Numbers 16

1Korah, Dathan, Abiram, and On turned against Moses. (Korah was the son of Izhar. Izhar was the son of Kohath, and Kohath was the son of Levi. Dathan and Abiram were brothers, the sons of Eliab. And On was the son of Peleth. Dathan, Abiram, and On were descendants of Reuben.) 2Those four men gathered 250 other men from Israel together and came against Moses. They were leaders that had been chosen by the people. All the people knew them. 3They came as a group to speak against Moses and Aaron. These men said to Moses and Aaron, “You have gone too far—you are wrong! All the people of Israel are holy—the Lord still lives among them! You are making yourself more important than the rest of the Lord’s people.” 4When Moses heard these things, he bowed his face to the ground ˻to show he was not being proud˼. 5Then Moses said to Korah and all his followers, “Tomorrow morning the Lord will show which person truly belongs to him. The Lord will show which person is truly holy. And the Lord will bring that person near to him. The Lord will choose that man, and the Lord will bring that man near to him. 6So Korah, you and all your followers should do this: 7Tomorrow put fire and incense in some special pans. Then bring those pans before the Lord. The Lord will choose the person who is truly holy. You Levites have gone too far—you are wrong!” 8Moses also said to Korah, “You Levites, listen to me. 9You should be happy that the God of Israel chose you and made you special. You are different from the rest of the Israelite people. The Lord brought you near to him to do the special work in the Lord’s Holy Tent to help the people of Israel worship him. Isn’t that enough? 10The Lord brought you Levite people near to him ˻to help the priests˼. But now you are trying to become priests also. 11You and your followers have joined together and turned against the Lord! Did Aaron do anything wrong? No! So why are you complaining against Aaron?” 12Then Moses called Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab. But the two men said, “We will not come! 13You have brought us out of a land filled with many good things. You brought us to the desert to kill us. And now you want to show that you have even more power over us. 14Why should we follow you? You did not bring us into the new land filled with many good things. You did not give us the land God promised. You did not give us the fields or the vineyards. Will you make these men your slaves? No! We will not come.” 15So Moses became very angry. He said to the Lord, “I never did anything wrong to these people. I never took anything from them—not even a donkey! Lord, don’t accept their gifts!” 16Then Moses said to Korah, “You and all your followers will stand before the Lord tomorrow. There will be Aaron and you and your followers. 17Each of you must bring a pan, put incense on it, and present it to the Lord. There will be 250 pans ˻for the leaders˼ and one pan for you and one pan for Aaron.” 18So each man got a pan and put burning incense on it. Then they stood at the entrance of the Meeting Tent. Moses and Aaron also stood there. 19Korah also gathered all the people together at the entrance of the Meeting Tent. Then the Glory of the Lord appeared to every person there. 20The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 21“Move away from these men! I want to destroy them now!” 22But Moses and Aaron bowed to the ground and cried out, “God, you know what people are thinking. Please don’t be angry at all these people. Only one man really sinned.” 23Then the Lord said to Moses, 24“Tell the people to move away from the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.” 25Moses stood and went to Dathan and Abiram. All the elders ˻(leaders)˼ of Israel followed him. 26Moses warned the people, “Move away from the tents of these evil men. Don’t touch anything that belongs to them! If you do, then you will be destroyed because of their sins.” 27So the men moved away from the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. Dathan and Abiram went to their tents. They stood outside of their tents with their wives, children, and little babies. 28Then Moses said, “I will show you proof that the Lord sent me to do all the things I told you. I will show you that all those things were not my own idea. 29These men here will die. But if they die in a normal way—the way men always die—then that will show that the Lord did not really send me. 30But if the Lord causes these men to die in a different way—something new—then you will know that these men have truly sinned against the Lord. ˻This is the proof:˼ the earth will open and swallow these men. They will go down to their grave still alive. And everything that belongs to these men will go down with them.” 31When Moses finished saying these things, the ground under the men opened. 32It was like the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them. All of Korah’s men, their families, and everything they owned went down into the earth. 33Those people went down into their grave alive. Everything they owned went with them. Then the earth closed over them. They were finished—gone from the camp! 34The people of Israel heard the cries of the men being destroyed. So they all ran in different directions and said, “The earth will kill us, too!” 35Then a fire came from the Lord and destroyed the 250 men who were offering the incense. 36The Lord said to Moses, 37- 38“Tell Eleazar son of Aaron the priest to get all the incense pans from the fire. Tell him to scatter the coals and ashes. Those men sinned against me, and their sin cost them their lives. But the incense pans are still holy. The pans are holy because they gave them to the Lord. Hammer the pans into flat sheets. Use the metal sheets to cover the altar. This will be a warning to all of the people of Israel.” 39So Eleazar the priest gathered together all the bronze pans that the men had brought. Those men were all burned up, but the pans were still there. Then Eleazar told some men to hammer the pans into flat metal. Then he put the metal sheets on the altar. 40He did this the way the Lord commanded him through Moses. This was a sign to help the people of Israel remember that only a person from the family of Aaron should burn incense before the Lord. Any other person who burns incense before the Lord will die like Korah and his followers. 41The next day all the people of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron. They said, “You killed the Lord’s people.” 42Moses and Aaron were standing at the entrance of the Meeting Tent. The people gathered together at that place to complain against Moses and Aaron. But when they looked toward the Meeting Tent, the cloud covered it and the Glory of the Lord appeared there. 43Then Moses and Aaron went to the front of the Meeting Tent. 44The Lord said to Moses, 45“Move away from those people so that I can destroy them now.” So Moses and Aaron bowed with their faces to the ground. 46Then Moses said to Aaron, “Get your bronze pan and some fire from the altar. Then put incense on it. Hurry to the group of people and do the things that will make the people pure. The Lord is angry at them. The trouble has already started.” 47- 48So Aaron did what Moses said. Aaron got the incense and the fire, and he ran to the middle of the people. But the sickness had already started among the people. So Aaron stood between the dead people and the people who were still alive. Aaron did the things to make the people pure. And the sickness stopped there. 49But 14,700 people died from that sickness—and that is not counting the people who died because of Korah. 50So, the terrible sickness was stopped and Aaron went back to Moses at the entrance of the Meeting Tent.

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