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Abiram, Korah, and Dathan led a revolt against Moses. While Korah had a faithful following of 250 men, all three of these men held leadership roles in the Hebrew community. Yet Korah, a Levite, and the two brothers, Abiram and Dathan (from the tribe of Reuben), were jealous of Moses’ unique leadership and the special relationship he shared with God. They envied Aaron’s position as priest to the people. This led them to incite the people to rebel against Moses and grumble against Aaron. Their charge:
“For all in the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the LORD?” (Numbers 16:3 ESV).
They failed to find contentment in what God had already given them, complaining instead that they wanted more. Though Moses and Aaron interceded for these rebellious people (Numbers 16:22), God caused the earth to open underneath the three men, their families, and some of their followers. The remaining followers of Korah were destroyed by fire from heaven (Numbers 16:35).
Even after witnessing this supernatural execution, the people were slow to refocus their devotion to God and His appointed leaders—Moses and Aaron. Less than twenty-four hours later, the people of Israel rallied against Moses and Aaron and blamed them for the dramatic death of their popular community leaders. God acted again, sending a plague to strike down the entire assembly of people. When Moses and Aaron intervened on behalf of the people, God stopped the plague—but by that time it had already killed nearly fifteen thousand.
It’s not every day the earth swallows up rebellious people. God clearly wanted to make a statement when He chose this as the punishment for Korah, Abiram, and Dathan. These three men, their families, and their followers reaped an unusual, but deserved, judgment for their insolence against God and Moses
These rebels, particularly Dathan and Korah, became symbols and archetypes of rebellious behavior throughout Israel’s history. (See Numbers 26:9–10; Deuteronomy 11:6; Psalm 106:17.)
- This reply was modified 9 months, 3 weeks ago by Bukola.