NUMBERS 16
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More trouble occurs in Israel. It is significant that following the nation's revolt at Kadesh (ch. 14), the unnamed disobedient Sabbath-breaker (ch. 15), with a revolt against Yahweh's appointment by the leaders of the ecclesia (ch. 16) that ch. 15 describes the clothing of the Israelites! They were to wear a ribband of blue on their garments, representing the divine Law of Yahweh in which they were to walk. •

The disappointment of the people, the defeat of ch. 14:45, the general murmuring and disturbed state of the nation, became a fruitful ground for sedition. Korah seized the opportunity. Josephus rates this sedition as the most serious of any nation, and describes Korah as prominent, wealthy and a remarkable orator. He was a prominent man in the family of the Kohathites, first cousin to Moses and Aaron. Evidently he was annoyed that Aaron, who was only his equal in rank, should be high priest. 

A revolt was inspired by Korah, who gained the support of Dathan, Abiram and On and others. On perhaps withdrew (v. 12), but further support was gained from 250 princes, from the tribe of Levi (vv. 8, 10). The rebellion spread from this group of rebels until ultimately 14,700 died (v. 49), indicating that the rebellion was widespread. The censors, or fire-pans, had evidently been manufactured especially for the revolt, so that they were ready to take over the priesthood. It is a type of the continuing contest between those of flesh and those of Spirit in the divine worship. • 

The record recounts: [1] A spirit of rebellion is heard: vv. 1-3. They despised the government of Yahweh and the authority of Moses, and promised the people liberty from his administration. In this, they worked against the determination of Yahweh. It is possible for us to repeat the folly of the princes, by ignoring or challenging those who uphold the Truth in its purity, as set out by our pioneer brethren, under the good hand of Yahweh in these latter-days. [2] The challenge of the Levites accepted: vv. 4-11. [3] Dathan and Abiram reject Moses: vv. 12-14. [4] Moses' integrity: v. 15. [5] The contest with Korah: vv. 16-19a. [6] Divine intervention: vv. 19b-21. [7] Intercession: v. 22. [8] Divine judgment: vv. 23-25. [9] Moses' counter-challenge: vv. 26-30. [10] The earth opens: vv. 31-35. [11] The memorial of the altar: vv. 36-40. [12] Further murmuring: vv. 41-43. [13] 14,700 destroyed by plague: vv. 44-50. • Thus the incident which comes immediately after the instruction for the peculiar clothing of the Israelites (ch. 15), constitutes a typical Judgment Seat against the usurpers of divine authority and selection. Let us all beware that we do not act as did Korah out of jealousy for others, for that can lead us into the terrible sin of tale-bearing and rebellion. - Logos.

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Numbers 16


1 [Now Korach ben Yitzhar ben Kehat ben Levi, and Datan and Aviram, the Bnei Eliav, and On ben Pelet, Bnei Reuven, became insolent;]

2 And they rose up before [Moshe], 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 [Moshe] and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and Yahweh is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of Yahweh?

4 And when [Moshe] heard it, he fell upon his face:

5 And he spake unto [Korach] and unto all his company, saying, Even to morrow Yahweh 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, [Korach], and all his company;

7 And put fire therein, and put incense in them before Yahweh to morrow: and it shall be that the man whom Yahweh doth choose, he shall be holy: ye take too much upon you, ye sons of Levi.

8 And [Moshe] said unto [Korach], Hear, I pray you, ye sons of Levi:

9 Seemeth it but a small thing unto you, that the Elohim 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 Yahweh, and to stand before the congregation to minister unto them?

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 Yahweh: and what is Aaron, that ye murmur against him?

12 And [Moshe] sent to call [Dathan and Aviram], the sons of Eliab: which said, We will not come up:

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.

15 And [Moshe] was very wroth, and said unto Yahweh, Respect not thou their offering: I have not taken one ass from them, neither have I hurt one of them.

16 And [Moshe] said unto [Korach], Be thou and all thy company before Yahweh, thou, and they, and Aaron, to morrow:

17 And take every man his censer, and put incense in them, and bring ye before Yahweh 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 [Moshe] and Aaron.

19 And [Korach] gathered all the congregation against them unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and the glory of Yahweh appeared unto all the congregation.

20 And Yahweh spake unto [Moshe] 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 Elohim, the Elohim of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and wilt thou be wroth with all the congregation?

23 And Yahweh spake unto [Moshe], saying,

24 Speak unto the congregation, saying, Get you up from about the tabernacle of [Korach], Dathan, and Abiram.

25 And [Moshe] 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 their's, lest ye be consumed in all their sins.

27 So they gat up from the tabernacle of [Korach], [Datan, and Aviram], on every side: and [Datan and Aviram] came out, and stood in the door of their tents, and their wives, and their sons, and their little children.

28 And [Moshe] said, Hereby ye shall know that Yahweh 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 Yahweh hath not sent me.

30 But if Yahweh 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 Yahweh.

31 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 [Korach], 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 Yahweh, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense.

36 And Yahweh spake unto [Moshe], 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 Yahweh, 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 Yahweh; that he be not as [Korach], and as his company: as Yahweh said to him by the hand of [Moshe].

41 But on the morrow all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against [Moshe] and against Aaron, saying, Ye have killed the people of Yahweh.

42 And it came to pass, when the congregation was gathered against [Moshe] and against Aaron, that they looked toward the tabernacle of the congregation: and, behold, the cloud covered it, and the glory of Yahweh appeared.

43 And [Moshe] and Aaron came before the tabernacle of the congregation.

44 And Yahweh spake unto [Moshe], 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 [Moshe] 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 Yahweh; the plague is begun.

47 And Aaron took as [Moshe] 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 [Korach].

50 And Aaron returned unto [Moshe] unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and the plague was stayed.