Numbers chapter 16

Korah’s rebellion.

 


 

KORAH’S REBELLION

 

VERSE 1. Now Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, with Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took some men.

Korah … Dathan and Abiram. These three lead a rebellion.

These three are members of two tribes: Levi, and Reuben. Theirs is a rebellion against Moses.

 

VERSE 2. They rose up before Moses, with some of the children of Israel, two hundred fifty princes of the congregation, called to the assembly, men of renown.

two hundred fifty princes. Korah and Dathan and Abiram recruit 250 of the top leaders as collaborators.

 

VERSE 3. They assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said to them, “You take too much on yourself, since all the congregation are holy, everyone of them, and the LORD is among them! Why do you lift yourselves up above the LORD’s assembly?”

They assembled themselves together. They formed a mob.

all the congregation are holy, everyone of them. This is a truth. All people are equally holy before the LORD God.

Why do you lift yourselves up. They accuse Moses and Aaron of usurping the leadership positions for themselves.

However, they neglect to point out was that it was the LORD God who appointed Moses and Aaron to their offices of leadership.

 

VERSE 4. When Moses heard it, he fell on his face.

he fell on his face. That is, lay on the ground, with face pointing to the ground.

 

VERSE 5. He said to Korah and to all his company, “In the morning, the LORD will show who are his, and who is holy, and will cause him to come near to him. Even him whom he shall choose, he will cause to come near to him.

 

VERSE 6. Do this: have Korah and all his company take censers,

 

VERSE 7. put fire in them, and put incense on them before the LORD tomorrow. It shall be that the man whom the LORD chooses, he shall be holy. You have gone too far, you sons of Levi!”

 

VERSE 8. Moses said to Korah, “Hear now, you sons of Levi!

Hear now, you sons of Levi! Moses confronted the troublemakers. He confronted them in public, and not in private.

Their troublemaking was poisoning the nation. It needed to be stomped out right away. Moses didn’t it fester.

 

VERSE 9. Is it a small thing to you that the God of Israel has separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself, to do the service of the LORD’s tabernacle, and to stand before the congregation to minister to them;

 

VERSE 10. and that he has brought you near, and all your brothers the sons of Levi with you? Do you seek the priesthood also?

 

VERSE 11. Therefore you and all your company have gathered together against the LORD! What is Aaron that you complain against him?”

gathered together against the LORD! In those days, Moses was considered to represent the mind and leadership of the LORD.

So to rebel against Moses was to rebel against the LORD.

In our day, this is referred to as a “Moses” style of leadership.

For churches that practice a “Moses” style of leadership, the pastor is believed to have absolute authority. His whims and preferences are equated with the leading of God.

This is most often seen in small independent churches. But even in liturgical denominations, some bishops act as with a “Moses” style of leadership.

That is a very dangerous type of leadership. It gives way too much authority to the ego of the pastor.

It is absolute power. And it corrupts absolutely.

 

VERSE 12. Moses sent to call Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab; and they said, “We won’t come up!

 

VERSE 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, but you must also make yourself a prince over us?

must also make yourself a prince. Moses and Aaron didn’t put themselves in positions of leadership.

Rather, it was the LORD God who appointed Moses and Aaron to their offices of leadership.

 

VERSE 14. Moreover you haven’t 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 won’t come up.”

you haven’t brought us into a land. They were not permitted to enter the land flowing with milk and honey.

It was their own fault. In Numbers chapter 14, the nation rejected the truthful report from Joshua and Caleb. Instead, they embraced the lies from the ten spies.

 

VERSE 15. Moses was very angry, and said to the LORD, “Don’t respect their offering. I have not taken one donkey from them, neither have I hurt one of them.”

 

VERSE 16. Moses said to Korah, “You and all your company go before the LORD, you, and they, and Aaron, tomorrow.

 

VERSE 17. Each man take his censer and put incense on it, and each man bring before the LORD his censer, two hundred fifty censers; you also, and Aaron, each with his censer.”

take his censer, and put incense on them. A censer is a vessel used for burning incense.

 

VERSE 18. They each took his censer, and put fire in it, and laid incense on it, and stood at the door of the Tent of Meeting with Moses and Aaron.

 

VERSE 19. Korah assembled all the congregation opposite them to the door of the Tent of Meeting. The LORD’s glory appeared to all the congregation.

 

VERSE 20. The LORD spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying,

The LORD spoke to Moses and to Aaron. The LORD God speaks to Moses and Aaron. But not to the rebels.

 

VERSE 21. “Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment!”

 

VERSE 22. They fell on their faces, and said, “God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and will you be angry with all the congregation?”

They fell on their faces. That is, they fell facedown to the ground.

 

VERSE 23. The LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

 

VERSE 24. “Speak to the congregation, saying, ‘Get away from around the tent of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram!’ ”

 

VERSE 25. Moses rose up and went to Dathan and Abiram; and the elders of Israel followed him.

 

VERSE 26. He spoke to the congregation, saying, “Depart, please, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest you be consumed in all their sins!”

 

VERSE 27. So they went away from the tent of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, on every side. Dathan and Abiram came out, and stood at the door of their tents with their wives, their sons, and their little ones.

 

VERSE 28. Moses said, “Hereby you shall know that the LORD has sent me to do all these works; for they are not from my own mind.

they are not from my own mind. The things Moses did and said were not from his own mind. Rather, it was the LORD God working through Moses.

 

VERSE 29. If these men die the common death of all men, or if they experience what all men experience, then the LORD hasn’t sent me.

 

VERSE 30. But if the LORD makes a new thing, and the ground opens its mouth, and swallows them up with all that belong to them, and they go down alive into Sheol, then you shall understand that these men have despised the LORD.”

Sheol. This was thought to be the place of the dead.

 

VERSE 31. As he finished speaking all these words, the ground that was under them split apart.

 

VERSE 32. The earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up with their households, all of Korah’s men, and all their goods.

 

VERSE 33. So they, and all that belonged to them went down alive into Sheol. The earth closed on them, and they perished from among the assembly.

Sheol. This was thought to be the place of the dead.

 

VERSE 34. All Israel that were around them fled at their cry; for they said, “Lest the earth swallow us up!”

 

VERSE 35. Fire came out from the LORD, and devoured the two hundred fifty men who offered the incense.

 

VERSE 36. The LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

 

VERSE 37. “Speak to Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest, that he take up the censers out of the burning, and scatter the fire away from the camp; for they are holy,

 

VERSE 38. even the censers of those who sinned against their own lives. Let them be beaten into plates for a covering of the altar, for they offered them before the LORD. Therefore they are holy. They shall be a sign to the children of Israel.”

 

VERSE 39. Eleazar the priest took the bronze censers which those who were burned had offered; and they beat them out for a covering of the altar,

 

VERSE 40. to be a memorial to the children of Israel, to the end that no stranger who isn’t of the offspring of Aaron, would come near to burn incense before the LORD, that he not be as Korah and as his company; as the LORD spoke to him by Moses.

 

VERSE 41. But on the next day all the congregation of the children of Israel complained against Moses and against Aaron, saying, “You have killed the LORD’s people!”

Complaining is kryptonite to the superpower of our faith. And it is offensive to the LORD God.

Some people are always complaining. Or arguing. Those are destructive habits. They harm the individual. And the community. They need to STOP. Read more »

 

VERSE 42. When the congregation was assembled against Moses and against Aaron, they looked toward the Tent of Meeting. Behold, the cloud covered it, and the LORD’s glory appeared.

 

VERSE 43. Moses and Aaron came to the front of the Tent of Meeting.

 

VERSE 44. The LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

 

VERSE 45. “Get away from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment!” They fell on their faces.

They fell on their faces. That is, they fell facedown to the ground.

 

VERSE 46. Moses said to Aaron, “Take your censer, put fire from the altar in it, lay incense on it, carry it quickly to the congregation, and make atonement for them; for wrath has gone out from the LORD! The plague has begun.”

 

VERSE 47. Aaron did as Moses said, and ran into the middle of the assembly. The plague had already begun among the people. He put on the incense, and made atonement for the people.

 

VERSE 48. He stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed.

He stood between the dead and the living. Aaron is acting as an intermediary.

 

VERSE 49. Now those who died by the plague were fourteen thousand seven hundred, in addition to those who died about the matter of Korah.

 

VERSE 50. Aaron returned to Moses to the door of the Tent of Meeting, and the plague was stopped.

 


next chapter »

« previous chapter


NUMBERS

CHAPTERS: 01, 02, 03, 04, 0506, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 3536

RESOURCES: Summary, Outline, Memorize

Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.