Leadership amongst the Israelite Tribes was established with the Instructions that YeHoVaH gave to Moses as recorded in the early Chapters of Numbers. Apparently, some of the leaders were not satisfied with their leadership positions and desired more authority than had been allotted them.
The sentence of wandering in the wilderness for forty years and not being able to enter into the Promised Land presented an opportune time for several of the leaders to confront Moses. They did not expect what would come next.
In preparation for the study, When Leaders Rebel, please read Numbers 16:1-50.