1Korah was the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath. Kohath was the son of Levi. Korah and certain men from the tribe of Reuben turned against Moses. The men from Reuben were Dathan, Abiram and On. Dathan and Abiram were the sons of Eliab. On was the son of Peleth.2All those men rose up against Moses. And 250 men of Israel joined them. All of them were known as leaders in the community. They had been appointed as members of the ruling body.3They came as a group to oppose Moses and Aaron. They said to Moses and Aaron, ‘You have gone too far! The whole community is holy. Every one in it is holy. And the LORD is with them. So why do you put yourselves above the LORD’s people?’4When Moses heard what they said, he fell with his face to the ground.5Then he spoke to Korah and all his followers. He said, ‘In the morning the LORD will show who belongs to him. He will show who is holy. He’ll bring that person near him. He’ll bring the man he chooses near him.6Korah, here’s what you and all your followers must do. Get some shallow cups for burning incense.7Tomorrow put burning coals and incense in them. Offer it to the LORD. The man the LORD chooses will be the one who is holy. You Levites have gone too far!’8Moses also said to Korah, ‘Listen, you Levites!9The God of Israel has separated you from the rest of the community of Israel. He has brought you near him to work at the LORD’s holy tent. He has given you to the people so that you can serve them. Isn’t all that enough for you?10He has already brought you and all the other Levites near him. But now you want to be priests too.11You and all your followers have joined together against the LORD. Why are you telling Aaron you aren’t happy with him?’12Then Moses sent for Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab. But they said, ‘We won’t come!13You have brought us up out of a land that has plenty of milk and honey. You have brought us here to kill us in this desert. Isn’t that enough? Now do you also want to act as if you were ruling over us?14Besides, you haven’t brought us into a land that has plenty of milk and honey. You haven’t given us fields and vineyards of our own. Do you want to treat these men like slaves? No! We won’t come!’15Then Moses became very angry. He said to the LORD, ‘Don’t accept their offering. I haven’t taken even a donkey from them. In fact, I haven’t done anything wrong to any of them.’16Moses said to Korah, ‘You and all your followers must stand in front of the LORD tomorrow. You must appear there along with Aaron.17Each man must get his shallow cup. He must put incense in it. There will be a total of 250 incense cups. Each man must bring his cup to the LORD. You and Aaron must also bring your cups.’18So each of them got his cup. He put burning coals and incense in it. All the men came with Moses and Aaron. They stood at the entrance to the tent of meeting.19Korah gathered all his followers together at the entrance to the tent. They opposed Moses and Aaron. Then the glory of the LORD appeared to the whole community.20The LORD said to Moses and Aaron,21‘Separate yourselves from these people. Then I can put an end to all of them at once.’22But Moses and Aaron fell with their faces to the ground. They cried out, ‘God, you are the God who gives life and breath to all living things. Will you be angry with the whole community when only one man sins?’23Then the LORD spoke to Moses. He said,24‘Tell the community, “Move away from the tents of Korah, Dathan and Abiram.” ’25Moses got up. He went to Dathan and Abiram. The elders of Israel followed him.26Moses warned the community. He said, ‘Move away from the tents of these evil men! Don’t touch anything that belongs to them. If you do, the LORD will sweep you away because of all their sins.’27So they moved away from the tents of Korah, Dathan and Abiram. Dathan and Abiram had already come out. They were standing at the entrances to their tents. Their wives, children and little ones were standing there with them.28Then Moses said, ‘What is about to happen wasn’t my idea. The LORD has sent me to do everything I’m doing. Here is how you will know I’m telling you the truth.29These men won’t die a natural death. Something will happen to them that doesn’t usually happen to people. If what I’m telling you doesn’t happen, then you will know that the LORD hasn’t sent me.30But the LORD will make something totally new happen. The ground will open its mouth and swallow them up. It will swallow up everything that belongs to them. They will be buried alive. When that happens, you will know that these men have disrespected the LORD.’31As soon as Moses finished saying all these words, what he had said came true. The ground under them broke open.32It opened its mouth. It swallowed up those men. In fact, it swallowed up everyone who lived in their houses. It swallowed all Korah’s men. And it swallowed up everything they owned.33They went down into the grave alive. Everything they owned went down with them. The ground closed over them and they died. And so they disappeared from the community.34All the Israelites around them heard their cries. They ran away from them. They shouted, ‘The ground is going to swallow us up too!’35Then the LORD sent down fire. It burned up the 250 men offering the incense.36The LORD said to Moses,37‘Speak to Eleazar the priest. He is the son of Aaron. Remind him that the shallow cups are holy. He must take them out of the ashes. He must scatter the burning coals away from there.38The men who sinned used those cups. And it cost them their lives. Hammer the cups into bronze sheets that will cover the altar. The cups were offered to the LORD. They have become holy. Let them serve as a warning to the Israelites.’39So the priest Eleazar collected the bronze incense cups. They had been brought by the men who had been burned to death. He had them hammered out to cover the altar.40He did just as the LORD had instructed Moses to tell him to do. The covering would be a reminder to the Israelites. It would remind them that no one except a son of Aaron should come and burn incense to the LORD. If people other than priests did that, they would become like Korah and his followers.41The next day the whole community of Israel told Moses and Aaron they weren’t happy with them. ‘You have killed the LORD’s people,’ they said.42The community gathered together to oppose Moses and Aaron. The people walked towards the tent of meeting. Suddenly the cloud covered it. The glory of the LORD appeared.43Then Moses and Aaron went to the front of the tent of meeting.44The LORD said to Moses,45‘Get away from these people. Then I can put an end to all of them at once.’ And Moses and Aaron fell with their faces to the ground.46Moses said to Aaron, ‘Take your incense cup. Put incense in it. And put burning coals from the altar in it. Then hurry to the people and pay for their sin. The LORD has begun to show his anger. The plague has started.’47So Aaron did as Moses said. He ran in among the people. The plague had already started among them. But Aaron offered the incense and paid for their sin.48He stood between those alive and those dead. And the plague stopped.49But 14,700 people died from the plague. That doesn’t include those who had died because of what Korah did.50Then Aaron returned to Moses at the entrance to the tent of meeting. The plague had stopped.
English Standard Version
1Now 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. (Ex 6:16; Ex 6:18; Ex 6:21; Nu 26:9; Nu 27:3; Jud 1:11)2And 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.3They 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?” (Ex 19:6; Nu 16:7; Ps 106:16)4When Moses heard it, he fell on his face, (Nu 14:5; Nu 20:6)5and 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. (Ex 28:1; Le 10:3; Nu 3:10; Nu 16:3; Nu 17:5; 1Sa 2:28; Ps 65:4; Ps 105:26; Eze 40:46; Eze 44:15; 2Ti 2:19)6Do this: take censers, Korah and all his company; (Le 10:1)7put 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!” (Nu 16:3)8And Moses said to Korah, “Hear now, you sons of Levi:9is 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, (Nu 8:14; Nu 16:13; De 10:8; 1Sa 18:23; Isa 7:13; Eze 16:20)10and that he has brought you near him, and all your brothers the sons of Levi with you? And would you seek the priesthood also?11Therefore it is against the Lord that you and all your company have gathered together. What is Aaron that you grumble against him?” (Ex 16:8; 1Co 3:5)12And Moses sent to call Dathan and Abiram the sons of Eliab, and they said, “We will not come up.13Is 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? (Ex 2:14; Ex 3:8; Nu 16:9; Ac 7:27; Ac 7:35)14Moreover, 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.”15And 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.” (Ge 4:4; 1Sa 12:3; Ac 20:33; 2Co 7:2)16And Moses said to Korah, “Be present, you and all your company, before the Lord, you and they, and Aaron, tomorrow. (Ex 16:9; 1Sa 12:3; 1Sa 12:7)17And 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.” (Nu 16:6; Nu 16:35)18So 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.19Then 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. (Le 9:23)20And the Lord spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying,21“Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.” (Ge 19:17; Ge 19:22; Ex 33:5; Nu 16:45; Ps 73:19; Jer 51:6; Re 18:4)22And 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?” (Ge 18:23; Nu 14:5; Nu 16:45; Nu 20:6; Nu 27:16; 2Sa 24:17; Job 12:10; Ec 12:7; Isa 57:16; Zec 12:1)23And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,24“Say to the congregation, Get away from the dwelling of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.”25Then Moses rose and went to Dathan and Abiram, and the elders of Israel followed him.26And 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.” (Ge 19:12; Isa 52:11; 2Co 6:17; Re 18:4)27So 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. (Ex 33:8)28And 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. (Jer 23:16; Eze 13:2; Eze 13:17)29If 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. (1Ki 22:28)30But 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.” (Ge 4:11; Nu 16:33; Ps 55:15)31And as soon as he had finished speaking all these words, the ground under them split apart. (Nu 26:10; Nu 27:3; De 11:6; Ps 106:17)32And the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households and all the people who belonged to Korah and all their goods. (Nu 26:11; 1Ch 6:22; 1Ch 6:27)33So 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. (Jud 1:11)34And all Israel who were around them fled at their cry, for they said, “Lest the earth swallow us up!”35And fire came out from the Lord and consumed the 250 men offering the incense. (Le 10:2; Nu 11:1; Nu 16:17; Ps 106:18)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.38As 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.” (Nu 17:10; Nu 26:10; 1Ki 2:23; Pr 20:2; Hab 2:10)39So 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,40to 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. (Nu 3:10; 2Ch 26:18)41But 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.” (Nu 14:2)42And 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. (Ex 40:34; Le 9:23; Nu 16:19)43And Moses and Aaron came to the front of the tent of meeting,44and 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. (Nu 16:21; Nu 16:22; Nu 16:24)46And 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.” (Le 10:6; Nu 8:19; Nu 11:33; 1Ch 27:24)47So 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.48And he stood between the dead and the living, and the plague was stopped. (Nu 16:50; Nu 25:8; 2Sa 24:25; Ps 106:30)49Now those who died in the plague were 14,700, besides those who died in the affair of Korah. (Nu 27:3)50And Aaron returned to Moses at the entrance of the tent of meeting, when the plague was stopped.