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The Rebellion Of Korah (Numbers 16 Brought To Life)


NyxPeregrine
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This story is a Biblical dramatization inspired by Numbers 16 (although it truly starts at Numbers 15:32-36 with the stoning of a Sabbath-breaker). Most of the key points are drawn from the good old holy scriptures themselves. Apparently Yahweh doesn't take too kindly to freedom of speech!

 

 

The wind kicked up the desert sands, sending them stinging into Ahiezar’s eyes and nose.  After many long, hard days of travelling, the scouting party was returning to camp with nothing to report. It was Ahiezar’s third mission, and the excitement had worn off after he realized that if twelve years of Israelite scouts roaming the desert had turned up no signs of civilization, the addition of a sixteen-year-old to their team was unlikely to improve results.  Frustrated, he wondered if things would ever change.  Though he had been a mere child when the Israelites had left Egypt, he had good memories of life there: the small clay hut flooded with morning sunshine, days spent playing with the other slave children in the river.  At night, his father and older brother would always return exhausted, muscles sore from laboring in the quarries, but their family always had enough to eat and beds to sleep in. Not like now. Ahiezar hated living in tents, always on the move, with no notion of where they were going.  Moses had promised them a land of milk and honey, but whether such a place even existed remained to be seen.

Night had fallen by the time Ahiezar wearily crawled into his family’s tent.  Before he could even close his eyes, he heard his parents murmuring on the other side of the cloth partition.
His father’s voice was first.  “I fear we have escaped from one tyrant and fallen into the hands of another.”
“Korah, please.” His mother’s voice was small, frightened. “Please don’t talk like this. I’m afraid for you.”
They were silent for a few moments. Then his father spoke. “They stoned Taanach yesterday.” Through a crack in the curtain Ahiezar saw his mother press a hand to her mouth, fingers trembling. “They found him gathering sticks on the Sabbath. His daughter is sick, she is shivering, and he wanted to build a fire to help her chills.” Korah’s voice cracked. “I was there, Hannah. I heard him scream.”
Taking his hand, Hannah met his eyes. “It is terrible. But there is nothing you can do. You know what Moses is capable of, Korah. You are only one man.”
“There are others who feel as I do.” Seeing the fear in his wife’s eyes, Korah lifted a hand to caress her cheek. “If I did nothing, I would not be the man you married.”
Serenity slowly settled over her features. “Husband of mine, where you go, I will follow.”
When it became clear that they would speak no more, Ahiezar fell into a troubled sleep.

 

For several days, there were hushed whispers in the camp. Whatever was going to happen, Ahiezar knew it would happen soon. Then, one morning, Korah took his son aside. “Listen closely, Ahiezar. There is something I must do. I need to know that if anything happens to me, you will take care of your mother and sisters.”
Although he was afraid, the youth had never felt more of a man. “I will, father. I swear it.”
His father clapped him on the shoulder. “Good lad.”
As the sun reached its zenith, a crowd gathered in the courtyard in front of the tabernacle.  At its head Korah stood with On, the brother of Taanach who had been killed, and Dathan and Abiram, twins who had been Korah’s friends for many years. Backed by two hundred and fifty well-respected chiefs of the congregation, they assembled before Moses, who watched them quietly with calculating eyes. Once everyone was present, Moses spread his hands to the side, sleeves draping gracefully. “And so?”
Korah stepped forth. “The Lord has brought us out of Egypt, but you have led us astray!”
Nodding thoughtfully, Moses absorbed this. “Please continue.”
“You take the best for yourself, you kill anyone you please. You act like you’re so much holier than the rest of us, but every man behind me is a good man! Taanach was a good man!” His voice was loud, forceful, and at the last line a cheer erupted from the crowd. “You are just as much a dictator as the Pharoah whose lands we left!” Moses stared at him coldly as he continued. “You have murdered men. You have broken your promises. We have been silent for too long. Our silence ends this day.”
Turning his gaze to On and the twins, Moses asked, “And you? What have you to say?”
Dathan spoke first. “Korah speaks truth. You have made yourself a prince over us.”
Then Abiram: “You have promised us fields and vineyards. You have promised us milk and honey. We have followed you for many years and you have led us nowhere.”
On stared darkly at his brother’s killer. “You have brought us into the wilderness to die.”
The old man’s eyes swiveled back to Korah. Ahiezar’s father made a final plea, both to Moses and to the watching crowd. “All this senseless violence…this senseless killing. This cannot be what the Lord wants.”
A slow smile spread over Moses’ face. “What the Lord wants? Then let us let the Lord decide. In the morning, the Lord will show us who is his and who is holy. Be present, every one of you. Put incense on your censers, and light them with fire before the Lord. We will see whom he shall choose.”
Korah nodded. “The Lord is good. We have nothing to fear. I will light my censer and stand before the Lord.”
Moses inclined his head, eyes glinting dangerously. “So be it, son of Izhar.”

 

In the camp that night the mood was jubilant. Abiram punched Ahiezar playfully in the shoulder. “Your father is a brave man. You should be proud to be his son.”
Even though Ahiezar had an uneasy feeling in his stomach, he grinned. “I am.”
Dathan and Korah were speaking in low tones beside the fire. “I didn’t like the look on his face,” Dathan said. “Do you think he’s planning a trap?”
“There’s nothing Moses can do to us with so many people on our side,” Korah replied. “Don’t worry. What Moses is doing is wrong, Dath. Yahweh will be on our side.”
“Then let us sleep. There is nothing more to be done tonight. Tomorrow, after Yahweh reveals our new leader, there will be much work to do.”

 

As morning dawned, Ahiezar was awakened by the noise of feet tramping outside the tent. With a start, he sat up and heard his father speaking to the men outside. “What is the meaning of this? I understood we were meeting outside the tabernacle, not in front of my home!”
“Nevertheless, Korah, the assembly will be here.”
Korah stiffened his shoulders, then changed his mind and inclined his head in acceptance. “Yahweh will judge us fairly no matter where we stand.”
In a matter of moments the crowd had assembled: Moses, Aaron, and several elders of the tribe faced the horde of men clutching their censers. Dathan and Abiram emerged from their tents, followed by their wives, who held the hands of sleepy small children. Abiram’s wife cradled a newborn. Ahiezar noticed his own mother struggling to keep his sisters calm as they left the tent to face the cold stares of the Israelite leaders. Joining her, he took Asala’s hand. At five, she was shy of strangers, and buried her face in his leg.
“I have said what I must.” Korah’s voice rang out. “The time has come for Yahweh to send us a sign.”
“This shall be your sign,” said Moses. He raised his voice. “If these men die as all men die, then the Lord has not sent me. But if I speak true, let them be swallowed into Sheol!” The sky was growing dark, though the sun had just risen and Ahiezar could see no clouds. “Get away from the tents,” Moses told the congregation. “Depart the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, for they are covered with sin!”
“Something’s wrong,” Korah murmured. Turning to Hannah, he ordered, “Take the children away. If there’s a battle…”
Moses fixed beady eyes on Korah. “We will be cleansed of your evil…you, your brats, and all that belongs to you!”
Hannah took Korah’s hand. “Trust the Lord, husband.”
One by one, two-hundred and fifty censers blazed to life. Incense scented the darkening air. The last one flared to life, and for a moment all was still and silent.

Then the ground shattered.

Dathan’s tent fell first, then his family, screaming. “Run!” Abiram screamed to his wife before the earth split beneath his feet. But there was no time. His children fell into the darkness; his wife clutched her baby as she plummeted.
Ahiezar was already moving, carrying Asala towards Moses as fast as he could while the ground splintered behind him and screams echoed in the new canyon. The ground wouldn’t fall under Moses. He would be safe if he could only get close enough. He would run past Moses and disappear with his sister in the crowd.
But Moses was still nearly twenty feet away when Ahiezar’s feet could no longer find solid ground to run on. “No!” he screamed, desperately clutching for a handhold on the precipice. His hands found a rock jutting out of the ground, and as his family died the boy dangled over the edge of the earth.
A shocking burst of light blinded him for an instant, and where the chieftains had stood he saw two-hundred and fifty charred skeletons dropping to the ground. How could this be happening? Why would Yahweh murder men who trusted him?
Sobbing for breath, Ahiezar grappled to pull himself up; Asala’s arms were tight around his neck and it took all his strength to keep them from tumbling over the edge. “Help,” he whispered. “Someone, please help.”
And then he saw a white rope appear above him. Moses had come.
“Please,” Ahiezar gasped, “please, take my sister, she’s only—“
Moses ground his sandal into Ahiezar’s fingers, pressing them into the rock’s sharp edges. The pain was incredible. Ahiezar cried out as blood spurted from his hands, but refused to let go.
“There’s a special place down there for you and your father, boy,” Moses told him. “Death is only the beginning.” He drew back his foot and kicked Ahiezar in the face. The impact shoved him farther over the side. Asala fell first, and then Ahiezar’s fingers came loose.
Moses’ laughter was the last thing he heard as the chasm rose to meet him.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks so much!  My first biblical dramatization is over yonder if you're interested: http://www.ex-christian.net/topic/51563-bible-stories-up-close-and-personal/

And more are in the works! I'm hoping to eventually have enough for some kind of anthology, probably marketed for the skeptical teen/adult...we shall see. If anyone has a Bible story that's a particular favorite, I do take requests xD

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I read that one and thought it was really good. I don't know if you noticed or not, but I made a suggestion about doing one about the victims of the global flood and what their experiences might have been, before and during the flood. If the main characters were mostly children, it should show how horrific the story of the flood really is.

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Yeah, the Flood and the plagues of Egypt/killing of the firstborn are absolutely going to happen, especially because they're some of the most famous stories of Christianity, yet also among the most barbaric when you really stop to think about it. 

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