Hebrews 3:17

17 And who made God angry for forty years? Wasn’t it the people who sinned, whose corpses lay 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 Remember what it says: “Today when you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled.”
16 And who was it who rebelled against God, even though they heard his voice? Wasn’t it the people Moses led out of Egypt?
17 And who made God angry for forty years? Wasn’t it the people who sinned, whose corpses lay in the wilderness?
18 And to whom was God speaking when he took an oath that they would never enter his rest? Wasn’t it the people who disobeyed him?
19 So we see that because of their unbelief they were not able to enter his rest.