1 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?
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 show 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?
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?
12 And Moses sent to call Dathan and Abiram, 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 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.
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?
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.
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.
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 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.
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 brazen 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.
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.
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The Book of Numbers is the fourth book of the Hebrew Bible and the fourth of five books of the Torah. It is named "Numbers" because it begins with a census of the Israelites. The book is a narrative of the Israelites' journey from Mount Sinai to the Promised Land and covers a period of about 40 years. Chapter 16 of the Book of Numbers is a significant chapter that showcases the Israelites' rebellion against Moses and Aaron's leadership. This chapter also highlights the consequences of rebellion and disobedience towards God. In this essay, we will explore the main themes of Chapter 16 and the deeper meaning that it brings.
The chapter begins with the rebellion of Korah, Dathan, Abiram, and On against Moses and Aaron's leadership. These men were from the tribe of Levi, who were chosen by God to assist Aaron and his sons in the tabernacle's service. However, they felt that they deserved more authority and recognition. They gathered 250 leaders of Israel to challenge Moses and Aaron's authority, saying, "You have gone too far! The whole community is holy, every one of them, and the Lord is with them. Why then do you set yourselves above the Lord's assembly?" (Numbers 16:3). This rebellion was not only against Moses and Aaron, but it was also against God, who had appointed them as leaders.
The root cause of this rebellion was pride and discontentment. Korah and his followers believed that they were entitled to more authority and recognition because of their position as Levites. They were not content with the responsibilities that God had given them and wanted more. This attitude of pride and discontentment is a common struggle even in today's society. God has a unique plan and purpose for each one of us, but often we become envious of others and their positions, leading to rebellion against God's will for our lives.
God does not take rebellion and disobedience lightly. He is a just and righteous God who demands obedience and submission to His will. In this chapter, we see the consequences of rebellion against God's chosen leaders. Moses and Aaron fell facedown before God, and the Lord's glory appeared to them (Numbers 16:4). God then instructed Moses to tell the Israelites to move away from Korah, Dathan, and Abiram's tents. The earth opened up and swallowed them and their households, and they went down alive into the realm of the dead (Numbers 16:30). This was a clear example of God's judgment on those who rebelled against His authority and leadership. The rebellion also caused a plague to break out among the Israelites, which resulted in the deaths of 14,700 people (Numbers 16:49).
In the midst of this rebellion and judgment, we see the importance of intercession. Moses and Aaron interceded on behalf of the Israelites, and Aaron even stood between the living and the dead, offering incense to make atonement for the people (Numbers 16:47-48). This act of intercession showed God's mercy and compassion towards His people, even in the face of their rebellion and disobedience. It is a reminder that prayer and intercession can change situations and bring about God's grace and forgiveness.
In this chapter, we see the significance of the censers used for burning incense in the tabernacle. Korah and his followers used the censers to challenge Moses and Aaron's authority, but they were consumed by fire as a sign of God's judgment on their rebellion. However, Moses instructed Eleazar, the son of Aaron, to collect the censers and hammer them into a covering for the altar, as a reminder to the Israelites that no one except Aaron and his descendants could offer incense before the Lord (Numbers 16:37-40). This act symbolizes that only those chosen by God can serve Him and that those who try to usurp this authority will face consequences.
The rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram is more than just a historical account of events. It holds a deeper meaning and significance for our lives today. It serves as a warning against rebellion and disobedience towards God and His chosen leaders. It also highlights the consequences of pride and discontentment, which are the root causes of rebellion. This chapter also emphasizes the importance of intercession and the significance of the censers, which symbolize God's chosen servants.
In conclusion, Chapter 16 of the Book of Numbers is a powerful reminder of the consequences of rebellion and disobedience towards God and His chosen leaders. It also highlights the dangers of pride and discontentment and the importance of intercession and obedience to God's will. This chapter serves as a warning and a lesson for us to submit to God's authority and trust in His plan for our lives. Let us learn from the mistakes of Korah and his followers and strive to be obedient and content in God's will for us.