Larry Booker Rialto, CA
“Now Korah, the son of lzhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and 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 certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown: And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the Lord?”
“And when Moses heard it, he fell upon his face.” Numbers 16:1-4
The rebellion of the 250 princes against Moses and Aaron is a relatively well known scriptural event with lessons that reach unto the New Testament (Jude 11). This article is not written to rehash the oft-discussed event and its intricacies. However, I do desire to look into a fascinating facet of this tragic story. It concerns the fate of a single rebel prince.
The ultimate outcome of the princes who fomented the rebellion is described in verses 31-33; “…the ground clave asunder that was under them: And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods. They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation. Verse 35 then relates the fate of the remaining 250 princes that followed their rebel ringleaders; And there came out a fire from the Lord, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense.
Please note, however, God’s statement to Moses in verse 24: “Speak unto the congregation; saying, Get you up from about the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.” In this passage, God significantly makes no mention of the rebel On. In verses 26-27, Moses warns the Israelites to flee the ringleader’s coming judgment; “And he spake unto the congregation, saying, Depart, I pray you, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest ye be consumed in all their sins. 27 So they gat up from the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, on every side… Again, note that Moses also does not mention On’s name.
This subtly reveals that this man, one of the original rebel ringleaders, apparently escaped the judgment meted out to all involved. After the initial reference to him in the beginning of the rebellion (verse 1), his name is simply no longer found concerning his being a recipient of God’s wrath. The question is “why” and what happened to him?
Truth be told, no one really knows. It is interesting to note however, that according to Jewish lore, *the night before the coming great judgment, his wife talked him out if the foolhardy venture. If this is so, she saved not only her husband’s life but her own life and her entire family’s life as well.
WHAT IS GOD TRYING TO TELL US?
Whatever actually happened, that On, his family, and substance were spared was that he had to have left off his rebellion, parted company with his rebel friends, and got his heart right with God, Moses, and Aaron as well. Jesus gave the first step to escaping any coming judgment in any dispensation in Luke 13:3;”l tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”
We, who live in this rebellious twenty-first century society, must ever keep in mind that God gave us that subtle bit of minutiae about On for a purpose, as: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
THEREFORE, ON’S THREE LESSONS TO US
1. Don’t run with rebellious people lest you pick up their ways and spirit.
• A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends. Proverbs 16:28
• A troublemaker plants seeds of strife; gossip separates the best of friends. New Living Translation
Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul. Proverbs 22:24-25
• Don’t befriend angry people or associate with hot-tempered people, or you will learn to be like them and endanger your soul. New Living Translation
2. Learn to respect the God-given, God-directed, spiritual authorities God has placed in your life.
• Obey them that have the rule over you, and
30 TOGETHER • Winter 2020
submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you. Hebrews 13:17
• Obey your spiritual leaders and be willing to do what they say. For their work is to watch over your souls, and God will judge them on how well they do this. Give them reason to report joyfully about you to the Lord and not with sorrow, for then you will suffer for it too. Tay
3. Learn to listen to godly, spiritual people that God has placed in your life as they can bring you good counsel. Remember a ‘real’ friend is someone who ‘brings out the best in you—if they bring out, or feed the negative, bad things in you—they are NOT your friend.
• The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise. Proverbs 12:15
• Fools are headstrong and do what they like; wise people take advice. The Message
• Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end. Proverbs 19:20
• Listen to advice, and accept discipline, so that in the end you will be wise. Complete Jewish Bible
• Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel. Proverbs 27:9
• The sweet smell of perfume and oils is pleasant, and so is good advice from a friend. New Century Version
• Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out. Proverbs 20:5
• The heart’s real intentions are like deep water; but a person with discernment draws them out. Complete Jewish Bible Hence, On’s lessons to this twenty-first century church!!
*Jewish traditions, while often interesting, can only be safely validated by their New Testament inclusions. Jude 14, 1 Timothy 3:8 etc. Hence Paul’s admonition to Timothy; From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. I Timothy 1:6-7
TOGETHER • Winter 2020 31