Parallelism: Wealth of Korah
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The Torah tells the story of Korah (or Korach) and his rebellion against Moses (Numbers 16:1-35). This story was later embellished by Rabbinic exegetes and replicated in the Qur'an where Korah is transliterated to Qaaroon.
Gabriel Said Reynolds in his 2018 academic commentary on the Quran comments regarding this passage, "The reference to Korah's possessions (Num 16:32-33) was taken by Jewish exegetes as a sign that he had grown rich: 'the keys of Korah's treasure house were a load for three hundred white mules' (b. Sanhedrin 110a). One tradition in the Babylonian Talmud (b. Peshahim 119a) attributes Korah's riches to a treasure left by Joseph."
Jewish scholars have noted that the story of Korah’s wealth is not told in the Torah or Mishnah but by sages. Professor Avigdor Shenan says that the Sages present Korach, among others things, as an extremely wealthy man and the phrase “as wealthy as Korach” is used even today.
Professor Shenan also noted that the Jewish sages had two theories about how Korah acquired his wealth.
Joseph’s great wealth, from when he gathered “all the money which was in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan” (Bereishit 47:14)”“According to the other opinion, Pharaoh’s wealth reached Korach since he was Pharaoh’s finance minister, “and he had in his hands the keys to his treasures” (Bamidbar Rabba 18:15).”
Here is Professor Shenan’s conclusion about the wealthy Korah story:
Thus, it can be seen that there is little or no basis in the Bible for Korah to be assumed a wealthy man, especially since he fled with Moses during the Exodus. It is unlikely, although Jewish tradition has it, that the Hebrews would have fled in haste from a vengeful Pharaoh and his army carrying a load of treasure. Rather this idea, included in the Quran, about Korah being so wealthy that the keys to his treasure house themselves were so heavy that they required a large number of bearers is credited in the Talmud to Rabbi Levi; a third century Haggadist who lived in Palestine.
- Gabriel Said Reynolds, "The Quran and Bible: Text and Commentary", New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2018, p. 610
- The Jewish Agency for Israel - Nehar Deah: The Sages’ Korach jafi.org