*NUMBERS 16 : 23 - 50 NIV*

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.


Moses and Aaron prayed for the entire assembly which moved away from the tents of Korah, Dathan and Abiram on their instructions. 

The ground Swallowed not just the three leaders but their households and possessions. 

Note that the connectedness of families and parents' sins affected their children (14:33). It was from that day onward that the descendants of Aaron took up the burning of incense before God. The grumbling still continued, which resulted in the plague. 

Before Aaron intervened, at the promptings of Moses, to stop the plague, 14,700 people had already been consumed.

*QUESTION:* What aspect of today's reading challenged you most and how do you intend to work at it?

 *PRAYER:* Oh Lord, there are many lessons to draw from today's passage one of which is the sin of parents affecting their family members, including children. Help me not to displease You in any way, Amen.


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