Why did God destroy so many people—including wives and children—for the sins of a few? (Numbers 16:21-35)

27 So they moved away from the tents of Korah, Dathan and Abiram. Dathan and Abiram had come out and were standing with their wives, children and little ones at the entrances to their tents.

28 Then Moses said, “This is how you will know that the Lord has sent me to do all these things and that it was not my idea: 29 If these men die a natural death and suffer the fate of all mankind, then the Lord has not sent me. 30 But if the Lord brings about something totally new, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them, with everything that belongs to them, and they go down alive into the realm of the dead, then you will know that these men have treated the Lord with contempt.”

31 As soon as he finished saying all this, the ground under them split apart 32 and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them and their households, and all those associated with Korah, together with their possessions. 33 They went down alive into the realm of the dead, with everything they owned; the earth closed over them, and they perished and were gone from the community. 

Clarify Share Report Asked July 28 2019 My picture Jack Gutknecht

For follow-up discussion and general commentary on the topic. Comments are sorted chronologically.

Data Danny Hickman

This "women and children" refrain is very telling. Apparently women and children are thought to be worthy of more consideration than men. I don't know where that comes from. Women and children have value, the same value as men. God isn't guilty of the lives of women and children. Death comes to all. (Rom 5:12)

The first thing that needs to be learned is that THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS FAIR. "Fair" was thought up by someone who had less of something they wanted than someone else. There is no fair.

The bible tells of God killing certain people who were sinful: Er, Judah's firstborn, was evil in the sight of the LORD, so the LORD killed him (Gen 38:7).

Was he more evil than others? I don't think so. Nobody is as evil as satan. If you're killing according to evil content you need to start with him.

That's not how life is lived. God has a divine plan in which we all play a role. Even the aborted baby plays a part in God's divine plan for our lives.

If you continue to read the story of Genesis 38, you see where Er's brother Onan was told to "go in" to Er's widow and give her some children. He "goes in," but he "wasted his seed on the ground." (He knew the children wouldn't be his). So God killed him too.

Long story short: Judah's wife died, he ends up "going in" to Er's widow, his daughter-in-law Tamar, who was pretending to be a harlot, and they had a son, Perez, who was the head of a great family (1 Ch 27:3, Neh 11:4,6).

God does things His way. He owes no one anything.

December 23 2021 Report

Data Danny Hickman

Genesis 38 is a powerful story. Er didn't give Tamar a child. We don't know what he did that was considered to be so evil that God took his life. His brother Onan didn't give Tamar a son, he spilled his seed on the ground to make sure he didn't impregnate her. God took his life. Was what he did more evil than some other things we read that men have done? I don't think it has to be more evil to God.

Was Judah God's pick to give Tamar a son named Perez? (Actually she gave birth to twins). His two sons had their chance and failed. God has all of our lives in His hands; we live and breathe and have our being in Him. Those men's lives were ended by God. Even Judah's wife died in preparation for this to happen. Perez's life was given to him by God. God gave him his father Judah and his mother Tamar.

Someone will say God didn't orchestrate the parentage, Tamar pretended to be a prostitute and set up the encounter with Judah. She simply took off her widow's garments, covered her face with a veil and sat in the gateway of the town of Enaim. Judah saw her and propositioned her of his own free will. That's the culprit; his free will. That's what God uses mostly to work in us; our free will.

Judah promised Tamar that he would give her to his third son Shelah when he was old enough to marry. (That wouldn't have been "fair" to Shelah in my opinion, but I don't think much of arranged marriage at all).

He didn't keep his end of the bargain. God held him to account for Tamar's sake.

December 23 2021 Report

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