Bamidbar (Numbers): Korach > Ch 16

Korah, Dathan, Abiram and 250 reputable men challenge Moses’s and Aaron’s unique authority to serve G-d in the Holy of Holies

  • Korah the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi took [himself to one side] along with Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On the son of Peleth, descendants of Reuben. They confronted Moses together with 250 men from the children of Israel, chieftains of the congregation, representatives of the assembly, men of repute. They assembled against Moses and Aaron, and said to them, "You take too much upon yourselves, for the entire congregation are all holy, and the Lord is in their midst. So why do raise yourselves above the Lord's assembly?"


Moses tries to talk them out of it but they don’t listen. He then tells them to go before G-d.

  • Moses heard and fell on his face. He spoke to Korah and to all his company, saying, "In the morning, the Lord will make known who is His, and who is holy, and He will draw [them] near to Him, and the one He chooses, He will draw near to Him. Do this, Korah and his company: Take for yourselves censers. Place fire into them and put incense upon them before the Lord tomorrow, and the man whom the Lord chooses he is the holy one; you have taken too much upon yourselves, sons of Levi."
  • Moses said to Korah, "Please listen, sons of Levi. Is it not enough that the G-d of Israel has distinguished you from the congregation of Israel to draw you near to Him, to perform the service in the Mishkan of the Lord and to stand before the congregation to minister to them? He drew you near, and all your brothers, the sons of Levi with you, and now you seek the kehunah as well? Therefore, you and your entire company who are assembled are against the Lord, for what is Aaron that you should complain against him?"
  • Moses sent to call Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, but they said, "We will not go up. Is it not enough that you have brought us out of a land flowing with milk and honey to kill us in the desert, that you should also exercise authority over us? You have not even brought us to a land flowing with milk and honey, nor have you given us an inheritance of fields and vineyards. Even if you gouge out the eyes of those men, we will not go up." Moses was exceedingly distressed, and he said to the Lord, "Do not accept their offering. I have not taken a donkey from a single one of them, and I have not harmed a single one of them."
  • Moses said to Korah, "You and your entire congregation should be before the Lord you, they, and Aaron tomorrow. Let each man take his censer and place incense upon it, and let each man present his censer before the Lord; [there will thus be] two hundred and fifty censers, and let you and Aaron each [take] his censer. So each man took his censer, and they put fire upon it and placed incense upon it, and they stood at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting with Moses and Aaron.


G-d wants to destroy the entire congregation but Moses & Aaron beg Him for forgiveness and G-d spares the Israelites.

  • Korah assembled all the congregation against them at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of the Lord appeared before the entire congregation. The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron saying, "Dissociate yourselves from this congregation, and I will consume them in an instant.” They fell on their faces and said, "O G-d, the G-d of the spirits of all flesh, if one man sins, shall You be angry with the whole congregation?"


G-d tells the congregation to move away from Korah, Dathan & Abiram. Earth swallows the 3 sinners, their families & their houses. G-d’s fire kills the 250 men who were with them.

  • The Lord spoke to Moses saying, "Speak to the congregation saying, 'Withdraw from the dwelling of Korah, Dathan and Abiram.'" Moses arose and went to Dathan and Abiram, and the elders of Israel followed him. He spoke to the congregation saying, "Please get away from the tents of these wicked men, and do not touch anything of theirs, lest you perish because of all their sins. So they withdrew from around the dwelling of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, and Dathan and Abiram went out standing upright at the entrance of their tents together with their wives, their children, and their infants. Moses said, "With this you shall know that the Lord sent me to do all these deeds, for I did not devise them myself. If these men die as all men die and the fate of all men will be visited upon them, then the Lord has not sent me. But if the Lord creates a creation, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them and all that is theirs, and they descend alive into the grave, you will know that these men have provoked the Lord."
  • As soon as he finished speaking all these words, the earth beneath them split open. The earth beneath them opened its mouth and swallowed them and their houses, and all the men who were with Korah and all the property. They, and all they possessed, descended alive into the grave; the earth covered them up, and they were lost to the assembly. All the Israel who were around them fled from their cries, for they said, "Lest the earth swallow us up [too]!" A fire came forth from the Lord and consumed the 250 men who had offered up the incense.


 

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