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Numbers 16 International Children’s Bible (ICB)

Korah, Dathan, Abiram and On

16 Korah, Dathan, Abiram and On turned against Moses. (Korah was the son of Izhar. Izhar was the son of Kohath, and Kohath was the son of Levi. Dathan and Abiram were brothers, the sons of Eliab. And On was the son of Peleth.) Dathan, Abiram and On were from the tribe of Reuben. These 4 men gathered 250 other Israelite men and challenged Moses. They were well-known leaders chosen by the community. They came as a group to speak to Moses and Aaron. The men said, “You have gone too far. All the people are holy. Every one of them is holy. And the Lord is with them. So why do you put yourselves above all the people?”

When Moses heard this, he bowed facedown. Then he said to Korah and all his followers: “Tomorrow morning the Lord will show who belongs to him. The Lord will bring the one who is holy near to him. The Lord will bring to himself the person he chooses. So Korah, you and all your followers do this: Get some pans for burning incense. Tomorrow put fire and incense in them. Then take them before the Lord. He will choose the man who is holy. You Levites have gone too far.”

Moses also said to Korah, “Listen, you Levites. The God of Israel has separated you from the rest of the Israelites. He brought you near to himself. You do the work in the Lord’s Holy Tent. You stand before all the Israelites and serve them. Isn’t that enough? 10 The Lord has brought you and all your fellow Levites near to himself. Now you want to be priests. 11 You and your followers have joined together against the Lord. Your complaint is not against Aaron.”

12 Then Moses called Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab. But they said, “We will not come! 13 You have brought us out of a land where much food grows. You brought us to the desert to kill us. And now you want to order us around. 14 You haven’t brought us into a land where much food grows. You haven’t given us any land with fields and vineyards. Will you put out the eyes of these men? No! We will not come!”

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

16 Then Moses said to Korah, “You and all your followers must stand before the Lord tomorrow. And Aaron will stand there with you and them. 17 Each of you must take your pan and put incense in it. Present these 250 pans before the Lord. You and Aaron must also present your pans.” 18 So each man got his pan and put burning incense in it. Then they stood with Moses and Aaron at the entrance to the Meeting Tent. 19 Korah gathered all his followers who were against Moses and Aaron. And they stood at the entrance to the Meeting Tent. Then the glory of the Lord appeared to everyone.

20 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 21 “Move away from these men. In a minute I will destroy them.”

22 But Moses and Aaron bowed facedown. They cried out, “God, you are the God over the spirits of all people. Please don’t be angry with this whole group. Only one man has really sinned.”

23 Then the Lord said to Moses, 24 “Tell everyone to move away from the tents 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 from the tents of these evil men! Don’t touch anything of theirs. If you do, you will be destroyed because of their sins.” 27 So they moved away from the tents 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. 29 If these men die a normal death—the way men usually die—then the Lord did not really send me. 30 But if the Lord does something new, you will know they have insulted the Lord. The earth will open and swallow them. Alive, they will go to where the dead are. And everything that belongs to them will go with them.”

31 When Moses finished saying these things, the ground under the men opened up. 32 The earth seemed to open its mouth and swallow them. All their families, all Korah’s men and everything they owned went down. 33 They were buried alive, going to where the dead are. And everything they owned went with them. Then the earth closed over them. They died and were gone from the community. 34 The people of Israel around them heard their screams. They ran away and said, “The earth will swallow us, too!”

35 Then a fire came down from the Lord. It destroyed the 250 men who had presented the incense.

36 The Lord said to Moses, 37 “Tell Eleazar son of Aaron, the priest, to take all the incense pans out of the fire. Have him scatter the coals. But the incense pans are still holy. 38 These men sinned and lost their lives. Take their pans and hammer them into flat sheets. Cover the altar with them. They are holy because they were presented to the Lord. It will be a sign to the Israelites.”

39 So Eleazar the priest gathered all the bronze pans. These were the pans brought by the men who were burned up. Eleazar had the pans hammered into flat sheets to put on the altar. 40 This is what the Lord had commanded him through Moses. These sheets were to remind the Israelites that only descendants of Aaron should burn incense before the Lord. Anyone else would die like Korah and his followers.

Aaron Saves the People

41 The next day all the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron. They said, “You have killed the Lord’s people.”

42 The people gathered to complain against Moses and Aaron. But when they turned toward the Meeting Tent, the cloud covered it. The glory of the Lord 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. In a minute I am going to destroy them.” So Moses and Aaron bowed facedown.

46 Then Moses said to Aaron, “Get your pan. Put fire from the altar and incense in it. Hurry to the people and remove their sin. The Lord is angry with them. The sickness has already started.” 47 So Aaron did as Moses said. He ran to the middle of all the people. The sickness had already started among them. So Aaron offered the incense to remove their sin. 48 He stood between the living and the dead. And the sickness stopped there. 49 But 14,700 people died from that sickness. There were also those who died because of Korah. 50 Then Aaron went back to Moses at the entrance to the Meeting Tent. The terrible sickness had been stopped.

International Children’s Bible (ICB)

The Holy Bible, International Children’s Bible® Copyright© 1986, 1988, 1999, 2015 by Tommy Nelson™, a division of Thomas Nelson. Used by permission.

Numbers 16 New International Version (NIV)

Korah, Dathan and Abiram

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Footnotes:

  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.
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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