Numbers 16:11
For which cause both thou and all thy company are gathered together against the LORD: and what is Aaron, that ye murmur against him?
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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.The words of Moses in his wrath are broken. The Aaronic priesthood was of divine appointment; and thus in rejecting it, the conspirators were really rebelling against God. 6, 7. Take your censers, Korah, and all his company, &c.—that is, since you aspire to the priesthood, then go, perform the highest function of the office—that of offering incense; and if you are accepted well. How magnanimous the conduct of Moses, who was now as willing that God's people should be priests, as formerly that they should be prophets (Nu 11:29). But he warned them that they were making a perilous experiment. Against the Lord, whoso minister and chosen servant Aaron is. You strike at God through Aaron’s sides. Compare 1 Samuel 8:7 Luke 10:16 John 13:20.

For which cause, both thou and all thy company are gathered together against the Lord,.... For gathering together against his ministers, whom he had put into office to act under him, and endeavouring to overturn a constitution of his erecting, and resisting and not submitting to an ordinance of his, is interpreted gathering against him, and acting in opposition to him; see Romans 13:1,

and what is Aaron, that ye murmur against him? what is his transgression? what has he done? as Aben Ezra paraphrases it; he is not chargeable with any fault, he did not take upon him the office of high priest of himself, God called him to it, and put him in it; he is only his minister, and by no means to be blamed, and therefore it is unreasonable to envy him, or murmur against him; and, indeed, murmuring against him is murmuring against the Lord.

For which cause both thou and all thy company are gathered together against the LORD: and what is Aaron, that ye murmur against him?
11. and Aaron, what is he &c.] i.e. What has he done to cause your murmuring? God, and not Aaron, is responsible for the superiority in which the priests stand to the Levites; cf. Exodus 16:8 b.

Verse 11. - For which cause both thou and all thy company are gathered together. It does not follow that Korah was seeking an exclusive dignity for himself; or for his tribe. His "company" apparently included representative men from all the tribes, or at least from many (see on verse 2). They were seeking the priesthood because they affirmed it to be the common possession of all Israelites. Against the Lord. It was in his name that they appeared, and to some extent no doubt sincerely; but since they appeared to dispute an ordinance actually and historically made by God himself, it was indeed against him that they were gathered. And what is Aaron, that ye murmur against him? The construction is broken, as so often when we have the ipsissima verba of Moses, whose meekness did not enable him to speak calmly under provocation. The sentence runs, "For which cause thou and all thy company who arc gathered against the Lord, - and Aaron, who is he, that ye murmur against him?" It was easy to represent the position of Aaron in an invidious light, as though they were assailing some personal sacerdotal pretensions; but in truth he was only a poor servant of God doing what he was bid. Numbers 16:11To leave the decision of this to the Lord, Korah and his company, who laid claim to this prerogative, were to take censers, and bring lighted incense before Jehovah. He whom the Lord should choose was to be the sanctified one. This was to satisfy them. With the expression רב־לכם in Numbers 16:7, Moses gives the rebels back their own words in Numbers 16:3. The divine decision was connected with the offering of incense, because this was the holiest function of the priestly service, which brought the priest into the immediate presence of God, and in connection with which Jehovah had already shown to the whole congregation how He sanctified Himself, by a penal judgment on those who took this office upon themselves without a divine call (Leviticus 10:1-3). Numbers 16:8. He then set before them the wickedness of their enterprise, to lead them to search themselves, and avert the judgment which threatened them. In doing this, he made a distinction between Korah the Levite, and Dathan and Abiram the Reubenites, according to the difference in the motives which prompted their rebellion, and the claims which they asserted. He first of all (Numbers 16:8-11) reminded Korah the Levite of the way in which God had distinguished his tribe, by separating the Levites from the rest of the congregation, to attend to the service of the sanctuary (Numbers 3:5., Numbers 8:6.), and asked him, "Is this too little for you? The God of Israel (this epithet is used emphatically for Jehovah) has brought thee near to Himself, and all thy brethren the sons of Levi with thee, and ye strive after the priesthood also. Therefore...thou and thy company, who have leagued themselves against Jehovah:...and Aaron, what is he, that he murmur against him?" These last words, as an expression of wrath, are elliptical, or rather an aposiopesis, and are to be filled up in the following manner: "Therefore, Jehovah has distinguished you in this manner,...what do ye want? Ye rebel against Jehovah! why do ye murmur against Aaron? He has not seized upon the priesthood of his own accord, but Jehovah has called him to it, and he is only a feeble servant of God" (cf. Exodus 16:7). Moses then (Numbers 16:12-14) sent for Dathan and Abiram, who, as is tacitly assumed, had gone back to their tents during the warning given to Korah. But they replied, "We shall not come up." עלה, to go up, is used either with reference to the tabernacle, as being in a spiritual sense the culminating point of the entire camp, or with reference to appearance before Moses, the head and ruler of the nation. "Is it too little that thou hast brought us out of a land flowing with milk and honey (they apply this expression in bitter irony to Egypt), to kill us in the wilderness (deliver us up to death), that thou wilt be always playing the lord over us?" The idea of continuance, which is implied in the inf. abs., השׂתּרר, from שׂרר, to exalt one's self as ruler (Ges. 131, 36), is here still further intensified by גּם. "Moreover, thou hast not brought us into a land flowing with milk and honey, or given us fields and vineyards for an inheritance (i.e., thou hast not kept thy promise, Exodus 4:30 compared with Numbers 3:7.). Wilt thou put out the eyes of these people?" i.e., wilt thou blind them as to thy doings and designs?
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