Numbers 16

Korah's Rebellion
16:1-19

16:1 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:

16:2 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:

16:3 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?

(16:1-3) Korah, Dathan, and Abiram (along with 250 "princes of the assembly") -- the first freethought/democracy martyrs -- refused to follow Moses blindly, saying that everyone is holy and should be free to think for him or herself.
What the Bible says about democracy

16:4 And when Moses heard it, he fell upon his face:

(16:4) And when Moses heard it, he fell upon his face.

16:5 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.

16:6 This do; Take you censers, Korah, and all his company;

16:7 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.

16:8 And Moses said unto Korah, Hear, I pray you, ye sons of Levi:

16:9 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?

16:10 And he hath brought thee near to him, and all thy brethren the sons of Levi with thee: and seek ye the priesthood also?

16:11 For which cause both thou and all thy company are gathered together against the LORD: and what is Aaron, that ye murmur against him?

(16:5-7) Moses challenges Korah and his companions to an an old-fashioned, incense-swinging, prayer contest, where God picks the winner. That will show who is holy and who is not.

16:12 And Moses sent to call Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab: which said, We will not come up:

16:13 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?

16:14 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.

16:15 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.

(16:12-14) Dathan and Abiram said they wouldn't participate in Moses's holier-than-thou contest, not even if Moses pokes out their eyes.

16:16 And Moses said unto Korah, Be thou and all thy company before the LORD, thou, and they, and Aaron, to morrow:

16:17 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.

16:18 And they took every man his censer, and put fire in them, and laid incense thereon, and stood in the door of the tabernacle of the congregation with Moses and Aaron.

(16:16-18) But the contest went on anyway. Korah and his 250 or so companions showed up at the door of the tabernacle with incense burning in their censers.

16:19 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.

(16:19) And then "the glory of the Lord" shows up!
God decides to kill everyone (but Moses talks him out of it)

16:20 And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,

16:21 Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.

(16:20-21) Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.

God tells Moses and Aaron to get the hell away from the congregation, because God is about to kill everyone.

16:22 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?

(16:22) And they fell upon their faces.

When God threatens to kill everyone, Aaron and Moses fall on their faces (again). And, while still on their faces, they try to talk God out of it (again - see Ex. 32:11-12 and Num. 14:11-35), saying, "Are you going to kill everyone for one man's sin?"

(16:22) The God of the spirits of all flesh

Is this another one of God's many names?

God kills Korah and his companions
16:23-33

16:23 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

16:24 Speak unto the congregation, saying, Get you up from about the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.

16:25 And Moses rose up and went unto Dathan and Abiram; and the elders of Israel followed him.

16:26 And he spake unto the congregation, saying, Depart, I pray you, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of their's, lest ye be consumed in all their sins.

(16:26) After talking God out of killing everyone, Moses tells the people to get away from the tents of Korah and his companions and tells them not to touch any of their belongings. Otherwise, God will kill them.

16:27 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.

16:28 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.

16:29 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.

16:30 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.

(16:27-30) Moses calls of the incense-burning contest and comes up with a new test. If God decides to make the ground swallow Korah and his companions and their families, then everyone will know who God likes and who he doesn't.

16:31 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:

16:32 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.

16:33 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.

(16:32-33) The earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah ... They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them.
Did God bury alive all of Korah's children?

Drunk With Blood: Korah and his companions are buried alive (along with their families)

God kills 250 incense burners
16:34-40

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

(16:34) Everyone who survived God's killing ran away saying, "Get away or God will make the earth swallow us too!"

16:35 And there came out a fire from the LORD, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense.

(16:35) And there came out a fire from the LORD, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense.

Drunk With Blood: God burned 250 people to death for burning incense

16:36 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

16:37 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.

16:38 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.

16:39 And Eleazar the priest took the brasen censers, wherewith they that were burnt had offered; and they were made broad plates for a covering of the altar:

16:40 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.

(16:36-40) After burning the 250 guys that offered incense, God tells Moses to keep their censers (because they are holy) to remind everyone not to offer incense without a license.
The people complain about God's killings
16:41-42

16:41 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.

(16:41-50) Ye have killed the people of the Lord

After God killed Korah, his companions, their families, and 250 incense burners, the people complained saying, "ye have killed the people of the Lord." So God, who doesn't take kindly to criticism, sends a plague on the people. And "they that died in the plague were 14,700."

16:42 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.

(16:42) Behold ... the glory of the Lord appeared.

God decides to kill everyone (again)

16:43 And Moses and Aaron came before the tabernacle of the congregation.

16:44 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

16:45 Get you up from among this congregation, that I may consume them as in a moment. And they fell upon their faces.

(16:45a) Get you up from among this congregation, that I may consume them as in a moment.

God threatens (again) to kill everyone (except for his special friends, Moses and Aaron).

(16:45b) And they fell upon their faces.

Aaron stops God's from killing everyone by burning incense
16:46-48

16:46 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.

(16:46) Moses tells Aaron to burn some incense to make God quit killing people. (He just killed 250 for burning incense.)

16:47 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.

16:48 And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed.

(16:47) And it worked. When Aaron started burning incense, God stopped killing people.

God kills 14,700 in a plague
16:49-50

16:49 Now they that died in the plague were fourteen thousand and seven hundred, beside them that died about the matter of Korah.

16:50 And Aaron returned unto Moses unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and the plague was stayed.

(16:49) They that died in the plague were fourteen thousand and seven hundred.

But not before 14,700 people died in God's plague.

Drunk With Blood: God killed 14,700 for complaining about God's killings