2

In Numbers 16:14, the question is asked "would you bore out the eyes of those men" could this reference the imperfections of Moses and Aaron that the assembly could see?

1

Numbers 16 describes Korah’s Rebellion. Let's see the context:

1 Now Korah the son of Izhar, son of Kohath, son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram the sons of Eliab, and On the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men. 2And they rose up before Moses, with a number of the people of Israel, 250 chiefs of the congregation, chosen from the assembly, well-known men. 3They assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron and said to them, “You have gone too far! For all in the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the LORD?”

The Israelites accused Moses of basically being a dictator. Then Moses arranged for a test or proof of his words, i.e., God's words. They refused to participate. Again, they accused Moses of being a dictator:

12 And Moses sent to call Dathan and Abiram the sons of Eliab, and they said, “We will not come up. 13 Is it a small thing that you have brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honey, to kill us in the wilderness, that you must also make yourself a prince over us?

They complained of Moses' broken promises:

14 Moreover, you have not brought us into a land flowing with milk and honey, nor given us inheritance of fields and vineyards. Will you put out the eyes of these men? We will not come up.”

They were saying: Would you take out our eyes and blind us so that we would follow you blindly?

GOD'S WORD® Translation

Certainly you haven't brought us into a land flowing with milk and honey or given us any fields and vineyards to own. Do you think you can still pull the wool over our eyes? We won't come."

The truth is that they didn't want to follow God, so they rejected Moses, God's spokesman.

Exodus 16:8

Moses also said, "You will know that it was the LORD when he gives you meat to eat in the evening and all the bread you want in the morning, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we? You are not grumbling against us, but against the LORD."

In Numbers 16:14, the question is asked "would you bore out the eyes of those men" could this reference the imperfections of Moses and Aaron that the assembly could see?

No, it was not really about Moses or Aaron. Deep down, it was about their refusal to follow God.

1

This is a tricky idiom to interpret with no shortage of various suggestion as to its meaning. The key is the context.

Korah, Dathan and Abiram questioned the leadership of Moses and Aaron on the basis that they had not been given a land flowing with milk and honey but were confined to a waterless desert. They claimed to be just "as holy" as Moses and Aaron and so just as deserving of leadership (Num 16:3).

When summoned (Num 16:12) they refused to come and replied with the main charge in V14:

Moreover, you have not brought us into a land flowing with milk and honey or given us an inheritance of fields and vineyards.

That is, you deprived us of a good land and now given us a desert, and with promises that were never fulfilled. They summarize this accusation with the idiom in the same v14

Will you gouge out the eyes of these men?

That is, will you blind is with empty promises? or similar. Note the following commentaries:

Cambridge Commentary:

  1. wilt thou bore out the eyes of these men?] A strong figure which means, metaphorically, to blind them by false promises. Gray (Numb. p.
  1. compares the English expression ‘to throw dust in the eyes.’

Pulpit Commentary:

Verse 14. - Moreover thou hast not brought us. According to the promises (they meant to say) by which he had induced them to leave their comfortable homes in Egypt (Exodus 4:30, 31). Wilt thou put out the eyes of these men? i.e., wilt thou blind them to the utter failure of thy plans and promises? wilt thou throw dust in their eyes? Numbers 16:14

Barnes:

Wilt thou put out the eyes of these men? - i. e. "blind them to the fact that you keep none of your promises;" "throw dust in their eyes."

Gill:

we will not come up; we are determined not to obey thee, but to shake off the yoke, let our punishment be what it will; or figuratively, dost thou take us for blind persons, whose eyes thou hast put out, and think to lead us at thy pleasure? or dost thou cast a mist before the eyes of this whole congregation, that they are not able to see through thy designs? are the people so bewitched by them, as not to see thy deceits and impostures? pretending to bring them into a land flowing with milk and honey, which thou art not able to do, and now sayest that thou hast a message from God to return again towards the Red sea, and talkest of our posterity inheriting the land forty years hence; who is it that cannot see through all this? Aben Ezra thinks, by "these men" are meant the elders that were with Moses, whom he led as he pleased, and so blinded them with his delusions, as these pretended, that they could not see through them.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.