KORACH (Korah)

Korah’s rebellion

Numbers 16:1 Now Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohas, the son of Levi and Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab and On, the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men: 2 And came to Moses 250 princes of the assembly of the Children of Israel, famous renowned men in the congregation. C-MATS

Question: What is different about this incident as compared to other problems the people complained about? In contrast to earlier occasions when the people complained about specific problems — such as a lack of food or water, or the need for a “god” to take Moses’ place as an intermediary between יהוה and Israel — in this incident, there is an outright rebellion, an attempt to overthrow Moses and Aaron as the leaders of the nation. The leader of the rebellion was their cousin and fellow Levite, Korah. Chumash

Question: Why did Korah rebel against Aaron and his sons? Korah rebelled right after the inauguration of the Tabernacle, when Aaron and his sons were designated to replace the firstborn as the only ones who would perform the sacrificial service. This angered Korah, who was himself a firstborn (Exodus 6:21 And the sons of Izhar; Korah and Nepheg and Zichri.), and it was easy for him to enlist two hundred and fifty … leaders of the assembly, who were also firstborn. Dathan, Abiram, and On were from the tribe of Reuben, which had its own reason for resentment, having lost its privileged firstborn status to the offspring of Joseph (Genesis 48:5 And now your two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon are mine, they will be mine.). Other Levites were upset at having been relegated to be mere assistants of the Kohanim. Chumash

Numbers 16:3 And they assembled themselves against Moses and Aaron and said to them, You take too much on yourself, after the entirecongregation is sacred, every one of them and יהוה is among them: why then do you lift yourself up above the congregation of יהוה? 4 And when Moses heard it, he fell on his face. C-MATS

Question: Why did Moses fall on his face? Moses fell to the ground in humiliation at Korah’s outrageous and insulting charge; and he fell in despair, for now he felt powerless to appeal to יהוה to forgive the people. They had worshiped the Golden Calf, complained for no good reason (Numbers 11:1 And when the people complained, it displeased יהוה: and יהוה heard it and his anger flared up; and the fire of יהוה burnt among them and consumed those who were on the outskirts of the camp. 2 And the people cried to Moses; and when Moses prayed to יהוה, the fire was stopped.), and heeded the spies, and each time Moses had prayed for them. This was the fourth time they had defied יהוה, and he felt that he could not plead yet again. Alternatively, he fell on his face in prayer. Chumash