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Matthew Henry's Commentary – Chapter 16
Chapter 16

The date of the history contained in this chapter is altogether uncertain. Probably these mutinies happened after their removal back again from Kadesh-barnea, when they were fixed (if I may so speak) for their wandering in the wilderness, and began to look upon that as their settlement. Presently after new laws given follows the story of a new rebellion, as if sin took occasion from the commandment to become more exceedingly sinful. Here is, I. A daring and dangerous rebellion raised against Moses and Aaron, by Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, Num. 16:1-15. 1. Korah and his accomplices contend for the priesthood against Aaron, Num. 16:3. Moses reasons with them, and appeals to God for a decision of the controversy, Num. 16:4-11. 2. Dathan and Abiram quarrel with Moses, and refuse to obey his summons, which greatly grieves him, Num. 16:12-15. II. A solemn appearance of the pretenders to the priesthood before God, according to order, and a public appearance of the glory of the Lord, which would have consumed the whole congregation if Moses and Aaron had not interceded, Num. 16:16-22. III. The deciding of the controversy, and the crushing of the rebellion, by the cutting off of the rebels. 1. Those in their tents were buried alive, Num. 16:23-34. 2. Those at the door of the tabernacle were consumed by fire (Num. 16:35), and their censers preserved for a memorial, Num. 16:37-40. IV. A new insurrection of the people, Num. 16:41-43. 1. God stayed in the insurrection by a plague, Num. 16:45. 2. Aaron stayed the plague by offering incense, Num. 16:46-50. The manner and method of recording this story plainly show the ferment to have been very great.