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Numbers 16:35-40

Context
16:35 Then a fire 1  went out from the Lord and devoured the 250 men who offered incense.

The Atonement for the Rebellion

16:36 (17:1) 2  The Lord spoke to Moses: 16:37 “Tell 3  Eleazar son of Aaron the priest to pick up 4  the censers out of the flame, for they are holy, and then scatter the coals of fire 5  at a distance. 16:38 As for the censers of these men who sinned at the cost of their lives, 6  they must be made 7  into hammered sheets for covering the altar, because they presented them before the Lord and sanctified them. They will become a sign to the Israelites.” 16:39 So Eleazar the priest took the bronze censers presented by those who had been burned up, and they were hammered out as a covering for the altar. 16:40 It was a memorial for the Israelites, that no outsider who is not a descendant of 8  Aaron should approach to burn incense before the Lord, that he might not become like Korah and his company – just as the Lord had spoken by the authority 9  of Moses.

Numbers 16:46-48

Context
16:46 Then Moses said to Aaron, “Take the censer, put burning coals from the altar in it, place incense on it, and go quickly into the assembly and make atonement for them, for wrath has gone out from the Lord – the plague has begun!” 16:47 So Aaron did 10  as Moses commanded 11  and ran into the middle of the assembly, where the plague was just beginning among the people. So he placed incense on the coals and made atonement for the people. 16:48 He stood between the dead and the living, and the plague was stopped.

1 tn For a discussion of the fire of the Lord, see J. C. H. Laughlin, “The Strange Fire of Nadab and Abihu,” JBL 95 (1976): 559-65.

2 sn Beginning with 16:36, the verse numbers through 17:13 in the English Bible differ from the verse numbers in the Hebrew text (BHS), with 16:36 ET = 17:1 HT, 16:37 ET = 17:2 HT, 17:1 ET = 17:16 HT, etc., through 17:13 ET = 17:28 HT. With 18:1 the verse numbers in the ET and HT are again the same. But in the English chap. 17 there are two parts: Aaron’s rod budding (1-9), and the rod preserved as a memorial (10-13). Both sections begin with the same formula.

3 tn Heb “say to.”

4 tn The verb is the jussive with a vav (ו) coming after the imperative; it may be subordinated to form a purpose clause (“that he may pick up”) or the object of the imperative.

5 tn The Hebrew text just has “fire,” but it would be hard to conceive of this action apart from the idea of coals of fire.

6 tn The expression is “in/by/against their life.” That they sinned against their life means that they brought ruin to themselves.

7 tn The form is the perfect tense with vav (ו) consecutive. But there is no expressed subject for “and they shall make them,” and so it may be treated as a passive (“they shall [must] be made”).

8 tn Heb “from the seed of.”

9 tn Heb “hand.”

10 tn Heb “took.”

11 tn Or “had spoken” (NASB); NRSV “had ordered.”



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