About this Bible Study........The King James Version of the Bible is written in a beautiful form of the English language. It can be hard for modern English readers to understand. In this study, you will find notes and summaries in brown just above the the verses from the Bible. We recommend that you read the notes and summaries first, and then read the verses in their KJV form.
The book of Numbers
This book was written in 1444-1405 BC. The name comes from the census when Moses counted the people. It tells about the Israelites' wandering in the wilderness for 39 years. It starts when the Israelites are at Mt. Sinai. It tells about their travels through the wilderness. It ends in the plains of Moab just before the Israelites enter Canaan.
The book of Numbers tells about 2 generations of Israelites. The 1st generation did not obey God and could not enter Canaan. The 2nd generation obeyed God, and they were allowed to go into Canaan.
Please visit this page to see where the book of Numbers fits into the whole Bible.
Numbers 16 - 18
Some Israelite men challenge Moses and Aaron.
The challengers are punished.
God shows everyone who He chooses to be the priest.
The priests can use the offerings from the other Israelites.
Some of the Israelite men challenge Moses and Aaron. They think they should be priests, too.
Korah was a man from the tribe of Levi. He got some other men to help him. The men were Dathan, Abiram, and On. These 3 helpers were from the tribe of Reuben. Then they got 250 other leaders of the Israelites to join them. They went to see Moses and Aaron. They were complaining about Moses and Aaron. They said they were equal to Moses and Aaron. They asked Moses why he thought he was better than the rest of them.
 Now Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men:
 And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown:
 And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the LORD?
After they said this, Moses fell down and prayed. Then Moses said that there will be a test the next day. The Lord will show everyone who He chooses. He will show who the holy ones are. The holy ones will go near Him .
 And when Moses heard it, he fell upon his face:
 And he spake unto Korah and unto all his company, saying, Even to morrow the LORD will shew who are his, and who is holy; and will cause him to come near unto him: even him whom he hath chosen will he cause to come near unto him.
|Photo of censer from
Tonini Church Supply Co.
This will be the test. Korah and the others should bring their
censers (censers are pans for fire). They should put some coals
that are hot and make
fire) and incense (smells good) in the pans. God will choose the
priest. Moses said that Korah
and the others had gone too far--they were behaving badly and wanted
 This do; Take you censers, Korah, and all his company;
 And put fire therein, and put incense in them before the LORD to morrow: and it shall be that the man whom the LORD doth choose, he shall be holy: ye take too much upon you, ye sons of Levi.
Moses was upset with Korah. Korah was from the tribe of Levi. The men in the tribe of Levi were workers in the tabernacle. God set them apart and made them special. But Korah wanted more. He wanted to be the priest. Korah complained that Aaron was the priest. Korah was really complaining about the Lord God.
 And Moses said unto Korah, Hear, I pray you, ye sons of Levi:
 Seemeth it but a small thing unto you, that the God of Israel hath separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself to do the service of the tabernacle of the LORD, and to stand before the congregation to minister unto them?
 And he hath brought thee near to him, and all thy brethren the sons of Levi with thee: and seek ye the priesthood also?
 For which cause both thou and all thy company are gathered together against the LORD: and what is Aaron, that ye murmur against him?
Moses asked 2 of the other men, Dathan and Abiram, to come to him. They refused. They complained that Moses took them out of Egypt. They said Egypt had good land for farms. Now they are in the wilderness desert where they can't have farms. They said that Moses was just trying to trick them and be their boss. They said they would not go to Moses now.
 And Moses sent to call Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab: which said, We will not come up:
 Is it a small thing that thou hast brought us up out of a land that floweth with milk and honey, to kill us in the wilderness, except thou make thyself altogether a prince over us?
 Moreover thou hast not brought us into a land that floweth with milk and honey, or given us inheritance of fields and vineyards: wilt thou put out the eyes of these men? we will not come up.
Moses was very mad at Dathan and Abiram. Moses told God not to accept any of their offerings. Moses said he had never taken anything from them, not even one donkey. He also said he had never hurt any of them.
 And Moses was very wroth, and said unto the LORD, Respect not thou their offering: I have not taken one ass from them, neither have I hurt one of them.
Moses told Korah to come the next day. The other 253 men should come, too. They should all bring their firepans with incense and hot coals in them. Aaron would be there, too, with his firepan.
 And Moses said unto Korah, Be thou and all thy company before the LORD, thou, and they, and Aaron, to morrow:
 And take every man his censer, and put incense in them, and bring ye before the LORD every man his censer, two hundred and fifty censers; thou also, and Aaron, each of you his censer.
The next day, all of the men were there with their firepans and incense. They all stood in the door of the tabernacle with Moses and Aaron. They waited for God to come and show who He wanted to be the priest.
 And they took every man his censer, and put fire in them, and laid incense thereon, and stood in the door of the tabernacle of the congregation with Moses and Aaron.
Korah got all of the other Israelites to come, too. They all stood and watched. Then God appeared. They could all see His bright light.
 And Korah gathered all the congregation against them unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the congregation.
God talked to Moses and
He told them to move away from the other people. He said He would kill
all of the other
 And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,
 Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.
Moses and Aaron fell down and prayed. They asked God why He was mad at everyone if only one man sinned.
 And they fell upon their faces, and said, O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and wilt thou be wroth with all the congregation?
God talked to Moses. He told Moses to tell everyone else to stay away from the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiran.
 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
 Speak unto the congregation, saying, Get you up from about the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.
Korah and his followers are punished.
Moses went to Dathan and Abiram. The Israelite leaders followed Moses. Moses told everyone to stay away from Dathan and Abiram. No one should touch any of their things. If they did, they would die because Dathan and Abiram were wicked (very bad).
 And Moses rose up and went unto Dathan and Abiram; and the elders of Israel followed him.
 And he spake unto the congregation, saying, Depart, I pray you, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest ye be consumed in all their sins.
Everyone moved away from Korah, Dathan, and Abiram's tents. Dathan and Abiram stood in the doors of their tents. Their wives and children were with them.
 So they gat up from the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, on every side: and Dathan and Abiram came out, and stood in the door of their tents, and their wives, and their sons, and their little children.
Moses said that God sent him to do His work. Moses said this would be a test. If God did not send Moses to do His work, Dathan, Abiram, and Korah would die natural deaths (die from being sick or old). If God did send Moses to do His work, Dathan, Abriam, and Korah would die suddenly. They would die from something that never happened in the past. For example, the ground under them would open and make a big crack. They would fall in.
 And Moses said, Hereby ye shall know that the LORD hath sent me to do all these works; for I have not done them of mine own mind.
 If these men die the common death of all men, or if they be visited after the visitation of all men; then the LORD hath not sent me.
 But if the LORD make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit; then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the LORD.
|"The Earth Swallows Up Korah, Dathan, and
The Story of the Bible by Charles Foster,
(Illustrations by F.B. Schell and others)
Digitized by Ted Kuik of CoolNotions.com
As soon as Moses said this, there was a big crack in the ground.
Abiram, Korah, their families, and their tents fell down in the big
the ground covered them up, and they were gone.
 And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that was under them:
 And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods.
 They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation.
All of the other Israelites
them screaming, so they ran away. They said that the ground might open
swallow them, too.
 And all Israel that were round about them fled at the cry of them: for they said, Lest the earth swallow us up also.
Then God sent fire and burned up the other 250 men who brought incense to the tabernacle.
 And there came out a fire from the LORD, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense.
The Lord talked to
told Moses to talk to Aaron's son, Eleazar. He wanted Eleazar to
all of the firepans. He should dump out the coals someplace else.
firepans are holy because they were used for offerings to God.
 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
 Speak unto Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest, that he take up the censers out of the burning, and scatter thou the fire yonder; for they are hallowed.
The men who made the offerings were dead now. God said they should take the firepans and hammer them into thin plates of metal. They should use the thin plates of metal to cover the altar. This will remind the other Israelites about what happened.
 The censers of these sinners against their own souls, let them make them broad plates for a covering of the altar: for they offered them before the LORD, therefore they are hallowed: and they shall be a sign unto the children of Israel.
Eleazar did what God said. He made thin metal plates with the firepans. Then they used the plates to cover the altar. This would remind the Israelites that only Aaron and his descendants were allowed to be priests. If anyone else tried to be a priest, he would be punished the same as Korah and the other men.
 And Eleazar the priest took the brasen censers, wherewith they that were burnt had offered; and they were made broad plates for a covering of the altar:
 To be a memorial unto the children of Israel, that no stranger, which is not of the seed of Aaron, come near to offer incense before the LORD; that he be not as Korah, and as his company: as the LORD said to him by the hand of Moses.
The other Israelites blame Moses for the death of Korah and his followers. God punishes them for complaining.
The next day, the other Israelites started
complain again. They blamed Moses because Dathan, Abiram, Korah, their
and the other 250 men had died.
 But on the morrow all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron, saying, Ye have killed the people of the LORD.
The Israelites came and met together. They
looked at the tabernacle. They saw God's cloud covering
the tabernacle. Moses and Aaron came to the tabernacle. God
Moses and Aaron to move away from the other Israelites. He was going to
them all. But Moses and Aaron fell down and started to pray.
 And it came to pass, when the congregation was gathered against Moses and against Aaron, that they looked toward the tabernacle of the congregation: and, behold, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the LORD appeared.
 And Moses and Aaron came before the tabernacle of the congregation.
 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
 Get you up from among this congregation, that I may consume them as in a moment. And they fell upon their faces.
God sent a plague. A plague is a sickness or disease. One person gets sick. Then other people get sick. Many people get sick fast. Some of the Israelites started getting sick and died. Moses told Aaron to hurry and get a firepan. He should put some fire and incense in it. Then he should go stand by the other Israelites and ask God to forgive them for complaining.
 And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a censer, and put fire therein from off the altar, and put on incense, and go quickly unto the congregation, and make an atonement for them: for there is wrath gone out from the LORD; the plague is begun.
Aaron did what Moses said. He ran and stood in the middle of the other Israelites. He held the fire and incense. He asked God to forgive the Israelites for complaining. He stood between the dead people and the live people. Then the sickness stopped.
 And Aaron took as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the congregation; and, behold, the plague was begun among the people: and he put on incense, and made an atonement for the people.
 And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed.
14,700 people died from the plague. That was added to the number of people who died with Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.
 Now they that died in the plague were fourteen thousand and seven hundred, beside them that died about the matter of Korah.
Then Aaron went back to the tabernacle with Moses. There was no more sickness.
 And Aaron returned unto Moses unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and the plague was stayed.
The test with the walking sticks.
God shows that He chooses Aaron to be the priest.
Photo from CanesGalore.com
leader of each tribe had a special walking stick (a cane to help
them walk). God talked to Moses. God said
that each leader should bring his walking stick to Moses. Then,
should write each man's name on his stick.
 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
 Speak unto the children of Israel, and take of every one of them a rod according to the house of their fathers, of all their princes according to the house of their fathers twelve rods: write thou every man's name upon his rod.
Aaron was from the tribe of
Levi. They should write Aaron's name on
the walking stick from the tribe of Levi. There will be one
for the leader of each tribe.
 And thou shalt write Aaron's name upon the rod of Levi: for one rod shall be for the head of the house of their fathers.
They should put all of the walking sticks in the tabernacle in front of the Ark of the Covenant (box that holds the 10 Commandments).
 And thou shalt lay them up in the tabernacle of the congregation before the testimony, where I will meet with you.
God said that one of the sticks will blossom (make new green plants and flowers). They will look at the stick with the flowers. They will see the man's name on the stick. That is the man who God chooses to be the priest.
 And it shall come to pass, that the man's rod, whom I shall choose, shall blossom: and I will make to cease from me the murmurings of the children of Israel, whereby they murmur against you.
Moses told everyone what God said. Each leader gave Moses a walking stick. Aaron gave Moses a stick, too.
 And Moses spake unto the children of Israel, and every one of their princes gave him a rod apiece, for each prince one, according to their fathers' houses, even twelve rods: and the rod of Aaron was among their rods.
Moses put the sticks in the tabernacle. The next day, Moses went back into the tabernacle. He looked at the walking sticks. Aaron's walking stick had green plants, flowers, and almonds (a kind of nut that grows on a tree).
 And Moses laid up the rods before the LORD in the tabernacle of witness.
 And it came to pass, that on the morrow Moses went into the tabernacle of witness; and, behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds.
Aaron's walking stick bloomed.
Moses brought the walking sticks out of the tabernacle. Everyone saw Aaron's stick with the green plants and flowers. The leaders came and took their sticks. God told Moses to take Aaron's stick back into the tabernacle. Moses should put the stick in front of the Ark of the Covenant. That will remind the other Israelites to stop complaining. God said that if the Israelites continue to complain, He will kill them all.
 And Moses brought out all the rods from before the LORD unto all the children of Israel: and they looked, and took every man his rod.
 And the LORD said unto Moses, Bring Aaron's rod again before the testimony, to be kept for a token against the rebels; and thou shalt quite take away their murmurings from me, that they die not.
Moses did what God told him to do.
 And Moses did so: as the LORD commanded him, so did he.
The Israelites talked to Moses. They said they had no hope. Anyone who goes near the tabernacle dies. They said they would all die.
 And the children of Israel spake unto Moses, saying, Behold, we die, we perish, we all perish.
 Whosoever cometh any thing near unto the tabernacle of the LORD shall die: shall we be consumed with dying?
God talks to Aaron about the priests' jobs
God talked to Aaron. Aaron and his sons were the priests. They were responsible for everything that happened in the tabernacle. They were the only ones who could go near the holy things in the tabernacle.
 And the LORD said unto Aaron, Thou and thy sons and thy father's house with thee shall bear the iniquity of the sanctuary: and thou and thy sons with thee shall bear the iniquity of your priesthood.
The other Levites will help the priests. They should do what the priests tell them to do. But Aaron and his sons are the only ones who can go near the holy things in the tabernacle. If any of the Levites go near the holy things, they will die. Aaron is responsible for the holy things, so Aaron will die, too.
 And thy brethren also of the tribe of Levi, the tribe of thy father, bring thou with thee, that they may be joined unto thee, and minister unto thee: but thou and thy sons with thee shall minister before the tabernacle of witness.
 And they shall keep thy charge, and the charge of all the tabernacle: only they shall not come nigh the vessels of the sanctuary and the altar, that neither they, nor ye also, die.
The Levites will work together with Aaron. They will take care of the tabernacle and do the work of the tabernacle. No other people are allowed to go into the tabernacle.
 And they shall be joined unto thee, and keep the charge of the tabernacle of the congregation, for all the service of the tabernacle: and a stranger shall not come nigh unto you.
The priests should take care of the tabernacle and the altar so that God won't be angry with the Israelites again.
 And ye shall keep the charge of the sanctuary, and the charge of the altar: that there be no wrath any more upon the children of Israel.
God chose the Levites to help the priests. They are a gift to the priests. The Levites will help do the work of the tabernacle.
 And I, behold, I have taken your brethren the Levites from among the children of Israel: to you they are given as a gift for the LORD, to do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.
When God made Aaron and his sons the priests, it was a gift to them. Now they will take care of the altar and inside the tabernacle. Any other person who comes near those areas will die.
 Therefore thou and thy sons with thee shall keep your priest's office for every thing of the altar, and within the vail; and ye shall serve: I have given your priest's office unto you as a service of gift: and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death.
God continued to talk to Aaron. Aaron, his sons, and his descendants will be the priests forever. The priests are in charge of the offerings that the other Israelites bring for God.
 And the LORD spake unto Aaron, Behold, I also have given thee the charge of mine heave offerings of all the hallowed things of the children of Israel; unto thee have I given them by reason of the anointing, and to thy sons, by an ordinance for ever.
God will give some of the offerings to the priests. The priests will be able to eat the offerings that are not burned on the altar. These are the the sin offerings, grain offerings, and the trespass offerings.
 This shall be thine of the most holy things, reserved from the fire: every oblation of theirs, every meat offering of theirs, and every sin offering of theirs, and every trespass offering of theirs, which they shall render unto me, shall be most holy for thee and for thy sons.
Only the males may eat these offerings. They must eat them in a holy place.
 In the most holy place shalt thou eat it; every male shall eat it: it shall be holy unto thee.
When Israelites bring special offerings, the priests' families may eat these. The clean males and clean females may eat the special offerings.
 And this is thine; the heave offering of their gift, with all the wave offerings of the children of Israel: I have given them unto thee, and to thy sons and to thy daughters with thee, by a statute for ever: every one that is clean in thy house shall eat of it.
The priests may eat the best oil, wine, and
may also eat the firstfruits (the first things that the Israelites pick
their farms each year). Any clean person in the priests' families
may eat these
 All the best of the oil, and all the best of the wine, and of the wheat, the firstfruits of them which they shall offer unto the LORD, them have I given thee.
 And whatsoever is first ripe in the land, which they shall bring unto the LORD, shall be thine; every one that is clean in thine house shall eat of it.
Everything that has been
devoted to God now belongs to the priests.
This means everything that has been set apart for God or given to
 Every thing devoted in Israel shall be thine.
The firstborn males belong to God. This means
oldest men and animals in a family belong to God. But the
firstborn men and firstborn
unclean animals should be redeemed. This means that the person who gave
firstborn male or a firstborn unclean animal should buy it back. He
money to the priest. The priest will keep the money. Then the firstborn
firstborn unclean animal will go back home.
 Every thing that openeth the matrix in all flesh, which they bring unto the LORD, whether it be of men or beasts, shall be thine: nevertheless the firstborn of man shalt thou surely redeem, and the firstling of unclean beasts shalt thou redeem.
The price to redeem is 5 shekels of silver. This is to redeem a firstborn who is at least a month old. A shekel is a kind of coin. The official shekel in the tabernacle is equal to 20 gerahs (another smaller coin).
 And those that are to be redeemed from a month old shalt thou redeem, according to thine estimation, for the money of five shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, which is twenty gerahs.
But they cannot redeem a firstborn cow, sheep, or goat. These animals should be sacrificed on the altar. They should sprinkle the blood on the altar. They should burn the fat on the fire. It makes a smell that God likes.
 But the firstling of a cow, or the firstling of a sheep, or the firstling of a goat, thou shalt not redeem; they are holy: thou shalt sprinkle their blood upon the altar, and shalt burn their fat for an offering made by fire, for a sweet savour unto the LORD.
The priests can eat the meat of the animals that are sacrificed. They can also eat the breast and the right shoulder of the wave offerings. The priests and their families can eat all of the heave offerings. This is a promise from now on to all of Aaron's descendants.
 And the flesh of them shall be thine, as the wave breast and as the right shoulder are thine.
 All the heave offerings of the holy things, which the children of Israel offer unto the LORD, have I given thee, and thy sons and thy daughters with thee, by a statute for ever: it is a covenant of salt for ever before the LORD unto thee and to thy seed with thee.
God talks to Aaron about the food for the priests.
God talked to Aaron. After the Israelites enter Canaan, the other families will get land. But Aaron and his family will not get land. God will give them everything they need. The other Israelites will give God 1/10 of what they have (this is called a tithe). God will give the tithes to the Levites. This is in exchange for their working and taking care of the tabernacle.
 And the LORD spake unto Aaron, Thou shalt have no inheritance in their land, neither shalt thou have any part among them: I am thy part and thine inheritance among the children of Israel.
 And, behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.
The other Israelites must
near the tabernacle. If they do, they are guilty of sin, and they
 Neither must the children of Israel henceforth come nigh the tabernacle of the congregation, lest they bear sin, and die.
The Levites will do the work of the tabernacle. They will be responsible for everything. If they don't take care of the tabernacle properly, they will be guilty. This is a law forever. The Levites will not get any land in Canaan. They won't get any land, but God will give them part of the offerings from the other Israelites. The other Israelites will give their tithes (10% of their crops and animals). God will give the tithes to the Levites.
 But the Levites shall do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they shall bear their iniquity: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations, that among the children of Israel they have no inheritance.
 But the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer as an heave offering unto the LORD, I have given to the Levites to inherit: therefore I have said unto them, Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance.
God talked to Moses. Moses should tell the Levites this: After the Levites receive the tithe from another Israelite, they should offer 1/10 of the tithe to God as a heave offering (lift it up and down in the air to show that it is from God).
 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
 Thus speak unto the Levites, and say unto them, When ye take of the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them for your inheritance, then ye shall offer up an heave offering of it for the LORD, even a tenth part of the tithe.
When the Levites offer 1/10 of another Israelite's tithe, it is equal to offering crops from a farm. A farmer offers his crops, and a Levite offers his part of the farmer's crops.
 And this your heave offering shall be reckoned unto you, as though it were the corn of the threshingfloor, and as the fulness of the winepress.
The Levites offer their part of the tithes. They give their part to Aaron the priest. They should give Aaron the very best part of the tithe.
 Thus ye also shall offer an heave offering unto the LORD of all your tithes, which ye receive of the children of Israel; and ye shall give thereof the LORD's heave offering to Aaron the priest.
 Out of all your gifts ye shall offer every heave offering of the LORD, of all the best thereof, even the hallowed part thereof out of it.
After they give the best part to God, they can eat the part that is left. Their families can eat it, too. It is their gift because they work in the tabernacle.
 Therefore thou shalt say unto them, When ye have heaved the best thereof from it, then it shall be counted unto the Levites as the increase of the threshingfloor, and as the increase of the winepress.
 And ye shall eat it in every place, ye and your households: for it is your reward for your service in the tabernacle of the congregation.
After they give the best part to the priest, they can eat the rest of the tithe. The tithes are sacred and holy. If the Levites eat the tithes before they give 1/10 of the tithe to the priest, they will be guilty of sin.
 And ye shall bear no sin by reason of it, when ye have heaved from it the best of it: neither shall ye pollute the holy things of the children of Israel, lest ye die.