Don't be a KorahMar 07, 2022
- Genesis 49:5
Simeon and Levi are brothers, instruments of violence are their knives. In their secret counsel may my soul not enter. In their contingent may my honor never be united. For in their anger they slew men, and in their self-will they maimed oxen. Cursed be their anger for it was strong and their rage for it was cruel— I will disperse them in Jacob, I will scatter them in Israel.
This blessing has always confused me since it doesn't appear to be much of a blessing. It seems so out of place and I've felt like there was much more behind it than their anger towards Shechem after the incident with their sister, Dinah. After reading and understanding the placement of the tribal camps according to their divisions in Numbers 2 and 3, I got a little more insight!
Could Jacob have been prophesying about Korah’s rebellion when he was blessing Simeon and Levi? Possibly!
- Numbers 2:10-14
The standard of the camp of Reuben shall be on the south side, by their divisions. The prince of the sons of Reuben is Elizur son of Shedeur. His division, by their number, is 46,500. Those camping next to them are the tribe of Simeon. The prince of the sons of Simeon is Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai. His division, by their number, is 59,300. Next, the tribe of Gad. The prince of the tribe of Gad is Eliasaph son of Reuel.
- Numbers 3:29-30
The Kohathite families were to camp along the side of the Tabernacle on the south. The prince of the ancestral household of the Kohathites was Elizaphan son of Uzziel.
Did you catch what was said in Numbers 3:30?
Elizaphan was given the title of prince of the Kohathite household.
Kohath was the second son of Levi, and the Kohathites were to camp on the south side of the Mishkan, right next to Simeon.
When we think of royalty, typically any high position will go from the firstborn down to his son. If anything were to happen to that firstborn, the responsibility would go to the second born and his sons, etc.
Elizaphan was the second born son of Uzziel, Kohath’s 4th son. Korah was the 1st born of Kohath’s second son, Izhar.
Why was Elizaphan appointed as prince of the Kohathites when Korah would have been next in line since Moses and Aaron, sons of Kohath’s firstborn Amram, were already given good positions in Israel? Good question! I have no idea, but if we place ourselves in Korah’s shoes, I bet he was thinking the exact same thing!
After the incident with the golden calf in the wilderness, Moses stood at the gate of the camp and asked the congregation who would be on Adonai’s side. All the sons of Levi gathered around him, grabbed their swords and slayed 3,000 people who had worshiped the calf (Numbers 32:28).
The sons of Levi chose to be set apart that day and do the work of the Lord even when it came down to slaying their own brothers for their disobedience and rebellion. Despite the decision they made to be set apart, it didn’t stop pride and jealousy from entering some of their hearts, spreading to their brothers, and leading to rebellion in the camp.
- Numbers 16:1-2
Now Korah, son of Izhar son of Kohath son of Levi, and sons of Reuben—Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth— rose against Moses and took 250 men from Bnei-Yisrael, men of renown who had been appointed to the council.
When Korah rebelled, he didn't rebel alone. Dathan and Abiram from Reuben joined forces with him, plus 250 men of renown. Rashi suggests that these men were men who were fit to be part of the Sanhedrin!1 What?! How could men that were well known in their tribes and among their brothers for being wise and worthy of giving counsel fall for anything Korah was saying and take a stand against Moses, ultimately standing in defiance against Adonai?
Is it possible that most of those 250 men of renown came from the tribes of the southern camp, Reuben, Simeon, and Gad? Possibly!
Pride is sneaky.
Remember, Reuben was the first born but he didn't have the first born responsibilities and authority. Judah did (Genesis 49:3-4, 8-12). They led Israel in the wilderness with Reuben following behind, and all three of those sons, Reuben, Simeon, and Levi, were born before Judah.
Could the sons of Reuben also have been a little salty since he was the first born and the role of the firstborn was not given to him, but to Judah, and that's why they joined in on Korah’s rebellion? Possibly!
How many times have we thought we deserved a position and it went to someone we perceived to be less than us? I’ll be honest; I have. How easy is it for us to join in on complaining when a sister is in a position that doesn’t seem fair? Girl, it’s so easy we may not even realize we are doing it at the moment.
Have you ever heard the saying, ‘misery loves company?’ Many times we know that we’re wrong for complaining about something although our emotions may be ‘telling’ us we have a reason to feel the way we do. To make ourselves feel better and confirm our feelings, we’ll go to someone, let our emotions do the talking, and before we know it, our mouths are out of control, speaking lies about our brothers and sisters and defying Adonai’s authority.
We don’t exactly know how all these men came together with Korah, but I imagine it could have happened like the scenario above. Although the Kohathites had the honor of carrying the most holy items of the Tabernacle, Korah wasn’t satisfied with that job. Not only that, his younger cousin received the title of prince when he was next in line after Moses and he allowed that to slowly keep eating away at him.
When Korah allowed pride to get in his heart and mind, discernment went right out the window.
- Numbers 3:38
Those camping in front of the Tent of Meeting, on the east, toward the sunrise, were Moses, Aaron, and his sons. They were to care for the Sanctuary on behalf of Bnei-Yisrael. But anyone unauthorized who approached had to be executed.
On the second day of creation we see the separation of the heavenly waters and the earthly waters. This creation day is associated with the spirit of understanding and one main characteristic of understanding is discernment. Korah is a great example of what happens when we are not able to separate, or discern, our fleshly desires from our heavenly assignment.
Instead of using the wisdom and understanding of Adonai to build up the Mishkan and serve his brothers, Korah spoke out of place and ended up being swallowed up by the earth alive, completely separated from his community (Numbers 16:32-33). Life and death are in the power of the tongue and it is quite ironic that Korah and these men are swallowed alive by the mouth of the earth after using their mouths to speak out against Moses, Aaron, and Adonai Himself.
- Psalms 50:19-20
'You have unleashed your mouth for evil and harnessed your tongue for deceit. You sit, speaking against your brother, slandering your own mother’s son. '
- Proverbs 4:23-27
'Guard your heart diligently, for from it flow the springs of life. Put away perversity from your mouth, and keep devious lips far from you. Let your eyes look directly ahead, and fix your gaze straight in front of you. Clear a level path for your feet, so all your ways will be firm. Do not turn to the right or to the left. Divert your foot from evil.'
Sisters, it is so important to guard our hearts and make sure everything we are saying is bringing life to everyone around us, even when we may be in an emotional state. Our focus needs to stay on the job He has given us and He will work out the logistics for everything else. Remember, everyone in Israel had to pay a half shekel to ransom their souls when they were numbered. It wasn’t more for the rich or less for the poor. One equal amount was required for everyone in the nation, showing that no man was greater or less than his brother.
Your assignment may seem smaller than someone else’s job, but He knows you are the perfect person for it! Your assignment could also seem so big you don’t know how you’re going to get it all done. Don’t believe for a second that you are less or more than your fellow sisters! Keep your eyes on Him and don’t be a Korah!
Be pressed and be blessed!
'Thus says Adonai : “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, and depends on flesh as his arm, and whose heart turns from Adonai . Blessed is the one who trusts in Adonai , whose confidence is in Adonai . For he will be like a tree planted by the waters, spreading out its roots by a stream. It has no fear when heat comes, but its leaves will be green. It does not worry in a year of drought, nor depart from yielding fruit. For he will be like a bush in the desert. He cannot see goodness when it comes, but will dwell in parched places in the wilderness— a salt land where no one lives. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and incurable—who can know it? I Adonai search the heart, I try the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds. '
*Please Note: the verses used in this blog were taken from the TLV, Tree of Life Version, and may be numbered slightly different in other versions. Thank you!
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