Numbers 16:30-35

30 But if the LORD creates something new, and the ground opens its mouth, and swallows them up, with all that belongs to them, and they go down alive into Sheol, then you shall know that these men have despised the LORD."
31 And as he finished speaking all these words, the ground under them split asunder;
32 and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households and all the men that belonged to Korah and all their goods.
33 So they and all that belonged to them went down alive into Sheol; and the earth closed over them, and they perished from the midst of the assembly.
34 And all Israel that were round about them fled at their cry; for they said, "Lest the earth swallow us up!"
35 And fire came forth from the LORD, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men offering the incense.

Numbers 16:30-35 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO NUMBERS 16

This chapter gives an account of a sedition of Korah and others against Moses and Aaron, Nu 16:1-4, with whom Moses expostulates, and shows the unreasonableness of their clamour against Aaron, Nu 16:5-11; sends for Dathan and Abiram, who were in the confederacy, but refused to come, which greatly angered Moses, Nu 16:12-15; orders Korah and his company to appear before the Lord the next day, with Aaron, to have the controversy decided, Nu 16:16-18; when all the congregation gathered together would have been, consumed had it not been for the intercession of Moses and Aaron, Nu 16:19-22; and who, being separated from the rebels by the command of the Lord, some of the rebels were swallowed up in the earth, and others destroyed by fire from heaven, Nu 16:23-35; and their censers were made a covering for the altar, as a memorial of their sin, Nu 16:36-40; on which there was a new insurrection of the people, which brought a plague upon them, and destroyed 14,700 persons, and which was stopped at the intercession of Aaron, Nu 16:41-50.

Numbers 16:30-35 In-Context

28 And Moses said, "Hereby you shall know that the LORD has sent me to do all these works, and that it has not been of my own accord.
29 If these men die the common death of all men, or if they are visited by the fate of all men, then the LORD has not sent me.
30 But if the LORD creates something new, and the ground opens its mouth, and swallows them up, with all that belongs to them, and they go down alive into Sheol, then you shall know that these men have despised the LORD."
31 And as he finished speaking all these words, the ground under them split asunder;
32 and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households and all the men that belonged to Korah and all their goods.
33 So they and all that belonged to them went down alive into Sheol; and the earth closed over them, and they perished from the midst of the assembly.
34 And all Israel that were round about them fled at their cry; for they said, "Lest the earth swallow us up!"
35 And fire came forth from the LORD, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men offering the incense.
36 Then the LORD said to Moses,
37 "Tell Elea'zar the son of Aaron the priest to take up the censers out of the blaze; then scatter the fire far and wide. For they are holy,
Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.