Summary of passage: As punishment for the rebellion against Moses (and God), God opened the earth and swallowed up Korah, Dathan, and Abiram and their families. Fire consumed the 250 men. Eleazar son of Aaron was ordered by God to take the censers the 250 men were holding and scatter the coals and hammer out the metal of the censers and lay it upon the altar. This was to remind the Israelites that no one except Aaron’s descendants could burn incense before the Lord.
Still, the Israelites grumbled so God in His glory appeared at the Tent of Meeting. He brought a plague upon the people which only stopped after Aaron offered incense and made atonement for the people. 14, 700 people died.
7a) God opened the earth and swallowed up Korah, Dathan, Abiram, and their families. Fire consumed the 250 men.
b) Moses had seen God’s anger and God’s desire to kill everyone. He had prayed to God to just punish Korah only. I would assume God had told Moses His judgment of Korah ahead of time. Even if not, Moses had a pretty good idea God would punish him.
c) Personal Question. My answer: A bit of extrapolation but ok. Pray more. Read His word more. Be more like Jesus. What I do everyday.
8a) Eleazar son of Aaron was ordered by God to take the censers the 250 men were holding and scatter the coals and hammer out the metal of the censers and lay it upon the altar. This was to remind the Israelites that no one except Aaron’s descendants could burn incense before the Lord.
b) “Grumbled against Moses and Aaron.”
c) Atoned for their sins. Encouraged Moses and Aaron in their leadership role. Obeyed God.
9a) Personal Question. My answer: I sometimes think God gets fed up with us, His creation, and can’t take it anymore. God cares about how you treat Him and His people. You will face judgment for it when you stand before Him.
b) He made atonement for the people to end the plague against them.
c) We are saved completely through Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins and we are forgiven and justified through him. He is our intercessor as Aaron was here–only Jesus is permanent. He stands between the living and the dead.
Conclusions: I hadn’t realized the amount of grumbling in the Bible until this study. Unbelievable! I think if I just witnessed God Himself opening up the earth and swallowing a family and then fire-balling 250 men, I’d have a healthy fear and appreciation of God and His servant, Moses. The personal questions here are lackluster.
End Notes: Our take away should be to stand away from divisive people as well and those who would cause unneeded trouble. The Bible speaks to this is numerous places including Titus 3:10-11 and Romans 16:17-18.
The fact the families paid the price as well shows how sin affects not just you but those around you as well.
The coals were scattered because that was not holy as it was unauthorized; only the objects themselves were.
Moses’ heart once again shines through as he attempts to save the people from God’s wrath and judgment.
Incense is prayer (Revelation 8:3-4) and prayer does make a difference as we dramatically see here. Aaron prayed; killing stopped.
Fun Fact: The Hebrew Bible begins chapter 17 at Numbers 16:36.