Adonai said to Moshe and Aharon, “Separate yourselves from this assembly; I’m going to destroy them right now!” They fell on their faces and said, “Oh God, God of the spirits of all humankind, if one person sins, are you going to be angry with the entire assembly?”-Numbers 16:20-22
We are continuing on with our study of Korah and the 250 leaders who joined him to rebel against Moses.
At Moses command, the rebels show up at the gate leading into the Tabernacle Courtyard.
God then tells Moses and Aaron to separate themselves from these wicked men because he’s going to destroy them.
I want to point out something interesting here.
I believe that ONLY Moses and Aaron heard God speak the words “Separate yourselves from this assembly; I’m going to destroy them right now!“
Because think about it.
If Korah and the 250 rebels that were with him actually heard God say He was going to destroy them, they would have been freaking out and in an instant running for their very lives.
They might have been rebellious but they weren’t stupid.
They knew quite well what God was capable of doing having experienced His miraculous power firsthand in Egypt and later in the desert.
Moses’ response to God’s threat is identical to how he responded in the past when God threatened to wipe out the people of Israel.
“Oh God, God of the spirits of all humankind, if one person sins, are you going to be angry with the entire assembly?”
There is an interesting principle being brought to the fore here.
Moses is bringing up the principle of “collective punishment” to the Lord and asking Him if that’s really fair.
Here’s what was going on in Moses’ mind.
One man (the rebel Levite Korah) instigated this mess.
So, he reasoned, is it fair that everybody be punished in the same way as the chief ringleader seeing that the level of guilt each person carried was NOT the same as Korah or the others on an individual basis for that matter.
This brings up another point.
Understand that when the Bible uses the word “community“, the group of people this word is referring to changes depending on the context.
The Hebrew word we usually translate into community is HA-EDAH.
The “whole community” would be KOL HA-EDAH.
Again, in the Bible, the usage of this word can be quite broad.
Basically, it is referring to any group of people who share a common characteristic whether it is being of the same race or a grouping together based on a decision made.
In the case we’re studying here in Numbers, when the Lord says He is about to annihilate the “community“, He is specifically referring to all those who joined Korah in rebelling against Moses.
Next, let’s take a look at verse 26.
There he said to the community “Leave the tents of these wicked men! Don’t touch anything that belongs to them, or you may be swept away in all their sins.”
Here the word “community” is referring to those who wisely chose NOT to side with Korah and his cohorts.
And by the way, you should well recognize the principle being fleshed out in verse 26.
It is the principle I constantly bring up because you will find it woven throughout the whole Bible from the first chapter of Genesis to the last chapter of Revelations.
Of course, I’m talking about the Principle of Separation.
We’re constantly reminded in Scripture to separate the CLEAN from the UNCLEAN.
Yeshua said he would be separating the sheep from the goats.
Recall that Lot had to be separated from the Sodomites before God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.
And here, Moses is commanding the innocent to completely SEPARATE themselves from the wicked to the point of not even touching anything that belongs to them lest by accident they end up on the receiving end of God’s fury when He executes His Vengeance.
Remember, we as believers are also commanded to separate ourselves from the ungodly of this world, even if they be family members.