God’s angry – again …
Moses and Aaron speak up …
“Spare the innocent” —
God relents – again …
“I’ll punish the sinners, but …
Spare the innocent” —
God spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, “Stand back from this community that I may annihilate them in an instant!” But they fell on their faces and said, “O God, Source of the breath of all flesh! When one man sins, will You be wrathful with the whole community?” God spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the community and say: Withdraw from about the abodes of Korach, Dathan, and Abiram.”
With the rebellions of the Korahites (Korach, Dathan, and Abiram) God is angry enough to destroy the whole community. But Moses and Aaron plead on behalf of the innocent, those who have not joined the rebellion, and God relents. This is not the first, nor the last, time Moses intervenes to calm God’s anger and save the people from destruction.
God instructs Moses to warn the community to withdraw from the rebels. Those who failed to withdraw were either swallowed up by the earth or consumed by fire. (Numbers 16:31-25)
These verses bring to mind the practice of the Israeli Defense Forces to warn innocent Palestinians, whose homes are being used by terrorists to launch missiles at Israel, so they can leave before the buildings are destroyed. We can take action against those who move against us. But steps must also be taken to warn the innocent, so they can protect themselves.
The Torah In Haiku