God’s severe judgment on Korah’s crowd

In a book entitled Down to Earth, John Lawrence tells the story of a city that dared God to show Himself and paid a terrible price. It seems that the city of Messina, Sicily, was home to many wicked, irreligious people. On December 25, 1908, a newspaper published in Messina print … More


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 (vv. 23-30). At that time, God would identify His holy servants. 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 (vv. 34-35). 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” (vv. 36-48).  When they counted the corpses, they found that 14,700 people had died because of their foolish rebellion against the Lord (vv. 49-50).

Korah’s story gives us several warnings:

  1. We are not to desire what someone else has.
  2. Don’t try to raise our self esteem by attacking others.
  3. Don’t use God’s Word to get what we want.


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.

Numbers 16:23-50 (English Standard Version)

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