In Numbers 16:12-15, Moses commands the other leaders to come to the Tabernacle, but they refuse and instead accuse Moses of lying to them about the Promised Land and using it as a means to get them to come out into the wilderness so that he can become their king and enslave them. I see their point!
For the past two years, the Israelites have been barely surviving on the meager bits of food and water that Moses can muster. Moses has promoted people to priests, but they’ve all been from his brother’s family. They each demand the best livestock of the Israelite’s as sacrifices to God, but in reality, they’ve just been eating them all. And when they finally arrive in the fabled Promised Land that Moses told them all about, they find that it’s been occupied for centuries by several cultures who have built up big fortified cities. Now Moses is leading them back into the desert for another 40 years of wandering where the “priests” will continue to eat their livestock and use them as pack mules to carry around their bulky golden furniture. Yes, it certainly seems like Moses and his family are bilking these poor slaves out of their few remaining possessions.
So, do Moses hear the complaints of Dathan and Abiram? Hardly! In fact, he tells God not to respect their incense offering and that he never stole livestock from them or harmed any of them!
Believers of today may think that God is never-changing, but we’ve seen Moses influence his decisions several times already, and here he is doing it again! You’d think being told what to do by a mortal would piss God off, but he doesn’t seem too irked about it. Believers also think God is all-knowing, so why is it Moses needs to defend himself by mentioning that he hasn’t stolen their animals or injured them? Especially when the truth is, Moses is constantly stealing animals from them via God’s sacrificial orders, and Moses personally ordered the death of 3,000 of them! Will God be persuaded by the lies of Moses? Natch!