Numbers 16 Outline
– Korah and his followers opposed Moses and Aaron for lording over them (Numbers 16:1-3)
– Moses summoned Korah and his followers to take their censers with incense in it and come before God (Numbers 16:4-19)
– God punished Korah and his followers by making the earth split and swallow them and all their belongings (Numbers 16:20-40)
– The entire assembly turned against Moses and blamed him for the death of Korah and his followers (Numbers 16:41-42)
– God was furious and he struck the Israelites with a plague, which eventually killed 14,700 of them (Numbers 16:43-45)
– Aaron took a censer with incense in it and go into the assembly to make atonement on them (Numbers 16:46-50)
Numbers 16 Summary
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 and 250 Israelites opposed Moses’ leadership. Moses rebuked their rebellion and he instructed them to come to take their censers and put fire and incense in them before God. The man whom God chose will be holy.
Moses rebuked Korah, Dathan and Abiram because they had gone too far by wanting the priesthood. Moses summoned them to come but they refused to come. They argued that Moses had not brought them into the land of Canaan that is flowing with milk and honey and they have not receive field or vineyard. Moses became very angry and he told God not to accept their offerings. Moses complained to God that he had not even a donkey from them.
After that, Moses instructed Korah and his followers to appear before God tomorrow. They are to bring their censers with incense in them. The next morning, Korah and his followers appeared at the entrance to the tent of the congregation. God commanded Moses to separate himself from the assembly so that he can put them to death.
Moses instructed the people to move away from the tents of Dathan and Abiram. Moses told the Israelites that if they die in the method that most people die then God has not sent him. If they die through a special way such as the earth open up itself and swallow them alive into the grave, then these men have treated God with contempt.
Immediately after Moses finished saying this, God made the ground open up itself and swallow Korah’s men and everything that belonged to them. Fire came out and consumed the 250 men that offered the incense.
Afterward, God instructed Eleazar, son of Aaron to take the censer from the smoldering remains and hammer them into sheets on the altar as a reminder that only Aaron and his descendant can serve as priests.
The next morning, the entire assembly of the Israelites came against Moses and Aaron. God became furious and struck a plague on them. Moses instructed Aaron to quickly take a censer with incense in it and go into the assembly to make atonement for them. However, the plague had already killed 14,700 Israelites. The plague stopped afterward and Aaron returned to Moses at the entrance to the tent of the congregation.
Numbers 16 Bible Study
1. Always be humble
Moses was humble and he prayed to God after Korah and his followers accused him of lording over the people for his own self interest. Korah tried to protect his position by saying that everyone should be a leader. Actually, Korah wanted to be the leader so he used the excuse. We must always obey and respect our leaders in the church. We must love our enemies and always be kind towards them (Matthew 5:44). We should never take revenge against our enemies but pray to God and let him deal with them (Romans 12:19). After God killed Korah and his followers, the entire assembly of Israelites put the blame of their death on Moses and Aaron. But God punished them with a plague. God always punished sinners. You will either be punished for your sin on earth or after you die (James 2:10; Revelation 21:8). We must always humble ourselves before God and consider others more significant that us (1 Peter 5:6; Philippians 2:3-4; James 4:6; Matthew 23:12; 2 Chronicles 7:14; 2 Corinthians 11:30).