1Yahweh then spoke to Moses and said, 2'Tel Eleazar son of Aaron the priest to pick the censers out of the smouldering remains and scatterthe fire from them away from here, 3for these sinful censers have become sanctified at the price of human lives. Since they were broughtbefore Yahweh and thus became consecrated, they must be hammered into sheets to cover the altar. They willbe an object-lesson to the Israelites.' 4The priest Eleazar took the bronze censers which had been carried by the men destroyed by the fire.They were hammered into sheets to cover the altar. 5They are a reminder to the Israelites that no unauthorised person, no one not of Aaron's line, mayapproach and offer incense before Yahweh, on pain of suffering the fate of Korah and his party, as Yahweh hadsaid through Moses. 6On the following day, the whole community of Israelites were muttering against Moses and Aaron andsaying, 'You are responsible for killing Yahweh's people!' 7Now, as the community was banding together against Moses and Aaron, they turned towards theTent of Meeting, and there was the cloud covering it, and the glory of Yahweh appeared. 8Moses and Aaron then went to the front of the Tent of Meeting. 9Yahweh spoke to Moses and said, 10'Get away from this community. I am going to destroy them here and now.' They threw themselveson their faces. 11Moses then said to Aaron, 'Take a censer, put fire in it from the altar, place incense on it and hurryto the community to perform the rite of expiation for them: for retribution has come from Yahweh, plague hasbroken out.' 12Aaron took it as Moses said and ran into the middle of the community, but plague had alreadybroken out among the people. He put in the incense and performed the rite of expiation for the people. 13Then he stood between the living and the dead, and the plague stopped. 14There were fourteen thousand seven hundred victims of the plague, apart from those who diedbecause of Korah. 15Aaron then went back to Moses at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting; the plague had been halted. 16Yahweh spoke to Moses and said, 17'Tel the Israelites to give you a branch for each of their families, one for each leader of each family:twelve branches. Write the name of each on his branch; 18and on the branch of Levi write Aaron's name, since the head of the Levite families must have abranch too. 19You wil then put them inside the Tent of Meeting in front of the Testimony, where I make myselfknown to you. 20The man whose branch sprouts will be the one I have chosen; this is how I shal put an end to themutterings of the Israelites about you.' 21Moses spoke to the Israelites, and al their leaders gave him one branch each, twelve branches in alfor their families; Aaron's branch was among them. 22Moses placed them before Yahweh in the Tent of the Testimony. 23On the fol owing day Moses went to the Tent of the Testimony and there, already sprouting, wasAaron's branch, representing the House of Levi; buds had formed, flowers had bloomed and almonds hadalready ripened. 24Moses then brought out all the branches from before Yahweh to al the Israelites; they examinedthem and each one took back his own branch. 25Yahweh then said to Moses, 'Put Aaron's branch back in front of the Testimony, where it wil have itsritual place as a warning to the rebel ious; thus you will rid me of their muttering for good, without their incurringdeath.' 26Moses did as Yahweh had ordered. That is what he did. 27The Israelites then said to Moses, 'We are lost! We are dead men! We are al dead men! 28Anyone who approaches Yahweh's Dwel ing with an offering wil die. Are we to be doomed to thelast man?'
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