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Numbers chapter 16

New International Version

1 Korah son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and certain Reubenites--Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth--became insolent 2 and rose up against Moses. With them were 250 Israelite men, well-known community leaders who had been appointed members of the council. 3 They came as a group to oppose Moses and Aaron and said to them, 'You have gone too far! The whole community is holy, every one of them, and the LORD is with them. Why then do you set yourselves above the LORD's assembly?'
4 When Moses heard this, he fell facedown. 5 Then he said to Korah and all his followers: 'In the morning the LORD will show who belongs to him and who is holy, and he will have that person come near him. The man he chooses he will cause to come near him. 6 You, Korah, and all your followers are to do this: Take censers 7 and tomorrow put burning coals and incense in them before the LORD. The man the LORD chooses will be the one who is holy. You Levites have gone too far!'
8 Moses also said to Korah, 'Now listen, you Levites! 9 Isn't it enough 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? 10 He has brought you and all your fellow Levites near himself, but now you are trying to get the priesthood too. 11 It is against the LORD that you and all your followers have banded together. Who is Aaron that you should grumble against him?'
12 Then Moses summoned Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab. But they said, 'We will not come! 13 Isn't it enough that you have brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honey to kill us in the wilderness? And now you also want to lord it over us! 14 Moreover, you haven't brought us into a land flowing with milk and honey or given us an inheritance of fields and vineyards. Do you want to treat these men like slaves? No, we will not come!'
15 Then Moses became very angry and said to the LORD, 'Do not accept their offering. I have not taken so much as a donkey 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. 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.' 18 So each of them took his censer, 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 them at the entrance to the tent of meeting, the glory of the LORD appeared to the entire assembly. 20 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, 21 Separate yourselves from this assembly so I can put an end to them at once.'
22 But Moses and Aaron fell facedown and cried out, 'O God, the God who gives breath to all living things, will you be angry with the entire assembly when only one man sins?'
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 Israel followed him. 26 He warned the assembly, 'Move back from the tents of these wicked men! Do not touch anything belonging to them, or you will be swept away because of all their sins.' 27 So they moved away from the tents of Korah, Dathan and Abiram. Dathan and Abiram had come out and were standing with their wives, children and little ones at the entrances to their tents.
28 Then Moses said, 'This is how you will know that the LORD has sent me 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. 30 But if the LORD brings about something totally new, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them, with everything that belongs to them, and they go down alive into the realm of the dead, then you will know that these men have treated the LORD with contempt.'
31 As soon as he finished saying all this, the ground under them split apart 32 and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them and their households, and all those associated with Korah, together with their possessions. 33 They went down alive into the realm of the dead, 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 LORD and consumed the 250 men who were offering the incense.
36 The LORD said to Moses, 37 Tell Eleazar son of Aaron, the priest, to remove the censers 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. Hammer the censers into sheets to overlay the altar, for they were presented before the LORD and have become holy. Let them be a sign to the Israelites.'
39 So Eleazar the priest collected the bronze censers brought by those who had been burned to death, 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 incense before the LORD, or he would become like Korah and his followers.
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 opposition to Moses and Aaron and turned toward the tent of meeting, suddenly the cloud covered it and the glory of the LORD 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 end to them at once.' And they fell facedown.
46 Then Moses said to Aaron, 'Take your censer and put incense in it, along with burning coals from the altar, and hurry to the assembly to make atonement for them. Wrath has come out from the LORD; the plague 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, but Aaron offered the incense and made atonement for them. 48 He stood between the living and the dead, and the plague stopped. 49 But 14,700 people died from the plague, in addition to those who had died because of Korah. 50 Then Aaron returned to Moses at the entrance to the tent of meeting, for the plague had stopped.
English Standard Version

1 Now Korah the son of Izhar, son of Kohath, son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram the sons of Eliab, and On the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men. 2 And they rose up before Moses, with a number of the people of Israel, 250 chiefs of the congregation, chosen from the assembly, well-known men. 3 They assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron and said to them, “You have gone too far! For all in the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the LORD?” 4 When Moses heard it, he fell on his face, 5 and he said to Korah and all his company, “In the morning the LORD will show who is his, and who is holy, and will bring him near to him. The one whom he chooses he will bring near to him. 6 Do this: take censers, Korah and all his company; 7 put fire in them and put incense on them before the LORD tomorrow, and the man whom the LORD chooses shall be the holy one. You have gone too far, sons of Levi!” 8 And Moses said to Korah, “Hear now, you sons of Levi: 9 is it too small a thing for you that the God of Israel has separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself, to do service in the tabernacle of the LORD and to stand before the congregation to minister to them, 10 and that he has brought you near him, and all your brothers the sons of Levi with you? And would you seek the priesthood also? 11 Therefore it is against the LORD that you and all your company have gathered together. What is Aaron that you grumble against him?”
12 And Moses sent to call Dathan and Abiram the sons of Eliab, and they said, “We will not come up. 13 Is it a small thing that you have brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honey, to kill us in the wilderness, that you must also make yourself a prince over us? 14 Moreover, you have not brought us into a land flowing with milk and honey, nor given us inheritance of fields and vineyards. Will you put out the eyes of these men? We will not come up.” 15 And Moses was very angry and said to the LORD, “Do not respect their offering. I have not taken one donkey from them, and I have not harmed one of them.”
16 And Moses said to Korah, “Be present, you and all your company, before the LORD, you and they, and Aaron, tomorrow. 17 And let every one of you take his censer and put incense on it, and every one of you bring before the LORD his censer, 250 censers; you also, and Aaron, each his censer.” 18 So every man took his censer and put fire in them and laid incense on them and stood at the entrance of the tent of meeting with Moses and Aaron. 19 Then Korah assembled all the congregation against them at the entrance of the tent of meeting. And the glory of the LORD appeared to all the congregation.
20 And the LORD spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, 21 “Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.” 22 And they fell on their faces and said, “O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and will you be angry with all the congregation?” 23 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 24 “Say to the congregation, Get away from the dwelling of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.”
25 Then Moses rose and went to Dathan and Abiram, and the elders of Israel followed him. 26 And he spoke to the congregation, saying, “Depart, please, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest you be swept away with all their sins.” 27 So they got away from the dwelling of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. And Dathan and Abiram came out and stood at the door of their tents, together with their wives, their sons, and their little ones. 28 And Moses said, “Hereby you shall know that the LORD has sent me to do all these works, and that it has not been of my own accord. 29 If these men die as all men die, or if they are visited by the fate of all mankind, then the LORD has not sent me. 30 But if the LORD creates something new, and the ground opens its mouth and swallows them up with all that belongs to them, and they go down alive into Sheol, then you shall know that these men have despised the LORD.”
31 And as soon as he had finished speaking all these words, the ground under them split apart. 32 And the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households and all the people who belonged to Korah and all their goods. 33 So they and all that belonged to them went down alive into Sheol, and the earth closed over them, and they perished from the midst of the assembly. 34 And all Israel who were around them fled at their cry, for they said, “Lest the earth swallow us up!” 35 And fire came out from the LORD and consumed the 250 men offering the incense.
36 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 37 “Tell Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest to take up the censers out of the blaze. Then scatter the fire far and wide, for they have become holy. 38 As for the censers of these men who have sinned at the cost of their lives, let them be made into hammered plates as a covering for the altar, for they offered them before the LORD, and they became holy. Thus they shall be a sign to the people of Israel.” 39 So Eleazar the priest took the bronze censers, which those who were burned had offered, and they were hammered out as a covering for the altar, 40 to be a reminder to the people of Israel, so that no outsider, who is not of the descendants of Aaron, should draw near to burn incense before the LORD, lest he become like Korah and his company—as the LORD said to him through Moses.
41 But on the next day all the congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and against Aaron, saying, “You have killed the people of the LORD.” 42 And when the congregation had assembled against Moses and against Aaron, they turned toward the tent of meeting. And behold, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the LORD appeared. 43 And Moses and Aaron came to the front of the tent of meeting, 44 and the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 45 “Get away from the midst of this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.” And they fell on their faces. 46 And Moses said to Aaron, “Take your censer, and put fire on it from off the altar and lay incense on it and carry it quickly to the congregation and make atonement for them, for wrath has gone out from the LORD; the plague has begun.” 47 So Aaron took it as Moses said and ran into the midst of the assembly. And behold, the plague had already begun among the people. And he put on the incense and made atonement for the people. 48 And he stood between the dead and the living, and the plague was stopped. 49 Now those who died in the plague were 14,700, besides those who died in the affair of Korah. 50 And Aaron returned to Moses at the entrance of the tent of meeting, when the plague was stopped.
King James Version

1 Now Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men: 2 And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown: 3 And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the LORD? 4 And when Moses heard it, he fell upon his face: 5 And he spake unto Korah and unto all his company, saying, Even to morrow the LORD will shew who are his, and who is holy; and will cause him to come near unto him: even him whom he hath chosen will he cause to come near unto him: even him whom he hath chosen will he cause to come near unto him. 6 This do; Take you censers, Korah, and all his company; 7 And put fire therein, and put incense in them before the LORD to morrow: and it shall be that the man whom the LORD doth choose, he shall be holy: ye take too much upon you, ye sons of Levi. 8 And Moses said unto Korah, Hear, I pray you, ye sons of Levi: 9 Seemeth it but a small thing unto you, that the God of Israel hath separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself to do the service of the tabernacle of the LORD, and to stand before the congregation to minister unto them? 10 And he hath brought thee near to him, and all thy brethren the sons of Levi with thee: and seek ye the priesthood also? 11 For which cause both thou and all thy company are gathered together against the LORD: and what is Aaron, that ye murmur against him?
12 And Moses sent to call Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab: which said, We will not come up: 13 Is it a small thing that thou hast brought us up out of a land that floweth with milk and honey, to kill us in the wilderness, except thou make thyself altogether a prince over us? 14 Moreover thou hast not brought us into a land that floweth with milk and honey, or given us inheritance of fields and vineyards: wilt thou put out the eyes of these men? we will not come up. 15 And Moses was very wroth, and said unto the LORD, Respect not thou their offering: I have not taken one ass from them, neither have I hurt one of them. 16 And Moses said unto Korah, Be thou and all thy company before the LORD, thou, and they, and Aaron, to morrow: 17 And take every man his censer, and put incense in them, and bring ye before the LORD every man his censer, two hundred and fifty censers; thou also, and Aaron, each of you his censer. 18 And they took every man his censer, and put fire in them, and laid incense thereon, and stood in the door of the tabernacle of the congregation with Moses and Aaron. 19 And Korah gathered all the congregation against them unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the congregation. 20 And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, 21 Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment. 22 And they fell upon their faces, and said, O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and wilt thou be wroth with all the congregation?
23 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 24 Speak unto the congregation, saying, Get you up from about the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. 25 And Moses rose up and went unto Dathan and Abiram; and the elders of Israel followed him. 26 And he spake unto the congregation, saying, Depart, I pray you, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest ye be consumed in all their sins. 27 So they gat up from the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, on every side: and Dathan and Abiram came out, and stood in the door of their tents, and their wives, and their sons, and their little children. 28 And Moses said, Hereby ye shall know that the LORD hath sent me to do all these works; for I have not done them of mine own mind. 29 If these men die the common death of all men, or if they be visited after the visitation of all men; then the LORD hath not sent me. 30 But if the LORD make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit; then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the LORD. 31 And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that was under them: 32 And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods. 33 They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation. 34 And all Israel that were round about them fled at the cry of them: for they said, Lest the earth swallow us up also.
35 And there came out a fire from the LORD, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense. 36 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 37 Speak unto Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest, that he take up the censers out of the burning, and scatter thou the fire yonder; for they are hallowed. 38 The censers of these sinners against their own souls, let them make them broad plates for a covering of the altar: for they offered them before the LORD, therefore they are hallowed: and they shall be a sign unto the children of Israel. 39 And Eleazar the priest took the brasen censers, wherewith they that were burnt had offered; and they were made broad plates for a covering of the altar: 40 To be a memorial unto the children of Israel, that no stranger, which is not of the seed of Aaron, come near to offer incense before the LORD; that he be not as Korah, and as his company: as the LORD said to him by the hand of Moses.
41 But on the morrow all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron, saying, Ye have killed the people of the LORD. 42 And it came to pass, when the congregation was gathered against Moses and against Aaron, that they looked toward the tabernacle of the congregation: and, behold, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the LORD appeared. 43 And Moses and Aaron came before the tabernacle of the congregation. 44 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 45 Get you up from among this congregation, that I may consume them as in a moment. And they fell upon their faces. 46 And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a censer, and put fire therein from off the altar, and put on incense, and go quickly unto the congregation, and make an atonement for them: for there is wrath gone out from the LORD; the plague is begun. 47 And Aaron took as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the congregation; and, behold, the plague was begun among the people: and he put on incense, and made an atonement for the people. 48 And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed. 49 Now they that died in the plague were fourteen thousand and seven hundred, beside them that died about the matter of Korah. 50 And Aaron returned unto Moses unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and the plague was stayed.
New American Standard Bible

1 Now Korah the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, with Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men, 2 and they stood before Moses, together with some of the sons of Israel, 250 leaders of the congregation chosen in the assembly, men of renown. 3 They assembled together against Moses and Aaron, and said to them, 'You have gone far enough! For all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is in their midst; so why do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the LORD?'
4 When Moses heard this, he fell on his face; 5 and he spoke to Korah and all his group, saying, 'Tomorrow morning the LORD will make known who is His, and who is holy, and will bring that one near to Himself; indeed, the one whom He will choose, He will bring near to Himself. 6 Do this: take censers for yourselves, Korah and your whole group, 7 and put fire in them, and place incense upon them in the presence of the LORD tomorrow; and the man whom the LORD chooses shall be the one who is holy. You have gone far enough, you sons of Levi!'
8 Then Moses said to Korah, 'Hear now, you sons of Levi: 9 Is it too small an honor for you that the God of Israel has singled you out from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to Himself, to perform the service of the tabernacle of the LORD, and to stand before the congregation to minister to them; 10 and that He has brought you near, Korah, and all your brothers, sons of Levi, with you? But are you seeking the priesthood as well? 11 Therefore you and your whole group are the ones gathered together against the LORD; but as for Aaron, who is he, that you grumble against him?'
12 Then Moses sent a summons to Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab; but they said, 'We will not come up. 13 Is it not enough that you have brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honey to have us die in the wilderness, but you would also appoint yourself as master over us? 14 Indeed, you have not brought us into a land flowing with milk and honey, nor have you given us an inheritance of fields and vineyards. Would you gouge out the eyes of these men? We will not come up!'
15 Then Moses became very angry and said to the LORD, 'Pay no attention to their offering! I have not taken a single donkey from them, nor have I done harm to any of them.' 16 Moses said to Korah, 'You and all your group be present before the LORD tomorrow, you and they along with Aaron. 17 And each of you take his censer and put incense on it, and each of you bring his censer before the LORD, 250 censers; also you and Aaron shall each bring his censer.' 18 So they took, each one his own censer, and put fire on it, and placed incense on it; and they stood at the entrance of the tent of meeting, with Moses and Aaron. 19 So Korah assembled all the congregation against them at the entrance of the tent of meeting. And the glory of the LORD appeared to all the congregation.
20 Then the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, 21 'Separate yourselves from among this congregation, so that I may consume them instantly.' 22 But they fell on their faces and said, 'God, the God of the spirits of humanity, when one person sins, will You be angry with the entire congregation?'
23 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 24 'Speak to the congregation, saying, ‘Get away from the areas around the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.’?'
25 Then Moses arose and went to Dathan and Abiram, with the elders of Israel following him, 26 and he spoke to the congregation, saying, 'Get away now from the tents of these wicked men, and do not touch anything that belongs to them, or you will be swept away in all their sin!' 27 So they moved away from the areas around the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram; and Dathan and Abiram came out and stood at the entrances of their tents, along with their wives, their sons, and their little ones. 28 Then Moses said, 'By this you shall know that the LORD has sent me to do all these deeds; for it is not my doing. 29 If these men die the death of all mankind, or if they suffer the fate of all mankind, then the LORD has not sent me. 30 But if the LORD brings about an entirely new thing and the ground opens its mouth and swallows them with everything that is theirs, and they descend alive into Sheol, then you will know that these men have been disrespectful to the LORD.'
31 And as he finished speaking all these words, the ground that was under them split open; 32 and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them, their households, and all the people who belonged to Korah with all their possessions. 33 So they and all that belonged to them went down alive to Sheol; and the earth closed over them, and they perished from the midst of the assembly. 34 Then all Israel who were around them fled at their outcry, for they said, 'The earth might swallow us!' 35 Fire also came out from the LORD and consumed the 250 men who were offering the incense.
36 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 37 'Tell Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, that he shall pick up the censers from the midst of the burned area, because they are holy; and you are to scatter the burning coals further away. 38 As for the censers of these men who have sinned at the cost of their own lives, have them made into hammered sheets as plating for the altar, since they did present them before the LORD and they are holy; and they shall serve as a sign to the sons of Israel.' 39 So the priest Eleazar took the bronze censers which the men who were burned had offered, and they hammered them out as plating for the altar, 40 as a reminder to the sons of Israel so that no layman, anyone who was not of the descendants of Aaron, would approach to burn incense before the LORD; then he would not become like Korah and his group—just as the LORD had spoken to him through Moses.
41 But on the next day all the congregation of the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron, saying, 'You are the ones who have caused the death of the LORD’S people!' 42 It came about, however, when the congregation had assembled against Moses and Aaron, that they turned toward the tent of meeting, and behold, the cloud covered it and the glory of the LORD appeared. 43 Then Moses and Aaron came to the front of the tent of meeting, 44 and the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 45 'Get away from among this congregation so that I may consume them instantly.' Then they fell on their faces. 46 And Moses said to Aaron, 'Take your censer and put fire in it from the altar, and place incense on it; then bring it quickly to the congregation and make atonement for them, for wrath has gone out from the LORD, the plague has begun!' 47 Then Aaron took it just as Moses had spoken, and he ran into the midst of the assembly; and behold, the plague had begun among the people. So he put on the incense and made atonement for the people. 48 And he took his stand between the dead and the living, so that the plague was brought to a halt. 49 But those who died by the plague were 14,700 in number, besides those who died on account of Korah. 50 Then Aaron returned to Moses at the entrance of the tent of meeting, for the plague had been brought to a halt.
New Living Translation

1 One day Korah son of Izhar, a descendant of Kohath son of Levi, conspired with Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth, from the tribe of Reuben. 2 They incited a rebellion against Moses, along with 250 other leaders of the community, all prominent members of the assembly. 3 They united against Moses and Aaron and said, 'You have gone too far! The whole community of Israel has been set apart by the LORD, and he is with all of us. What right do you have to act as though you are greater than the rest of the LORD's people?'
4 When Moses heard what they were saying, he fell face down on the ground. 5 Then he said to Korah and his followers, 'Tomorrow morning the LORD will show us who belongs to him and who is holy. The LORD will allow only those whom he selects to enter his own presence. 6 Korah, you and all your followers must prepare your incense burners. 7 Light fires in them tomorrow, and burn incense before the LORD. Then we will see whom the LORD chooses as his holy one. You Levites are the ones who have gone too far!'
8 Then Moses spoke again to Korah: 'Now listen, you Levites! 9 Does it seem insignificant to you that the God of Israel has chosen you from among all the community of Israel to be near him so you can serve in the LORD's Tabernacle and stand before the people to minister to them? 10 Korah, he has already given this special ministry to you and your fellow Levites. Are you now demanding the priesthood as well? 11 The LORD is the one you and your followers are really revolting against! For who is Aaron that you are complaining about him?'
12 Then Moses summoned Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, but they replied, 'We refuse to come before you! 13 Isn't it enough that you brought us out of Egypt, a land flowing with milk and honey, to kill us here in this wilderness, and that you now treat us like your subjects? 14 What's more, you haven't brought us into another land flowing with milk and honey. You haven't given us a new homeland with fields and vineyards. Are you trying to fool these men? We will not come.'
15 Then Moses became very angry and said to the LORD, 'Do not accept their grain offerings! I have not taken so much as a donkey from them, and I have never hurt a single one of them.' 16 And Moses said to Korah, 'You and all your followers must come here tomorrow and present yourselves before the LORD. Aaron will also be here. 17 You and each of your 250 followers must prepare an incense burner and put incense on it, so you can all present them before the LORD. Aaron will also bring his incense burner.'
18 So each of these men prepared an incense burner, lit the fire, and placed incense on it. Then they all stood at the entrance of the Tabernacle with Moses and Aaron. 19 Meanwhile, Korah had stirred up the entire community against Moses and Aaron, and they all gathered at the Tabernacle entrance. Then the glorious presence of the LORD appeared to the whole community, 20 and the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, 21 'Get away from all these people so that I may instantly destroy them!'
22 But Moses and Aaron fell face down on the ground. 'O God,' they pleaded, 'you are the God who gives breath to all creatures. Must you be angry with all the people when only one man sins?'
23 And the LORD said to Moses, 24 'Then tell all the people to get away from the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.'
25 So Moses got up and rushed over to the tents of Dathan and Abiram, followed by the elders of Israel. 26 'Quick!' he told the people. 'Get away from the tents of these wicked men, and don't touch anything that belongs to them. If you do, you will be destroyed for their sins.' 27 So all the people stood back from the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. Then Dathan and Abiram came out and stood at the entrances of their tents, together with their wives and children and little ones.
28 And Moses said, 'This is how you will know that the LORD has sent me to do all these things that I have done--for I have not done them on my own. 29 If these men die a natural death, or if nothing unusual happens, then the LORD has not sent me. 30 But if the LORD does something entirely new and the ground opens its mouth and swallows them and all their belongings, and they go down alive into the grave, then you will know that these men have shown contempt for the LORD.'
31 He had hardly finished speaking the words when the ground suddenly split open beneath them. 32 The earth opened its mouth and swallowed the men, along with their households and all their followers who were standing with them, and everything they owned. 33 So they went down alive into the grave, along with all their belongings. The earth closed over them, and they all vanished from among the people of Israel. 34 All the people around them fled when they heard their screams. 'The earth will swallow us, too!' they cried. 35 Then fire blazed forth from the LORD and burned up the 250 men who were offering incense.
36 And the LORD said to Moses, 37 'Tell Eleazar son of Aaron the priest to pull all the incense burners from the fire, for they are holy. Also tell him to scatter the burning coals. 38 Take the incense burners of these men who have sinned at the cost of their lives, and hammer the metal into a thin sheet to overlay the altar. Since these burners were used in the LORD's presence, they have become holy. Let them serve as a warning to the people of Israel.'
39 So Eleazar the priest collected the 250 bronze incense burners that had been used by the men who died in the fire, and he hammered them into a thin sheet to overlay the altar. 40 This would warn the Israelites that no unauthorized person--no one who was not a descendant of Aaron--should ever enter the LORD's presence to burn incense. If anyone did, the same thing would happen to him as happened to Korah and his followers. So the LORD's instructions to Moses were carried out.
41 But the very next morning the whole community of Israel began muttering again against Moses and Aaron, saying, 'You have killed the LORD's people!' 42 As the community gathered to protest against Moses and Aaron, they turned toward the Tabernacle and saw that the cloud had covered it, and the glorious presence of the LORD appeared.
43 Moses and Aaron came and stood in front of the Tabernacle, 44 and the LORD said to Moses, 45 'Get away from all these people so that I can instantly destroy them!' But Moses and Aaron fell face down on the ground.
46 And Moses said to Aaron, 'Quick, take an incense burner and place burning coals on it from the altar. Lay incense on it, and carry it out among the people to purify them and make them right with the LORD. The LORD's anger is blazing against them--the plague has already begun.'
47 Aaron did as Moses told him and ran out among the people. The plague had already begun to strike down the people, but Aaron burned the incense and purified the people. 48 He stood between the dead and the living, and the plague stopped. 49 But 14,700 people died in that plague, in addition to those who had died in the affair involving Korah. 50 Then because the plague had stopped, Aaron returned to Moses at the entrance of the Tabernacle.
Christian Standard Bible

1 Now Korah son of Izhar, son of Kohath, son of Levi, with Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took 2 two hundred and fifty prominent Israelite men who were leaders of the community and representatives in the assembly, and they rebelled against Moses. 3 They came together against Moses and Aaron and told them, "You have gone too far! Everyone in the entire community is holy, and the LORD is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the LORD's assembly?"
4 When Moses heard this, he fell facedown. 5 Then he said to Korah and all his followers, "Tomorrow morning the LORD will reveal who belongs to him, who is set apart, and the one he will let come near him. He will let the one he chooses come near him. 6 Korah, you and all your followers are to do this: take firepans, and tomorrow 7 place fire in them and put incense on them before the LORD. Then the man the LORD chooses will be the one who is set apart. It is you Levites who have gone too far!"
8 Moses also told Korah, "Now listen, Levites! 9 Isn't it enough for you that the God of Israel has separated you from the Israelite community to bring you near to himself, to perform the work at the LORD's tabernacle, and to stand before the community to minister to them? 10 He has brought you near, and all your fellow Levites who are with you, but you are pursuing the priesthood as well. 11 Therefore, it is you and all your followers who have conspired against the LORD! As for Aaron, who is he that you should complain about him?"
12 Moses sent for Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, but they said, "We will not come! 13 Is it not enough that you brought us up from a land flowing with milk and honey to kill us in the wilderness? Do you also have to appoint yourself as ruler over us? 14 Furthermore, you didn't bring us to a land flowing with milk and honey or give us an inheritance of fields and vineyards. Will you gouge out the eyes of these men? We will not come!"
15 Then Moses became angry and said to the LORD, "Don't respect their offering. I have not taken one donkey from them or mistreated a single one of them." 16 So Moses told Korah, "You and all your followers are to appear before the LORD tomorrow--you, they, and Aaron. 17 Each of you is to take his firepan, place incense on it, and present his firepan before the LORD--250 firepans. You and Aaron are each to present your firepan also."
18 Each man took his firepan, placed fire in it, put incense on it, and stood at the entrance to the tent of meeting along with Moses and Aaron. 19 After Korah assembled the whole community against them at the entrance to the tent of meeting, the glory of the LORD appeared to the whole community. 20 The LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, 21 "Separate yourselves from this community so I may consume them instantly."
22 But Moses and Aaron fell facedown and said, "God, God who gives breath to all, when one man sins, will you vent your wrath on the whole community?"
23 The LORD replied to Moses, 24 "Tell the community: Get away from the dwellings of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram."
25 Moses got up and went to Dathan and Abiram, and the elders of Israel followed him. 26 He warned the community, "Get away now from the tents of these wicked men. Don't touch anything that belongs to them, or you will be swept away because of all their sins." 27 So they got away from the dwellings of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. Meanwhile, Dathan and Abiram came out and stood at the entrance of their tents with their wives, children, and infants.
28 Then Moses said, "This is how you will know that the LORD sent me to do all these things and that it was not of my own will: 29 If these men die naturally as all people would, and suffer the fate of all, then the LORD has not sent me. 30 But if the LORD brings about something unprecedented, and the ground opens its mouth and swallows them along with all that belongs to them so that they go down alive into Sheol, then you will know that these men have despised the LORD."
31 Just as he finished speaking all these words, the ground beneath them split open. 32 The earth opened its mouth and swallowed them and their households, all Korah's people, and all their possessions. 33 They went down alive into Sheol with all that belonged to them. The earth closed over them, and they vanished from the assembly. 34 At their cries, all the people of Israel who were around them fled because they thought, "The earth may swallow us too!" 35 Fire also came out from the LORD and consumed the 250 men who were presenting the incense.
36 Then the LORD spoke to Moses: 37 "Tell Eleazar son of Aaron the priest to remove the firepans from the burning debris, because they are holy, and scatter the fire far away. 38 As for the firepans of those who sinned at the cost of their own lives, make them into hammered sheets as plating for the altar, for they presented them before the LORD, and the firepans are holy. They will be a sign to the Israelites."
39 So the priest Eleazar took the bronze firepans that those who were burned had presented, and they were hammered into plating for the altar, 40 just as the LORD commanded him through Moses. It was to be a reminder for the Israelites that no unauthorized person outside the lineage of Aaron should approach to offer incense before the LORD and become like Korah and his followers.
41 The next day the entire Israelite community complained about Moses and Aaron, saying, "You have killed the LORD's people!" 42 When the community assembled against them, Moses and Aaron turned toward the tent of meeting, and suddenly the cloud covered it, and the LORD's glory appeared.
43 Moses and Aaron went to the front of the tent of meeting, 44 and the LORD said to Moses, 45 "Get away from this community so that I may consume them instantly." But they fell facedown.
46 Then Moses told Aaron, "Take your firepan, place fire from the altar in it, and add incense. Go quickly to the community and make atonement for them, because wrath has come from the LORD; the plague has begun." 47 So Aaron took his firepan as Moses had ordered, ran into the middle of the assembly, and saw that the plague had begun among the people. After he added incense, he made atonement for the people. 48 He stood between the dead and the living, and the plague was halted. 49 But those who died from the plague numbered 14,700, in addition to those who died because of the Korah incident. 50 Aaron then returned to Moses at the entrance to the tent of meeting, since the plague had been halted.

What does Numbers chapter 16 mean?

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