Good Morning Yamon Ki Yesepar:
Numbers 16:3-6: “They combined against Moses and Aaron and said to them, ‘You have gone too far! For all the community is holy, all of them, and the Lord is in their midst. Why then do you raise yourselves above the Lord’s congregation?’ When Moses heard this, he fell on his face.”
Today I would like to share more of a Talmud lesson that Hebrew lesson. The Talmud, of course, is not the inspired word of God. It is however, the best record we have to help fill in some gaps that are seemed to be left open in Scripture. I say the best record because it does record oral tradition from the time of the event. Still it is not canonized Scripture and when I quote Talmud, I am not quoting it with the same certainty that I would with Scripture.
The gap we have here is what is the nature of the rebellion? After all, the people all knew the miracles performed at the hand of Moses. They all knew how Moses directly dealt with Pharaoh and how the plagues came as a result of his command. They watched the red sea part, water come from a rock and many other events which should have firmed up Moses leadership position. I mean if you have the enemy on one side and a sea on the other and someone holds out a stick and causes that sea to part. I would say that would be a pretty good indication that this is one guy I would like to follow.
So what gave Korach and his cohorts the idea they could top Moses? For one thing, we know from the text that Korach, like Moses was a great-grandson of Levi. The Talmud teaches that Korach was a wealthy man and was encouraged by his wife who said that Moses was ridiculing and humiliating him and the other Levites with the laws of God. That he was holding a double standard so to speak. His wife had the inside scoop from her latest gossip circles.
In Numbers 15:4, we learn that when Moses heard words of Korah, he fell on his face. In the Hebrew the expression is most likely, his face or countenance fell. With the miraculous works that followed Moses, he had a whole lot of creditability and this little rebellion could have easily been put down by reminding them of the miraculous works that followed his leadership. Korach accused Moses of something that is as old as time itself and is still used by the enemy to destroy those in leadership. In the Talmud, Sanhedrin 110a we find that Moses was being accused of adultery. Not only that in Bechoros 5a we learn that according to the tally of the silver donated toward the building of the Tabernacle (Exodus 38), it seems that only half the amount collected was actually used. “So where’s the rest of it, Moses old boy.” It later became known that the weight-unit used in building the Tabernacle was double that used in the tally of the donations. But when bringing down a man God who looks at such details.
No wonder when Moses went out of the Tent that “all the people rose up and stood, every man at his tent door and looked after Moses.” In the Hebrew it has more of the idea, as we would say in modern terms, that they “glared” at Moses.
Can you image as a Pastor, after having lead your congregation through many waters, experienced the miraculous work of God, and then having some worthless gossipers start accusing you of adultery. Not only that but of also sticking your hand in the offering basket. I suspect your countenance would fall also.
Here is the curious thing. Moses did not respond declaring his innocence. The only one he declared his innocence to was God. In verse 6 we learn: “Moses was much aggrieved and he said to the Lord, ‘Pay no regard to their oblation. I have not taken the donkey of any one of them, nor have I wronged any one of them.’”
Moses’s only response to Korach and his accusers was in verse 5: “Come morning, the Lord will make known who is His and who is holy…”
If you are in the ministry, I can almost guarantee that a time will come when your leadership will be challenged with lies and false accusations. What is your response? 3,500 years ago, a great leader with a massive ministry was faced with lies and accusations and his response was to simply say: “The Lord will show you the truth.”
He did not have to defend himself, for if he was truly called of God, God would be his attorney and defender and as you read this story, you find God truly was.