Numbers 16:12
And Moses sent to call Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab: which said, We will not come up:
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(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joined Korah and his company in the address to Moses which is contained in Numbers 16:3, they must have subsequently withdrawn themselves and retired to their own tents, from which they refused to go up at the bidding of Moses.

Numbers 16:12. Moses sent to call Dathan and Abiram — To treat with them, and give them, as he had done Korah and his company, a timely admonition. We will not come up — To Moses’s tabernacle, whither the people used to go up for judgment. Men are said in Scripture phrase, to go up to places of judgment.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.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. 12-14. Moses sent to call Dathan and Abiram—in a separate interview, the ground of their mutiny being different; for while Korah murmured against the exclusive appropriation of the priesthood to Aaron and his family, they were opposed to the supremacy of Moses in civil power. They refused to obey the summons; and their refusal was grounded on the plausible pretext that their stay in the desert was prolonged for some secret and selfish purposes of the leader, who was conducting them like blind men wherever it suited him. Moses sent, to treat with them, and give them, as he had done Korah and his company, a timely admonition. Which said unto the messengers sent to them by Moses,

We will not come up, to Moses’s tabernacle, whither the people used to go up for judgment. Men are said in Scripture phrase to go up to places of judgment. See Deu 25:7 Ruth 4:1 Ezra 10:7,8. But because they would not now go up, therefore they went down quick into the pit, Numbers 16:12. 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.

And Moses sent to call Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab: which said, We will not come up:
12. Moses sent to call] Some tribal dispute or difficulty had probably occurred which required the leader’s intervention; and when Moses sent for the persons concerned, they took the opportunity to start a rebellion against him, by refusing to answer the summons.

We will not come up] For ‘come up’ used of going to a superior or a judge cf. Genesis 46:31, Deuteronomy 25:7, Jdg 4:5.

12–15. The civil rebellion of Dathan and Abiram against Moses’ leadership.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. To 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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