the high priest, and that this office should be restrained to his family; now the envy to each of these is ascribed to the whole body of the people, though discovered only in some, because it was not opposed by them; see Numbers 16:1.

They envied Moses also in the camp, and Aaron the saint of the LORD.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
16. the saint of the Lord] The holy one of Jehovah, specially set apart and consecrated to His service. The malcontents alleged that all the congregation were holy, and Moses answered that Jehovah would shew who were His, and who were holy (Numbers 16:3-7).

16–18. A third sin; jealousy of the authority of Moses and Aaron (Numbers 16).Verse 16. - They envied Moses also in the camp. The writer passes now to the sin of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, with their followers, which was "envy" or jealousy of the high position assigned by God himself (Exodus 3:10; Exodus 4:1-17) to Moses and Aaron (comp. Numbers 16:1-3). These "gainsayers" (Jude 1:11) maintained that they had as much right to be priests as Moses and Aaron, since "all the congregation was holy" (Numbers 16:3). And Aaron the saint of the Lord; or, the holy one. It is rather Aaron's official sanctity (Leviticus 8:2-12) than his personal holiness that is intended. (Compare the use of the phrase "man of God" in 1 Kings 13:1, 4, 6, etc.) The key-note of the vidduj, which is a settled expression since 1 Kings 8:47 (Daniel 9:5, cf. Bar. 2:12), makes itself heard here in Psalm 106:6; Israel is bearing at this time the punishment of its sins, by which it has made itself like its forefathers. In this needy and helpless condition the poet, who all along speaks as a member of the assembly, takes the way of the confession of sin, which leads to the forgiveness of sin and to the removal of the punishment of sin. רשׁע, 1 Kings 8:47, signifies to be, and the Hiph. to prove one's self to be, a רשׁע. עם in Psalm 106:6 is equivalent to aeque ac, as in Ecclesiastes 2:16; Job 9:26. With Psalm 106:7 the retrospect begins. The fathers contended with Moses and Aaron in Egypt (Exodus 5:21), and gave no heed to the prospect of redemption (Exodus 6:9). The miraculous judgments which Moses executed (Exodus 3:20) had no more effect in bringing them to a right state of mind, and the abundant tokens of loving-kindness (Isaiah 63:7) amidst which God redeemed them made so little impression on their memories that they began to despair and to murmur even at the Red Sea (Exodus 14:11.). With על, Psalm 106:7, alternates בּ (as in Ezekiel 10:15, בּנהר); cf. the alternation of prepositions in Joel 3:8. When they behaved thus, Jahve might have left their redemption unaccomplished, but out of unmerited mercy He nevertheless redeemed them. Psalm 106:8-11 are closely dependent upon Exodus 14. Psalm 106:11 is a transposition (cf. Psalm 34:21; Isaiah 34:16) from Exodus 14:28. On the other hand, Psalm 106:9 is taken out of Isaiah 63:13 (cf. Wisd. 19:9); Isaiah 63:7-64:12 is a prayer for redemption which has a similar ground-colouring. The sea through which they passed is called, as in the Tפra, ים־סוּף, which seems, according to Exodus 2:3; Isaiah 19:3, to signify the sea of reed or sedge, although the sedge does not grow in the Red Sea itself, but only on the marshy places of the coast; but it can also signify the sea of sea-weed, mare algosum, after the Egyptian sippe, wool and sea-weed (just as Arab. ṣûf also signifies both these). The word is certainly Egyptian, whether it is to be referred back to the Egyptian word sippe (sea-weed) or seebe (sedge), and is therefore used after the manner of a proper name; so that the inference drawn by Knobel on Exodus 8:18 from the absence of the article, that סוּף is the name of a town on the northern point of the gulf, is groundless. The miracle at the sea of sedge or sea-weed - as Psalm 106:12 says - also was not without effect. Exodus 14:31 tells us that they believed on Jahve and Moses His servant, and the song which they sang follows in Exodus 15. But they then only too quickly added sins of ingratitude.
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