Korah: A Summary of the Parsha
Korah and his followers rebel against Moses' and Aaron's leadership and are killed; God instructs Aaron regarding laws of the priesthood.
The following article is reprinted with permission from Jewish Family & Life!
Now, Korah, a Levite, along with two sons of Eliab, decided to rise up against Moses with the support of 250 community leaders. They combined against Moses and Aaron, saying "You've gone too far. Why do you raise yourself up above us?"
When Moses heard this, he fell on his face, saying to Korah and his followers, "Come morning, God will make known who God is and who is holy." Then Moses added, "You have gone too far, sons of Levi. Is it not enough that God has set you apart from the community of Israel by having you perform the duties of the Lord's Dwelling Place? Will you seek priesthood too? Truly, you rebel against God."
Moses sent for the two sons of Eliab, but they would not come, saying it was unfair that Moses lord over them and force them to die wandering in the wilderness. Moses then told Korah and his followers to make a priestly fire and give incense offerings to God.
At the entrance to the Tent of Appointed Meeting, Moses and Aaron gathered in front of those rebelling and the rest of the community. Then the Presence of the Lord appeared to the entire assembly. The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, "Stand back from these rebels that I may destroy them in an instant!" And they fell upon their faces and said, "O God, if one man sins, will you be angry with the whole community?"
God then had Moses say to the community, "Get away from Korah and the sons of Eliab. Move away from these wicked men and touch nothing that belongs to them, lest you be wiped out for all their sins." So the people moved away from them.
Then Moses said, "By the coming actions, you shall know it is the Lord who sent me and not my own doing. If these men die like all men normally do, then it was not the Lord who sent me. But if the Lord creates a phenomenon so that the ground opens its mouth wide and swallows them and their property and they go to the grave alive, then you will know that these people have provoked God."
When Moses finished speaking the ground under Korah, the sons of Eliab and their followers split, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them and their houses and all of their property. They and their belongings went down into the grave alive and the earth closed over them and they vanished.