Hebrews 3:17

17 And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, 1whose bodies fell in the wilderness?

Hebrews 3:17 Meaning and Commentary

Hebrews 3:17

But with whom was he grieved forty years?
&c.] As is said in ( Psalms 95:10 ) , (See Gill on Hebrews 3:10),

was it not with them that had sinned;
not merely by committing personal iniquities, and particular provocations, which all men are guilty of, but by committing public sins; they sinned as a body of men; they joined together in the commission of sin; every sin is grieving to God, because it is contrary to his nature, is an act of enmity to him, is a transgression of his righteous law, and a contempt of his authority; but especially public sins, or the sins of a multitude, and when they are persisted in, which was the case of the Israelites; they sinned against him during the forty years they were in the wilderness; and so long was he grieved with them: the Alexandrian copy reads, "with them that believed not"; which points out the particular sin these men were guilty of, and which was so grieving to God, and suits well with the apostle's design:

whose carcasses fell in the wilderness?
and so never entered into the land of Canaan. They died in the wilderness; and they did not die common and natural deaths, at least not all of them; their deaths were by way of punishment; in a way of wrath; in a judicial way: the Syriac version renders it, "their bones fell in the wilderness"; they lay scattered and unburied, and exposed to view, as an example of divine vengeance, see ( Numbers 14:29 ) .

Hebrews 3:17 In-Context

15 As it is said, "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion."
16 For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses?
17 And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness?
18 And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient?
19 So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.

Cross References 1

  • 1. Numbers 14:29; See Jude 5
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.