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Treasury of Scripture Knowledge: Numbers 16

Chapter 16

Now Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men:


26:9,10 27:3 Exodus 6:18,21 Jude 1:11

sons of Reuben

Genesis 49:3,4 1 Chronicles 5:1,2

took men

As the word men is not in the text, some read "took counsel;" and some "took courage." Houbigant renders yikkach, rebellionem fecerunt, "they rebelled;" which scarcely any rule of criticism can ever justify. Dr. Geddes' translation is, "Another insurrection was raised against Moses by Korah," etc. Others think that it may mean, "behaved with insolence." But, as Dr. A. Clarke observes, the verb wyyikkach, "and he took" which though at the end of the sentence in English, is the first word in Hebrew, is not in the plural, but the singular; and hence cannot be applied to the acts of all these chiefs. In every part of the Scripture, where this rebellion is referred to, it is attributed to Korah, therefore the verb here belongs to him; and the whole verse should be translated, "Now Korah, son of Izhar, son of Kohath, son of Levi, he took even Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, son of Peleth, son of Reuben, and they rose up," etc.; reading, with some MSS., the Samaritan, and Septuagint, ben, son, instead of beney, sons.

And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown:


26:9 Genesis 6:4 1 Chronicles 5:24 12:30 Ezekiel 16:14 23:10

And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the LORD?


11 12:1,2 14:1-4 Psalms 106:16 Acts 7:39,51

Ye take too much upon you

Heb. It is much for you. all the.

Exodus 19:6 Ezra 9:2 Isaiah 1:11-16 Jeremiah 7:3-12 Matthew 3:9,10 Romans 2:28,29

the Lord

14:14 35:34 Exodus 29:45,46 Psalms 68:17

And when Moses heard it, he fell upon his face:

45 14:5 20:6 Joshua 7:6

And he spake unto Korah and unto all his company, saying, Even to morrow the LORD will shew who are his, and who is holy; and will cause him to come near unto him: even him whom he hath chosen will he cause to come near unto him.

the Lord

Malachi 3:18 2 Timothy 2:19

who is holy

3 Leviticus 21:6-8,12-15 Isaiah 61:5,6 1 Peter 2:5-9 Revelation 1:6 5:9,10

will cause

Exodus 28:43 Leviticus 10:3 Psalms 65:4 Ezekiel 40:46 44:15,16 Ephesians 2:13 Hebrews 10:19-22 12:14

even him

17:5 Exodus 28:1 Leviticus 8:2 1 Samuel 2:28 Psalms 105:26 John 15:16 Acts 1:2,24 Acts 13:2 15:7 22:14 2 Timothy 2:3,4

This do; Take you censers, Korah, and all his company;

35-40,46-48 Leviticus 10:1 16:12,13 1 Kings 18:21-23

And put fire therein, and put incense in them before the LORD to morrow: and it shall be that the man whom the LORD doth choose, he shall be holy: ye take too much upon you, ye sons of Levi.

that the man

3,5 Ephesians 1:4 2 Thessalonians 2:13 1 Peter 2:9

too much

3 1 Kings 18:17,18 Matthew 21:23-27

Seemeth it but a small thing unto you, that the God of Israel hath separated you from 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 unto them?

Seemeth it but

13 Genesis 30:15 1 Samuel 18:23 2 Samuel 7:19 Isaiah 7:13 Ezekiel 34:18 1 Corinthians 4:3


1:53 3:41-45 8:14-16 18:2-6 Deuteronomy 10:8 2 Chronicles 35:3 Nehemiah 12:44 Ezekiel 44:10,11 Acts 13:2

And he hath brought thee near to him, and all thy brethren the sons of Levi with thee: and seek ye the priesthood also?

and seek

Proverbs 13:10 Matthew 20:21,22 Luke 22:24 Romans 12:10 Philippians 2:3 3 John 1:9

For which cause both thou and all thy company are gathered together against the LORD: and what is Aaron, that ye murmur against him?


3 1 Samuel 8:7 Luke 10:16 John 13:20 Romans 13:2

what is Aaron

Exodus 16:7,8 17:2 Acts 5:4 1 Corinthians 3:5

And Moses sent to call Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab: which said, We will not come up:

Proverbs 29:9 Isaiah 3:5 1 Peter 2:13,14 Jude 1:8

Is it a small thing that thou hast brought us up out of a land that floweth with milk and honey, to kill us in the wilderness, except thou make thyself altogether a prince over us?

a small

out of a

11:5 Exodus 1:11,22 2:23

to kill

20:3,4 Exodus 16:3 17:3

thou make

Exodus 2:14 Psalms 2:2,3 Luke 19:14 Acts 7:25-27,35

Moreover thou hast not brought us into a land that floweth with milk and honey, or given us inheritance of fields and vineyards: wilt thou put out the eyes of these men? we will not come up.


36:8-10 Exodus 3:8,17 Leviticus 20:24

put out

Heb. bore out.

And Moses was very wroth, and said unto the LORD, Respect not thou their offering: I have not taken one ass from them, neither have I hurt one of them.

very wroth

12:3 Exodus 32:19 Matthew 5:22 Mark 3:5 Ephesians 4:26


6,7 Genesis 4:4,5 Isaiah 1:10-15

I have not

Though Moses was their ruler, under God, yet, so far from oppressing them, he had not imposed the smallest tax, nor taken, as a present, so much as an ass from one of them. The common present that is now made to the great, in these countries, is a horse; but there is reason to believe, that an ass might formerly have answered the same purpose. "If it is a visit of ceremony from a bashaw," says Dr. Russell, "or other person in power, a fine horse, sometimes with furniture, or some such valuable present, is made to him at his departure." As asses were esteemed no dishonourable beasts for the saddle, Sir. J. Chardin, in his MS., supposes, that when Samuel disclaimed having taken the ass of any one, (1 Sa 12:3,) he is to be understood of not having taken any ass for his riding. In the same light, he considers this similar declaration of Moses. His reason is "asses being then esteemed very honourable creatures for riding on, (ch. 22:21, 30. Jud 5:10. 2 Sa 16:2,) as they are at this very time in Persia, being rode with saddles."

1 Samuel 12:3,4 Acts 20:33,34 1 Corinthians 9:15 2 Corinthians 1:12 7:2 12:14-17 1 Thessalonians 2:10

And Moses said unto Korah, Be thou and all thy company before the LORD, thou, and they, and Aaron, to morrow:

Be thou



1 Samuel 12:3,7 2 Timothy 2:14

And take every man his censer, and put incense in them, and bring ye before the LORD every man his censer, two hundred and fifty censers; thou also, and Aaron, each of you his censer.

1 Samuel 12:7

And Korah gathered all the congregation against them unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the congregation.



and the glory

42 12:5 14:10 Exodus 16:7,10 Leviticus 9:6,23

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


Genesis 19:15-22 Jeremiah 5:16 Acts 2:40 2 Corinthians 6:17 Ephesians 5:6,7 Revelation 18:4

that I may

45 14:12,15 Exodus 32:10 33:5 Psalms 73:19 Isaiah 37:36 Hebrews 12:28,29

And they fell upon their faces, and said, O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and wilt thou be wroth with all the congregation?

they fell

4,45 14:5

the God

27:16 Job 12:10 Ecclesiastes 12:7 Isaiah 57:16 Zechariah 12:1 Hebrews 12:9

one man sin

Genesis 18:23-25,32 Joshua 7:1-26 2 Samuel 24:1,17 Romans 5:18 1 Corinthians 13:7

Speak unto the congregation, saying, Get you up from about the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.

21 It should seem that Dathan and Abiram had set up a spacious tabernacle in the midst of the tents of their families, where they kept court, met in council, and hung out their flag of defiance against Moses; it is here called the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. There, as in the place of rendezvous, Dathan and Abiram stayed, when Korah and his friends went up to the tabernacle of the Lord, waiting the issue of their trial; but here we are told how they had their business done, before that trial was over. God will take what method he pleases in his judgments.

And Moses rose up and went unto Dathan and Abiram; and the elders of Israel followed him.


And he spake unto the congregation, saying, Depart, I pray you, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest ye be consumed in all their sins.

Depart, I pray you

The rebels, with all that belonged to them, were, as an accursed thing, devoted to utter destruction. (Le 27:28, 29. Jos 7:13-15, 23-26.) The people therefore were forbidden to touch anything belonging to them; that they might enter a solemn protest against their wickedness, acknowledge the justice of their punishment, and express their fear of being involved in it.

21-24 Genesis 19:12-14 Deuteronomy 13:17 Isaiah 52:11 Matthew 10:14 Acts 8:20 13:51 2 Corinthians 6:17 1 Timothy 5:22 Revelation 18:4

So they gat up from the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, on every side: and Dathan and Abiram came out, and stood in the door of their tents, and their wives, and their sons, and their little children.

and stood

2 Kings 9:30,31 Job 9:4 40:10,11 Proverbs 16:18 18:12 Isaiah 28:14

And Moses said, Hereby ye shall know that the LORD hath sent me to do all these works; for I have not done them of mine own mind.


Exodus 3:12 4:1-9 7:9 Deuteronomy 18:22 Zechariah 2:9 4:9 John 5:36 11:42 14:11

for I have

Kee lo millibbee, "and that not out of my heart." It was not of my own device or contrivance. It was not out of an ambitious desire to be great myself that I took upon me the government, nor out of private affection to my brother, that I appointed him and his family to the priesthood.

of mine

24:13 1 Kings 18:36 Jeremiah 23:16 Ezekiel 13:17 John 5:30 6:38

If these men die the common death of all men, or if they be visited after the visitation of all men; then the LORD hath not sent me.

the common, etc

Heb. as every man dieth. visited.

Exodus 20:5 32:34 Job 35:15 Isaiah 10:3 Jeremiah 5:9 Lamentations 4:22

the Lord

1 Kings 22:28 2 Chronicles 18:27

But if the LORD make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit; then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the LORD.

make a new thing

Heb. create a creature; wÎim beriah yivra Yehowah, "And if Jehovah should create a creation," i.e., do such a thing as was never done before.

Job 31:3 Isaiah 28:21 43:19 45:7,12 Jeremiah 31:22

and they

33 Psalms 55:15

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

26:10,11 27:3 Deuteronomy 11:6 Psalms 106:17,18

And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods.

the earth

30 Genesis 4:11 Isaiah 5:14 Revelation 12:16

all the

17 26:11 27:3 1 Chronicles 6:22,37 Psalms 84:1 85:1 88:1 *titles

They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation.

into the

Psalms 9:15 55:23 69:15 143:7 Isaiah 14:9,15 Ezekiel 32:18,30

they perished

Jude 1:11

And all Israel that were round about them fled at the cry of them: for they said, Lest the earth swallow us up also.


Isaiah 33:3 Zechariah 14:5 Revelation 6:15-17



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

And there

11:1 26:10 Leviticus 10:2 Psalms 106:18

two hundred


Speak unto Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest, that he take up the censers out of the burning, and scatter thou the fire yonder; for they are hallowed.

the censers



Kadashoo, consecrated, i.e., to the service of God, though in this instance, improperly employed.

Leviticus 27:28

The censers of these sinners against their own souls, let them make them broad plates for a covering of the altar: for they offered them before the LORD, therefore they are hallowed: and they shall be a sign unto the children of Israel.


1 Kings 2:23 Proverbs 1:18 8:36 20:2 Habakkuk 2:10

a sign

40 17:10 26:10 Ezekiel 14:8 1 Corinthians 10:11 2 Peter 2:6

To be a memorial unto the children of Israel, that no stranger, which is not of the seed of Aaron, come near to offer incense before the LORD; that he be not as Korah, and as his company: as the LORD said to him by the hand of Moses.

that no

3:10,38 18:4-7 Leviticus 22:10 2 Chronicles 26:18-20 Jude 1:11

come near

1 Kings 13:1-3 2 Chronicles 26:16-21

But on the morrow all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron, saying, Ye have killed the people of the LORD.

on the morrow

It is not unlikely, that the people persuaded themselves that Moses and Aaron had used some cunning in this business and that the earthquake and fire were artificial; for, had they discerned the hand of God in this punishment, they would scarcely have dared the anger of the Lord in the very face of his justice. And while they thus absurdly imputed this judgement to Moses and Aaron, they impiously called the persons, thus perishing in their rebellion, "the people of the Lord!"

all the

1-7 14:2 Psalms 106:13,23,25-48 Isaiah 26:11

Ye have

3 2 Samuel 16:7,8 1 Kings 18:17 Jeremiah 37:13,14 38:4 43:3 Amos 7:10 Matthew 5:11 Acts 5:28 21:28 2 Corinthians 6:8

And it came to pass, when the congregation was gathered against Moses and against Aaron, that they looked toward the tabernacle of the congregation: and, behold, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the LORD appeared.

when the

the glory

19 14:10 20:6 Exodus 16:7,10 24:16 40:34,35 Leviticus 9:23

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

Get you up


And they

22 20:6 1 Chronicles 21:16 Matthew 26:39

And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a censer, and put fire therein from off the altar, and put on incense, and go quickly unto the congregation, and make an atonement for them: for there is wrath gone out from the LORD; the plague is begun.

from off

Leviticus 9:24 10:1 16:12,13 Isaiah 6:6,7 Romans 5:9,10 Hebrews 7:25-27 9:25,26 Revelation 8:3-5

and put

Psalms 141:2 Malachi 1:11

an atonement

Exodus 30:7-10 Leviticus 16:11-16 1 John 2:1,2

there is wrath

1:53 8:19 11:33 18:5 Leviticus 10:6 1 Chronicles 27:24 Psalms 106:29

the plague is begun

God now punished them by a secret blast, so as to put the matter beyond dispute; His hand, and His alone, was seen, not only in the plague, but in the manner in which the mortality was arrested. It was necessary that it should be done in this way, that the whole congregation might see that these men who had perished were not "the people of the Lord," and that God, not Moses and Aaron, had destroyed them.

And Aaron took as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the congregation; and, behold, the plague was begun among the people: and he put on incense, and made an atonement for the people.

and ran

Matthew 5:44 Romans 12:21

and behold

Psalms 106:29

and he put

46 Deuteronomy 33:10,11 Isaiah 53:10-12

And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed.

18,35 25:8-11 2 Samuel 24:16,17,25 1 Chronicles 21:26,27 1 Thessalonians 1:10 1 Timothy 2:5,6 Hebrews 7:24,25 James 5:16 John 5:14

Now they that died in the plague were fourteen thousand and seven hundred, beside them that died about the matter of Korah.

fourteen thousand

32-35 25:9 1 Chronicles 21:14 Hebrews 2:1-3 10:28,29 12:25

And Aaron returned unto Moses unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and the plague was stayed.

43 1 Chronicles 21:26-30