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by Wayne Blank
"They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit"
Dathan's rebellion began out of envy of Moses' leadership. The irony of that is that Moses never sought to be the leader of the people - he was drafted (see also The Education Of Moses). Moses actually asked The Lord to choose someone other than him: "Oh, my Lord, send, I pray, some other person" (Exodus 4:13 RSV). But nevertheless, when The Lord commanded Moses to lead the people, he obeyed. It was for that reality that when Dathan rebelled against Moses, he was actually rebelling against The Lord, from Whom Moses was merely an obedient servant.
"Now Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men: And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown: And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and The Lord [see YHVH, Adonai, Jehovah, LORD] is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of The Lord?" (Numbers 16:1-3 KJV)
Moses made plain to the rebels Who it was that would respond to them:
"And when Moses heard it, he fell upon his face: And he spake unto Korah and unto all his company, saying, Even to morrow The Lord will show who are His, and who is holy; and will cause him to come near unto Him: even him whom He hath chosen will He cause to come near unto Him. This do; Take you censers, Korah, and all his company; And put fire therein, and put incense in them before The Lord to morrow: and it shall be that the man whom The Lord doth choose, he shall be holy" (Numbers 16:4-7 KJV)
Moses then warned the others to get clear of the rebels, not because of Moses' wrath that was about to come, but The Lord's wrath:
"And The Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the congregation, saying, Get you up from about the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram."
Fact Finder: The "pit" that Dathan and the rest of the rebels went into was the Hebrew word (pronounced) "sheol." What does "sheol" mean?