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Numbers 16:36-40

Context
The Atonement for the Rebellion

16:36 (17:1) 1  The Lord spoke to Moses: 16:37 “Tell 2  Eleazar son of Aaron the priest to pick up 3  the censers out of the flame, for they are holy, and then scatter the coals of fire 4  at a distance. 16:38 As for the censers of these men who sinned at the cost of their lives, 5  they must be made 6  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 7  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 8  of Moses.

1 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.

2 tn Heb “say to.”

3 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.

4 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.

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

6 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”).

7 tn Heb “from the seed of.”

8 tn Heb “hand.”



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