Then Moses said, “This is how you will know that the LORD has sent me to do all these things and that it was not my idea: If these men die a natural death and suffer the fate of all mankind, then the LORD has not sent me. But if the LORD brings about something totally new, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them, with everything that belongs to them, and they go down alive into the realm of the dead, then you will know that these men have treated the LORD with contempt.” As soon as he finished saying all this, the ground under them split apart and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them and their households, and all those associated with Korah, together with their possessions. Numbers 16:28-32
Moses’ cousin Korah along with three men from the tribe of Reuben became insolent and rose up against Moses. They challenged the authority of Moses and Aaron, saying the whole community is holy, so essentially each of them had the right to be priests. Korah charges them why do you exalt yourselves above the assembly. In reality they were challenging God’s authority to anoint whomever He chooses. The showdown is captured in today’s verses. The term “realm of the dead” is translated from the Hebrew word Sheol. Some Bibles include Sheol in the verse. The people hearing Moses saying if Korah treated the Lord with contempt he will go down to Sheol, adds additional evidence of their sin. While Korah and his followers died because of their rebellion against God, we find the sins of the father were not carried on forever. In fact, seven generations later a very key prophet, Samuel, came from the line of Korah. Later the Korahites became doorkeepers and custodians for the tabernacle. The sons of Korah also became leaders in the choral and music in the tabernacle. Eleven Psalms are attributed to the sons of Korah.