Numbers 26:10
And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up together with Korah, when that company died, what time the fire devoured two hundred and fifty men: and they became a sign.
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(10) And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up together with Korah . . . —Hebrew, and Korah. It would appear from this verse that Korah perished in the earthquake with Dathan and Abiram. The Samaritan Pentateuch, however, has a different reading here. It transposes the words “and Korah,” and combines them with the words”and the two hundred and fifty men”: thus—“when the fire devoured Korah and the two hundred and fifty men.” (See Notes on Numbers 16:32; Numbers 16:35.) It is possible that there may have been an omission here of the words which are found in Numbers 16:32, “all the men that appertained unto,” or of words denoting “all the goods belonging to.”

Numbers 26:10. Together with Korah — These words seem to import that Korah was swallowed up with Dathan and Abiram. But it being more probable, as was observed on Numbers 16:32, that Korah was consumed by the fire of God with those who offered incense, the words may be otherwise translated thus: The earth swallowed them up; namely, Dathan and Abiram; and as for Korah, he died with that company, what time the fire devoured, &c. — To the same purpose speak the Samaritan text and Josephus. “Also we have the testimony of the apostolical constitutions, and in effect of Clement of Rome, of Ignatius and Eusebius, that the Septuagint version originally gave the same account.” — Whiston. Junius and Tremellius render the passage, The earth swallowed them up, and what things belonged to Korah; namely, his tent, and goods, and family, his children excepted, as they are here. The psalmist seems to confirm the opinion that Korah was burned with his Levites, mentioning only Dathan and Abiram as being swallowed up, Psalm 106:17. They became a sign — A monument of divine vengeance against daring sinners, warning them not to rebel against God, or magistrates, his deputies, nor to usurp the priestly office.26:1-51 Moses did not number the people but when God commanded him. We have here the families registered, as well as the tribes. The total was nearly the same as when numbered at mount Sinai. Notice is here taken of the children of Korah; they died not, as the children of Dathan and Abiram; they seem not to have joined even their own father in rebellion. If we partake not of the sins of sinners, we shall not partake of their plagues.Together with Korah - i. e., they were engulfed at the same time that Korah perished, for Korah himself appears to bare died among the two hundred and fifty incense offerers at the door of the tabernacle, not with Dathan and Abiram (compare Numbers 16:32 note). 10. the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up together with Korah—rather, "the things of Korah." (See on [92]Nu 16:35; compare Ps 106:17). Swallowed them up together with Korah: according to this translation Korah was not consumed by fire with his two hundred and fifty men, Num 16, but swallowed up by the earth. But others rather think he was devoured by the fire, of which see on Numbers 16:32,35, and render these words, and the things of Korah, or belonging to Korah, to wit, his tent, and goods, and family, children excepted, as here follows; which interpretation receives strength by comparing this place with Numbers 16:32,

And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them (to wit, Dathan and Abiram, as is manifest from Numbers 26:24,25,27) up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah; which variation of the phrase plainly shows that Korah himself was not swallowed up with them, but only his men and his tabernacle, which is mentioned there together with the tabernacles of Dathan and Abiram, Numbers 26:24,27, but his person is not there mentioned with their persons. Nor is it unusual both in sacred and profane authors, by the name of a man who is the head and master, to understand only his house and family, though himself be not included. But this difficulty may be cleared another way. The Hebrew particle eth may? be here the note of a nominative case, as it is 2 Kings 6:5 Nehemiah 9:19 Jeremiah 38:16 Ezekiel 39:14 43:7, and there may be a defect of a verb, which is most frequent; and so the place may be rendered thus,

and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, to wit, Dathan and Abiram, Numbers 26:9, and Korah, or, and as for Korah, he died (which verb is easily understood out of the following noun, of which ellipsis there are many instances in Scripture, some whereof have been given before, and more will follow in their places) in the death of that company, or when that company died, what time the fire devoured the two hundred and fifty men. And so this place, and Numbers 16:35, explain one another; and whereas there. is mention only of two hundred and fifty men consumed by that fire, Korah is here added to the number.

They became a sign, i.e. God made them a monument or example, to warn others not to rebel against God nor against magistracy, nor to usurp the priestly office. And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up,.... Not only Dathan and Abiram, but their wives and children, their houses and tents, and all their goods, see Numbers 16:32 together with Korah; the words being thus rendered, and standing in such close connection with the preceding, some have concluded from hence that Korah was swallowed up with them in the earth; whereas he seems rather to have been at that time with the two hundred and fifty men that had censers at the door of the tabernacle, and was consumed by fire with them, see Numbers 16:16 and, indeed, it is suggested here, for the phrase may be rendered, "and the things of Korah" (m); what appertained unto him, his men, tents, goods, and substance, which agrees with Numbers 16:32 or, "and as for Korah" (n); with respect to him: "when that company died": he was at the head of, he died also, the same death they died, by fire, as follows:

what time the fire devoured two hundred and fifty men; which was the number his company consisted of, who took censers, and offered incense, and were consumed by fire, Numbers 16:2, and with whom, in all probability, he perished:

and they became a sign, were made an example of, to deter others from the like practices, and particularly usurping any part of the priest's office: some connect the words with the following, and take the sense to be, that this was the sign or miracle, that when they perished, Korah's sons died not, but were preserved; which sense is countenanced by the Vulgate Latin, but the other sense is best.

(m) "et quae erant, Korachi", Junius & Tremellius. (n) So Pool, Patrick; "deinde et Corah (qui periit) in morte congregationis", Tigurine version.

And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up together with Korah, when that company died, what time the fire devoured two hundred and fifty men: and they {d} became a sign.

(d) That is, as an example that others should not complain and rebel against God's ministers.

10. and they became a sign] This is a reference to Numbers 16:38; but there it is not the offenders but their fire-pans, beaten into plates for the altar, that are a sign.Verse 10. - Swallowed them up together with Korah. יַתִּבְלַע אֹתָם וְאֶתאּקֹרַח. Septuagint, κατέπειν αὐτοὺς καὶ Κορέ. This distinct statement, which is not modified in the Targums, seems decisive as to the fate of Korah. If indeed it were quite certain from the detailed narrative in chapter 16 that Korah perished with his own company, and not with the Reubenites, then it might be deemed necessary to force this statement into accordance with that certainty; but it is nowhere stated, or even clearly implied, that he perished by fire, and therefore there is no excuse for doing violence to the obvious meaning of this verse. Korah, Dathan, and Abiram were swallowed up, we are told, at the same time that Korah's company were consumed by fire; that is a clear statement, and cannot be set aside by any supposed necessity for avenging the sacri1egious ambition of Korah by the element of fire. And they became a sign. The Hebrew נֵםproperly means a banner or ensign, and is unusual in this sense. It exactly corresponds, however, to the Greek σήμειον, and has no doubt the same secondary signification - a something made conspicuous in order to attract attention and enforce a warning (cf. chapter Numbers 16:30, 38). "And Moses and Eleazar the priest spake with them" (דּבּר with the accusative, as in Genesis 37:4). The pronoun refers to "the children of Israel," or more correctly, to the heads of the nation as the representatives of the congregation, who were to carry out the numbering. On the Arboth-Moab, see at Numbers 22:1. Only the leading point in their words is mentioned, viz., "from twenty years old and upwards" (sc., shall ye take the number of the children of Israel), since it was very simple to supply the words "take the sum" from Numbers 26:2.

(Note: This is, at all events, easier and simpler than the alterations of the text which have been suggested for the purpose of removing the difficulty. Knobel proposes to alter וידבּר into ויּדבּר, and לאמר into לפקד: "Moses and Eleazar arranged the children of Israel when they mustered them." But הדבּיר does not mean to arrange, but simply to drive in pairs, to subjugate (Psalm 18:48, and Psalm 47:4), - an expression which, as much be immediately apparent, is altogether inapplicable to the arrangement of the people in families for the purpose of taking a census.),

- The words from "the children of Israel" in Numbers 26:4 onwards form the introduction to the enumeration of the different tribes (Numbers 26:5.), and the verb יהיוּ (were) must be supplied. "And the children of Israel, who went forth out of Egypt, were Reuben," etc.

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