Numbers 16:35

35 Then God sent lightning. The fire cremated the 250 men who were offering the incense.

Numbers 16:35 Meaning and Commentary

Numbers 16:35

And there came out a fire from the Lord
Flashes of lightning from the cloud in which he was:

and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense;
not that it reduced them to ashes, but took away their lives, struck them dead at once, in like manner as Nadab and Abihu were, who though said to be devoured by the fire, yet their bodies remained, ( Leviticus 10:2 Leviticus 10:4 Leviticus 10:5 ) ; and is often the case of persons killed by lightning; though Josephus


F1 thinks they were so consumed as that their bodies were no more seen, and who is express for it that Korah perished with them in this manner; which is not improbable, since he took his censer and offered incense with them, and was the ringleader of them, and the person that contended with Aaron for the priesthood, which was to be determined in this way; and though he is not mentioned it may be concluded, as Aben Ezra observes, by an argument from the lesser to the greater, that if the men he drew in perished, much more he himself; and the same writer observes, that in the song of the Red sea, no mention is made of the drowning of Pharaoh in it, only of his chariots and his host, and yet he himself was certainly drowned: now these men burning incense which belonged only to the priests of the Lord, were by just retaliation consumed by fire, and which made it plainly appear they were not the priests of the Lord; and the judgment on them was the more remarkable, that Moses and Aaron, who stood by them, remained unhurt. This was an emblem of the vengeance of eternal fire, of everlasting burnings, ( Jude 1:11 ) .

F1 Antiq. l. 4. c. 3. sect. 4.

Numbers 16:35 In-Context

33 And that was the end of them, pitched alive into Sheol. The Earth closed up over them and that was the last the community heard of them.
34 At the sound of their cries everyone around ran for dear life, shouting, "We're about to be swallowed up alive!"
35 Then God sent lightning. The fire cremated the 250 men who were offering the incense.
36 God spoke to Moses:
37 "Tell Eleazar son of Aaron the priest, Gather up the censers from the smoldering cinders and scatter the coals a distance away for these censers have become holy.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved.