Numbers 16:1-24 … ISRAEL REBELS AGAINST THE LEADERSHIP OF MOSES.
Q.1. What motivated the attack on the leadership of Moses? How significant was their threat? – (Num.16:1-4) =
Q.2. Why did the sons of Korah rise up against Moses? How was the leadership issue to be resolved? – (Num.16:5-11) =
Q.3. What was the complaint of Dathan & Abiram against Moses? How did God react to the rebellion? What do we learn from Moses? – (Num.16:12-24) =
16 Now Korah the son of Izhar, son of Kohath, 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 a number of the people of Israel, 250 chiefs of the congregation, chosen from the assembly, well-known men. 3 They assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron and said to them, “You have gone too far! 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?” 4 When Moses heard it, he fell on his face, 5 and he said to Korah and all his company, “In the morning the Lord will show who is his,[a] and who is holy, and will bring him near to him. The one whom he chooses he will bring near to him. 6 Do this: take censers, Korah and all his company; 7 put fire in them and put incense on them before the Lord tomorrow, and the man whom the Lord chooses shall be the holy one. You have gone too far, sons of Levi!” 8 And Moses said to Korah, “Hear now, you sons of Levi: 9 is it too small a thing for you that the God of Israel has separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself, to do service in the tabernacle of the Lord and to stand before the congregation to minister to them, 10 and that he has brought you near him, and all your brothers the sons of Levi with you? And would you seek the priesthood also? 11 Therefore it is against the Lord that you and all your company have gathered together. What is Aaron that you grumble against him?”
12 And Moses sent to call Dathan and Abiram the sons of Eliab, and 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 must also make yourself 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 And Moses was very angry and said to the Lord, “Do not respect their offering. I have not taken one donkey from them, and I have not harmed one of them.”
16 And Moses said to Korah, “Be present, you and all your company, before the Lord, you and they, and Aaron, tomorrow. 17 And let every one of you take his censer and put incense on it, and every one of you bring before the Lord his censer, 250 censers; you also, and Aaron, each his censer.” 18 So every man took his censer and put fire in them and laid incense on them and stood at the entrance of the tent of meeting with Moses and Aaron. 19 Then Korah assembled all the congregation against them at the entrance of the tent of meeting. And the glory of the Lord appeared to all the congregation.
20 And the Lord spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, 21 “Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.” 22 And they fell on their faces and said, “O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and will you be angry with all the congregation?” 23 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 24 “Say to the congregation, Get away from the dwelling of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.”
Q.1. What motivated the attack on the leadership of Moses? How significant was the threat? – (Num.16:1-4) = Moses previously had been challenged by Miriam, Aaron, and the people (c.f. Num.12:1-8; 14:1-4). It appears here, that Korah and his family despised Moses for giving them, as Levites, a less glamorous role. Korah’s father, Izhar, was the next brother of Amram, the father of Moses & Aaron. (c.f. Ex.6:18, 20-21, 24). He claimed that there was nothing special about the Aaronic priesthood who were assigned to deal with the Tabernacle ceremonies, since they were all related to their grandfather, Kohath. Dathan & Abiram were from the tribe of Jacob’s firstborn, Reuben. Perhaps they carried a deep-seated resentment at being passed over as the descendants of the oldest brother (Num.16:1-3). To have an uprising from so many was a real threat, there being – … two hundred and fifty leaders of the congregation, chosen in the assembly, men of renown (Num.16:2).
Q.2. Why did the sons of Korah rise up against Moses? How was the leadership issue to be resolved? – (Num.16:5-11) = The sons of Korah were Levites from the line of the Kohathites, as were Moses and Aaron (Ex. 6:18-24). However, God had given them a menial role. Their role was to support the line of Aaron, as they dealt with the sacrifices and offerings of the Israelites (c.f. Num.3:1-4:49). The Levites were not to approach the most holy things. This instruction was under a threat of death (Num.4:15-20; 18:2-3). It seems that there was a simmering jealousy under the surface. Their argument – … all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is in their midst; so why do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the Lord?… seemed to be reasonable. It gained widespread popular appeal (Num.16:3). Moses ordered a contest which was to be decided by God – Do this: take censers for yourselves, Korah and all your company, and put fire in them, and lay incense upon them in the presence of the Lord tomorrow; and the man whom the Lord chooses shall be the one who is holy. You have gone far enough, you sons of Levi! (Num.16:6-7).
Q.3. What was the complaint of Dathan & Abiram against Moses? How did God react to the rebellion? What do we learn from Moses? – (Num.16:12-24) = The descendants of Reuben accused Moses of bad leadership. God had assigned Moses the responsibility to lead the nation to a land flowing with milk and honey. However, here they were in a barren wilderness (Num.16:12-14). When Moses called on them to join in the contest, they refused his direction. Initially this brought an angry response from Moses (Num.16:15). However, to his great credit, he quickly regained his composure. God told Moses and Aaron to – 21 “Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them instantly.” 22 But they fell on their faces and said, “O God, God of the spirits of all flesh, when one man sins, will You be angry with the entire congregation?” (Num.16:21-22). The Lord then told Moses to separate the people from the dwellings of the rebels. Few would respond as Moses did (Num.16:24). As a godly leader, Moses placed the interests of his people above his own glory and success. That is real leadership.
(Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.) If you have any queries about your readings, check Bible Commentary via sonic light.com or discuss it with your Community Group leader or email firstname.lastname@example.org