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Korah, Dathan and Abiram

16 Korahe son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and certain Reubenites—Dathan and Abiramf, sons of Eliab,g and On son of Peleth—became insolenta and rose up against Moses.h With them were 250 Israelite men, well-known community leaders who had been appointed members of the council.i They came as a group to oppose Moses and Aaronj and said to them, “You have gone too far! The whole community is holy,k every one of them, and the Lord is with them.l Why then do you set yourselves above the Lord’s assembly?”m

When Moses heard this, he fell facedown.n Then he said to Korah and all his followers: “In the morning the Lord will show who belongs to him and who is holy,o and he will have that person come near him.p The man he choosesq he will cause to come near him. You, Korah, and all your followersr are to do this: Take censerss and tomorrow put burning coalst and incenseu in them before the Lord. The man the Lord choosesv will be the one who is holy.w You Levites have gone too far!”

Moses also said to Korah, “Now listen, you Levites! Isn’t it enoughx for you that the God of Israel has separated you from the rest of the Israelite community and brought you near himself to do the work at the Lord’s tabernacle and to stand before the community and minister to them?y 10 He has brought you and all your fellow Levites near himself, but now you are trying to get the priesthood too.z 11 It is against the Lord that you and all your followers have banded together. Who is Aaron that you should grumblea against him?b

12 Then Moses summoned Dathan and Abiram,c the sons of Eliab. But they said, “We will not come!d 13 Isn’t it enough that you have brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honeye to kill us in the wilderness?f And now you also want to lord it over us!g 14 Moreover, you haven’t brought us into a land flowing with milk and honeyh or given us an inheritance of fields and vineyards.i Do you want to treat these men like slavesb?j No, we will not come!k

15 Then Moses became very angryl and said to the Lord, “Do not accept their offering. I have not taken so much as a donkeym from them, nor have I wronged any of them.”

16 Moses said to Korah, “You and all your followers are to appear before the Lord tomorrow—you and they and Aaron.n 17 Each man is to take his censer and put incense in it—250 censers in all—and present it before the Lord. You and Aaron are to present your censers also.o18 So each of them took his censer,p put burning coals and incense in it, and stood with Moses and Aaron at the entrance to the tent of meeting. 19 When Korah had gathered all his followers in opposition to themq at the entrance to the tent of meeting, the glory of the Lordr appeared to the entire assembly. 20 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 21 “Separate yourselvess from this assembly so I can put an end to them at once.”t

22 But Moses and Aaron fell facedownu and cried out, “O God, the God who gives breath to all living things,v will you be angry with the entire assemblyw when only one man sins?”x

23 Then the Lord said to Moses, 24 “Say to the assembly, ‘Move away from the tents of Korah, Dathan and Abiram.’ ”

25 Moses got up and went to Dathan and Abiram, and the elders of Israely followed him. 2He warned the assembly, “Move back from the tents of these wicked men!z Do not touch anything belonging to them, or you will be swept awaya because of all their sins.b27 So they moved away from the tents of Korah, Dathan and Abiram.c Dathan and Abiram had come out and were standing with their wives, childrend and little ones at the entrances to their tents.e

28 Then Moses said, “This is how you will knowf that the Lord has sent meg to do all these things and that it was not my idea: 29 If these men die a natural death and suffer the fate of all mankind, then the Lord has not sent me.h 30 But if the Lord brings about something totally new, and the earth opens its mouthi and swallows them, with everything that belongs to them, and they go down alive into the realm of the dead,j then you will know that these men have treated the Lord with contempt.k

31 As soon as he finished saying all this, the ground under them split apartl 32 and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed themm and their households, and all those associated with Korah, together with their possessions. 33 They went down alive into the realm of the dead,n with everything they owned; the earth closed over them, and they perished and were gone from the community. 34 At their cries, all the Israelites around them fled, shouting, “The earth is going to swallow us too!”

35 And fire came out from the Lordo and consumedp the 250 men who were offering the incense.

36 The Lord said to Moses, 37 “Tell Eleazarq son of Aaron, the priest, to remove the censersr from the charred remains and scatter the coals some distance away, for the censers are holy—38 the censers of the men who sinned at the cost of their lives.s Hammer the censers into sheets to overlay the altar,t for they were presented before the Lord and have become holy. Let them be a signu to the Israelites.”

39 So Eleazar the priestv collected the bronze censers brought by those who had been burned to death,w and he had them hammered out to overlay the altar, 40 as the Lord directed him through Moses. This was to remind the Israelites that no one except a descendant of Aaron should come to burn incensex before the Lord,y or he would become like Korah and his followers.z

41 The next day the whole Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. “You have killed the Lord’s people,” they said.

42 But when the assembly gathered in oppositiona to Moses and Aaron and turned toward the tent of meeting, suddenly the cloud covered it and the glory of the Lordb appeared. 43 Then Moses and Aaron went to the front of the tent of meeting, 44 and the Lord said to Moses, 45 “Get away from this assembly so I can put an endc to them at once.” And they fell facedown.

46 Then Moses said to Aaron, “Take your censerd and put incense in it, along with burning coals from the altar, and hurry to the assemblye to make atonementf for them. Wrath has come out from the Lord;g the plagueh has started.” 47 So Aaron did as Moses said, and ran into the midst of the assembly. The plague had already started among the people,i but Aaron offered the incense and made atonement for them. 48 He stood between the living and the dead, and the plague stopped.j 49 But 14,700 people died from the plague, in addition to those who had died because of Korah.k 50 Then Aaron returned to Moses at the entrance to the tent of meeting, for the plague had stopped.c


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