Saturday, October 24, 2009

49: Rebellion

Numbers 16-17
Numbers 16 finally brings some action. Korah, Dathan, and Abiram decide to rise up against Moses. Ironically, the people that are rising up against him are Levites (the only people that were with him for the golden calf incident). Moses, seeing his opposition, tells them to present fire before the Lord. This is the same sort of "unauthorized fire" that got Aaron's sons killed. Moses is using God as a puppet to execute his opposition. He knows that God will kill them if they present this fire.

To make sure God kills them, he goes to God and says "Do not accept their offering". God is totally getting played here. Shouldn't it be Moses getting executed, considering Moses just told them to offer the fire to God? These people are going to get punished for doing what Moses tells them to do.

They bring their fire to the tent of meeting (along with Moses and Aaron). God tells Moses and Aaron to step away from the assembly because he is going to kill them (big shocker there). Moses asks God why he is mad at the whole assembly if only one man has sinned. Is he being coy? Did Moses not just tell God to reject their offering?

God doesn't listen to Moses this time. Korah, Dathan, and Abiram are buried alive with their families (by God), and anyone who brought fire for God (other than Aaron and Moses) are burned alive. Did God love and forgive these people too?

The next day the entire Israelite community rises up against Moses, saying that he's killed the Levites (the Israelites are finally catching on). God immediately begins killing everyone with a "plague". Moses and Aaron decide they don't really want everyone to die (otherwise who are they going to rule over). Aaron runs into the assembly and atones for their sins before God can kill any more people. God kills 14,700 people in all (a nice round number, convenient). So God didn't forgive these people until Aaron atoned for their sins? Doesn't this mean that Aaron is in control of God (i.e. Aaron does nothing, God kills people, Aaron does something, God doesn't kill people)? Why is this "all powerful" God being a total puppet this entire chapter?

In Numbers 17 God commands that the 12 tribes of Israel bring him 12 staffs (plus one for Aaron) and the staff of God's chosen person will sprout. God does this because he wants to rid himself of the constant grumbling against Moses. I propose that God could end the constant grumbling more easily by not killing people. Just a thought.

Of course, Aaron's staff sprouts almonds. God essentially says "there we go, fixed that grumbling problem". To which the Israelites respond by grumbling some more. Why are God's great ideas always so bad? So much for all knowing. Even the Israelites think that Moses is scamming them, they constantly don't believe in the miracles of Moses so why do we?

I'll leave you with a quote to represent the sentiment of the Israelite community toward God. Keep in mind that these are God's chosen people, the people that God is supposed to love the most. "We will die! We are lost, we are all lost! Anyone who even comes near the tabernacle of the Lord will die. Are we all going to die?" - Numbers 17:12-13.


  1. Ah, but you see, God just knew Aaron was going to do the atonement bit immediately after the 14,700th mortal got crisped and dispatched to eternal damnation. So he's not so bad after all.

  2. If he knew Aaron was going to atone (which he should have, an omnipotent being can be at all places, at all times at once), he wouldnt have needed to kill anyone of the 14,700 innocent poeple.



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