In Parashat Korach we read that the Jews distanced themselves from the tents of Korach, Datan and Aviram (Bemidbar 16:27), and then the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up Korach and his company (16:32). Yet in Devarim 11:6 it is written:

וַֽאֲשֶׁ֨ר עָשָׂ֜ה לְדָתָ֣ן וְלַֽאֲבִירָ֗ם בְּנֵ֣י אֱלִיאָב֮ בֶּן־רְאוּבֵן֒ אֲשֶׁ֨ר פָּֽצְתָ֤ה הָאָ֨רֶץ֙ אֶת־פִּ֔יהָ וַתִּבְלָעֵ֥ם וְאֶת־בָּֽתֵּיהֶ֖ם וְאֶת־אָֽהֳלֵיהֶ֑ם וְאֵ֤ת כָּל־הַיְקוּם֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר בְּרַגְלֵיהֶ֔ם בְּקֶ֖רֶב כָּל־יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃

And what He did unto Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, the son of Reuben; how the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their households, and their tents, and every living substance that followed them, in the midst of all Israel.

Why is Korach omitted here? I couldn't find anything about it in Rashi. Does it matter that only Datan and Aviram came out from their tents, while Korach is mentioned separately in verse 16:32?

Some ideas here

  • 1
    16:32 does not say that Korach was swallowed up
    – Joel K
    Commented Aug 11, 2020 at 16:57
  • You may enjoy this very relevant shiur from R M Liebtag tanach.org/bamidbar/korach/korachs1.htm
    – Joel K
    Commented Aug 11, 2020 at 17:16
  • @JoelK ב"נ I'll read it, seems really interesting! Commented Aug 11, 2020 at 17:24
  • The Torah deliberately leaves it vague. By the time the fight has roiled up, whatever it was originally supposed to be about is long forgotten. Dasan and Aviram challenge Moshe as political leader and complain he hasn't gotten them to the Promised Land, and anyhow, Egypt was better. As Moshe is preparing the Jews for their entry to the Promised Land, that's the message he has to remind them is wrong. Meanwhile the Reubenites were jealous of Aaron as Kohen Gadol and messed with incense. And what did Korach actually want, deep-down? His cousin's C-list job that nobody else had heard of!
    – Shalom
    Commented Aug 12, 2020 at 9:37

1 Answer 1


Ibn Ezra to Bamidbar 16:35 indeed notes that Korach was not swallowed by the ground, but was instead burned to death along with the 250 men offering the incense.

  • [This is what the Ramban says as well.] Commented Aug 11, 2020 at 17:07

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