Suffering and sickness in the Bible – Part 26
Korah — Rebellion Against Moses And Aaron
(Num 16:1-40) “They gathered together against Moses and Aaron, and said to them, “you take too much upon yourselves, for all the congregation is holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the Lord ?” (Num 16:3)
The mutiny led by Korah, a Levite, and Dathan and Abiram of the tribe of Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn son, was an ambitious attempt to get more power and higher position for themselves as priests (v10). They challenged Moses’ authority and the command that Aaron alone was to be high priest (v 3-11). By this action they were rejecting God and His revealed word regarding who would lead God’s people (see 12:10, note above). Consequently, they received God’s just condemnation (v31-35). This will also be the position of all those in God’s kingdom who “love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats at synagogues,” (Mat 23:6).
• The Youths Who Mocked Elisha
“Then he went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up the road, some youths came from the city and mocked him, and said to him, “Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!” (2Kgs 2:23). Some believe that the youths who mocked Elisha were a gang organised to oppose his ministry. Though the Hebrew word na’ar is used as a general word for “boy” and is often applied to older youths when used alone (cf Gen 22:5; 41:12). The Hebrew here is na’arim qatanim (“little boys”). Older youths would undoubtedly have been out in the fields, but as it happens even today, this outsider coming into a village attracted a group of small boys. These children may have heard their parents mock the news that Elijah had gone up to heaven and possibly saying: “If Elisha says that, then let him show us how it is done, let him go on up, the old bald-head.” The mockery against the prophet demonstrated disdain for the Lord Himself (cf. Ezek 16:8; Acts 5:4).
“So he turned around and looked at them, and pronounced a curse on them in the name of the Lord. And two female bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths.” (2Kgs 2:24)
To avenge the honour of the Lord, Elisha pronounced upon them the divine judgment expressed in the covenant law of blessings and curses (Lev 26:21-22; Deut 30:19). God Himself judged the depraved children by sending the two bears (cf. Gal 6:7). The judgment at Beth-el was, a warning to Israel that God’s covenant curses awaited them if they persisted in rebellion against God (cf. Deut 30:15-20). Note that the bears’ injured the children, but apparently did not kill them.
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