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Numbers 16

1 - Now Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, with Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took some men.
2 - They rose up before Moses, with some of the children of Israel, two hundred fifty princes of the congregation, called to the assembly, men of renown.
3 - They assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said to them, "You take too much on yourself, since all the congregation are holy, everyone of them, and the LORD is among them! Why do you lift yourselves up above The LORD's assembly?"
4 - When Moses heard it, he fell on his face.
5 - He said to Korah and to all his company, "In the morning, the LORD will show who are his, and who is holy, and will cause him to come near to him. Even him whom he shall choose, he will cause to come near to him.
6 - Do this: take censers, Korah, and all his company;
7 - and put fire in them, and put incense on them before the LORD tomorrow. It shall be that the man whom the LORD chooses, he shall be holy. You have gone too far, you sons of Levi!"
8 - Moses said to Korah, "Hear now, you sons of Levi!
9 - Is it a small thing to you, that the God of Israel has separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself, to do the service of The LORD's tabernacle, and to stand before the congregation to minister to them;
10 - and that he has brought you near, and all your brothers the sons of Levi with you? Do you seek the priesthood also?
11 - Therefore you and all your company have gathered together against The LORD! What is Aaron that you murmur against him?"
12 - Moses sent to call Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab; and they said, "We won't come up!
13 - Is 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, but you must also make yourself a prince over us?
14 - Moreover you haven't 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 won't come up."
15 - Moses was very angry, and said to The LORD, "Don't respect their offering. I have not taken one donkey from them, neither have I hurt one of them."
16 - Moses said to Korah, "You and all your company go before The LORD, you, and they, and Aaron, tomorrow.
17 - Each man take his censer, and put incense on them, and each man bring before the LORD his censer, two hundred fifty censers; you also, and Aaron, each his censer."
18 - They each took his censer, and put fire in them, and laid incense on it, and stood at the door of the Tent of Meeting with Moses and Aaron.
19 - Korah assembled all the congregation opposite them to the door of the Tent of Meeting.The LORD's glory appeared to all the congregation.
20 - The LORD spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying,
21 - "Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment!"
22 - They fell on their faces, and said, "God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and will you be angry with all the congregation?"
23 - The LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
24 - "Speak to the congregation, saying, 'Get away from around the tent of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram!'"
25 - Moses rose up and went to Dathan and Abiram; and the elders of Israel followed him.
26 - He spoke to the congregation, saying, "Depart, please, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest you be consumed in all their sins!"
27 - So they went away from the tent of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, on every side. Dathan and Abiram came out, and stood at the door of their tents, with their wives, their sons, and their little ones.
28 - Moses said, "Hereby you shall know that the LORD has sent me to do all these works; for they are not from my own mind.
29 - If these men die the common death of all men, or if they experience what all men experience, then the LORD hasn't sent me.
30 - But if the LORD makes a new thing, and the ground opens its mouth, and swallows them up, with all that belong to them, and they go down alive into Sheol; then you shall understand that these men have despised The LORD."
31 - As he finished speaking all these words, the ground that was under them split apart.
32 - The earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households, all of Korah's men, and all their goods.
33 - So they, and all that belonged to them went down alive into Sheol. The earth closed on them, and they perished from among the assembly.
34 - All Israel that were around them fled at their cry; for they said, "Lest the earthswallow us up!"
35 - Fire came out from The LORD, and devoured the two hundred fifty men who offered the incense.
36 - The LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
37 - "Speak to Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest, that he take up the censers out of the burning, and scatter the fire away from the camp; for they are holy,
38 - even the censers of these sinners against their own lives. Let them be made beaten plates for a covering of the altar, for they offered them before The LORD. Therefore they are holy. They shall be a sign to the children of Israel."
39 - Eleazar the priest took the bronze censers, which those who were burned had offered; and they beat them out for a covering of the altar,
40 - to be a memorial to the children of Israel, to the end that no stranger, who isn't of the offspring of Aaron, would come near to burn incense before The LORD, that he not be as Korah, and as his company; as the LORD spoke to him by Moses.
41 - But on the next day all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron, saying, "You have killed The LORD's people!"
42 - When the congregation was assembled against Moses and against Aaron, They looked toward the Tent of Meeting. Behold, the cloud covered it, and The LORD's glory appeared.
43 - Moses and Aaron came to the front of the Tent of Meeting.
44 - The LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
45 - "Get away from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment!" They fell on their faces.
46 - Moses said to Aaron, "Take your censer, and put fire from off the altar in it, 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."
47 - Aaron did as Moses said, and ran into the middle of the assembly. Behold, the plague has begun among the people. He put on the incense, and made atonement for the people.
48 - He stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed.
49 - Now those who died by the plague were fourteen thousand and seven hundred, besides those who died about the matter of Korah.
50 - Aaron returned to Moses to the door of the Tent of Meeting, and the plague was stopped.
Numbers Images and Notes

The Book of Numbers

Numbers 14:14 - And they will tell [it] to the inhabitants of this land: [for] they have heard that thou LORD [art] among this people, that thou LORD art seen face to face, and [that] thy cloud standeth over them, and [that] thou goest before them, by day time in a pillar of a cloud, and in a pillar of fire by night.

The Old Testament - A Brief Overview

Bible Survery - Numbers
Hebrew Name - Bemidhbar "in the wilderness"
Greek Name - Numbers "numberings"
Author - Moses
Date - From 1490-1451 BC Approximately
Theme - The Journey to the Promised Land
Types and Shadows - In Numbers Jesus is the Pillar of Cloud by Day and the Pillar of Fire by Night

Photo of the Sinai Wilderness
Photo of the Sinai Wilderness

Summary of The Book of Numbers

The book of Numbers takes its name from the account of the census that happened two times among the congregation of Israel in Numbers 1-4 and Numbers 26. The Greek title was used even though there is really no connection with the "numberings." The original Hebrew title which means "in the wilderness," is much more accurate, because the book of Numbers is it's really an accurate history of the events that happened during the period of wandering in the wilderness and not necessarily a book about statistics. The book of Numbers seems to follow naturally after the book of Leviticus in the order of the books of Moses in the Old Testament. After the children of Israel received the laws at Mount Sinai, they began the journey as described in the book of Exodus, and they were ready to march directly into the land of Canaan. The book of Numbers reveals how the children of Israel became prepared, and went to various trials, and how they were sinful in not trusting the Lord. Their sinful ways resulted in 37 years of wandering through the harsh wilderness. The book of Numbers concludes with the children of Israel once again at the edge of the land of Canaan, where they received instructions for the conquest of Canaan and the division of the land.

Quick Reference Map
Map of the Route of the Exodus
Map of the Possible Route of the Exodus (Click to Enlarge)

The principle divisions of the book are as follows:

Outline of the Book of Numbers

1) The preparation for the departure from Sinai (1:1-10:10). The events described here took place in nineteen days. In this time a census was taken of all men who were over twenty and who could serve in military efforts (1-4). The total obtained was 603,550 (1:46). This would indicate that the total population of the group was probably near three million. The census was followed by the cleansing and blessing of the congregation (5-6), the offering of gifts from the various tribes (7), the consecration of the Levites (8) and the observance of the Passover at Sinai (9:1-14).

2 ) The journey from Sinai to Kadesh-barnea (10:11-14:45). This section includes the account of the coming of the quail (11), the rebellion against Moses by Miriam and Aaron (12), and the fateful mission of the spies (13, 14).

3) The wanderings of the desert wilderness (15-19). As noted above, this covered a period of thirty-seven years, from the end of the second to the beginning of the fortieth year in the wilderness. Ch. 15 includes various laws and a record of capital punishment for Sabbath breaking. The rebellion of Korah (ch. 16) and the budding of Aaron's rod (ch. 17) are also mentioned here.

4 ) The history of the last year, from the second arrival of the Israelites at Kadesh till they reach "the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho" (20-36: 13). Notable sections of this are the story of Balaam (22:2-24:25), the zeal of Phinehas (ch. 25), the second census (26:1-51) , instructions for dividing the land (26:52-27: 11), the appointment of Joshua as Moses' successor (27: 12-23), various laws concerning offerings and vows ( 28-30 ), the war with Midian (ch. 31), the settlement of the tribes east of the Jordan (ch. 32), a review of the locations at which Israel had camped during their wanderings (33: 1-49), more instructions concerning the conquest and division of Canaan (33:50-34:29 ), the appointment of the cities of refuge (ch. 35) and instructions concerning the marriage of land-owning Israelite women (ch. 36).


Ancient Bronze Snake

Bronze Snake from Lachish

Bronze Snake from Lachish, Late Bronze Age

Quick Reference Maps - Numbers

The Exodus of the Hebrews

Mount Horeb

The Red Sea

Canaan Before Joshua

Kadesh barnea

Moab and Ammon


Numbers Resources

The Wilderness Wanderings

More About the Book of Numbers
Numbers in the Picture Study Bible
Timeline of the Ancient World
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