Korah, Dathan and Abiram

16 Korah(A) son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and certain Reubenites—Dathan and Abiram(B), sons of Eliab,(C) and On son of Peleth—became insolent[a] and rose up against Moses.(D) With them were 250 Israelite men, well-known community leaders who had been appointed members of the council.(E) They came as a group to oppose Moses and Aaron(F) and said to them, “You have gone too far! The whole community is holy,(G) every one of them, and the Lord is with them.(H) Why then do you set yourselves above the Lord’s assembly?”(I)

When Moses heard this, he fell facedown.(J) Then he said to Korah and all his followers: “In the morning the Lord will show who belongs to him and who is holy,(K) and he will have that person come near him.(L) The man he chooses(M) he will cause to come near him. You, Korah, and all your followers(N) are to do this: Take censers(O) and tomorrow put burning coals(P) and incense(Q) in them before the Lord. The man the Lord chooses(R) will be the one who is holy.(S) You Levites have gone too far!”

Moses also said to Korah, “Now listen, you Levites! Isn’t it enough(T) 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?(U) 10 He has brought you and all your fellow Levites near himself, but now you are trying to get the priesthood too.(V) 11 It is against the Lord that you and all your followers have banded together. Who is Aaron that you should grumble(W) against him?(X)

12 Then Moses summoned Dathan and Abiram,(Y) the sons of Eliab. But they said, “We will not come!(Z) 13 Isn’t it enough that you have brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honey(AA) to kill us in the wilderness?(AB) And now you also want to lord it over us!(AC) 14 Moreover, you haven’t brought us into a land flowing with milk and honey(AD) or given us an inheritance of fields and vineyards.(AE) Do you want to treat these men like slaves[b]?(AF) No, we will not come!(AG)

15 Then Moses became very angry(AH) and said to the Lord, “Do not accept their offering. I have not taken so much as a donkey(AI) 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.(AJ) 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.(AK) 18 So each of them took his censer,(AL) 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(AM) at the entrance to the tent of meeting, the glory of the Lord(AN) appeared to the entire assembly. 20 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 21 “Separate yourselves(AO) from this assembly so I can put an end to them at once.”(AP)

22 But Moses and Aaron fell facedown(AQ) and cried out, “O God, the God who gives breath to all living things,(AR) will you be angry with the entire assembly(AS) when only one man sins?”(AT)

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(AU) followed him. 26 He warned the assembly, “Move back from the tents of these wicked men!(AV) Do not touch anything belonging to them, or you will be swept away(AW) because of all their sins.(AX) 27 So they moved away from the tents of Korah, Dathan and Abiram.(AY) Dathan and Abiram had come out and were standing with their wives, children(AZ) and little ones at the entrances to their tents.(BA)

28 Then Moses said, “This is how you will know(BB) that the Lord has sent me(BC) 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.(BD) 30 But if the Lord brings about something totally new, and the earth opens its mouth(BE) and swallows them, with everything that belongs to them, and they go down alive into the realm of the dead,(BF) then you will know that these men have treated the Lord with contempt.(BG)

31 As soon as he finished saying all this, the ground under them split apart(BH) 32 and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them(BI) and their households, and all those associated with Korah, together with their possessions. 33 They went down alive into the realm of the dead,(BJ) 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(BK) and consumed(BL) the 250 men who were offering the incense.

36 The Lord said to Moses, 37 “Tell Eleazar(BM) son of Aaron, the priest, to remove the censers(BN) 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.(BO) Hammer the censers into sheets to overlay the altar,(BP) for they were presented before the Lord and have become holy. Let them be a sign(BQ) to the Israelites.”

39 So Eleazar the priest(BR) collected the bronze censers brought by those who had been burned to death,(BS) 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(BT) before the Lord,(BU) or he would become like Korah and his followers.(BV)

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(BW) to Moses and Aaron and turned toward the tent of meeting, suddenly the cloud covered it and the glory of the Lord(BX) 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(BY) to them at once.” And they fell facedown.

46 Then Moses said to Aaron, “Take your censer(BZ) and put incense in it, along with burning coals from the altar, and hurry to the assembly(CA) to make atonement(CB) for them. Wrath has come out from the Lord;(CC) the plague(CD) 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,(CE) but Aaron offered the incense and made atonement for them. 48 He stood between the living and the dead, and the plague stopped.(CF) 49 But 14,700 people died from the plague, in addition to those who had died because of Korah.(CG) 50 Then Aaron returned to Moses at the entrance to the tent of meeting, for the plague had stopped.[c]


  1. Numbers 16:1 Or Peleth—took men
  2. Numbers 16:14 Or to deceive these men; Hebrew Will you gouge out the eyes of these men
  3. Numbers 16:50 In Hebrew texts 16:36-50 is numbered 17:1-15.

and the sons of Eliab(A) were Nemuel, Dathan and Abiram. The same Dathan and Abiram were the community(B) officials who rebelled against Moses and Aaron and were among Korah’s followers when they rebelled against the Lord.(C)

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The Silver Trumpets

10 The Lord said to Moses: “Make two trumpets(A) of hammered silver, and use them for calling the community(B) together and for having the camps set out.(C) When both are sounded, the whole community is to assemble before you at the entrance to the tent of meeting. If only one is sounded, the leaders(D)—the heads of the clans of Israel—are to assemble before you. When a trumpet blast is sounded, the tribes camping on the east are to set out.(E) At the sounding of a second blast, the camps on the south are to set out.(F) The blast will be the signal for setting out. To gather the assembly, blow the trumpets,(G) but not with the signal for setting out.(H)

“The sons of Aaron, the priests, are to blow the trumpets. This is to be a lasting ordinance for you and the generations to come.(I) When you go into battle in your own land against an enemy who is oppressing you,(J) sound a blast on the trumpets.(K) Then you will be remembered(L) by the Lord your God and rescued from your enemies.(M) 10 Also at your times of rejoicing—your appointed festivals and New Moon feasts(N)—you are to sound the trumpets(O) over your burnt offerings(P) and fellowship offerings,(Q) and they will be a memorial for you before your God. I am the Lord your God.(R)

The Israelites Leave Sinai

11 On the twentieth day of the second month of the second year,(S) the cloud lifted(T) from above the tabernacle of the covenant law.(U) 12 Then the Israelites set out from the Desert of Sinai and traveled from place to place until the cloud came to rest in the Desert of Paran.(V) 13 They set out, this first time, at the Lord’s command through Moses.(W)

14 The divisions of the camp of Judah went first, under their standard.(X) Nahshon son of Amminadab(Y) was in command. 15 Nethanel son of Zuar was over the division of the tribe(Z) of Issachar,(AA) 16 and Eliab son of Helon(AB) was over the division of the tribe of Zebulun.(AC) 17 Then the tabernacle was taken down, and the Gershonites and Merarites, who carried it, set out.(AD)

18 The divisions of the camp of Reuben(AE) went next, under their standard.(AF) Elizur son of Shedeur(AG) was in command. 19 Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai was over the division of the tribe of Simeon,(AH) 20 and Eliasaph son of Deuel was over the division of the tribe of Gad.(AI) 21 Then the Kohathites(AJ) set out, carrying the holy things.(AK) The tabernacle was to be set up before they arrived.(AL)

22 The divisions of the camp of Ephraim(AM) went next, under their standard. Elishama son of Ammihud(AN) was in command. 23 Gamaliel son of Pedahzur was over the division of the tribe of Manasseh,(AO) 24 and Abidan son of Gideoni was over the division of the tribe of Benjamin.(AP)

25 Finally, as the rear guard(AQ) for all the units, the divisions of the camp of Dan set out under their standard. Ahiezer son of Ammishaddai(AR) was in command. 26 Pagiel son of Okran was over the division of the tribe of Asher,(AS) 27 and Ahira son of Enan was over the division of the tribe of Naphtali.(AT) 28 This was the order of march for the Israelite divisions as they set out.

29 Now Moses said to Hobab(AU) son of Reuel(AV) the Midianite, Moses’ father-in-law,(AW) “We are setting out for the place about which the Lord said, ‘I will give it to you.’(AX) Come with us and we will treat you well, for the Lord has promised good things to Israel.”

30 He answered, “No, I will not go;(AY) I am going back to my own land and my own people.(AZ)

31 But Moses said, “Please do not leave us. You know where we should camp in the wilderness, and you can be our eyes.(BA) 32 If you come with us, we will share with you(BB) whatever good things the Lord gives us.(BC)

33 So they set out(BD) from the mountain of the Lord and traveled for three days. The ark of the covenant of the Lord(BE) went before them during those three days to find them a place to rest.(BF) 34 The cloud of the Lord was over them by day when they set out from the camp.(BG)

35 Whenever the ark set out, Moses said,

“Rise up,(BH) Lord!
    May your enemies be scattered;(BI)
    may your foes flee before you.(BJ)(BK)

36 Whenever it came to rest, he said,

“Return,(BL) Lord,
    to the countless thousands of Israel.(BM)

and what he did(A) to Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab the Reubenite, when the earth opened(B) its mouth right in the middle of all Israel and swallowed them up with their households, their tents and every living thing that belonged to them.

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17 The earth opened(A) up and swallowed Dathan;(B)
    it buried the company of Abiram.(C)

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