XVI. BUT Korack bar zhar bar Kahath bar Levi, and Dathan and Abiram the sons of Eliab, and On bar Pelath of the Beni Reuben, made a division. And they rose up in the presence of Mosheh with (other) men of the sons of Israel, two hundred and fifty, chiefs of the congregation, who at the time of the convocation had been men of name.[1] And they gathered together against Mosheh, and against Aharon, and said to them, You are too great;[2] for the whole of the congregation are all of them holy, and the Lord's Shekinah dwelleth among them: wherefore then are you lifted up above the church of the Lord?

      And Mosheh heard, and fell upon his face. And he spake with Korach, and with all the congregation, saying: In the morning the Lord will make blown who it is who pertaineth to Him, and who bath been consecrated to approach to His presence; and whosoever He shall appoint shall go near unto His service. This do: Take you censers, Korach and all his congregation; and put fire in them, and put sweet incense upon it before the Lord to-morrow: and the man whom the Lord will choose, he shall be holy. You have too much,[3] sons of Levi.

      And Mosheh said to Korach, Hear now, sons of Levi: Is it a little thing with you that the God of Israel hath separated you from the congregation of Israel to bring you near before Him to perform the service of the Lord's tabernacle, and to stand before the congregation to minister to them? But He hath brought thee nigh, and all thy brethren the sons of Levi with thee: and seek you now the High Priesthood also? Therefore thou and all thy company have gathered together against the Lord. And Aharon, what is he, that you murmur against him?

      And Mosheh, sent to call Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab; but they said, We will not come up. Is it a trifle that thou hast brought us from a land making milk and honey to kill us in the desert, that thou mayest domineer and rule over us? Neither hast thou brought us into the land that maketh milk and honey, to give us an inheritance of fields and vineyards: wilt thou blind the eyes of these men? We will not come up.

      And Mosheh was greatly angered, and said before the Lord, Receive not Thou their offering: I have not taken one ass from them, neither have I injured one of them. And Mosheh said to Korach, Be thou and all thy company prepared before the Lord, thou and they and Aharon to-morrow. And take every man his censer, and put sweet incense upon them, each man to offer before the Lord (with) his censer. And they took every man his censer, and set fire in it, and put sweet incense thereon, and stood at the door of the tabernacle of ordinance, with Mosheh and Aharon. And Korach assembled with him all the company at the door of the tabernacle of ordinance.

      And the glory of the Lord was revealed to all the congregation; and the Lord spake with Mosheh and to Aharon, saying: Separate yourselves from among this company, and I will consume them at once. But they fell upon their faces, and said, O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and thou be wroth with all the congregation? And the Lord spake with Mosheh, saying: Speak with the congregation, saying: Get you up from among the tents of Korach, Dathan, and Abiram. And Mosheh arose and went unto Dathan and Abiram, and the elders of Israel followed him. And he spake with the congregation, saying: Remove now from the tents of these guilty men, and touch not anything that is theirs, lest you be stricken with all their sins. And they gat up from the tents of Korach, Dathan, and Abiram round about; and Dathan and Abiram came out, and stood at the door of their tents, with their wives, and their sons, and their families.

      And Mosheh said: By this shall you know that the Lord hath sent me to do all these works, because (I do them) not of my own will: If these men die the death of all men, and the visitation of all men be visited upon them, the Lord hath not sent me. But if the Lord create a creation, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, and all that is theirs, and they go down alive into Sheul, then you will know that these men have caused anger before the Lord.

      And it was, when he had finished to speak all these words, that the ground under them clave asunder, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and the men of their houses; and all the men of Korach, and all their substance, they, and all who were theirs, went down alive into Sheul; and the earth closed upon them, and they perished from among the congregation.

      And all Israel who stood round about them fled from their cry; for they said, Lest the earth swallow us. And fire came out from before the Lord, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men who had offered the sweet incense.

XV. And the Lord spake with Mosheh, saying: Speak to Elazar bar Aharon the priest, that he take out the censers from among the burnings, and throwaway the fire, for they are consecrated. The censers of those guilty men who sinned against their souls, let him make of them beaten plates, to cover the altar; for they had offered them before the Lord, and they are consecrated; and they shall be for a sign unto the children of Israel. And Elazar the priest took the golden censers, with which they who were burned had offered, and beat them abroad, for a covering for the altar, to be a memorial to the sons of Israel, that no strange man who is not of the seed of Aharon shall approach to burn sweet incense before the Lord, and that he be not as Korach and his company, as the Lord had said to him by the hand of Mosheh.

      But on the day which followed, all the congregation of t he sons of Israel murmured against Mosheh and against Aharon, saying: You have caused the death of the Lord's people. And it was, while the congregation gathered against Mosheh and against Aharon, that they looked toward the tabernacle of ordinance; and, behold, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the Lord was revealed. And Mosheh and Aharon went up before the tabernacle of ordinance;

and the Lord spake with Mosheh, saying: Separate yourselves from the midst of this congregation, that I may now consume them. But they fell upon their faces.

And Mosheh said to Aharon: Take the censer, and put fire upon it from the altar, and lay on sweet incense, and go quickly to the congregation, and make atonement for them; for anger hath gone forth from before the Lord, the plague hath begun. And Aharon took, as Mosheh had said, and ran into the midst of the congregation, and, behold, the plague had begun among the people; and he put on sweet incense and made atonement for the people. And he stood between the dead and the living, and the plague ceased.

      But they who died of the plague were fourteen thousand and seven hundred, beside those who died on account of the matter of Korach. And Aharon returned to Mosheh, unto the door of the tabernacle of ordinance, and the plague ceased.

      XVII. And the Lord spake with Mosheh, saying: Speak with the sons of Israel, and take from them severally a rod, according the house of their fathers, twelve rods, and write thou the name of each man upon his rod. And upon the rod of Levi thou shalt write the name of Aharon; for one rod (only) there shall be for (each) chief of their father's house. And thou shalt lay them up in the tabernacle of ordinance before the testimony, where I will appoint My Word to be with thee.

And it shall be that the rod of the man whom I will choose shall bud; and I will make to cease from before Me the murmuring; of the sons of Israel, with which they have murmured against you. And Mosheh spake with the sons of Israel; and all their chiefs gave to him, every chief one rod, according to the house of their fathers, twelve rods. And Aharon's rod was among their rods.And Mosheh laid up the rods before the Lord in the tabernacle of the testimony.

      And it came to pass on the following day, that Mosheh went into the tabernacle of the testimony; and, behold, the rod of Aharon of the house of Levi had germinated, and produced branches, and had blossomed, and ripened almonds. And Mosheh brought out all the rods from before the Lord unto all the sons of Israel, and they recognised and took every man his rod.

      And the Lord said to Mosheh: Take back Aharon's rod before the testimony, to be kept for a sign unto the rebellious people, that their murmurings before Me may come to an end, and they die not. And Mosheh did as the Lord commanded, so did he.

      And the children of Israel spake to Mosheh, saying: Behold, some of us are slain with the sword; and, behold, some are swallowed up by the earth; and, behold, some perish with the plague. Whoever, approaching, approacheth the tabernacle of the Lord dieth; behold, we are consumed with death.

      XVIII. And the Lord said to Aharon: Thou and thy sons, and the house of thy fathers with thee, shall make reconciliation on account of transgressions (against) the sanctuary; and thou and thy sons with thee shall make atonement for the sins of your priesthood. And thy brethren also of the tribe of Levi, the tribe of thy father, bring with thee, and let them be added with thee, to serve thee; but thou and, thy sons with thee (shall minister) before the tabernacle of the testimony. And they shall keep thy charge, and the charge of all the tabernacle; but to the vessels of the sanctuary and of the altar they (the Levites) shall not approach, that neither they nor you may die. And they shall be joined, with thee, and keep charge of the tabernacle of ordinance for all the service of the tabernacle, and a stranger shall not come near you. And they shall keep charge of the sanctuary and of the altar, that there may be no more wrath upon the sons of Israel. And, behold, I have taken your brethren, the Levites, from among the sons of Israel; as a gift are they given to you before the Lord, to perform the service of the tabernacle of ordinance. But thou, and thy sons with thee, take charge of your priesthood, for every thing about the altar and within the veil you shall fulfil the service; the ministry of the priesthood I have given you as a gift, and the stranger who cometh near shall die.

      And the Lord said to Aharon: Behold, I have given to thee the charge of My separated things; of all that are consecrated by the sons of Israel unto thee have I given them, and to thy sons, on account of the anointing, by an everlasting statute. This shall be thine of the most holy things which remain from the fire, of all their oblations, and of all their minchas, and of all their sin offerings, and of all their trespass offerings which they render before Me; they are most sacred to thee and to thy sons. In the sanctuary thou mayest eat thereof, every male may eat it, to thee it shall be consecrated.

      And this is thine: the separated things of their minchas, of all the elevations of the sons of Israel, to thee have I given them, and to thy sons, and to thy daughters with thee, by an everlasting statute:[4] everyone who is clean in thy house may eat thereof all the best of the oil,[5] and all the best of the wine,[6] and the wheat, the first fruits of them which they present before the Lord, unto thee I have given them. The first fruits of all that is on their land which they present before the Lord shall be thine; everyone in thy house who is clean may eat thereof. Every thing devoted in Israel shall be thine. Whatever openeth the womb of all flesh which they offer before the Lord, of man, or of beast, shall be for thee; but thou shalt surely redeem the firstborn of man, and the firstling of an unclean animal thou shalt redeem; and his redemption shall be at the age of one month; thou shalt redeem with the price of five shekes, in the shekel of the sanctuary it is ten meahs: but the firstling of an ox, or of a sheep, or of a goat, thou mayest not redeem, they are consecrated; thou shalt sprinkle their blood upon the altar, and burn their fat, an oblation to be accepted before the Lord. But their flesh shall be for thee, as the breast of the elevation, and the right shoulder, they shall be thine.

All the consecrated separations which the sons of Israel set apart before the Lord, I have given to thee and to thy children with thee by an everlasting covenant; an everlasting covenant of salt it is before the Lord, with thee, and thy children with thee.

      And the Lord said to Aharon: In their land thou wilt not have possession, nor will thine be a portion among them; the gifts that I have given thee, they are thy portion and thy inheritance among the children of Israel. And to the sons of Levi, behold, I have given all the tenths in Israel for a possession, on account of the service[7] with which they serve in the ministry of the tabernacle of ordinance.

But the children of Israel must no more come nigh to the tabernacle of ordinance, to contract guilt and to die. But the Levites shall perform the service of the tabernacle of ordinance, and shall bear their iniquity; a statute for ever unto your generations. And among the sons of Israel they shall not possess an inheritance;

for the tenths of the children of Israel which they set apart before the Lord for a separation, I have given to the Levites for a possession; therefore have I said to them, Among the sons of Israel you shall not possess an inheritance.

      And the Lord spake with Mosheh, saying: Speak also to the Levites, and say to them, When you take from the sons of Israel the tenths which I have given you of theirs, you shall set apart from them a separation before the Lord, a tenth of the tenth. And your separation shall be reckoned to you as the corn from the threshing-floor, and as the wine of the wine-press; so shall you set apart the separation before the Lord of all your tenths that you receive from the sons of Israel, and give thereof a separation before the Lord unto Aharon the priest. Of all that is given to you ye shall set apart every separation for the Lord, of all the best of it, to be the hallowed portion thereof.  And say thou to them, When you have set apart the finest of it, it shall be reckoned to the Levites as the produce of the threshing-floor, and as the fruitage for the wine-press; and you may eat it in every place, you and the men of your house; for it is a remuneration to you on account of your service in the tabernacle of ordinance. And you shall not contract guilt by it in your setting apart the finest of it, nor profane the consecrated things of the children of Israel.

[1] Heb., “called to the council, men of name.” Syr., “who were at the time called men of name.”

[2] Sagi lekun. Heb. text, Rab lakem, “Too much for you.” Syriac, “Is it not sufficient for you that all the congregation  are consecrated?”

[3] Or, “are too great;” Sagi lekun.

[4] Sam. Vers., “for a perpetual portion.”

[5] Sam. Vers., “of the new oil.”

[6] Sam. Vers., “the dry juice, or the old.”

[7] Sam. Vers., “for the wages of the ministry.”