Korach the son of Yitzhar, the son of Kehat, the son of Levi took [himself to one side] along with Dathan and Aviram the sons of Eliav, and On the son of Peleth, descendants of Reuben.

They assembled against Moses and Aaron, and said to them, “You take too much upon yourselves, for the entire congregation are all holy, and the L‑rd is in their midst. So why do you raise yourselves above the L‑rd’s assembly?”

. . . As soon as he finished speaking all these words, the earth beneath them split open.

The earth beneath them opened its mouth and swallowed them and their houses, and all the men who were with Korach and all the property. (Numbers 16:1, 3, 31–32)

In the forefront of the painting, the bold dark face of Korach stands out sharply against the colorful background. In Hebrew, the name Korach is associated with division and conflict, as he took himself to one side and divided from the rest of the community. Korach, a complex and contradictory personage, is depicted here as having two faces. On the one hand, driven by jealousy and motivated by his desire for personal gain, he instigates a dispute. On the other hand, in order to attract followers, he claims that he is interested in the good of others.

In the background the sky is dark and ominous, a premonition of what is to come. In the center is a circle of people surrounding the earth that looks like it is beginning to split and shake, soon to open and swallow those who caused division and controversy.