God’s Verbal Interaction with Man, Part Eight
COMMENTARY ON THE BIBLICAL ACCOUNT
In the Koran, Allah is said to not directly verbally communicate with mankind. In the Holy Bible, however, God is said to have verbally communicated with several men. I would like to consider them in this series and one in particular in this writing: Moses and his adversaries: Korah and Associates.
THE KORANIC ACCOUNT
It is beneath the dignity of Allah to condescend to speak to a mortal with the exception of disclosing information or from behind a covering hidden from view or by dispatching a messenger who reveals with His permission what He pleases; certainly He is Exalted and exercises good judgment (Surah 42:51).
Allah made direct contact with Moses when speaking to him (Surah 4:164).
Korah was certainly of Moses’ nation, but he rebelled. We had given him a great amount of valuables. The store of which would require many mighty men to transport. His kinfolk told him not to rejoice because of his great wealth. Allah does not like jubilance over wealth (Surah 28:76).
Pursue the residence of paradise with the resources Allah has provided you. Do not ignore your allotment on this earth. Do good to others as Allah has been good to you. Do not support wickedness for Allah does not love those who do wickedness (Surah 28:77).
He responded: This wealth was provided to me because of my knowledge. He was not aware that Allah had completely brought to an end in past generations people greater in power and more greedy of wealth than himself. Those who do wrong are not asked about the evil they do (Surah 28:78).
When he went before his community well dressed; Those who love the things of this world said: I wish I had the wealth of Korah. He has been given very good fortune (Suarh 28:79).
Those people who were given acquaintance with truth said: Shame on you! The recompense Allah provides is superior for the person who believes and does what is good. Only those who are patient can expect to acquire this gift (Surah 28:80).
We made the earth to devour him and his residence. There was no multitude of people able to help him against Allah. Nor was he able to defend himself (Surah 28:81).
The next morning, those who had desired his possessions the day before said: Allah provides abundantly or sparingly to whom he will of his people. Had not Allah had mercy on us we would have been devoured by the earth as well. Observe this! Those who lack gratitude never succeed (Surah 28:82).
COMMENTARY ON THE KORANIC ACCOUNT
Korah rebelled against Moses. The Koran attributes this to the pride of Korah due to his wealth and knowledge. People questioned if he was thinking of the life beyond the present. The Koran is basically stating that he considered himself worthy of the wealth he had rather than it being a gift from God. According to the Koran, the people that didn’t covet the treasures of Korah thought that the recompense one receives from Allah for faith and good works with patience is superior to the wealth of Korah. The question are, “Are they referring to before death or after death? “Do you have to die to receive the recompense from Allah?”
Allah along with Gabriel (we) caused the earth to open up and swallow Korah and all his household. Korah didn’t have any ability to prevent the earth from opening up.
The people knowing Korah are portrayed as being covetous of what Korah had and thankful that they didn’t descend into the earth with Korah. According to the Koran those who aren’t thankful don’t prosper.
THE BIBLICAL ACCOUNT
Numbers, Chapter 16, Verses 1-50
1 Now Korah, the son of Izhar, 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:
2 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:
3 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?
4 And when Moses heard it, he fell upon his face:
5 And he spake unto Korah and unto all his company, saying, Even to morrow the LORD will show who are his, and who is holy; and will cause him to come near unto him: even him whom he hath chosen will he cause to come near unto him.
6 This do; Take you censers, Korah, and all his company;
7 And put fire therein, and put incense in them before the LORD to morrow: and it shall be that the man whom the LORD doth choose, he shall be holy: ye take too much upon you, ye sons of Levi.
8 And Moses said unto Korah, Hear, I pray you, ye sons of Levi:
9 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?
10 And he hath brought thee near to him, and all thy brethren the sons of Levi with thee: and seek ye the priesthood also?
11 For which cause both thou and all thy company are gathered together against the LORD: and what is Aaron, that ye murmur against him?
12 And Moses sent to call Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab: which said, We will not come up: 13 Is it a small thing that thou hast brought us up out of a land that floweth with milk and honey, to kill us in the wilderness, except thou make thyself altogether a prince over us?
14 Moreover thou hast not brought us into a land that floweth with milk and honey, or given us inheritance of fields and vineyards: wilt thou put out the eyes of these men? we will not come up. 15 And Moses was very wroth, and said unto the LORD, Respect not thou their offering: I have not taken one ass from them, neither have I hurt one of them.
16 And Moses said unto Korah, Be thou and all thy company before the LORD, thou, and they, and Aaron, to morrow:
17 And take every man his censer, and put incense in them, and bring ye before the LORD every man his censer, two hundred and fifty censers; thou also, and Aaron, each of you his censer.
18 And they took every man his censer, and put fire in them, and laid incense thereon, and stood in the door of the tabernacle of the congregation with Moses and Aaron.
19 And Korah gathered all the congregation against them unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the congregation.
20 And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,
21 Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.
22 And they fell upon their faces, and said, O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and wilt thou be wroth with all the congregation?
23 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
24 Speak unto the congregation, saying, Get you up from about the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.
25 And Moses rose up and went unto Dathan and Abiram; and the elders of Israel followed him. 26 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: and Dathan and Abiram came out, and stood in the door of their tents, and their wives, and their sons, and their little children.
28 And Moses said, Hereby ye shall know that the LORD hath sent me to do all these works; for I have not done them of mine own mind.
29 If these men die the common death of all men, or if they be visited after the visitation of all men; then the LORD hath not sent me.
30 But if the LORD make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit; then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the LORD.
31 And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that was under them:
32 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.
33 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.
34 And all Israel that were round about them fled at the cry of them: for they said, Lest the earth swallow us up also.
35 And there came out a fire from the LORD, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense.
36 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
37 Speak unto Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest, that he take up the censers out of the burning, and scatter thou the fire yonder; for they are hallowed.
38 The censers of these sinners against their own souls, let them make them broad plates for a covering of the altar: for they offered them before the LORD, therefore they are hallowed: and they shall be a sign unto the children of Israel.
39 And Eleazar the priest took the brazen censers, wherewith they that were burnt had offered; and they were made broad plates for a covering of the altar:
40 To be a memorial unto the children of Israel, that no stranger, which is not of the seed of Aaron, come near to offer incense before the LORD; that he be not as Korah, and as his company: as the LORD said to him by the hand of Moses.
41 But on the morrow all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron, saying, Ye have killed the people of the LORD.
42 And it came to pass, when the congregation was gathered against Moses and against Aaron, that they looked toward the tabernacle of the congregation: and, behold, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the LORD appeared.
43 And Moses and Aaron came before the tabernacle of the congregation.
44 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
45 Get you up from among this congregation, that I may consume them as in a moment. And they fell upon their faces.
46 And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a censer, and put fire therein from off the altar, and put on incense, and go quickly unto the congregation, and make an atonement for them: for there is wrath gone out from the LORD; the plague is begun.
47 And Aaron took as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the congregation; and, behold, the plague was begun among the people: and he put on incense, and made an atonement for the people.
48 And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed.
49 Now they that died in the plague were fourteen thousand and seven hundred, beside them that died about the matter of Korah.
50 And Aaron returned unto Moses unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and the plague was stayed.
Korah and 250 famous princes of the tribes of Israel believed they were as qualified as Moses and Aaron to lead the tribes of Israel. Moses said tomorrow come with your censors to present incense before God and we will see who God has chosen to lead Israel. The next day Korah brought the entire congregation of Israel against Moses and Aaron. God told Moses and Aaron to get away from the congregation and He would destroy them quickly. Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before God and asked God not to be angry with the whole congregation. So God spoke to Moses and told the congregation to get away from the dwellings of Korah, Dathan and Abiram. Moses told the people not to take anything of the possessions of Korah, Dathan and Abiram with them. The earth opened up and swallowed Korah, Dathan, Abiram, all their families, possessions and whoever else was with them and then closed upon them. The 250 princes who offered incense to God were consumed by fire which came from God.
This shows that it’s not good to disagree with Moses. It leads to death. This is true even for today. Don’t disagree with what Moses wrote which is the Torah (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, & Deuteronomy).
The following day the congregation of the children of the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron accusing them of killing God’s people. God told Moses and Aaron to get away from the congregation so He could fry them quickly. Moses and Aaron interceded for the people and a plague started among the people. Aaron ran into the congregation with a censer of fire from the altar and made atonement for the people which the plague.
If it had not been for the intercession of Moses and Aaron before God on behalf of the people they would have been destroyed by God.
COMPARING & CONTRASTING THE KORAN WITH SCRIPTURE
The Koran indicates that the problem with Korah was that He was proud because of his possessions. But the Holy Bible says that he questioned that God had given Moses and Aaron the authority to lead the people of Israel. Korah claimed that Moses and Aaron gave themselves the authority to lead the people. So the Holy Bible and the Koran do not agree on the basic reason why Korah confronted Moses.
The Koran has a lot to say about the wealth of Korah but scripture doesn’t mention his wealth. In scripture Korah’s wealth is a nonissue. The Koran on the other hand makes both Korah’s wealth and his attitude toward it an issue. So again the Koran and scripture disagree.
The Koran doesn’t mention the 250 princes that got fried to a crisp when they offered incense before God on a censer. As it turned out the censers were holy but the men were not.
According the Koran the people were thankful that were not swallowed up by the earth when it opened up. But in the Holy Bible the people of Israel complained that Moses and Aaron had destroyed God’s people. The Koran does not tell of the intersession of Moses and Aaron before God on behalf of the people or the plague. Again we see that the Koran and the Holy Bible do not agree. The Koran and the Bible only agree that the earth swallowed Korah and his household.
The God of the Holy Bible spoke with Moses and Aaron in front of the congregation of Israel and backed up His words with action. He is quite capable of doing whatever He says, but people with a right relationship with Him can intercede for others who do not have a right relationship with God of the Holy Bible on their behalf.
We do not see in the Koran where those with a right relationship with Allah intercede for those who do not have a right relationship with Allah.
Which God would you prefer to serve? The one, who will not humble himself, to meet with mortal man and cannot be interceded with for others, or the One, who is humble enough Himself to meet with mortal man and can be interceded with for others?
The Koran’s passages are a paraphrase of several English translations.
The Koran, translated by N.J. Dawood: A Penguin Classic
The Qur’an, translated by M.H. Shakir: Tahrike Tarsile Qur’an, Inc.
The Holy Qur’an, translated by Maulana Muhammad Ali: Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha’at Lahore Inc. U.S.A.
The Koran, translated by Marmaduke Pickthall: Everyman’s Library
The Holy Bible is from the King James Version