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Numbers Chapter 16 | Parsha: Korah

1Now Korah, son of Izhar son of Kohath son of Levi, betook himself, along with Dathan and Abiram sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth—descendants of Reuben— 2to rise up against Moses, together with two hundred and fifty Israelites, chieftains of the community, chosen in the assembly, men of repute. 3They combined against Moses and Aaron and said to them, “You have gone too far! For all the community are holy, all of them, and the Lord is in their midst. Why then do you raise yourselves above the Lord’s congregation?”

4When Moses heard this, he fell on his face. 5Then he spoke to Korah and all his company, saying, “Come morning, the Lord will make known who is His and who is holy, and will grant him access to Himself; He will grant access to the one He has chosen. 6Do this: You, Korah and all your band, take fire pans, 7and tomorrow put fire in them and lay incense on them before the Lord. Then the man whom the Lord chooses, he shall be the holy one. You have gone too far, sons of Levi!”

8Moses said further to Korah, “Hear me, sons of Levi. 9Is it not enough for you that the God of Israel has set you apart from the community of Israel and given you access to Him, to perform the duties of the Lord’s Tabernacle and to minister to the community and serve them? 10Now that He has advanced you and all your fellow Levites with you, do you seek the priesthood too? 11Truly, it is against the Lord that you and all your company have banded together. For who is Aaron that you should rail against him?”

12Moses sent for Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab; but they said, “We will not come! 13Is it not enough that you brought us from a land flowing with milk and honey to have us die in the wilderness, that you would also lord it over us? 14 Even if you had brought us to a land flowing with milk and honey, and given us possession of fields and vineyards, should you gouge out those men’s eyes? We will not come!” 15Moses was much aggrieved and he said to the Lord, “Pay no regard to their oblation. I have not taken the ass of any one of them, nor have I wronged any one of them.”

16And Moses said to Korah, “Tomorrow, you and all your company appear before the Lord, you and they and Aaron. 17Each of you take his fire pan and lay incense on it, and each of you bring his fire pan before the Lord, two hundred and fifty fire pans; you and Aaron also [bring] your fire pans.” 18Each of them took his fire pan, put fire in it, laid incense on it, and took his place at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, as did Moses and Aaron. 19Korah gathered the whole community against them at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting.
Then the Presence of the Lord appeared to the whole community,
20and the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, 21“Stand back from this community that I may annihilate them in an instant!” 22But they fell on their faces and said, “O God, Source of the breath of all flesh! When one man sins, will You be wrathful with the whole community?”

23The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 24“Speak to the community and say: Withdraw from about the abodes of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.”

25Moses rose and went to Dathan and Abiram, the elders of Israel following him. 26He addressed the community, saying, “Move away from the tents of these wicked men and touch nothing that belongs to them, lest you be wiped out for all their sins.” 27So they withdrew from about the abodes of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.
Now Dathan and Abiram had come out and they stood at the entrance of their tents, with their wives, their children, and their little ones.
28And Moses said, “By this you shall know that it was the Lord who sent me to do all these things; that they are not of my own devising: 29if these men die as all men do, if their lot be the common fate of all mankind, it was not the Lord who sent me. 30But if the Lord brings about something unheard-of, so that the ground opens its mouth and swallows them up with all that belongs to them, and they go down alive into Sheol, you shall know that these men have spurned the Lord.” 31Scarcely had he finished speaking all these words when the ground under them burst asunder, 32and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up with their households, all Korah’s people and all their possessions. 33They went down alive into Sheol, with all that belonged to them; the earth closed over them and they vanished from the midst of the congregation. 34All Israel around them fled at their shrieks, for they said, “The earth might swallow us!”

35And a fire went forth from the Lord and consumed the two hundred and fifty men offering the incense.

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