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Death of Korah, Dathan and Abiram, Gustave Doré, 1865.
Death of Korah, Dathan and Abiram, Gustave Doré, 1865.

Korah or Kórach (Hebrew: קֹרַח, son of Izhar, is an individual who appears in the Book of Numbers of the Hebrew Bible, known for leading a rebellion against Moses.

The name Korah is also used for at least one other individual in the Hebrew Bible: Korah (son of Esau).

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  • ✪ The sin of Korah
  • ✪ The 12 Spies and rebellion of Korah, Dathan and Abiram Using insights from Ellen White's writings


What was the sin of Korah and why is it so dangerous and destructive to the body of Messiah? It's time to UNLEARN the lies. UNLEARN Hey, welcome to UNLEARN. My name is Lex, and I'd like to invite you to join us each week as we UNLEARN the lies and dig deeper into the truth of God's Word. Now, let's get started. Korah was a Levite and the cousin of Moses and Aaron. He was not happy about their leadership and he gathered others with him to challenge the authority of Moses and Aaron. Korah led a rebellion against Moses and Aaron, accusing them of exalting themselves above the congregation. This rebellion shows us the consequences of those who undermine the authority God has established to be leaders for His people. "Now Korah the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, with 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 some of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty leaders of the congregation, representatives of the congregation, men of renown. 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?" So when Moses heard it, he fell on his face" - Numbers 16:1-4 One could say this was the first church split. Korah and 250 leaders of the congregation challenged the authority of Moses and Aaron. We have people like Korah in the body of Messiah today. They challenge authority and try to exalt themselves over God's chosen leadership. Notice that Moses fell on his face when he heard these things. His response was to go to God in prayer. He did not argue or retaliate against them. He got on his face before the LORD and prayed. I say this to encourage ministers who have felt the attack of people like Korah in their own congregations. It is interesting to note that Korah means "to make oneself bald", which indicates that he brought shame upon his head. The act of rejecting authority brings shame upon your own head, thus you are making yourself bald. With that in mind, now consider what happened when some young people mocked Elisha by calling him baldhead. "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!" 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." - 2 Kings 2:23-24 When those disrespectful youth mocked Elisha by calling him baldhead, they were essentially mocking his authority, because they were mocking his head. When you mock a man of God, you are mocking God. When you honor the authority God has established you honor God, when you rebel against the authority God has established you rebel against God. "Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves." - Romans 13:1-2 This is a very serious sin. God does not treat rebellion and disrespect for authority lightly. God establishes order and authority, and the Bible says, "rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry..." - 1 Samuel 15:23 Now, with that in mind, listen to the order of authority that is established in the body of Messiah. "But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head. But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved. For if a woman is not covered, let her also be shorn. But if it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be covered... For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels." - 1 Corinthians 11:3-6,10 I have heard people teach that this passage is about modesty and that wearing head coverings is a way of dressing modestly. However, this passage specifically tells us it is about submitting to authority. The Bible says the head of woman is man, the head of man is Messiah, and the head of Messiah is God. So, if you dishonor your head, you are bringing shame to God who is the head of all. This is why rebellion and disrespect for authority is such a terrible sin, because it brings shame to God. Those who reject the authority of Messiah are bringing shame to God. Likewise, women who reject the authority of their husband bring shame to God. The Bible says that women who reject the authority of their husband should have their head shaved, showing a connection to Korach's rebellion against authority. It was very common at that time for prostitutes and lesbians to shave their heads. These were women who did not have authority over them (they had no husband). The Bible says a woman who rejects the authority of her husband should shave her head like a lesbian or a prostitute because she rejects the authority of her husband and shames her head. When you reject the authority God has established, then you are rejecting God. When you shame the authority God has established, you bring shame to your own head, thus bringing shame to God. Jude also warns us about people like this in the body of Messiah who follow in Korah's rebellion. "For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ... Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries... Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah. These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever... These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage... These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit." - Jude 1 (selected verses) I have heard people say that we don't need leaders or teachers or pastors because we all have the Holy Spirit to guide us. This is the same basic argument that Korah made when he said, "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?" - Numbers 16:3 The Bible tells us that Yeshua is the head, and He has established leadership within the body of believers. There are apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. The authority that is given to these men is to shepherd the flock, to teach and equip believers, and to build up their faith. "And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" - Ephesians 4:11-13 The Bible also speaks about elders who help lead and teach the congregation. "Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine." - 1 Timothy 5:17 People who reject authority and try to bring division in the body of Messiah, also bring shame upon Messiah who is the head of the body. These people are not walking in the Holy Spirit, they are walking in the spirit of Korah. So, please heed this warning and don't be like Korah. SHARE THE TRUTH UNLEARN THE LIES Thanks for watching. If you found this video helpful then share it with your friends and family so they can UNLEARN the lies with us. If you want to see more videos like this one, subscribe to my channel. I want to say a special thank you to those who support this ministry. We truly appreciate your prayers and generosity. Thank you so much. And remember, the truth will set you free. See you next time.


Pronunciation and etymology

His name is pronounced Qóraḥ in Standard Hebrew, or Qōraḥ in Tiberian Hebrew. Some older English translations, as well as the Douay–Rheims Bible, spell the name Core,[1] and many Eastern European translations have Korak. The Arabic equivalent of the name is قارون, pronounced Qārūn.

It comes from a root meaning "Baldness; ice; hail; frost".

In the Hebrew Bible


Exodus 6:21 cites Korah as being the son of Izhar son of Kohath son of Levi. Exodus 6:24 lists his three sons. Korah's brothers through Izhar were Nepheg and Zichri. Exodus 6:18 connects this Korah with Hebron, Uzziel and Amram, who were his father's brothers (Izhar son of Kohath). 1 Chronicles 6:2,18,38, and 23:12, repeat this genealogy; however, this reference could have been inspired by the Exodus genealogies. Hebron is the patriarch from whom the region is named.

Numbers 16:1 traces this lineage back further to Levi, son of the patriarch Israel. According to Numbers 16:21, his lineage goes: "Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi," making him the great-grandson of the patriarch Levi and the first cousin of Moses and Aaron.


Numbers 16:1–40 indicates that Korah rebelled against Moses along with 249 co-conspirators and were punished for their rebellion when God sent fire from heaven to consume all 250 of them. Korah's Reubenite accomplices, Dathan and Abiram, were also punished when God caused the ground to split open beneath their feet swallowing them, their families, anyone associated with Korah, and all their possessions.

Furthermore, the Israelites who did not like what had happened to Korah, Dathan, and Abiram (and their families) objected to Moses, and God then commanded Moses to depart from the multitude. God then smote 14,700 men with plague, as punishment for objecting to Korah's destruction (Numbers 16:41ff.)

"Notwithstanding, the children of Korah died not" (Numbers 26:11).

In rabbinical literature

The rabbis of the Talmudic era explained the name "Korah" as meaning "baldness." It was given to Korah on account of the gap or blank which he made in Israel by his revolt.[2] Korah is represented as the possessor of extraordinary wealth, he having discovered one of the treasures which Joseph had hidden in Egypt. The keys of Korah's treasuries alone formed a load for 300 mules.[3] He and Haman were the two richest men in the world, and both died on account of their rapacity, and because their riches were not the gift of Heaven.[4] On the other hand, Korah is represented as a wise man, chief of his family and as one of the Kohathites who carried the Ark of the Covenant on their shoulders.[5]

Cause of revolt

According to the Rabbis, the main cause of Korah's revolt was the nomination of Elizaphan, son of Uzziel, as prince over the Kohathites,[6] Korah arguing thus: "Kohath had four sons.[7] The two sons of Amram, Kohath's eldest son, took for themselves the kingdom and the priesthood. Now, as I am the son of Kohath's second son, I should be made prince over the Kohathites; however Moses gave that office to Elizaphan, the son of Kohath's youngest son".[8]

Korah asked Moses the following questions: "Does a tallit made entirely of techelet need fringes?" To Moses' affirmative answer Korah objected: "The blue color of the ṭallit does not make it ritually correct, yet according to your statement four blue threads do so".[9] "Does a house filled with the books of the Law need a mezuzah?" Moses replied that it did; whereupon Korah said: "The presence of the whole Torah, which contains 175 chapters, does not make a house fit for habitation, yet you say that one chapter of it does so. It is not from God that you have received these commandments; you have invented them yourself." He then assembled 250 men, chiefs of the Sanhedrin, and, having clad them in tallitot of blue wool, but without fringes, prepared for them a banquet. Aaron's sons came for the priestly share, but Korah and his people refused to give the prescribed portions to them, saying that it was not God but Moses who commanded those things. Moses, having been informed of these proceedings, went to the house of Korah to effect a reconciliation, but the latter and his 250 followers rose up against him.[10]

Korah consulted also his wife, who encouraged him in the revolt, saying: "See what Moses has done. He has proclaimed himself king; he has made his brother high priest, and his brother's sons priests; moreover, he has made you shave all your hair[11] in order to disfigure you." Korah answered: "But he has done the same to his own sons." His wife replied: "Moses hated you so much that he was ready to do evil to his own children provided the same evil would overtake you".[12]

Korah's parable

Moses and Korah, 1466 manuscript miniature, National Library of Poland.
Moses and Korah, 1466 manuscript miniature, National Library of Poland.

Korah incited all the people against Moses, arguing that it was impossible to endure the laws Moses had instituted. He told them the following parable: "A widow, the mother of two young daughters, had a field. When she came to plow it, Moses told her not to plow it with an ox and an ass together;[13] when she came to sow it, Moses told her not to sow it with mingled seeds;[14] At the time of harvest she had to leave unreaped the parts of the field prescribed by the Law, while from the harvested grain she had to give the priest the share due to him. The woman sold the field and with the proceeds bought two sheep. But the first-born of these she was obliged to give to Aaron the priest; and at the time of shearing he required the first of the fleece also.[15] The widow said: 'I cannot bear this man's demands any longer. It will be better for me to slaughter the sheep and eat them.' But Aaron came for the shoulder, the two cheeks, and the maw.[16] The widow then vehemently cried out: 'If you persist in your demand, I declare them devoted to the Lord.' Aaron replied: 'In that case the whole belongs to me',[17] whereupon he took away the meat, leaving the widow and her two daughters wholly unprovided for".[18]

The question how it was possible for a wise man like Korah to be so imprudent as to rebel is explained by the fact that he was deceived through his own prophetic ability. He had foreseen that the prophet Samuel would be his descendant, and therefore concluded that he himself would escape punishment. But he was mistaken; for, while his sons escaped, he perished.[19]

Destruction of Korah

At the time of Korah's engulfment, the earth became like a funnel, and everything that belonged to him, even linen that was at the launderer's and needles that had been borrowed by persons living at a distance from Korah, rolled till it fell into the chasm.[20] According to the Rabbis, Korah himself underwent the double punishment of being burned and buried alive.[21] He and his followers continued to sink until Hannah prayed for them;[22] and through her prayer, the Rabbis declare, Korah will ascend to paradise.[23] Rabbah bar bar Hana narrates that while he was traveling in the desert, an Arab showed him the place of Korah's engulfment. There was at the spot a slit in the ground into which he introduced some wool soaked in water. The wool became parched. On placing his ear to the slit, he heard voices cry: "Moses and his Torah are true; and we are liars".[24]

Other references

Korah is referenced in the New Testament in Jude 11: "Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam's error; they have been destroyed in Korah's rebellion." (NIV)

Korah is mentioned in the 1768 edition of the New England Primer. Here, as part of an alphabet, we read that "Proud Korah's troop was swallowed up" which is a paraphrasing of Numbers 16:32.

Korah is also mentioned by Irenaeus of Lyons in his anti-Gnostic work Adversus Haereses (Against Heresies), written in about 180. He criticized the excuse that some evil people in the Bible were credited with obtaining their power from God. Specifically he wrote there are some who:

declare that Cain derived his being from the Power above, and acknowledge that Esau, Korah, the Sodomites, and all such persons, are related to themselves.

The Dead Sea Scrolls also provide additional details about Korah, though which Korah is not certain.

Quranic reference

Korah is also mentioned in the Quran by the name of Qarun (Arabic: قارون Qārūn). He is recognized as wealthy, and became very arrogant due to his pride and ignorance.[25] He gave the credit of his wealth to his knowledge instead of to Allah (God).[26][27]

Indeed, Qarun was from the people of Moses, but he tyrannized them. And We gave him of treasures whose keys would burden a band of strong men; thereupon his people said to him, "Do not exult. Indeed, Allah does not like the exultant.

— Al-Qasas 28:76

The Quran states he was punished due to his extreme arrogance by being swallowed by earth along with all his great material wealth.[28]

He said, "I was only given it because of knowledge I have." Did he not know that Allah had destroyed before him of generations those who were greater than him in power and greater in accumulation [of wealth]? But the criminals, about their sins, will not be asked.

— Al-Qasas 28:78

And We caused the earth to swallow him and his home. And there was for him no company to aid him other than Allah, nor was he of those who [could] defend themselves.

— Al-Qasas 28:81

In the Malay and Indonesian language, the term for treasure is "Harta Karun", meaning Karun's treasure. It is also often referred to in Turkish as "Karun'un Hazineleri".

Other individuals named Korah

See also


  1. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Core, Dathan, and Abiron" . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  2. ^ Sanhedrin 109b
  3. ^ Pesachim 119a; Sanhedrin 110a
  4. ^ Numbers Rabbah 22:7; compare Exodus Rabbah 51:1
  5. ^ Tanhuma, ed. Buber, Ḳoraḥ, Supplement, 5; Numbers Rabbah 18:2
  6. ^ Numbers 3:30
  7. ^ Exodus 6:18
  8. ^ Numbers Rabbah 18:1; Tanhuma, Ḳoraḥ, 3
  9. ^ Numbers 15:38
  10. ^ Numbers Rabbah 18:2; Tanhuma l.c.; compare Targum Pseudo-Jonathan to Numbers 16:2
  11. ^ Compare Numbers 8:7
  12. ^ Midrash Aggadah to Numbers 16:8; Yalkut Shimoni Numbers 750; compare Numbers Rabbah l.c.; Tanhuma l.c.; Sanhedrin 110a
  13. ^ Deuteronomy 22:10
  14. ^ Leviticus 19:19
  15. ^ Deuteronomy 18:4
  16. ^ Deuteronomy 18:3
  17. ^ Numbers 18:14
  18. ^ Numbers Rabbah 18:2-3; Tanhuma, Ḳoraḥ, 4-6
  19. ^ Numbers Rabbah 18:7; Tanhuma, Ḳoraḥ, 12
  20. ^ Yerushalmi Sanhedrin 10 1; Numbers Rabbah l.c.
  21. ^ Numbers Rabbah l.c. 14; Tanhuma, Ḳoraḥ, 23
  22. ^ Genesis Rabbah 98:3
  23. ^ Avot of Rabbi Natan 36; Numbers Rabbah 18:11; compare Sanhedrin 109b
  24. ^ Bava Batra 74a; compare Tanhuma, ed. Buber, Ḳoraḥ, Supplement
  25. ^ Archived July 18, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  26. ^ "The Story of Qarun: Picture of Perfidious Rich – Your Guide to get to know the Quran". Retrieved 2019-07-27.
  27. ^ Al-Qasas 28:76
  28. ^ Al-Qasas 28:78-81

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSinger, Isidore; et al., eds. (1901–1906). "Korah". The Jewish Encyclopedia. New York: Funk & Wagnalls.

This page was last edited on 26 September 2019, at 16:40
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