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Numbers 16-17 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 16

Rebellion of Korah. [a]Korah, son of Izhar, son of Kohath, son of Levi, and the Reubenites Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab, and On, son of Peleth,[b] son of Reuben took two hundred and fifty Israelites who were leaders in the community, members of the council and men of note, and confronted Moses. Holding an assembly against Moses and Aaron, they said, “You go too far! The whole community, all of them, are holy; the Lord is in their midst. Why then should you set yourselves over the Lord’s assembly?”

When Moses heard this, he fell prostrate. Then he said to Korah and to all his faction, “May the Lord make known tomorrow morning who belongs to him and who is the holy one and whom he will have draw near to him! The one whom he chooses, he will have draw near to him. Do this: take your censers, Korah and all his faction, and put fire in them and place incense in them before the Lord tomorrow. He whom the Lord then chooses is the holy one. You Levites go too far!”

Moses also said to Korah, “Hear, now, you Levites! Are you not satisfied that the God of Israel has singled you out from the community of Israel, to have you draw near him to maintain the Lord’s tabernacle, and to attend upon the community and to serve them? 10 He has allowed you and your Levite kinsmen with you to approach him, and yet you seek the priesthood too. 11 It is therefore against the Lord that you and all your faction are conspiring. As for Aaron, what has he done that you should grumble against him?”

Rebellion of Dathan and Abiram. 12 Moses summoned Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab, but they answered, “We will not go.[c] 13 Are you not satisfied that you have brought us here from a land flowing with milk and honey to have us perish in the wilderness, that now you must also lord it over us? 14 Far from bringing us to a land flowing with milk and honey, or giving us fields and vineyards for our inheritance, will you gouge out our eyes?[d] No, we will not go.”

15 Then Moses became very angry and said to the Lord, “Pay no attention to their offering. I have never taken a single donkey from them, nor have I wronged any one of them.”

Korah. 16 Moses said to Korah, “You and all your faction shall appear before the Lord tomorrow—you and they and Aaron too. 17 Then each of you take his own censer, put incense in it, and present it before the Lord, two hundred and fifty censers; and you and Aaron, each with his own censer, do the same.” 18 So each of them took their censers, and laying incense on the fire they had put in them, they took their stand by the entrance of the tent of meeting along with Moses and Aaron. 19 Then, when Korah had assembled all the community against them at the entrance of the tent of meeting, the glory of the Lord appeared to the entire community, 20 and the Lord said to Moses and Aaron: 21 Stand apart from this community, that I may consume them at once. 22 But they fell prostrate and exclaimed, “O God, God of the spirits of all living creatures, if one man sins will you be angry with the whole community?” 23 The Lord answered Moses: 24 Speak to the community and tell them: Withdraw from the area around the tent[e] of Korah, Dathan and Abiram.

Punishment of Dathan and Abiram. 25 Moses, followed by the elders of Israel, arose and went to Dathan and Abiram.[f] 26 Then he spoke to the community, “Move away from the tents of these wicked men and do not touch anything that is theirs: otherwise you too will be swept away because of all their sins.” 27 So they withdrew from the area around the tents of Korah, Dathan and Abiram. When Dathan and Abiram had come out and were standing at the entrance of their tents with their wives, their children, and their little ones, 28 Moses said, “This is how you shall know that the Lord sent me to do all I have done, and that it was not of my own devising: 29 if these die an ordinary death, merely suffering the fate common to all humanity, the Lord has not sent me. 30 But if the Lord makes a chasm, and the ground opens its mouth and swallows them with all belonging to them, and they go down alive to Sheol,[g] then you will know that these men have spurned the Lord.” 31 No sooner had he finished saying all this than the ground beneath them split open, 32 and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them and their families and all of Korah’s people[h] with all their possessions. 33 They went down alive to Sheol with all belonging to them; the earth closed over them, and they disappeared from the assembly. 34 But all the Israelites near them fled at their shrieks, saying, “The earth might swallow us too!”

Punishment of Korah. 35 And fire from the Lord came forth which consumed the two hundred and fifty men who were offering the incense.

Chapter 17

The Lord said to Moses: Tell Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, to remove the censers from the embers; and scatter the fire some distance away, for they have become holy— [i]the censers of those who sinned at the cost of their lives. Have them hammered into plates to cover the altar, because in being presented before the Lord they have become holy. In this way they shall serve as a sign to the Israelites. So taking the bronze censers which had been presented by those who were burned, Eleazar the priest had them hammered into a covering for the altar, just as the Lord had directed him through Moses. This was to be a reminder to the Israelites that no unauthorized person, no one who was not a descendant of Aaron, should draw near to offer incense before the Lord, lest he meet the fate of Korah and his faction.

The next day the whole Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron, saying, “You have killed the people of the Lord.” But while the community was assembling against them, Moses and Aaron turned toward the tent of meeting, and the cloud now covered it and the glory of the Lord appeared. Then Moses and Aaron came to the front of the tent of meeting, and the Lord said to Moses: 10 Remove yourselves from this community, that I may consume them at once. But they fell prostrate.

11 Then Moses said to Aaron, “Take your censer, put fire from the altar in it, lay incense on it, and bring it quickly to the community to make atonement for them; for wrath has come forth from the Lord and the plague has begun.” 12 Aaron took his censer just as Moses directed and ran in among the assembly, where the plague had already begun among the people. Then he offered the incense and made atonement for the people, 13 while standing there between the living and the dead. And so the scourge was checked. 14 There were fourteen thousand seven hundred dead from the scourge, in addition to those who died because of Korah. 15 When the scourge had been checked, Aaron returned to Moses at the entrance of the tent of meeting.

Aaron’s Staff. 16 The Lord now said to Moses: 17 Speak to the Israelites and get from them a staff[j] for each ancestral house, twelve staffs in all, from all the leaders of their ancestral houses. Write each man’s name on his staff; 18 and write Aaron’s name on Levi’s staff.[k] For each head of an ancestral house shall have a staff. 19 Then deposit them in the tent of meeting, in front of the covenant, where I meet you. 20 The staff of the man whom I choose shall sprout. Thus I will rid myself of the Israelites’ grumbling against you.

21 So Moses spoke to the Israelites, and all their leaders gave him staffs, twelve in all, one from each leader of their ancestral houses; and Aaron’s staff was among them. 22 Then Moses deposited the staffs before the Lord in the tent of the covenant. 23 The next day, when Moses entered the tent of the covenant, Aaron’s staff, representing the house of Levi, had sprouted. It had put forth sprouts, produced blossoms, and borne ripe almonds! 24 So Moses brought out all the staffs from the Lord’s presence to all the Israelites, and each one identified his own staff and took it. 25 Then the Lord said to Moses: Put back Aaron’s staff in front of the covenant, for safe keeping as a sign to the rebellious, so that their grumbling against me may cease and they might not die. 26 Moses did this. Just as the Lord had commanded him, so he did.

Charge of the Sacred Things. 27 [l]Then the Israelites exclaimed to Moses, “We will perish; we are lost, we are all lost! 28 Anyone who approaches the tabernacle of the Lord will die! Will there be no end to our perishing?”


  1. 16:1–3 The evidence seems to show that accounts of two, if not more, distinct rebellions have been combined in this chapter. The most obvious are the rebellions of Korah and his faction (Nm 27:3) and of Dathan and Abiram (Dt 11:6); cf. Ps 106. The present account combines both events into one narrative; but even here it is rather easy to separate the two. The rebellion of the Reubenites, Dathan and Abiram, was more political in character, against Moses alone as the civil leader (cf. v. 13); these rebels were punished by being swallowed alive in an earthquake. The rebellion of Korah was more religious in character, directed primarily against the religious leadership of Aaron (though in vv. 19–22 it is Korah and the whole community against both Moses and Aaron). About two hundred and fifty malcontents joined Korah’s faction, and they are punished by fire. The parts of the present section which refer to the rebellion of Dathan and Abiram are vv. 12–15 and vv. 25–34 of chap. 16; the rest of chap. 16 and all of chap. 17 chiefly concern the rebellion of Korah.
  2. 16:1 The Reubenites…son of Peleth: some suggest on the basis of 26:5, 8 and Gn 46:9 reading instead of the traditional Hebrew text: “son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab, son of Pallu, son of Reuben.”
  3. 16:12 We will not go: to appear before Moses’ “tribunal.”
  4. 16:14 Gouge out our eyes: blind us to the real state of affairs.
  5. 16:24 Withdraw from the area around the tent: the word for “tent,” mishkan, here and in v. 27, is otherwise used in the singular only for the tent of meeting, suggesting possibly the erection of a rival sanctuary by the rebels. Note further, as an indication of the fact that various accounts of rebellion have been fused here, that in v. 19 the entire community had been assembled by Korah at the tent of meeting.
  6. 16:25 Since Dathan and Abiram had refused to go to Moses (vv. 12–14), he, with the elders as witnesses, was obliged to go to their tents.
  7. 16:30 Sheol: see note on Ps 6:6.
  8. 16:32 And all of Korah’s people: the implication of this secondary addition to the text is, on the one hand, that Korah met his death elsewhere, presumably with the two hundred and fifty offering incense (vv. 16–17, 35); or, on the other hand, he died along with Dathan and Abiram in the splitting of the earth.
  9. 17:3 Whatever was brought into intimate contact with something holy shared in its holiness. See note on 19:20.
  10. 17:17 The staff was not merely an article of practical use, but also a symbol of authority; cf. Gn 49:10; Nm 24:17; Jer 48:17. Therefore, the staff of a leader of a tribe was considered the emblem of the tribe; in fact, certain Hebrew words such as matteh, the word for “staff” here, also mean “tribe.” Perhaps for this reason, to avoid confusion, the author here uses the term bet’ab, “ancestral house,” for “tribe” instead of one of the ordinary words for “tribe.”
  11. 17:18 Levi’s staff: it is not clear whether this is considered as one of the twelve mentioned in the preceding verse, or as a thirteenth staff. Sometimes Levi is reckoned as one of the twelve tribes (e.g., Dt 27:12–13), but more often the number twelve is arrived at by counting the two sub-tribes of Joseph, i.e., Ephraim and Manasseh, as distinct tribes. In this passage also it seems probable that the tribe of Levi is considered apart from the other twelve tribes.
  12. 17:27–28 The people’s distress here echoes their panic in 16:34, and may be heightened further by the death of the two hundred and fifty leaders offering incense in 16:35.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Psalm 78:1-35 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Psalm 78[a]

A New Beginning in Zion and David

A maskil of Asaph.


Attend, my people, to my teaching;
    listen to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth in a parable,[b]
    unfold the puzzling events of the past.
What we have heard and know;
    things our ancestors have recounted to us.
We do not keep them from our children;
    we recount them to the next generation,
The praiseworthy deeds of the Lord and his strength,
    the wonders that he performed.
God made a decree in Jacob,
    established a law in Israel:
Which he commanded our ancestors,
    they were to teach their children;
That the next generation might come to know,
    children yet to be born.
In turn they were to recount them to their children,
    that they too might put their confidence in God,
And not forget God’s deeds,
    but keep his commandments.
They were not to be like their ancestors,
    a rebellious and defiant generation,
A generation whose heart was not constant,
    and whose spirit was not faithful to God.
The ranks of Ephraimite archers,[c]
    retreated on the day of battle.
10 They did not keep God’s covenant;
    they refused to walk according to his law.
11 They forgot his deeds,
    the wonders that he had shown them.



12 In the sight of their ancestors God did wonders,
    in the land of Egypt, the plain of Zoan.[d]
13 He split the sea and led them across,
    making the waters stand like walls.
14 He led them with a cloud by day,
    all night with the light of fire.
15 He split rocks in the desert,
    gave water to drink, abundant as the deeps of the sea.
16 He made streams flow from crags,
    caused rivers of water to flow down.


17 But they went on sinning against him,
    rebelling against the Most High in the desert.
18 They tested God in their hearts,
    demanding the food they craved.
19 They spoke against God, and said,
    “Can God spread a table in the wilderness?
20 True, when he struck the rock,
    water gushed forth,
    the wadies flooded.
But can he also give bread,
    or provide meat to his people?”


21 The Lord heard and grew angry;
    fire blazed up against Jacob;
    anger flared up against Israel.
22 For they did not believe in God,
    did not trust in his saving power.
23 [e]So he commanded the clouds above;
    and opened the doors of heaven.
24 God rained manna upon them for food;
    grain from heaven he gave them.
25 Man ate the bread of the angels;[f]
    food he sent in abundance.
26 He stirred up the east wind in the skies;
    by his might God brought on the south wind.
27 He rained meat upon them like dust,
    winged fowl like the sands of the sea,
28 They fell down in the midst of their camp,
    all round their dwellings.
29 They ate and were well filled;
    he gave them what they had craved.
30 But while they still wanted more,
    and the food was still in their mouths,
31 God’s anger flared up against them,
    and he made a slaughter of their strongest,
    laying low the youth of Israel.
32 In spite of all this they went on sinning,
    they did not believe in his wonders.


33 God ended their days abruptly,
    their years in sudden death.
34 When he slew them, they began to seek him;
    they again looked for God.
35 They remembered[g] that God was their rock,
    God Most High, their redeemer.


  1. Psalm 78 A recital of history to show that past generations did not respond to God’s gracious deeds and were punished by God making the gift into a punishment. Will Israel fail to appreciate God’s act—the choosing of Zion and of David? The tripartite introduction invites Israel to learn the lessons hidden in its traditions (Ps 78:1–4, 5–7, 8–11); each section ends with the mention of God’s acts. There are two distinct narratives of approximately equal length: the wilderness events (Ps 78:12–39) and the movement from Egypt to Canaan (Ps 78:40–72). The structure of both is parallel: gracious act (Ps 78:12–16, 40–55), rebellion (Ps 78:17–20, 56–58), divine punishment (Ps 78:21–31, 59–64), God’s readiness to forgive and begin anew (Ps 78:32–39, 65–72). While the Psalm has been thought to reflect the reunification program of either King Hezekiah (late eighth century) or King Josiah (late seventh century) in that the Northern Kingdom (Ephraim, Joseph) is especially invited to accept Zion and the Davidic king, a postexilic setting is also possible. Notable is the inclusion of the David-Zion tradition into the history of Israel recounted in the sources of the Pentateuch.
  2. 78:2 Parable: Hebrew mashal literally refers to some sort of relationship of comparison and can signify a story whose didactic potential becomes clear in the telling, as here in the retrospective examination of the history of Israel. Mt 13:35 cites the verse to explain Jesus’ use of parables.
  3. 78:9 Ephraimite archers: Ephraim was the most important tribe of the Northern Kingdom. Its military defeat (here unspecified) demonstrates its infidelity to God, who otherwise would have protected it.
  4. 78:12, 43 Zoan: a city on the arm of the Nile, a former capital of Egypt.
  5. 78:23–31 On the manna and the quail, see Ex 16 and Nm 11. Unlike Ex 16, here both manna and quail are instruments of punishment, showing that a divine gift can become deadly because of Israel’s apostasy.
  6. 78:25 Bread of the angels: the translation “angels” comports with the supernatural origin of the manna, though the Hebrew lechem ‘abbirim is more literally translated as “bread of the strong ones” or “bread of the mighty.” In the context of the manna event, this phrase cannot possibly mean the Israelites or any human being.
  7. 78:35 Remembered: invoked God publicly in worship. Their words were insincere (Ps 78:36).
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Acts 13:26-52 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

26 “My brothers, children of the family of Abraham, and those others among you who are God-fearing, to us this word of salvation has been sent. 27 The inhabitants of Jerusalem and their leaders failed to recognize him, and by condemning him they fulfilled the oracles of the prophets that are read sabbath after sabbath. 28 For even though they found no grounds for a death sentence, they asked Pilate to have him put to death, 29 and when they had accomplished all that was written about him, they took him down from the tree and placed him in a tomb. 30 But God raised him from the dead, 31 and for many days he appeared to those who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. These are [now] his witnesses before the people.[a] 32 We ourselves are proclaiming this good news to you that what God promised our ancestors 33 he has brought to fulfillment for us, [their] children, by raising up Jesus, as it is written in the second psalm, ‘You are my son; this day I have begotten you.’ 34 And that he raised him from the dead never to return to corruption he declared in this way, ‘I shall give you the benefits assured to David.’ 35 That is why he also says in another psalm, ‘You will not suffer your holy one to see corruption.’ 36 Now David, after he had served the will of God in his lifetime, fell asleep, was gathered to his ancestors, and did see corruption. 37 But the one whom God raised up did not see corruption. 38 You must know, my brothers, that through him forgiveness of sins is being proclaimed to you, [and] in regard to everything from which you could not be justified[b] under the law of Moses, 39 in him every believer is justified. 40 Be careful, then, that what was said in the prophets not come about:

41 ‘Look on, you scoffers,
    be amazed and disappear.
For I am doing a work in your days,
    a work that you will never believe
    even if someone tells you.’”

42 As they were leaving, they invited them to speak on these subjects the following sabbath. 43 After the congregation had dispersed, many Jews and worshipers who were converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who spoke to them and urged them to remain faithful to the grace of God.

Address to the Gentiles. 44 On the following sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. 45 When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and with violent abuse contradicted what Paul said. 46 Both Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first, but since you reject it and condemn yourselves as unworthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles.[c] 47 For so the Lord has commanded us, ‘I have made you a light to the Gentiles, that you may be an instrument of salvation to the ends of the earth.’”

48 The Gentiles were delighted when they heard this and glorified the word of the Lord. All who were destined for eternal life came to believe, 49 and the word of the Lord continued to spread through the whole region. 50 The Jews, however, incited the women of prominence who were worshipers and the leading men of the city, stirred up a persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their territory. 51 So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium.[d] 52 The disciples were filled with joy and the holy Spirit.


  1. 13:31 The theme of the Galilean witnesses is a major one in the Gospel of Luke and in Acts and is used to signify the continuity between the teachings of Jesus and the teachings of the church and to guarantee the fidelity of the church’s teachings to the words of Jesus.
  2. 13:38–39 Justified: the verb is the same as that used in Paul’s letters to speak of the experience of justification and, as in Paul, is here connected with the term “to have faith” (“every believer”). But this seems the only passage about Paul in Acts where justification is mentioned. In Lucan fashion it is paralleled with “forgiveness of sins” (a theme at Acts 2:38; 3:19; 5:31; 10:43) based on Jesus’ resurrection (Acts 13:37) rather than his cross, and is put negatively (Acts 13:38). Therefore, some would translate, “in regard to everything from which you could not be acquitted…every believer is acquitted.”
  3. 13:46 The refusal to believe frustrates God’s plan for his chosen people; however, no adverse judgment is made here concerning their ultimate destiny. Again, Luke, in the words of Paul, speaks of the priority of Israel in the plan for salvation (see Acts 10:36).
  4. 13:51 See note on Lk 9:5.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.


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