Numbers 16:9
Seems it but a small thing to you, that the God of Israel has separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself to do the service of the tabernacle of the LORD, and to stand before the congregation to minister to them?
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16:1-11 Pride and ambition occasion a great deal of mischief both in churches and states. The rebels quarrel with the settlement of the priesthood upon Aaron and his family. Small reason they had to boast of the people's purity, or of God's favour, as the people had been so often and so lately polluted with sin, and were now under the marks of God's displeasure. They unjustly charge Moses and Aaron with taking honour to themselves; whereas they were called of God to it. See here, 1. What spirit levellers are of; those who resist the powers God has set over them. 2. What usage they have been serviceable. Moses sought instruction from God. The heart of the wise studies to answer, and asks counsel of God. Moses shows their privileges as Levites, and convicts them of the sin of undervaluing these privileges. It will help to keep us from envying those above us, duly to consider how many there are below us."Seemeth" is not in the original. Render it as: Is it too little for you, i. e. "is it less than your dignity demands?" 6, 7. Take your censers, Korah, and all his company, &c.—that is, since you aspire to the priesthood, then go, perform the highest function of the office—that of offering incense; and if you are accepted well. How magnanimous the conduct of Moses, who was now as willing that God's people should be priests, as formerly that they should be prophets (Nu 11:29). But he warned them that they were making a perilous experiment. Near to himself; nearer than the other tribes, though not so near as the priests.

Unto them, i.e. in their stead and for their good. So they were the servants both of God and of the church, which was a high dignity, though not sufficient for their ambitious minds. Seemeth it but a small thing unto you,.... It should not; for it was a great thing which the Lord had done for them, and with which they should have been satisfied, and for it thankful:

that the God of Israel hath separated you from the congregation of Israel: this was a special favour, and ought to have been esteemed such, that God, who was the God of the whole people of Israel in common, should separate the tribe of Levi from all the rest of the tribes of Israel:

to bring you near to himself; next to the priests their brethren of the same tribe, to be joined to them, and assist them in their service, and officiate in the court of the tabernacle, where the divine Majesty dwelt:

to do the service of the tabernacle of the Lord; to watch it, and guard it, and keep out persons until to enter into it; to take it down and set it up, as occasion required, and bear and carry the holy things in it, and take care of them:

and to stand before the congregation to minister unto them? which Jarchi interprets of their singing in the desk songs of praise before them; but Aben Ezra, better, of the service they did for them, when they brought their offerings and sacrifices, which they took of them, and carried to the priests to offer for them.

Seemeth it but a small thing unto you, that the God of Israel hath separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself to do the service of the tabernacle of the LORD, and to stand before the congregation to minister unto them?
9. seemeth it but a small thing unto you] is it too small a thing for you. Korah’s company already possessed the great privilege of being separated from the other tribes for divine service; and with that they ought to be satisfied.Verse 9. - Seemeth it a small thing to you. Rather, "is it too little for you." חַמְעַט מִכֶּם. רב־לכם, "enough for you!" (רב, as in Genesis 45:28), they said to Moses and Aaron, i.e., "let the past suffice you" (Knobel); ye have held the priesthood and the government quite long enough. It must now come to an end; "for the whole congregation, all of them (i.e., all the members of the nation), are holy, and Jehovah is in the midst of them. Wherefore lift ye yourselves above the congregation of Jehovah?" The distinction between עדה and קהל is the following: עדה signifies conventus, the congregation according to its natural organization; קהל signifies convocatio, the congregation according to its divine calling and theocratic purpose. The use of the two words in the same verse upsets the theory that יהוה עדת belongs to the style of the original work, and יהוה קהל to that of the Jehovist. The rebels appeal to the calling of all Israel to be the holy nation of Jehovah (Exodus 19:5-6), and infer from this the equal right of all to hold the priesthood, "leaving entirely out of sight, as blind selfishness is accustomed to do, the transition of the universal priesthood into the special mediatorial office and priesthood of Moses and Aaron, which had their foundation in fact" (Baumgarten); or altogether overlooking the fact that God Himself had chosen Moses and Aaron, and appointed them as mediators between Himself and the congregation, to educate the sinful nation into a holy nation, and train it to the fulfilment of its proper vocation. The rebels, on the contrary, thought that they were holy already, because God had called them to be a holy nation, and in their carnal self-righteousness forgot the condition attached to their calling, "If ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant" (Exodus 19:5).
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