In Bible versions:
a man who led a rebellion against Moses and Aaron.
son of Esau and Oholibamah
son of Eliphaz son of Esau
son of Izhar son of Kohath son of Levi
son of Hebron of Judah
son of Izhar (Amminadab) son of Kohath son of Levi
members of the clan of Korah of Levi
baldness; ice; frost
Korah = "baldness"
1) a man who, with others, rebelled against Moses
2879 Kore kor-eh'
of Hebrew origin (7141); Core (i.e. Korach), an Israelite:-Core.
see HEBREW for 07141
Korahite = "one of Korah"
1) descendants of Korah the son of Levi
7145 Qorchiy kor-khee'
patronymic from 7141; a Korchite (collectively) or
descendants of Korach:-Korahite, Korathite, sons of Kore,
see HEBREW for 07141
Korah = "bald"
1) son of Izhar, grandson of Kohath, great grandson of Levi and leader
of the rebellion of the Israelites against Moses and Aaron while in
the wilderness; punished and died by an earthquake and flames of fire
2) the 3rd son of Esau by Aholibamah and one of the dukes of Edom
3) son of Eliphaz by Adah, duke of Edom, and nephew of 1
4) one of the 'sons' of Hebron
7141 Qorach ko'rakh
from 7139; ice; Korach, the name of two Edomites and three
see HEBREW for 07139
ice, hail. (1.) The third son of Esau, by Aholibamah (Gen. 36:14; 1 Chr. 1:35).
(2.) A Levite, the son of Izhar, the brother of Amram, the father of Moses and Aaron (Ex. 6:21). The institution of the Aaronic priesthood and the Levitical service at Sinai was a great religious revolution. The old priesthood of the heads of families passed away. This gave rise to murmurings and discontent, while the Israelites were encamped at Kadesh for the first time, which came to a head in a rebellion against Moses and Aaron, headed by Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. Two hundred and fifty princes, "men of renown" i.e., well-known men from among the other tribes, joined this conspiracy. The whole company demanded of Moses and Aaron that the old state of things should be restored, alleging that "they took too much upon them" (Num. 16:1-3). On the morning after the outbreak, Korah and his associates presented themselves at the door of the tabernacle, and "took every man his censer, and put fire in them, and laid incense thereon." But immediately "fire from the Lord" burst forth and destroyed them all (Num. 16:35). Dathan and Abiram "came out and stood in the door of their tents, and their wives, and their sons, and their little children," and it came to pass "that the ground clave asunder that was under them; and the earth opened her mouth and swallowed them up." A plague thereafter began among the people who sympathized in the rebellion, and was only stayed by Aaron's appearing between the living and the dead, and making "an atonement for the people" (16:47).
The descendants of the sons of Korah who did not participate in the rebellion afterwards rose to eminence in the Levitical service.
that portion of the Kohathites that descended from Korah. (1.) They were an important branch of the singers of the Kohathite division (2 Chr. 20:19). There are eleven psalms (42-49; 84; 85; 87; 88) dedicated to the sons of Korah.
(2.) Some of the sons of Korah also were "porters" of the temple (1 Chr. 9:17-19); one of them was over "things that were made in the pans" (31), i.e., the baking in pans for the meat-offering (Lev. 2:5).
1. A son of Esau, Gen. 36:5
2. A Korhite Levite, Ex. 6:18
; jealous of Moses, leads two hundred and fifty princes in an insurrection, and is swallowed up in the earth, Num. 16
; Deut. 11:6
; Psa. 106:17
; Jude 11
3. Son of Hebron, 1 Chr. 2:43
4. Son of Kohath, and head of the family of sacred musicians among the Levites, 1 Chr. 6:22
See titles to Psalms 42
- Third son of Esau by Aholibamah. (Genesis 36:5,14,18; 1Ã‚Â Chronicles 1:35) He was born in Canaan before Esau migrated to Mount Seir, (Genesis 36:5-9) and was one of the "dukes" of Edom. (B.C. 1790.)
- Another Edomitish "duke" of this name, sprung from Eliphaz, Esau?s son of Adah. (Genesis 36:16)
- One of the "sons of Hebron," in (1Ã‚Â Chronicles 2:43)
- Son of Izhar the son of Kohath the son of Levi. He was leader of the famous rebellion against his cousins Moses and Aaron in the wilderness, for which he paid the penalty of perishing with his followers by an earthquake and flames of fire. (Numbers 16; 26:9-11) The particular grievance which rankled in the mind of Korah and his company was their exclusion from the office of the priesthood, and their being confined --those among them who were Levites-- to the inferior service of the tabernacle. Korah?s position as leader in this rebellion was evidently the result of his personal character, which was that of a bold, haughty and ambitious man. (B.C. 1490.) In the New Testament (Jude 1:11) Korah is coupled with Cain and Balaam.
(1Ã‚Â Chronicles 9:19,31
that portion of the Kohathites who were descended from Korah. They were an important branch of the singers, (2Ã‚Â Chronicles 20:19
) hence we find eleven psalms (or twelve, if Psal 43 is included under the same title as Psal 42, dedicated or assigned to the sons of Korah, viz., Psal 42,44-49,84,85,87,88,
- ko'-ra, (~qorach], "baldness," possibly; Kore):
(1) One of the 3 sons of Oholibamah, Esau's Hivite wife. The account says that the 3 were born in Canaan before Esau withdrew to the Seir mountain country. They are mentioned 3 times in the brief account from 3 points of view (Gen 36:5,14,18;, 1 Ch 1:35), the 3rd mention being in the list of "chiefs."
(2) One of the sons of Eliphaz, the son of Adah, Esau's Hittite wife (Gen 36:16). He is mentioned as one of the Edomite "chiefs."
If one has the habit, finding a statement anywhere, of thinking that the statement ought to be changed into something else, he will be interested in the attempts to identify these Edomite Korahs with Korah (3).
(3) A son of Hebron (1 Ch 2:43), the son of Mareshah, mentioned in the Caleb group of families in Judah.
(4) The son of Izhar the son of Kohath the son of Levi (Ex 6:16 ff; Nu 16:1; 1 Ch 6:18,31-38), a younger contemporary of Moses. There may have been generations, omitted in the record, between Izhar and Korah; that is a natural way of accounting for Amminadab (1 Ch 6:22-30).
1. The Catastrophe in the Wilderness:
This Korah is best known as the man whom the opening earth is said to have swallowed up along with his associates when they were challenging the authority of Moses and Aaron in the wilderness (Nu 16; 17). Korah is presented as the principal in the affair. The company is spoken of as his company, and those who were swallowed up as being "all the men that appertained unto Korah." (Nu 16:11,32). It is under his name that the affair is referred to (Nu 26:9; 27:3). But Dathan and Abiram of the tribe of Reuben are not much less prominent than Korah. In Nu 16 and 26 they are mentioned with Korah, and are mentioned without him in Dt 11:6 and Ps 106:17. Another Reubenite, On, the son of Peleth, was in the conspiracy. It has been inferred that he withdrew, but there is no reason either for or against the inference. Equally baseless is the inference that Zelophehad of Manassel joined it, but withdrew (Nu 27:3). The account implies that there were other Levites in it besides Korah (Nu 16:7-10), and it particularly mentions 250 "men of renown," princes, such men as would be summoned if there were a public assembly (Nu 16:2,17,35). These men, apparently, were of different tribes.
The position taken by the malcontents was that "all the congregation are holy, every one of them," and that it was therefore a usurpation for Moses and Aaron to confine the functions of an incense-burning priest to Aaron alone. Logically, their objection lay equally against the separation of Aaron and his sons from the rest of the Levites, and against the separation of the Levites from the rest of the people. On the basis of this, Moses made expostulation with the Levites. He arranged that Korah and the 250, along with Aaron, should take their places at the doorway of the tent of meeting, with their censers and fire and incense, so that Yahweh might indicate His will in the matter. Dathan and Abiram insolently refused his proposals.
The record says that Korah's "whole congregation," including himself and the 250 with their censers, met Moses and Aaron and "all the congregation" of Israel at the doorway of the tent of meeting. For the purposes of the transaction in hand the tent was now "the mishkan of Korah, Dathan and Abiram," and their followers. Yahweh directed Moses to warn all other persons to leave the vicinity. Dathan and Abiram, however, were not at the mishkan. The account says that Moses, followed by the eiders of Israel, went to them to their tents; that he warned all persons to leave that vicinity also; that Dathan and Abiram and the households stood near the tents; that the earth opened and swallowed them and their property and all the adherents of Korah who were on the spot; that fire from Yahweh devoured the 250 who offered incense. The narrative does not say whether the deaths by fire and by the opening of the earth were simultaneous. It does not say whether Korah's sons participated in the rebellion, or what became of Korah himself. In the allusion in Nu 26 we are told, apparently, that Korah was swallowed up, and that "the sons of Korah died not." The deaths of the principal offenders, by fire and by being swallowed up, were followed by plague in which 14,700 perished (Nu 16:49 (Hebrew 17:14)).
2. Critical Treatments of This Story:
Any appreciative reader sees at once that we have here either a history of certain miraculous facts, or a wonder-story devised for teaching religious lessons. As a story it is artistically admirable--sufficiently complicated to be interesting, but clear and graphic and to the point. In the Hebrew there are 2 or 3 instances of incomplete grammatical construction, such as abound in the early literary products of any language, when these have been fortunate enough to escape editorial polishing. In such a case it is possibly not unwise just to take a story as it stands. Nothing will be added to either its religious or its literary value by subjecting it to doubtful alleged critical processes.
If, however, one has committed himself to certain critical traditions concerning the Hexateuch, that brings him under obligation to lead this story into conformity with the rest of his theory. Attempts of this kind have been numerous. Some hold that the Korah of this narrative is the Edomite Korah, and that Peleth means Philistine, and that our story originally grew out of some claim made by Edomites and Philistines. It is held that the story of Korah was originally one story, and that of Dathan and Abiram another, and that someone manipulated the two and put them together. See the treatments of the Book of Numbers in Driver, Introduction; Addis, Documents of the Hexateuch; Carpenter and Battersby, Hexateuch; Bacon, Exodus; Paterson on Numbers, in the Polychrome Bible. These and other like works give source-analyses of our story. Some of the points they make are plausible. In such a case no one claims any adequate basis of fact for his work; each theory is simply a congeries of ingenious guesses, and no two of the guessers guess alike.
As in many other Biblical instances, one of the results of the alleged critical study is the resolving of a particularly fine story into two or more supposed earlier stories each of which is absolutely bald and crude and uninteresting, the earlier stories and the combining of these into their present form being alike regarded as processes of legendary accretion. The necessary inference is that the fine story we now have was not the product of some gifted mind, guided by facts and by literary and religious inspiration, but is an accidental result of mere patchwork. Such a theory does not commend itself to persons of literary appreciation.
Willis J. Beecher
KORAHITES; SONS OF KORAH [ISBE]
KORAHITES; SONS OF KORAH
- ko'-ra-its (qorchi), (beno qorach; in the King James Version appears also as Korhite, Kohathite, Kore): This phrase is used to denote Assir and Elkanah and Abiasaph, Korah's 3 individual sons (Ex 6:24
; compare Nu 26:11
). But its more frequent use, and that to which interest attaches, is in the titles of some of the Psalms.
The genealogical details concerning Korahites are rather full. In 3 places we find the list of the 7 successive generations closing with the prophet Samuel and his son Joel (1 Ch 6:31-38,22-30; 1 Sam 1:1,20; 8:2); the two in Ch mention most of the generations between Korahites and Joel. The fragmentary lists in 1 Ch 9:25; 26 connect the list with the 4 generations following Joel (1 Ch 6:33; 9:19-31; 26:1 ff), and with 2 generations in the very latest Bible times (1 Ch 9:31).
The adjective "Korhite" appears also in the King James Version as "Korathite," Kore," and "Korahite," the last being the form preferred in the English Revised Version. It is used 4 times in the singular. Once it designates an individual (1 Ch 9:31); 3 times it denotes the successors of Korahites taken collectively (Ex 6:24; Nu 26:58; 1 Ch 26:19); 4 times it is used in the plural, denoting the members of this succession of men (1 Ch 9:19; 12:6; 26:1; 2 Ch 20:19). As variants of this use, "the sons of the Korahites" appears once, and "the children of the Korahites" once (1 Ch 26:19; 2 Ch 20:19).
In these various passages the Korahites families are counted like the other Levitical families. In 1 Ch 12:6 we have an account of 5 men who are designated as "the Korahites," who joined David when he was at Ziklag--Elkanah, Isshiah, Azarel, Joezer, Jashobeam. They are described as expert warriors, especially with the bow and sling, and as being "of Saul's brethren of Benjamin." Some of them may plausibly be identified with men of the same name mentioned elsewhere. These Korahites may have been cousins of the Samuel family, and they may have resided not very far apart.
The record speaks with some emphasis of a line of Korahites doorkeepers.
In the latest Old Testament times one Mattithiah, "the first-born of Shallum the Korahite," held "the office of trust over the things that were baked in pans" (1 Ch 9:31). Shallum was "the son of Kore, the son of Ebiasaph, the son of Korah." In this expression 15 or more generations are omitted between Ebiasaph and Kore, and perhaps as many between Kore and Shallum. The record proceeds to supply some of the omitted names between Kore and Shallum. The representative of the line in David's time was "Zechariah the son of Meshelemiah" (1 Ch 9:21). In all periods the Korahites were "keepers of the thresholds of the tent." Back in the time of "Phinehas the son of Eleazar," "their fathers had been over the camp of Yahweh" (1 Ch 9:19,20). Zechariah was, in his time, "porter of the door of the tent of meeting" (1 Ch 9:21), and Shallum was still the chief of the porters (1 Ch 9:17). The record for David's time supports and supplements this. It says that the doorkeepers, according to the arrangements made by David, included a Korahites contingent, its leading men being Meshelemiah and his son Zechariah (1 Ch 26:1,2,9,14), and that Meshelemiah was "the son of Kore, of the sons of Asaph." Adopting the common conjecture that Asaph is here a variant for Ebiasaph, we have here the same abridgment of the genealogical list as in 1 Ch 9.
More interesting, however, than the fighting Korahites who claimed succession from Moses to Nehemiah, are the."sons of Korah" who were somehow connected with the service of song. One of the genealogies is introduced by the statement: "These are they whom David set over the service of song in the house of Yahweh, after that the ark had rest. And they ministered with song before the tabernacle of the tent of meeting, until Solomon had built the house of Yahweh in Jerus" (1 Ch 6:31,32). Then the writer proceeds to mention first "Heman the singer, the son of Joel, the son of Samuel," and so on, carrying the genealogy back to Korah and Levi. After thus mentioning Heman, he speaks of "his brother Asaph, who stood on his right hand," and traces Asaph's descent back to Gershom the son of Levi; and then says, "and on the left hand their brethren the sons of Merari." Of these the principal leader is Ethan (otherwise called Jeduthun), and his descent is here traced back to Levi.
In this way we are introduced to David's 3 great leaders in choral and orchestral music. Among them Heman the Korahite has at first the place of primacy, though Asaph, later, comes to the front. The events just referred to are mentioned again, more in detail, in the account of David's bringing the ark to Jerusalem. There it is said that at the suggestion of David "the Levites appointed Heman the son of Joel," and also Asaph and Ethan, "and with them" several others, "their brethren of the second degree" (1 Ch 15:17,18). The record proceeds to speak of the services of "the singers, Heman, Asaph, and Ethan," and their associates, in the pageantry of the bringing of the ark to Jerusalem. After that, it says, Asaph had charge of the services of thanksgiving and praise before the ark in Jerusalem, while Heman and Jeduthun served in the high place at Gibeon (1 Ch 16:4 ff,37,39-42). Later, the record says (1 Ch 25), David made an elaborate organization, under Asaph and Heman and Jeduthun, for prophesying with song and instrumental music.
As the records of David's time, according to the Chronicler, thus attribute to him great achievements in sacred music and song, so the records of subsequent times reiterate the same thing. David's interest in sacred music is mentioned in connection with Solomon's temple, in connection with the times of Joash and Hezekiah and Josiah, in connection with the institutions and exploits of the times after the exile (e.g. 2 Ch 7:6; 23:18; 29:25 ff; 35:15; Ezr 3:10; Neh 12:24,36,45,46). Asaph and Heman and Jeduthun led the magnificent choir and orchestra at the dedication of the temple (2 Ch 5:12). One of the sons of Asaph prophesied, and the sons of the Korahites sang at the crisis in the time of Jehoshaphat (2 Ch 20:14,19). The sons of Asaph and the sons of Heman and the sons of Jeduthun were present, and there was instrumental music and loud singing, according to the appointment of David and his associates, at the time of Hezekiah's Passover (2 Ch 29:13 ff). Singing, and Asaph and Heman and Jeduthun and David have an important place in the record concerning Josiah. And the records of the post-exilian times make the singers and the "sons of Asaph" and the arrangements of David as conspicuous as the law of Moses itself.
Add to this that the names Asaph or Heman or Ethan or Jeduthun, or the designation "the sons of Korah" are attached to 25 or more of the Psalms (e.g. Psalms 42 through 49; 50; 62; 72 through 85), and we have a body of testimony that is at least abundant and intelligible. It is to the effect that there was elaborate organization, on a large scale, in connection with the musical services of the temple at Jerusalem; that this began in the time of David, as a part of the preparation for building the temple, under the influence of the family traditions of the prophet Samuel; and that the movement continued in the generations following David, either surviving the exile, or being revived after the exile. In connection with this movement, the phrases "sons of Korah," "sons of Asaph," "sons of Heman," "sons of Jeduthun" denote, in some cases, merely lineal escent; but in other cases they denote each an aggregate of persons interested in sacred song and music--a guild or society or succession or group--arising out of the movement which originated in David's time. See, for example, "sons of Asaph" (1 Ch 25:1,2; 2 Ch 20:14; compare 20:19; 29:13; 35:15; Ezr 2:41; 3:10; Neh 7:44; 11:22) and "sons of Korah" in the titles of Psalms 42 through 49 and 84; 85; 87 through 89. Traces of these aggregates appear in the times of Solomon, of Jehoshaphat, of Joash, of Hezekiah, of Josiah, of Zerubbabel, of Ezra and Nehemiah.
If a person holds that the mention of an event in Chronicles is to be regarded as proof that the event never occurred, that person will of course deny that the testimony thus cited is true to fact. He is likely to hold that the guilds of singers arose in the exile, and that, some generations after Nehemiah, they fabricated for themselves the ecclesiastical and physical pedigrees now found in the Books of Chronicles. If, however, we accord fair play to the Chronicler as a witness, we shall be slow to discredit the minute and interfitting testimony which he has placed before us.
Willis J. Beecher