Parallelism: Wealth of Korah

From WikiIslam, the online resource on Islam
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Under construction icon-yellow.svg

This article or section is being renovated.

Lead = 1 / 4
Structure = 4 / 4
Content = 4 / 4
Language = 4 / 4
References = 4 / 4
1 / 4
4 / 4
4 / 4
4 / 4
4 / 4

Parallelism Between the Qur'an
and Judeo-Christian Scriptures
Talking Baby Jesus
Sanhedrin 37a
The Raven & the Burial of Abel
The Quranic Version of Trinity‎
Jesus Christ & the Clay Birds
Mary & Zachariah
Mary, Jesus & the Palm Tree
Satan & His Refusal to Prostrate
The Queen of Sheba
Abraham & the Idols
The Wealth of Korah

For the full article with many more examples than are included in this series, see

Qur'anic Verse

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.

Indeed, Qarun was from the people of Moses, but he tyrannized them. And We gave him of treasures whose keys would burden a band of strong men; thereupon his people said to him, "Do not exult. Indeed, Allah does not like the exultant.

Talmudic Account

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."[1]

“Riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt: Resh Lakish said: This refers to Korah's wealth. And all the substance that was at their feet: R. Eleazar said: This refers to a man's wealth, which puts him on his feet. R. Levi said: The keys of Korah's treasure house were a load for three hundred white mules, though all the keys and locks were of leather. R. Hama son of R. Hanina said: Three treasures did Joseph hide in Egypt: one was revealed to Korah; one to Antoninus the son of Severus, and the third is stored up for the righteous for the future time.”

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.

“According to the first: “Joseph hid three treasures in Egypt. One was revealed to Korach, one was revealed to Antoninus son of Asviros, and one is hidden away for the righteous in the end of days” (Babylonian Talmud, Pesachim 119a).

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:

“Why do the Sages wish to present Korach as extremely wealthy? It is difficult to find a basis for this in the biblical story. There it is written that the mouth of the earth opened in order to swallow Korach and his followers, their homes “and every man that was for Korach and all the property” (Bamidbar 16:32) and there is not enough in these words to find a basis for the assertion that he was extremely wealthy.”[2]

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.


  1. Gabriel Said Reynolds, "The Quran and Bible: Text and Commentary", New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2018, p. 610
  2. The Jewish Agency for Israel - Nehar Deah: The Sages’ Korach

Previous Previous - The Story of Abraham and the Idols            Conclusion - Next Next