Numbers 16:32 And the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households and all the people who belonged to Korah and all their goods.

Numbers 26:10The earth opened its mouth and swallowed them along with Korah, whose followers died when the fire devoured the 250 men. And they served as a warning sign. 11 The line of Korah, however, did not die out.

How did the descendants survive?

  • They didn't. They're all dead. They died a long time ago. What made you think they might still be around ?
    – Lucian
    Oct 13, 2020 at 0:40

2 Answers 2


That the descendants of Korah were not made extinct is clear from their authorship of several Psalms such as 42, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, etc.

Now let us return to the record in Numbers.

  • Num 16:32 - simply says that the earth swallowed only those who were "with Korah" לְקֹ֔רַח. This does NOT say that Korah's descendants were killed and never mentions anything about his descendants. The closest we come is their immediate households בָּתֵּיהֶ֑ם which does not necessarily include all his family.
  • Num 26:10 - same comment applies - no descendants of Korah are mentioned, only those who were with him, that is his followers or sympathizers.

Thus, we find no suggestion that Korah's entire family and all his descendants were killed in the rebellion of Num 16. This is confirmed by Num 26:11 and the numerous psalms written by Korah's descendants.

The Cambridge commentary correctly observes in it remarks in Num 26:11 -

  1. "and the sons of Korah died not" There is no mention of Korah’s family in ch. 16, but the inference might naturally be drawn from Numbers 26:32 that they were included in his body of adherents. This inference the writer felt it necessary to check, because in his day ‘sons of Korah’ were found in Jerusalem. They were a subdivision of the Levites, a guild which formed one of the temple choirs. To their hymnbook belonged Psalms 42, 44-49, 84 f., 87 f. In Numbers 26:58 (below) they are called ‘the family of the Korahites.

I think that some survived because all of the Psalms they have written speak of a yearning for God's love and forgiveness once more.


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