Torah Moshe 4 Bamidbar / Numbers Chapter 16

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Parashah 38: Korach (baldness) 16:1-18:32

the Israelite people come dangerously close to splitting apart. A man named Korach leads a group of followers to challenge Moshe and Aharon’s leadership.

Yehudah 11 Woe to them, in that they have walked the road of Kayin, they have given themselves over for money to the error of Bil'am, they have been destroyed in the rebellion of Korach.

16:1(i) Korach Rebels  

Vayikakh Korach Ben-Yitzhar Ben-Kehat Ben-Levi ve Datan va Aviram Benei EliAv ve On Ben-Pelet Benei Reuven :

And  Korach Ben-Yitzhar Ben-Kehat Ben-Levi , and Datan and Aviram Benei EliAv, and On Ben-Pelet Benei Reuven, spoke;


Vayakumu lifnei Moshe vaanashim mibnei-Yisrael khamishim umatayim nesiei edah keriei moed anshei-shem:

And they rose up before Moshe, with a number of the people of Yisrael, 250 leaders of the congregation, chosen from the assembly, well-known men.

16:3  They gathered together against Moshe and Aharon, and said to them,

"You take too much upon yourselves, for Kol haEdah is set apart, every one of them, and ADONAI is among them.

Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of ADONAI?"

Moshe settle the matter : take fire pans (censors)

16:4 וישׁמע משׁה ויפל על־פניו׃

Vayishma Moshe vayipol al-panav.

And when Moshe heard [it], he fell upon his face:

16:5 And he spoke to Korach and to all his company, saying: Even tomorrow ADONAI will show who [are] His, and [who is] set apart; and will cause [him] to come near to Him: That one whom HE chooses He will causes to come near to HIMKiv-Int-link.gif

16:6 זאת עשׂו קחו־לכם מחתות קרח וכל־עדתו׃

Zot asu kechu-lachem machtot Korach vechol-adato.

Do this: take fire pans (censors), Korach and all his company;

16:7 put fire in them and put incense in them before ADONAI tomorrow, and it shall be that the man whom ADONAI chooses is the Set Apart one. You take too much upon yourselves, you benai Levi!"

16:8 And Moshe said to Korach, "Hear now, you benai Levi:

16:9 Is it a small thing to you that the Elohim (אלהים) of Yisra'el has separated you from the congregation of Yisra'el, to bring you near to Himself, to do the work of the mishkan ADONAI, and to stand before the congregation to serve them;

16:10  and that He has brought you near to Himself, you and all your brethren, Benai Levi, with you? And are you seeking the Kehunah also?

16:11 Therefore you and all your company are gathered together against ADONAI. And what is Aharon that you complain against him?"

16:12  וַיִּשְׁלַ֣ח מֹשֶׁ֔ה לִקְרֹ֛א לְדָתָ֥ן וְלַאֲבִירָ֖ם בְּנֵ֣י אֱלִיאָ֑ב וַיֹּאמְר֖וּ לֹ֥א נַעֲלֶֽה׃

Vayishlach Moshe likro leDatan ve laAviram benei Eliav vayomru "Lo naaleh!":

And Moshe sent to call Datan and Aviram, sons of Eliav: which said, We will not come up:

16:13 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?

16:14 (ii) Moshe accused :

Rebels approach Almighty with unauthorised fire

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."

16:15 And Moshe was very angry, and said to ADONAI, "Do not respect their offering. I have not taken one donkey from them, and I have not harmed one of them."

16:16 And Moshe said to Korach: Be you and all your company before ADONAI, you, and they, and Aharon, tomorrow:

16:17 And take every man his censer, and put incense in them, and bring you before ADONAI every man his censer, two hundred and fifty fire pans (censors); you also, and Aharon, each [of you] his censer.

16:18 And they took every man his censer, and put fire in them, and laid incense thereon, and stood in the entrance of the Oleh Moed with Moshe and Aharon.

16:19 And Korach gathered all the congregation against them to the entrance of the Oleh Moed: and the glory of ADONAI appeared to all the congregation.

16:20 (iii) Elohim Defends:

The earth devours the enemies of ADONAI

And Adonai spoke to Moshe and to Aharon, saying:


Hibadlu mitokh haeda hazot vaakhaleh otam keraga:

"Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment."

16:22 ויפלו על־פניהם ויאמרו אל אלהי הרוחת לכל־בשׂר האישׁ אחד יחטא ועל כל־העדה תקצף׃

Vayiplu al-pneihem vayomeru el Elohei haruchot lechol-basar ha'ish echad yecheta ve'al kol-ha'edah tiktsof.

And they fell upon their faces, and said, O Elohim (אלהים), the Elohim (אלהים) of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and You be angry with all the congregation?"

16:23 And Adonai spoke to Moshe, saying:

16:24 Speak to the congregation, saying,

Get you up from about the mishkan of Korach, Datan, and Aviram.

16:25 And Moshe rose up and went to Datan and Aviram; and the Zekenei (elders) Yisrael followed him.

16:26 And he spoke to the congregation, saying, Depart, I pray you, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest you be consumed in all their sins.

16:27 ויעלו מעל משׁכן־קרח דתן ואבירם מסביב ודתן ואבירם יצאו נצבים פתח אהליהם ונשׁיהם ובניהם וטפם׃

Vaye'alu me'al Mishkan-Korach Datan va'Aviram misaviv veDatan va'Aviram yatse'u nitsavim petach aholeyhem unesheyhem uvneyhem vetapam.

So they got away from around the tents of Korah, Datan, and Aviram; and Datan and Aviram came out and stood at the door of their tents, with their wives, their sons, and their little children.

16:28 And Moshe said, "Hereby you shall know that ADONAI has sent me to do all these works; for [I have] not [done them] of mine own mind.

16:29 אם־כמות כל־האדם ימתון אלה ופקדת כל־האדם יפקד עליהם לא יהוה שׁלחני׃

Im-kemot kol-ha'adam yemutun eleh ufkudat kol-ha'adam yipaked aleyhem lo ADONAI shlachani.

If these men die the common death of all men, or if they be visited after the visitation of all men; [then] ADONAI has not sent me.

16:30 But if ADONAI make a new thing, and the Land open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that [appertain] to them, and they go down quick into the sheol; then you shall understand that these men have provoked ADONAI.

16:31 And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these Divrei, that the ground clave asunder that [was] under them:

16:32 And the Land opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that [appertained] to Korach, and all [their] goods.

16:33 They, and all that [appertained] to them, went down alive into the pit, and the Land closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation.

16:34 And all Yisrael that [were] round about them fled at the cry of them: for they said, Lest the Land swallow us up [also].

16:35 ואשׁ יצאה מאת יהוה ותאכל את החמשׁים ומאתים אישׁ מקריבי הקטרת׃

Ve'esh yatse'ah me'et ADONAI vatochal et hachamishim umatayim ish makrivey haketoret.

And there came out a fire from ADONAI, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense.

16:36 (17:01)

And ADONAI spoke to Moshe, saying:

16:37 (17:02) "Tell El Azar (אלעזר) Ben Aharon hakohen, to pick up the censers out of the blaze, for they are set apart, and scatter the fire some distance away.

16:38 (17:03) The fire pans (censors) of these sinners against their own nefeshs, let them make them broad plates [for] a covering of the mizbe'ach: for they offered them before ADONAI, therefore they are consecrated: and they shall be a sign to the benai Yisrael.

16:39 (17:04) And El Azar (אלעזר) ha kohen took the brasen fire pans (censors), wherewith they that were burnt had offered; and they were made broad [plates for] a covering of the mizbe'ach:

16:40 (17:05) [To be] a memorial to the benai Yisrael, that no stranger, which [is] not of the seed of Aharon, come near to offer incense before ADONAI; that he be not as Korach, and as his company: as ADONAI said to him by the hand of Moshe.

16:41 (17:06) On the next day all the congregation of benai Yisrael complained against Moshe and Aharon, saying, "You have killed the people of ADONAI."

16:42 (17:07) And it came to pass, when the congregation was gathered against Moshe and against Aharon, that they looked toward the oleh Moed: and, Hinei, the cloud covered it, and the glory of ADONAI appeared.

16:43 (17:08) And Moshe and Aharon came before the oleh Moed.

16:44 (17:09)(iv) Counter-Attack

Korach's Rebellion

And ADONAI spoke to Moshe, saying,

16:45 (17:10) הרמו מתוך העדה הזאת ואכלה אתם כרגע ויפלו על־פניהם׃

Heromu mitoch ha'edah hazot va'achaleh otam keraga vayiplu al-pneihem.

Get you up from among this congregation, that I may consume them as in a moment. And they fell upon their faces.

16:46 (17:11) And Moshe said to Aharon, Take a censer, and put fire therein from off the mizbe'ach, and put on incense, and go quickly to the congregation, and make an Kaporah (כּפר) for them: for there is wrath gone out from ADONAI; the negeph (נגף) is begun.

16:47 (17:12) And Aharon took as Moshe commanded, and ran into the midst of the congregation; and, Hinei, the negeph (נגף) was begun among the people: and he put on incense, and made an Kaporah (כּפר) for the people.

16:48Star-Dvd-blue.gif(17:13) And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague (נגף) was stayed.

16:49 (17:14) Now they that died in the plague (נגף) were fourteen thousand and seven hundred, beside them that died about the matter of Korach.

16:50 (17:15) And Aharon returned to Moshe to the entrance of the Oleh Moed: and the negeph (נגף) was stayed.

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The name Korach in Hebrew meaning intentionally tear the frontal hair bald, a type of Ancient Amorites way of expressing terrible grief - Dvarim 14:1 Yah prohibit such practice for His people :-"לא תתגדדו ולא־תשׂימו קרחה בין עיניכם למת  "  You are not to cut yourselves or bald your forehead for the dead

Korach was the son of Izhar, grandson of Kohat, great grandson of Levi and leader of the rebellion of the Yisraelites against Moshe and Aharon while in the wilderness. He was also a cousin of Aharon (Shemot 6:18-21), was a Levite but not a Kohen. He apparently resented the fact that the family of Aharon should have exclusive right to the priesthood.


Tehillim 106:16  In the camp they were jealous of Moshe and Aharon, ADONAI's set apart one.

Tehillim 106:17  The earth opened up and swallowed Datan and closed over Aviram's allies.

Revision on the genealogy of Kohat

Datan, Abiram, and On were of the tribe of Reuven, and they resented Moshe' leadership over them.

On is not mentioned after verse 1, and it is impossible to know if he shared the doom of the others.

Two hundred and fifty of the princes— leaders of Yisrael—joined in the rebellion against the priesthood and the civil authority (v. 2). They argued that all the people were set apart and should not be excluded from offering sacrifices (v. 3)

Both Moshe and Korach were descended from Kohat, but by different sons (Moshe through Amram [NBamidbar 26:58-59], and Korah through Izhar).

Plag, Plague (נגע, negha‛, מכּה, makkāh, מגּפה, maggēphāh; μάστιξ, mástix, πληγή, plēgḗ): This word which occurs more than 120 times is applied, like pestilence, to such sudden outbursts of disease as are regarded in the light of divine visitations. It is used in the description of leprosy about 60 times in Lev 13 and 14, as well as in Devarim 24:8. In the poetical, prophetic and eschatological books it occurs about 20 times in the general sense of a punitive disaster. The good news references (Markos 3:10; Markos 5:29, Mar_5:34; Loukas 7:21) use the word as a synonym for disease.

One of the latest prophetic mentions of plague is Hos_13:14, where the plague (debher, Septuagint díkē) of death and the destruction (ḳāṭābh, Septuagint kéntron) of the grave are mentioned. From this passage Paul quotes his apostrophe at the end of 1Co_15:55, but the apostle correlates the sting (kéntron) with death, and changes the díkē into níkos.

Yehudah 1:11 Woe to them, in that they have walked the road of Kayin, they have given themselves over for money to the error of Bil'am, they have been destroyed in the rebellion of Korach.

16:48Star-Dvd-blue.gifThe man they rebelled against is the very man who saved them. He stood between them and Elohim. Likewise, the very ONE whom the human family impale on the tree of suffering is the ONE who saves us. He stands between Elohim and the sinner.

 Num 16:4 And when Moshe heard it, he fell upon his face;


to ask himself if Korah has a valid point:

Second incident they all fell on their face

16:45 And Elohim spoke to Moshe, saying, “Get up, get away from the midst of this assembly, and I will consume them in an instant.” 

And they fell on their faces. 

vayiplu = and they fell, and they threw themselves down

penayhem = their faces, their fronts, their surfaces

fire pans censors - ( Shemot 27:3 ; 38:3 ), one of the vessels of the temple service (rendered "snuff-dish" Shemot 25:38 ; 37:23 ; and "censer" Leviticus 10:1 ; 16:12 ). It was probably a metallic cinder-basin used for the purpose of carrying live coal for burning incense, and of carrying away the snuff in trimming the lamps.