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Commentary on Parashat Korach

Bamidbar (Numbers) 16:1–18:32
Korah, the great grandson of Levi (and cousin of Moses and Aaron), led a rebellion against Moses and Aaron. As a descendant of Levi, Korah was part of the tribe chosen by God to perform the holy work in the Mishkan (Tabernacle—God’s dwelling place). He, along with 250 other influential men from within the tribes of Israel, questioned the authority and position of Moses and Aaron.

It is interesting to note that some of the men leading the rebellion alongside Korah were the descendants of Reuben. Recall that Reuben was the oldest of Jacob’s sons, which meant that people looked up to him and revered him as the first-born. Coming from this line surely carried some prestige, especially considering how important the first-born male was to the Hebrew culture of that time! During this time in the desert, perhaps they found themselves somewhat humiliated by being put “under” Moses and Aaron. Wounded pride can lead us to do desperate things if not surrendered to the Lord…

In questioning the authority and position of Moses and Aaron, Korah and his crew were in essence questioning God’s authority; they questioned His right to put those whom He chose in the specific tasks that He desired. Basically, no one was satisfied with the roles that God had chosen! Moses recognized this rebellious spirit within the Levites and challenged it when he said in verse 9:

…is it not enough for you that the God of Israel has separated you from the rest of 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 to them.
Numbers 16:9

Their pride, jealousy, and greed blinded them to what God had given them, which brought about dissatisfaction; they allowed their flesh to take over, desiring more and more, which led them to question God Himself. Their sin was rooted in their pride and rebellious attitude towards the Lord.

On the other hand, we see Moses’s humility when he falls on his face before the Lord (verse 4), making himself low, and grieving for this shameful act. Moses knew very well that he was in such a high position only because of the Lord, and not at all because of himself. Moses also demonstrated the way to handle such situations, not by taking matters into his own hands, but rather allowing God to deal with it:

And Moses said, “By this you shall know that the LORD has sent me to do all these deeds; for this is not my doing.”
Numbers 16:28

At the end of the chapter, we see the severe consequences of rebelling against God. The earth “opened its mouth and swallowed them [Korah and crew] and all that belonged to them.” Not only that, but the Scriptures tell us that they, “…went alive into She’ol” which is the Hebrew word for the place of eternal separation from the Father, where there is much suffering.

My dear brothers and sisters, as we have already learned, Moses is a picture of someone greater to come. Moses was a mediator between the people of Israel and God. As we learned from this story, men questioned Moses’ authority. In fact, those very men ended up in She’ol and suffered eternal separation from God. The correlation between Moses and Messiah Yeshua is undeniable!

This is a timely reminder to keep humble hearts before the Lord, and always seek His perspective. Our lives will be richer because of it!

This article originally appeared on Hope for Israel and is reposted with permission.

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Moran Rosenblit
Moran is the Founder and Executive Director of Hope for Israel, which is a service and resource-providing ministry that aims to bring the hope of the Messiah back to Israel. It is also a resource center for current and timely news updates concerning Israel that provides daily prayer alerts, Bible teachings, and weekly blogs in order to help believers across the world understand what God is doing in the Land, how to pray for Israel and filter everything through the Word of God.

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