Numbers 16:12 MEANING

Numbers 16:12
(12) And Moses sent to call Dathan and Abiram . . . --If, as seems probable from Numbers 16:3, Dathan and Abiram had joined Korah and his company in the address to Moses which is contained in Numbers 16:3, they must have subsequently withdrawn themselves and retired to their own tents, from which they refused to go up at the bidding of Moses.

Verse 12. - And Moses sent to call Dathan and Abiram. The part really taken by these men in the agitation is very obscure. They were not of the two hundred and fifty, nor were they with them when they gathered together against Moses and Aaron - perhaps because they took no interest in ecclesiastical matters, and only resented the secular domination of Moses. Neither can we tell why Moses sent for them at this juncture, unless he suspected them of being in league with Korah (see below on verse 24). We will not come up, i.e., to the tabernacle, as being spiritually the culminating point of the camp.

16:12-15 Moses summoned Dathan and Abiram to bring their complaints; but they would not obey. They bring very false charges against Moses. Those often fall under the heaviest censures, who in truth deserve the highest praise. Moses, though the meekest man, yet, finding God reproached in him, was very wroth; he could not bear to see the people ruining themselves. He appeals to God as to his own integrity. He bade them appear with Aaron next morning, at the time of offering the morning incense. Korah undertook thus to appear. Proud ambitious men, while projecting their own advancement, often hurry on their own shameful fall.And Moses sent to call Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab,.... He sent messengers to call them to the house of judgment, as the Targum of Jonathan, to the court of judicature, where the Jews suppose Moses, with the seventy elders, were now sitting: it seems these two men departed either before. Moses rose up from prayer, or however before he had finished his speech to Korah and the Levites; which being particularly directed to them, these men might think they had no concern in it, and went away to their own tents:

which said, we will not come up; this answer they returned to the messengers, and by them to Moses, declaring that they denied his power, despised his authority, and would not obey his orders, and therefore refused to come up to the tabernacle, or to the tent of Moses, or to the court of judicature, wherever it was; perhaps the first is best. Aben Ezra thinks, that as the tabernacle was in the midst of the camp, it was on an eminence, wherefore those that came to it might be said to come up to it.

Courtesy of Open Bible