¶ Now Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi,
and Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, the son of Peleth, sons
of Reuben, took men:
2 And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown:
3 And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the LORD?
- Korah He and his family had apparently been assigned to produce
music. See the title given in ps04401.
3 - All the congregation are holy We should fear to dishonor those in sacred office.
3 - Congregation ... congregation The words are from two different Hebrew words with similar meanings. The latter may be translated "assembly."
| 4 And when Moses heard
it, he fell upon his face:
.5 And he spake unto Korah and unto all his company, saying, Even to morrow the LORD will shew who are his, and who is holy; and will cause him to come near unto him: even him whom he hath chosen will he cause to come near unto him.
.6 This do; Take you censers, Korah, and all his company;
7 And put fire therein, and put incense in them before the LORD to morrow: and it shall be that the man whom the LORD doth choose, he shall be holy: ye take too much upon you, ye sons of Levi.
.8 And Moses said unto Korah, Hear, I pray you, ye sons of Levi:
9 Seemeth it but a small thing unto you, that the God of Israel hath separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself to do the service of the tabernacle of the LORD, and to stand before the congregation to minister unto them?
- The Lord will show Their rebellion was so strong that they could
not see that they were in error.
7 - Sons of Levi Korah was a son of Levi v1. It was the sons of Levi who had remained faithful after the rebellion of the golden calf ex3226.
9 - Seemeth it but a small thing "Is it too small a thing" (RSV). Compare is0713. All descendants of Levi were Levites. Only sons of Levi who were also sons of Aaron could be priests.
| 10 And he hath brought
thee near to him, and all thy brethren the sons of Levi with thee: and
seek ye the priesthood also?
11 For which cause both thou and all thy company are gathered together against the LORD: and what is Aaron, that ye murmur against him?
|11 - Against the Lord We need to be very careful not to show disrespect to God's appointed leaders even though they sometimes may err like Moses and Aaron. This does not mean that we leave the interpretation of Scripture to them.|
| 12 ¶ And Moses sent to
call Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab: which said, We will not come
13 Is it a small thing that thou hast brought us up out of a land that floweth with milk and honey, to kill us in the wilderness, except thou make thyself altogether a prince over us?
14 Moreover thou hast not brought us into a land that floweth with milk and honey, or given us inheritance of fields and vineyards: wilt thou put out the eyes of these men? we will not come up.
- Dathan and Abiram Moses had already challenged Korah to demonstrate
his supposed calling v5.
12 - Come up This is the term used for a legal summons de2507, jg0404,5. The men rejected the authority of Moses and Aaron.
13 - Milk and honey They probably didn't think of Egypt in these terms when they were there.
| 15 And Moses was very
wroth, and said unto the LORD, Respect not thou their offering: I have
not taken one ass from them, neither have I hurt one of them.
16 And Moses said unto Korah, Be thou and all thy company before the LORD, thou, and they, and Aaron, to morrow:
.17 And take every man his censer, and put incense in them, and bring ye before the LORD every man his censer, two hundred and fifty censers; thou also, and Aaron, each of you his censer.
18 And they took every man his censer, and put fire in them, and laid incense thereon, and stood in the door of the tabernacle of the congregation with Moses and Aaron.
.19 And Korah gathered all the congregation against them unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the congregation.
- Very wroth Rather "very sad." The arrogance against God was hard
for him to witness.
15 - One ass (donkey) Compare 1sa1203.
17 - Before the Lord That is, in the court in front of the tabernacle. They must have remember the story of Nadab and Abihu whose presumption cost them their lives nu0304.
19 - Korah gathered ... against This appears to have been the beginning of a mob.
| 20 And the LORD spake
unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,
.21 Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.
22 And they fell upon their faces, and said, O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and wilt thou be wroth with all the congregation?
|21 - Separate ... I may consume "Curiosity to witness the exciting spectacle attracted a vast concourse of the people, and it would seem that the popular mind had been incited to evil by the clamors of the mutineers against Moses and Aaron. There was something in their behavior very offensive to God; for after His glory had appeared -- as at the installation of Aaron (Le 9:23), so now for his confirmation in the sacred office--He bade Moses and Aaron withdraw from the assembly 'that He might consume them in a moment.'" (JFB)|
| 23 ¶ And the LORD spake
unto Moses, saying,
24 Speak unto the congregation, saying, Get you up from about the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.
25 And Moses rose up and went unto Dathan and Abiram; and the elders of Israel followed him.
26 And he spake unto the congregation, saying, Depart, I pray you, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest ye be consumed in all their sins.
27 So they gat up from the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, on every side: and Dathan and Abiram came out, and stood in the door of their tents, and their wives, and their sons, and their little children.
|24-26 - Speak ... get you up "Moses was attended in the execution of this mission by the elders. The united and urgent entreaties of so many dignified personages produced the desired effect of convincing the people of their crime, and of withdrawing them from the company of men who were doomed to destruction, lest, being partakers of their sins, they should perish along with them." (JFB Commentary)|
| 28 And Moses said, Hereby
ye shall know that the LORD hath sent me to do all these works; for I have
not done them of mine own mind.
29 If these men die the common death of all men, or if they be visited after the visitation of all men; then the LORD hath not sent me.
30 But if the LORD make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit; then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the LORD.
- Moses said ... ye shall know "In the name of the God of Israel,
Moses now declared, in the hearing of the congregation: 'Hereby ye shall
know that the Lord hath sent me to do all these works; for I have not done
them of mine own mind. If these men die the common death of all men, or
if they be visited after the visitation of all men, then the Lord hath
not sent me. But if the Lord make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth,
and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down
quick into the pit, then ye shall understand that these men have provoked
the Lord. The eyes of all Israel were fixed upon Moses as they stood, in
terror and expectation, awaiting the event. As he ceased speaking, the
solid earth parted, and the rebels went down alive into the pit, with all
that pertained to them, and "they perished from among the congregation.'
The people fled, self-condemned as partakers in the sin.
"But the judgments were not ended. Fire flashing from the cloud consumed the two hundred and fifty princes who had offered incense. These men, not being the first in rebellion, were not destroyed with the chief conspirators. They were permitted to see their end, and to have an opportunity for repentance; but their sympathies were with the rebels, and they shared their fate'" (Ellen White, Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 400, 401.)
And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words,
that the ground clave asunder that was under them:
32 And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods.
33 They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation.
34 And all Israel that were round about them fled at the cry of them: for they said, Lest the earth swallow us up also.
35 ¶ And there came out a fire from the LORD, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense.
34 - Lest the earth swallow us They did not regret their sin but feared the consequences.
35 - There came ... fire We may assume God gave time for repentance.
| 36 And the LORD spake
unto Moses, saying,
37 Speak unto Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest, that he take up the censers out of the burning, and scatter thou the fire yonder; for they are hallowed.
38 The censers of these sinners against their own souls, let them make them broad plates for a covering of the altar: for they offered them before the LORD, therefore they are hallowed: and they shall be a sign unto the children of Israel.
39 And Eleazar the priest took the brasen censers, wherewith they that were burnt had offered; and they were made broad plates for a covering of the altar:
40 To be a memorial unto the children of Israel, that no stranger, which is not of the seed of Aaron, come near to offer incense before the LORD; that he be not as Korah, and as his company: as the LORD said to him by the hand of Moses.
| 41 ¶ But
on the morrow all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against
Moses and against Aaron, saying, Ye have killed the people of the LORD.
.42 And it came to pass, when the congregation was gathered against Moses and against Aaron, that they looked toward the tabernacle of the congregation: and, behold, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the LORD appeared.
43 And Moses and Aaron came before the tabernacle of the congregation.
| 44 And the LORD spake
unto Moses, saying,
.45 Get you up from among this congregation, that I may consume them as in a moment. And they fell upon their faces.
46 And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a censer, and put fire therein from off the altar, and put on incense, and go quickly unto the congregation, and make an atonement for them: for there is wrath gone out from the LORD; the plague is begun.
- Get you up Apparently addressing Moses, Aaron, and Eleazar. They
bowed to the ground in reverence.
46 - Take a censer The Hebrew is more specific, "take the censer," Aaron's censer. Incense was for mediation (prayer to God) ps14102, re0805.
| 47 And Aaron took as
Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the congregation; and, behold,
the plague was begun among the people: and he put on incense, and made
an atonement for the people.
.48 And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed.
49 Now they that died in the plague were fourteen thousand and seven hundred, beside them that died about the matter of Korah.
50 And Aaron returned unto Moses unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and the plague was stayed.
|47 - Aaron ... ran See the seriousness of the matter in the next verse.|