Korach's Hidden Backstory

What The Bible Tells Us About Korach's True Motive

Ami Silver
Ami Silver


We all know Korach's story, right? Korach is a rabble rouser, a power-hungry leader who rallies people around him to fight against Moshe and Aaron. But when we actually read Korach's story, it feels like we're missing some important details. For starters, Korach seems to just come out of nowhere with all these followers and campaign slogans. As if one day Korach woke up and launched a political coup. But is this really possible? Revolutions don't happen overnight. There must be more to Korach's story that the Torah isn't telling us. What got him all worked up in the first place? Did something trigger his rebellion? And why was he angry at Moshe and Aaron? Did they do something to him? It seems like there has to be some kind of backstory here, but we're left in the dark about all of this.

But what if the Torah actually does tell us the backstory, just not in Parshat Korach where we'd expect to find it? It turns out that there's an earlier section in the book of Numbers that, if we read it closely, seems to tell us a whole lot about the roots of Korach's rebellion. This text will help us answer fundamental questions about Korach's rebellion -- his motivation, his big beef with Moshe and Aaron, and it may even help us understand Korach's strange and unusual end, when he got swallowed up by the earth. Check it out for yourself.