The sixteenth chapter of Numbers contains an account of the rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. These men were joined by 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?"

Moses reproved these men sharply. He said they ought to be content with the honors God had conferred upon them, and not be seeking to obtain the priesthood also. But the men were very bitter, and said that Moses had brought them up out of a land flowing with milk and honey to kill them in the wilderness, unless he could make himself altogether a prince over them. Moses told them that the Lord would show who were his. He said Korah and all his company, with Aaron also, should come to the tabernacle the next day, each bringing his censer with incense in it.

So on the morrow, when they had come to the tabernacle, and all the congregation had gathered about, the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron, saying, "Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment."

Then Moses and Aaron fell upon their faces, and prayed for the people. "And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the congregation, saying, Get you up from about the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram."

When the people had withdrawn from the tents of these wicked men, the earth opened, and swallowed up Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, with their tents, and all that appertained to them.

"And there came out a fire from the Lord, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense."

The Lord commanded that the censers used by these men, should be made into broad plates for a covering to the altar, that whenever the people should see them, they might remember that none but the seed of Aaron should offer incense before the Lord. 


On the next day after the Lord had destroyed Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron, saying, "Ye have killed the people of the Lord."

"And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Get you up from among this congregation, that I may consume them as in a moment."

Then Aaron, at the command of Moses, took a censer, and ran into the midst of the congregation, and standing between the living and the dead, burned incense as an atonement for the people; for the plague had already begun. 

Thus the plague was stayed, but not until fourteen thousand and seven hundred of the people had died.  In order to more fully convince the people that Aaron was chosen for the priesthood, the Lord commanded that twelve rods should be taken, and laid up in the tabernacle. Each tribe was to bring a rod bearing the name of the prince of that tribe, and Aaron's name was to be inscribed on the rod taken from the tribe of Levi.

And the Lord said, "It shall come to pass, that the man's rod, whom I shall choose, shall blossom. "

So Moses laid up the rods in the tabernacle as the Lord had commanded; and on the next day, when he went in he found that Aaron's rod had budded, blossomed, and yielded almonds. 

And this rod was kept in the tabernacle to prevent murmuring against the priesthood.

When they came into the desert of Zin, the people abode at Kadesh; and Miriam died, and was buried there.

While here, the people murmured for water They said, "Would God we had died when our brethren died before the Lord." They said it was no place of seed, or of figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates, and there was no water; that Moses had brought them out into the wilderness to kill them.

Then the Lord told Moses and Aaron to gather the people before a rock, which, when they spoke to it, should give forth water in the eyes of all the people. But Moses and Aaron were impatient; and when they had gathered the people together, they said, "Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?" "And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod, he smote the rock twice: and water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also."

 G. H. BELL.