Numbers 16 – 18
It’s pretty clear what happened here, a rebellion and the result a lot of dead people. There are some issues where there are alleged contradictions. The one issue relates to who may sacrifice, but since Numbers agrees with Leviticus on this, I’ll leave that until we reach 1 Samuel.
The other issue is a little more pressing since it’s later in Numbers where we’re told Korah’s children did not die. I’ll leave providing an explanation till then since I just glanced at the verse and haven’t examined the context, which we’ll al do in a few days. Mean time, if we were just left with today’s readings, we’d assume that the children died.
Again I’m going to address God’s killings, which I left out over the last few days so not as to sound like a broken record. Romans 6:23 tells us that the wages of sin is death. Since God is supposed to be merciful then we’d have to ask about the vengeful streak. I personally don’t feel comfortable questioning the ultimate Judge and Lawgiver, but not everyone shares my belief that such a being exists or that it would be the God depicted in the Old Testament. Job was confronted by the same issue, he wanted a hearing with God yet realised that God would be the Judge in said hearing.
All that said. None of us really have much idea of Korah, or his friends’, past. We don’t really know if this ws a first offence or something in a long line of rebellion and thus God was justified in making an example of him for us to read thousands of years later. The only thing I feel we could offer in God’s defence is that these people would have seen the plagues, the sea open; the manna produced, quail on demand and water from a rock, yet they didn’t seem to much trust God. Their mistrust may have been geared toward Moses and Aaron, but in questioning them, they questioned God’s judgement in putting them there.
While I’m not sure of why God did so much killing in the Old Testament, I feel that we can’t leap to conclusions about His character or existence from what is stated, we simply lack a complete understanding of what was happening, and what God’s intentions are beyond what is in the Bible.
What are your thoughts?
Please give the reading through the Bible page a look if you haven’t already, there are some background posts and the index to this reading plan. Share it with others who you think can benefit from Reading the Bible.