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Numbers Chapter 17 | Parsha: Korah

1The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 2Order Eleazar son of Aaron the priest to remove the fire pans—for they have become sacred—from among the charred remains; and scatter the coals abroad. 3 [Remove] the fire pans of those who have sinned at the cost of their lives, and let them be made into hammered sheets as plating for the altar—for once they have been used for offering to the Lord, they have become sacred—and let them serve as a warning to the people of Israel. 4Eleazar the priest took the copper fire pans which had been used for offering by those who died in the fire; and they were hammered into plating for the altar, 5as the Lord had ordered him through Moses. It was to be a reminder to the Israelites, so that no outsider—one not of Aaron’s offspring—should presume to offer incense before the Lord and suffer the fate of Korah and his band.

6Next day the whole Israelite community railed against Moses and Aaron, saying, “You two have brought death upon the Lord’s people!” 7But as the community gathered against them, Moses and Aaron turned toward the Tent of Meeting; the cloud had covered it and the Presence of the Lord appeared.

8When Moses and Aaron reached the Tent of Meeting, 9the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 10“Remove yourselves from this community, that I may annihilate them in an instant.” They fell on their faces. 11Then Moses said to Aaron, “Take the fire pan, and put on it fire from the altar. Add incense and take it quickly to the community and make expiation for them. For wrath has gone forth from the Lord: the plague has begun!” 12Aaron took it, as Moses had ordered, and ran to the midst of the congregation, where the plague had begun among the people. He put on the incense and made expiation for the people; 13he stood between the dead and the living until the plague was checked. 14Those who died of the plague came to fourteen thousand and seven hundred, aside from those who died on account of Korah. 15Aaron then returned to Moses at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, since the plague was checked.

16The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 17Speak to the Israelite people and take from them—from the chieftains of their ancestral houses—one staff for each chieftain of an ancestral house: twelve staffs in all. Inscribe each man’s name on his staff, 18there being one staff for each head of an ancestral house; also inscribe Aaron’s name on the staff of Levi. 19Deposit them in the Tent of Meeting before the Pact, where I meet with you. 20The staff of the man whom I choose shall sprout, and I will rid Myself of the incessant mutterings of the Israelites against you.

21Moses spoke thus to the Israelites. Their chieftains gave him a staff for each chieftain of an ancestral house, twelve staffs in all; among these staffs was that of Aaron. 22Moses deposited the staffs before the Lord, in the Tent of the Pact. 23The next day Moses entered the Tent of the Pact, and there the staff of Aaron of the house of Levi had sprouted: it had brought forth sprouts, produced blossoms, and borne almonds. 24Moses then brought out all the staffs from before the Lord to all the Israelites; each identified and recovered his staff.

25The Lord said to Moses, “Put Aaron’s staff back before the Pact, to be kept as a lesson to rebels, so that their mutterings against Me may cease, lest they die.” 26This Moses did; just as the Lord had commanded him, so he did.

27But the Israelites said to Moses, “Lo, we perish! We are lost, all of us lost! 28Everyone who so much as ventures near the Lord’s Tabernacle must die. Alas, we are doomed to perish!”

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