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Numbers 16 Expanded Bible (EXB)

Korah, Dathan, Abiram, and On

16 Korah, Dathan, Abiram, and On turned against Moses. (Korah was the son of Izhar [26:9–11; 27:3; Ex. 6:21, 24], the son of Kohath, the son of Levi; Dathan and Abiram were brothers [Deut. 11:6; Ps. 106:17], the sons of Eliab; and On was the son of Peleth; Dathan, Abiram, and On were from the tribe of Reuben [Gen. 49:3–4].) These men gathered two hundred fifty other ·Israelite men [L men of the sons/T children of Israel], ·well-known leaders [L men of name/reputation] chosen by the ·community [congregation; assembly], and ·challenged [confronted] Moses. They ·came as a group to speak to [L assembled against] Moses and Aaron and said, “You have gone too far. All the ·people [community; congregation; assembly] are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them [Ex. 19:6]. So why do you put yourselves above all the ·people [assembly; crowd] of the Lord?”

When Moses heard this, he ·bowed facedown [L fell on his face]. Then he said to Korah and all his ·followers [community; congregation; assembly]: “Tomorrow morning the Lord will show who belongs to him. He will bring the one who is holy near to him; he will bring to himself the person he chooses. So Korah, you and all your ·followers [community; congregation; assembly] do this: Get some ·pans for burning incense [censers; firepans]. Tomorrow put fire and incense in them and take them before the Lord [Lev. 10:1–2]. He will choose the man who is holy. You ·Levites [L sons/descendants of Levi] have gone too far.”

Moses also said to Korah, “Listen, you ·Levites [L sons of Levi]. The God of Israel has ·separated [divided] you from the rest of the ·Israelites [L community/congregation/assembly of Israel]. He brought you near to himself to do the work in the Lord’s ·Holy Tent [Tabernacle] and to stand before all the ·Israelites [community; congregation; assembly] and ·serve [minister to] them [8:14; Ex. 32:29; Lev. 8–9; Deut. 33:8–11]. ·Isn’t that enough [L Is it too little for you]? 10 He has brought you and all your ·fellow [brother] ·Levites [L sons of Levi] near to himself, yet now you ·want to be priests [L seek the priesthood]. 11 You and your ·followers [community; congregation; assembly] have joined together against the Lord. ·Your complaint is not against Aaron [L Who is Aaron that you complain/grumble against him?].”

12 Then Moses called Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, but they said, “We will not come! 13 Is it too little that you have brought us out of a ·fertile land [L land flowing with milk and honey; C Egypt] to this ·desert [wilderness] to kill us? Now you want to ·order us around [lord it over us]. 14 You haven’t brought us into a ·fertile land [L land flowing with milk and honey; Ex. 3:8]; you haven’t given us ·any land [L an inheritance] with fields and vineyards. Will you put out the eyes of these men? No! We will not come!”

15 Then Moses became very angry and said to the Lord, “Don’t accept their ·gifts [tribute]. I have not taken anything from them, not even a donkey, and I have not done wrong to any of them.”

16 Then Moses said to Korah, “You and all your ·followers [community; congregation; assembly] must stand before the Lord tomorrow. And Aaron will stand there with you and them. 17 Each of you must take your ·pan [censer; firepan] and put incense in it; present these two hundred fifty ·pans [censers; firepans] before the Lord. You and Aaron must also present your ·pans [censers; firepans].” 18 So each man got his ·pan [censer; firepan] and put burning incense in it and stood with Moses and Aaron at the entrance to the Meeting Tent. 19 Korah ·gathered [assembled] all his ·followers [community; congregation; assembly] who were against Moses and Aaron, and they stood at the entrance to the Meeting Tent. Then the glory of the Lord [C representing God’s manifest presence, often in the form of fire and smoke] appeared to everyone.

20 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 21 “·Move away [Separate/Divide yourselves] from these men so I can destroy them quickly.”

22 But Moses and Aaron ·bowed facedown [L fell on their faces] and cried out, “God, you are the God ·over [of] the spirits of all ·people [flesh; 27:16; Gen 2:7]. Please don’t be angry with this whole ·group [community; congregation; assembly]. Only one man has really sinned.”

23 Then the Lord said to Moses, 24 “Tell ·everyone [the community/congregation/assembly] to ·move away from [L go up from around] the ·tents [dwellings] of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.”

25 Moses stood and went to Dathan and Abiram; the elders of Israel followed him. 26 Moses warned the people, “·Move away [Turn aside] from the tents of these evil men! Don’t touch anything of theirs, or you will be ·destroyed [swept away] because of their sins.” 27 So they ·moved away [went up] from the ·tents [dwellings] of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. Dathan and Abiram were standing outside their tents with their wives, children, and little babies.

28 Then Moses said, “Now you will know that the Lord has sent me to do all these things; it was not ·my idea [L from my heart/mind]. 29 If these men die a normal death—·the way men usually die [if a normal fate comes on them]—then the Lord did not really send me. 30 But if the Lord ·does [L creates] something new, you will know they have ·insulted [despised] the Lord. The ground will open and swallow them. They will be buried alive and will go to ·the place of the dead [L Sheol; C the grave or the underworld], and everything that belongs to them will go with them.”

31 When Moses finished saying these things, the ground under the men split open. 32 The earth opened its mouth and swallowed them and all their families. All Korah’s men and everything they owned went down. 33 They were buried alive, going to ·the place of the dead [L Sheol ;C the grave or the underworld], and everything they owned went with them. Then the earth covered them. They ·died and were gone [perished] from the ·community [assembly; crowd]. 34 ·The people of [L All] Israel around them heard their screams and ran away, saying, “The earth will swallow us, too!”

35 Then a fire came ·down [or out] from the Lord and ·destroyed [consumed] the two hundred fifty men who had presented the incense [Lev. 10:1–2].

36 The Lord said to Moses, 37 “Tell Eleazar son of Aaron, the priest, to take all the ·incense pans [censers; firepans] out of the ·fire [flames]. Have him scatter the ·coals [L fire] a long distance away. But the ·incense pans [censers; firepans] are still holy. 38 Take the ·pans [censers; firepans] of these men who sinned and lost their lives, and hammer them into flat sheets that will be used to cover the altar. They are holy, because they were presented to the Lord, and they will be a sign to the ·Israelites [L sons/T children of Israel].”

39 So Eleazar the priest gathered all the bronze ·pans [censers; firepans] that had been brought by the men who were burned up. He had the ·pans [censers; firepans] hammered into flat sheets to put on the altar, 40 as the Lord had commanded him through Moses. These sheets were to remind the Israelites that only ·descendants [L the seed] of Aaron should burn incense before the Lord. Anyone else would die like Korah and his ·followers [community; congregation; assembly].

Aaron Saves the People

41 The next day all the ·Israelites [L community/congregation/assembly of the sons/T children of Israel] ·complained [grumbled] against Moses and Aaron and said, “You have killed the Lord’s people.”

42 When the ·people [community; congregation; assembly] ·gathered [assembled] to ·complain [grumble] against Moses and Aaron, they turned toward the Meeting Tent, and the cloud covered it. The glory of the Lord [C representing his manifest presence] appeared. 43 Then Moses and Aaron went in front of the Meeting Tent.

44 The Lord said to Moses, 45 “Move away from ·these people [this community/congregation/assembly] so I can ·destroy [consume] them quickly.” So Moses and Aaron ·bowed facedown [L fell on their faces].

46 Then Moses said to Aaron, “Get your ·pan [censer; firepan], and put fire from the altar and incense in it. Hurry to the people and ·remove their sin [make atonement for them]. The Lord is angry with them; the ·sickness [plague; pestilence] has already started.” 47 So Aaron did as Moses said. He ran to the middle of the ·people [assembly; crowd], where the ·sickness [plague; pestilence] had already started among them. So Aaron offered the incense to ·remove their sin [make atonement for them]. 48 He stood between the dead and the living, and the ·sickness [plague; pestilence] stopped there. 49 But 14,700 people died from that ·sickness [plague; pestilence], in addition to those who died because of Korah. 50 Then Aaron went back to Moses at the entrance to the Meeting Tent. The terrible ·sickness [plague; pestilence] had been stopped.

Expanded Bible (EXB)

The Expanded Bible, Copyright © 2011 Thomas Nelson Inc. All rights reserved.


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