But when the assembly gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron and turned toward the Tent of Meeting, suddenly the cloud covered it and the glory of the LORD appeared.
Then Moses and Aaron went to the front of the Tent of Meeting,
and the LORD said to Moses,
"Get away from this assembly so I can put an end to them at once." And they fell facedown.
Then Moses said to Aaron, "Take your censer and put incense in it, along with fire from the altar, and hurry to the assembly to make atonement for them. Wrath has come out from the LORD; the plague has started."
So Aaron did as Moses said, and ran into the midst of the assembly. The plague had already started among the people, but Aaron offered the incense and made atonement for them.
He stood between the living and the dead, and the plague stopped.
But 14,700 people died from the plague, in addition to those who had died because of Korah.
Then Aaron returned to Moses at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting, for the plague had stopped.
The LORD said to Moses,
"Speak to the Israelites and get twelve staffs from them, one from the leader of each of their ancestral tribes. Write the name of each man on his staff.
On the staff of Levi write Aaron's name, for there must be one staff for the head of each ancestral tribe.
Place them in the Tent of Meeting in front of the Testimony, where I meet with you.
The staff belonging to the man I choose will sprout, and I will rid myself of this constant grumbling against you by the Israelites."
So Moses spoke to the Israelites, and their leaders gave him twelve staffs, one for the leader of each of their ancestral tribes, and Aaron's staff was among them.
Moses placed the staffs before the LORD in the Tent of the Testimony.
The next day Moses entered the Tent of the Testimony and saw that Aaron's staff, which represented the house of Levi, had not only sprouted but had budded, blossomed and produced almonds.
Then Moses brought out all the staffs from the LORD's presence to all the Israelites. They looked at them, and each man took his own staff.
The LORD said to Moses, "Put back Aaron's staff in front of the Testimony, to be kept as a sign to the rebellious. This will put an end to their grumbling against me, so that they will not die."
Moses did just as the LORD commanded him.
The Israelites said to Moses, "We will die! We are lost, we are all lost!
Anyone who even comes near the tabernacle of the LORD will die. Are we all going to die?"
The LORD said to Aaron, "You, your sons and your father's family are to bear the responsibility for offenses against the sanctuary, and you and your sons alone are to bear the responsibility for offenses against the priesthood.
Bring your fellow Levites from your ancestral tribe to join you and assist you when you and your sons minister before the Tent of the Testimony.
They are to be responsible to you and are to perform all the duties of the Tent, but they must not go near the furnishings of the sanctuary or the altar, or both they and you will die.
They are to join you and be responsible for the care of the Tent of Meeting--all the work at the Tent--and no one else may come near where you are.
"You are to be responsible for the care of the sanctuary and the altar, so that wrath will not fall on the Israelites again.
I myself have selected your fellow Levites from among the Israelites as a gift to you, dedicated to the LORD to do the work at the Tent of Meeting.
But only you and your sons may serve as priests in connection with everything at the altar and inside the curtain. I am giving you the service of the priesthood as a gift. Anyone else who comes near the sanctuary must be put to death."
Then the LORD said to Aaron, "I myself have put you in charge of the offerings presented to me; all the holy offerings the Israelites give me I give to you and your sons as your portion and regular share.
You are to have the part of the most holy offerings that is kept from the fire. From all the gifts they bring me as most holy offerings, whether grain or sin or guilt offerings, that part belongs to you and your sons.
Eat it as something most holy; every male shall eat it. You must regard it as holy.
"This also is yours: whatever is set aside from the gifts of all the wave offerings of the Israelites. I give this to you and your sons and daughters as your regular share. Everyone in your household who is ceremonially clean may eat it.
"I give you all the finest olive oil and all the finest new wine and grain they give the LORD as the firstfruits of their harvest.
All the land's firstfruits that they bring to the LORD will be yours. Everyone in your household who is ceremonially clean may eat it.
"Everything in Israel that is devoted to the LORD is yours.
The first offspring of every womb, both man and animal, that is offered to the LORD is yours. But you must redeem every firstborn son and every firstborn male of unclean animals.
When they are a month old, you must redeem them at the redemption price set at five shekels of silver, according to the sanctuary shekel, which weighs twenty gerahs.
"But you must not redeem the firstborn of an ox, a sheep or a goat; they are holy. Sprinkle their blood on the altar and burn their fat as an offering made by fire, an aroma pleasing to the LORD.