12 July 2009

The opposing party is buried alive (along with their families)

Our story begins with Korah and his companions confronting Moses. Here's what they say to him.
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? Numbers 16:3
So what do you suppose Moses did when he heard this? Well, he fell on his face, of course. (People are always falling on their faces in the Bible.)
And when Moses heard it, he fell upon his face. Numbers 16:4
And (while still on his face) offers this ingenious plan.
This do; Take you censers, Korah, and all his company; 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. Numbers 16:6-7
So they're going to have an old-fashioned, incense-swinging, prayer contest, where God picks the winner. How cool is that?
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. Numbers 16:18
But before they start swinging their censers, God in all his glory showed up.
And the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the congregation. Numbers 16:19
So God, Moses, and Aaron call a time out to talk things over.
And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment. Numbers 16:20-21
Remember how, just a couple killings ago, God threatened to kill everyone for complaining? Yeah, well, he's back at it again. He tells Moses and Aaron to stand back and get the hell out of the way because he's going to kill everybody.

So what do you figure Moses and Aaron do when they hear that? Well, they fell on their faces, of course.
And they fell upon their faces... Numbers 16:22a
And (while still on their faces) try to talk God out of it (again).
...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? Numbers 16:22b
And it seemed to work again, too, since they came up with a new game plan.
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the congregation, saying, Get you up from about the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.
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. And Moses said, Hereby ye shall know that the LORD hath sent me
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. 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. Numbers 16:23-30
So God and Moses arrange this test. If Korah and his companions die a normal, natural death, then God didn't send Moses. But if they (and their families) are buried alive, then Moses is God's special friend.

The test proved to everyone that God is Moses' special friend (and that they should get the hell away from him before he buries them alive, too).
And it came to pass ... that the ground clave asunder that was under them: And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up.... 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. And all Israel that were round about them fled at the cry of them: for they said, Lest the earth swallow us up also. Numbers 16:31-34

God's next killing: 250 burned to death for burning incense


twillight said...

I vote on 2 child per family, as jewish families (especially leader's families in the Bible) are always bigger.

TWF said...

Isn't it funny how when Moses and Aaron convince God to do something right (punish only those responsible), God still goes the extra mile to do something wrong (punish the innocent families).

busterggi said...

Even when Yahweh actually showed up in person he wasn't worth worshipping.

I don't think we're missing anything now when he only shows up on grilled cheese sandwiches & such.

Matthew Blanchette said...

Seems like God would support the mullahs and Chinese dictators in their squelching of free speech, as well.

Steve Wells said...

Yeah, you're right, twillight. Two kids per family is probably more realistic. Maybe I should bump it up to 16.

Brendan said...

Numbers 26:11 says:

"But Korah's sons did not die."

(Richard Elliot Friedman's New English Translation of the Torah)

So apparently "their households" doesn't count children. In fact, descendants of Korah wrote several of the Psalms.