Numbers 16 Study – “Rebellion against Moses and Aaron” – (vv. 1 -35)
Rebellion Against Moses and Aaron
16 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 men; 2 and they rose up before Moses with some of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty leaders of the congregation, representatives of the congregation, men of renown. 3 They gathered together against Moses and Aaron, and said to them, “You [a]take too much upon yourselves, for all the congregation is holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the Lord?”
4 So when Moses heard it, he fell on his face; 5 and he spoke to Korah and all his company, saying, “Tomorrow morning the Lord will show who is His and who is holy,[b] and will cause him to come near to Him. That one whom He chooses He will cause to come near to Him. 6 Do this: Take censers, Korah and all your company; 7 put fire in them and put incense in them before the Lord tomorrow, and it shall be that the man whom the Lord chooses is the holy one. You take too much upon yourselves, you sons of Levi!”
8 Then Moses said to Korah, “Hear now, you sons of Levi: 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 work of the tabernacle of the Lord, and to stand before the congregation to serve them; 10 and that He has brought you near to Himself, you and all your brethren, the sons of Levi, with you? And are you seeking the priesthood also? 11 Therefore you and all your company are gathered together against the Lord. And what is Aaron that you complain against him?”
12 And Moses sent to call Dathan and Abiram the sons of Eliab, but 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 should keep acting like a prince over us? 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!”
15 Then Moses was very angry, and said to the Lord, “Do not [c]respect their offering. I have not taken one donkey from them, nor have I hurt one of them.”
16 And Moses said to Korah, “Tomorrow, you and all your company be present before the Lord—you and they, as well as Aaron. 17 Let each take his censer and put incense in it, and each of you bring his censer before the Lord, two hundred and fifty censers; both you and Aaron, each with his censer.” 18 So every man took his censer, put fire in it, laid incense on it, and stood at the door of the tabernacle of meeting with Moses and Aaron. 19 And Korah gathered all the congregation against them at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. Then the glory of the Lord appeared to all the congregation.
20 And the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, 21 “Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.”
22 Then they fell[d] on their faces, and said, “O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and You be angry with all the congregation?”
23 So the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 24 “Speak to the congregation, saying, ‘Get away from the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.’”
25 Then Moses rose and went to Dathan and Abiram, and the elders of Israel followed him. 26 And he spoke to the congregation, saying, “Depart now from the tents of these wicked men! Touch nothing of theirs, lest you be consumed in all their sins.” 27 So they got away from around the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram; and Dathan and Abiram came out and stood at the door of their tents, with their wives, their sons, and their little children.
28 And Moses said: “By this you shall know that the Lord has sent me to do all these works, for I have not done them of my own will. 29 If these men die naturally like all men, or if they are visited by the common fate of all men, then the Lord has not sent me. 30 But if the Lord creates a new thing, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them up with all that belongs to them, and they go down alive into the pit, then you will understand that these men have rejected the Lord.”
31 Now it came to pass, as he finished speaking all these words, that the ground split apart under them, 32 and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households and all the men with Korah, with all their goods. 33 So they and all those with them went down alive into the pit; the earth closed over them, and they perished from among the assembly. 34 Then all Israel who were around them fled at their cry, for they said, “Lest the earth swallow us up also!”
35 And a fire came out from the Lord and consumed the two hundred and fifty men who were offering incense.
Notes Numbers 16 Study – (vv. 1-35)
16:1-2: Korah ROSE UP BEFORE MOSES … Scripture calls this “the rebellion of Korah” – (Jude 11) … He was a Levite, and therefore a member of the “clergy” … He also influenced two hundred fifty “laity”, who were RULERS OF THE CONGREGATION, CHOSEN MEMEBERS OF THE COUNCIL AND MEN OF NOTE … This was no small -time rebellion …
16:3-4: The rebels accused Moses and Aaron of self-exaltation, the very sin of which they themselves were guilty … Self-exaltation is vainglory, the root of all sins … Moses, on the other hand, fell on his face, for he was the humblest man in all the earth …
It is fine to be praised by another, but not by oneself: “Let your neighbor praise you, and not your own mouth, / A stranger, and not by your own lips” – (Proverbs 27:2) … However, one is tested when praised by others”: “But a man is tested by the mouth of those who praise him” – (Proverbs 27:22) … Korah, however, failed this test, for he “loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” – (John 12:43) …
16:22-24: Moses raised a crucial question before the Lord: “IF ONE MAN SINNED, WILL THE LORD’S ANGER BE ON ALL THE CONGREGATION???” The Lord’s answer was clear: “WITHDRAW FROM AROUND KORAH’S COMPANY …” In other words, the Lord’s answer was, “No … “Furthermore, Korah’s sons were not guilty because of their father’s sin, for they did not perish with him – (Numbers 26:11) …
Moses’ question, the Lords answer, and the longevity of Korah’s sons refute the false doctrine of original sin … This evil doctrine teaches that Adam’s offspring – (all mankind) are guilty before God because of their father’s transgression … This teaching is false because each man is guilty before God for his own transgressions …