Numbers 16:2 MEANING

Numbers 16:2
(2) And they rose up . . . --i.e., in rebellion.

Two hundred and fifty princes . . . --It has been inferred from Numbers 27:3, where it is stated that Zelophehad, the Manassite, did not take part in the rebellion, that these princes, or chief men of the congregation, belonged to the other tribes of Israel as well as that of Levi. They are called Korah's company because he was their leader, and it is probable from Numbers 16:8 that a large number of them belonged to the tribe of Levi.

Verse 2. - And they rose up before Moses. It is suggested that the Reubenites were aggrieved because their father had been deprived of his birthright in favour of Judah, and that Korah was aggrieved because the Uzzielites had been preferred in the person of Elizaphan to the Izharites (chapter 3:30). These accusations have nothing whatever in the narrative to support them, and are suspicious because they are so easy and so sure to be made in such cases. In all ecclesiastical history the true reformer, as well as the heretic and the demagogue, has always been charged with being actuated by motives of disappointed ambition. Without these gratuitous suppositions there was quite enough to excite the anger and opposition of such discontented and insubordinate minds as are to be found in every community. With certain of the children of Israel. These were gathered front the tribes at large, as implied in the statement that Zelophehad a Manassite was not amongst them (Numbers 27:8). Famous in the congregation. Literally, "called men of the congregation." Septuagint, σύγκλητοι βουλῆς, representatives of the host in the great council (cf. chapter Numbers 1:16; 26:9).

16:1-11 Pride and ambition occasion a great deal of mischief both in churches and states. The rebels quarrel with the settlement of the priesthood upon Aaron and his family. Small reason they had to boast of the people's purity, or of God's favour, as the people had been so often and so lately polluted with sin, and were now under the marks of God's displeasure. They unjustly charge Moses and Aaron with taking honour to themselves; whereas they were called of God to it. See here, 1. What spirit levellers are of; those who resist the powers God has set over them. 2. What usage they have been serviceable. Moses sought instruction from God. The heart of the wise studies to answer, and asks counsel of God. Moses shows their privileges as Levites, and convicts them of the sin of undervaluing these privileges. It will help to keep us from envying those above us, duly to consider how many there are below us.And they rose up before Moses,.... To his face, openly and publicly, in a bold and audacious manner; with impudence, as the Targum of Jonathan:

with certain of the children of Israel; some out of the several tribes, but perhaps chiefly of the tribe of Reuben, as Jarchi:

two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly; or "congregation" (i), who were princes in the several tribes to which they belonged, heads of houses and families of their fathers, rulers of thousands, hundreds, &c.

famous in the congregation; or "called" (k) to the tabernacle of the congregation; who, when the great men among the people were gathered together to consult about any affair, were called, as Ben Melech observes:

men of renown, or "of name" (l); in high esteem among the people for their birth and rank, their wealth and riches, wisdom and prudence; and were so before they came out of Egypt, as Aben Ezra remarks; so that the persons concerned in this rebellion were not the mob and dregs of the people, but men of the greatest figure and fame, and therefore was likely to be of bad consequence.

(i) "congregationis", Pagninus. (k) "vocati", Montanus, Drusius. (l) "viri nominis", Montanus, Drusius.

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