There are at least three separate groups that hate President Trump, each for its own reason. Some people hate him because he’s an outsider to Capitol Hill and doesn’t play the “you-rub-my-back-and-I’ll-rub-yours” game. Another group hates him for enacting more conservative policies and appointing more conservative justices than any other president in recent memory. Yet another because they perceive him to be profoundly evil in every fearful nightmarish way.
There are at least three separate groups of Britishers eager to escape the bureaucratic clutches of Brussels and the iron-grip of the European Economic Community. Each has its own reason for wanting a more independent Britain.
There are many different groups enthusiastically pushing a gender spectrum sexually fluid society, whatever that all actually means. Each group benefits in a different way from the resulting identity confusion.
Your customers, your sales professionals, and your accountants might all encourage you to lower the price of your product. They all have their own different reasons, but by acting together, they cause you a huge headache.
Each of your young children has his or her own reasons for not wanting to end the day according to your preferred bedtime schedule. Regardless of their own individual agendas, from an early age they know the value of forming a coalition against you.
Politicians, union organizers and little children succeed by knowing how to bond together several disparate interest groups into one single coordinated force. Likewise, they are best defeated when you possess a deep understanding of the dynamics of unity and you know what each party really desires and what it fears.
Nobody knew better than Moses what to do when they gang up on you. Numbers 16 details a rebellion against his leadership. Join me in a stroll through that revealing part of Scripture.
The first two verses in chapter 16 identify all the participants in what seems to be one rebellion. Korach, Datan and Aviram, On the son of Pelet, and another 250 men. It sounds as if they are all unified in opposing Moses and Aaron. However, it soon becomes apparent that there is more here than meets the eye. In verse 12, Moses summons Datan and Aviram who refuse to respond. Their complaint against Moses: Why did you use the promise of taking us to a land of milk and honey to aggrandize yourself and appoint yourself our leader?
Another group comprises 250 men protesting Aaron’s exclusivity as priest. Not only are these two separate groups with two separate agendas but the verses show that they each are headquartered in different locations. Verses 1 through 4 introduce both rebellious groups. The next seven verses describe the complaint of group one who reject Aaron’s role as exclusive priest. The second group, that of Datan and Aviram with their complaint against Moses, is treated in verses 12 through 15.
Notice that when group two is being dealt with in verses 25 and 26, only Moses alone acts since their protests were against his leadership whereas the response to group one appropriately included Aaron as we see in verse 18.
We’re now in a position to understand the biggest mystery of chapter sixteen. Because of its apparent incomprehensibility, many translations mistranslate verse 1. Here’s how it really reads:
And Korach the son of Yitzhar, the son of Kehat, the son of Levi took
and Datan and Aviram the sons of Eliav and
On the son of Pelet the sons of Reuven.
That isn’t a typo— there is no object in the sentence telling us what Korach took. The simplest understanding is that Korach “took” men with his eloquent words, a human susceptibility that we can certainly take to heart. However, ancient Jewish wisdom also transmits another powerful message.
It explains that what Korach took was his own self interest along with the two separate disgruntled groups and he contrived to combine everyone into one formidable rebellion. Note how chapter sixteen makes us work to discover that there are two separate groups that Korach welds into one loud voice of protest against Moses and Aaron. This helps us understand that it is usually challenging to discover exactly who is ganging up on us and for what reasons. By carefully analyzing who the protagonists are and what exactly each wants, we place ourselves in our best position of strength. Moses successfully worked a wedge between the two groups, even keeping each in its own separate geographic location.
We must learn that lesson well and meticulously strategize to form cracks between those who would gang up on us. We should also be aware, as we diligently are at the American Alliance of Jews and Christians that those whose agendas disagree with our joint primary focus on following God’s word, benefit when they can drive wedges between us.
11 thoughts on “When They Gang Up On You”
I have been trying to be a Messianic Christian for many years with some success. A close friend told me about you & Susan. I feel your TV shows on TCT.Com are wonderful, they way you banter and enjoy yourselves as me and my wife do.
Glad that you’re enjoying the show, Paul. Thanks for letting us know.
Dear Rabbi Lapin,
Thank you so much for sharing your Spiritual Insights!
You and your wife are such a Blessing!
Thank you for all you do.
Thank you for standing for Righteousness and Truth.
Such a powerful and insightful thought tool this week. You consistently bring such deep insights from the word of God. Which is why I echo your phrase “everyone needs a Rabbi”. It is also why I say Rabbi Daniel Lappin is my Rabbi.
Your explanation of scripture is brilliant. I enjoy how you link together passages and show how the truths of scripture continue to apply to everyday life. Previously you responded to a comment, question I had and you gave me some excellent advice. I am a Christian and I wonder? Do you ever seek the scriptures to ask if in fact, Jesus is Messiah?
Thank you for your kind words but we must correct you. They’re never our explanations of Scripture. We’d never waste your time with our own contemplations, limited as they are. We teach only ancient Jewish wisdom which we’re privileged to have been taught.
Since we focus on what Jews and Christians share in common, I am going to choose consciously to not answer your question. We deliberately do not discuss theology. We’re just not that interested in what men say about God. We’re obsessively fascinated by what God says about men.
Happy to hear our advice was helpful. (It came from the same source of ancient Jewish wisdom)
You got me to thinking! I have to check this out for myself!
Thank you for your work.
We always, but always encourage our readers to do just that.
Greetings from South Africa, thank you for all the insightfull thougt tools you share with us. I really enjoy all the teachings about the Hebrew language, I’ve been learning to read and write Hebrew and the past five years I look for every posable book or webside that can teach me more.
To know there is a Creator who is in controle makes me want to be close to Him, and learn more about Him.
I was just reading this very passage yesterday and wondered about the wording. Thank you for explaining the meaning. However, much like the story of Esther I don’t understand why there is a hesitation to address the problem immediately. Moses and Aaron fall on their faces then Moses tells the men what to do to prepare for god to show who He has chosen and whose gift He accepts. I’d love to understand more about the time time in between the initial confrontation and the opening of the earth that is the result. I have so many questions about the OT!! Thanks!!
Always a pleasure Rabbi.
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