Summary: God’s judgment on Korah, Dathan, and Abiram and those who followed them.


In these verses we find that a time of public demonstration was set where Korah and his company were to bring their censers with burning incense before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle. At that time God would show who His holy servants were. As the events of the day unfolded there was no question as to who was master of the day. It was the One whose glory appeared to all the congregation as these rebels gathered the people to the side door of the tabernacle in the presence of Moses and Aaron. God told Moses and Aaron to remove themselves from the congregation, for He would consume the people in a moment. However, because of their plea to spare the people, since Korah was the real instigator of the rebellion, God gave the people another chance.

God warned the Jews to move away from the tents of Korah, Dathan and Abiram; then the earth opened up and swallowed those evil men and their households (vv 31-33). In terror, the people fled, while the 250 rebel princes, holding censers in their hands were consumed with fire. At this point Moses and Aaron hastened to bring an offering of incense as an atonement for the people. But God’s judgment had already begun, so that by the time Aaron had arrived he was standing “between the dead and the living” (v. 48). When they counted the corpses, they found that 14,700 people had died because of their foolish rebellion against the Lord.

It is easy to wonder what was in the hearts of the people who were spared this dreadful judgment. They knew that they were not spared because of faithful or repentant hearts. What is there about the human heart that makes is so easy to follow the crowd and disobey the Lord. God made it very clear that the Jews were to accept their appointed leaders and respect their authority. It is a dangerous thing for people to challenge God’s order and promote themselves to become leaders.


German philosopher Hegel in his introduction to Philosophy of History said, “The one thing we learn from history is that we don’t learn from history.” Lord help me to be a person who can learn from history and the lives of those who have gone before me.

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