Numbers 16:39

39 So Eleazar the priest collected the 250 bronze incense burners that had been used by the men who died in the fire, and the bronze was hammered into a thin sheet to overlay the altar.

Numbers 16:39 Meaning and Commentary

Numbers 16:39

And Eleazar the priest took the brazen censers
The metal of which these censers were made is particularly observed, to show that they were fit for the use they were ordered to be put unto, namely, for a covering of the altar of burnt offering, which was covered with brass, that being very suitable, since fire was continually burning on it; and by this it appears that these censers were different from those of Aaron and his sons, for theirs were silver ones; the high priest on the day of atonement indeed made use of golden one, but at all other times he used a silver one F2; and so did the common priests every day, morning and night, when they offered incense F3,

wherewith they that were burnt had offered;
the two hundred fifty men burnt with fire from the Lord, having offered incense to him with the brazen censers:

and they were made broad [plates for] a covering of the altar;
not by Eleazar, but by workmen skilled in the art of drawing or beating any kind of metal into thin plates, by the direction and order of Eleazar.


FOOTNOTES:

F2 Misn. Yoma, c. 4. sect. 4.
F3 Misn. Tamid, c. 5. sect. 5.

Numbers 16:39 In-Context

37 “Tell Eleazar son of Aaron the priest to pull all the incense burners from the fire, for they are holy. Also tell him to scatter the burning coals.
38 Take the incense burners of these men who have sinned at the cost of their lives, and hammer the metal into a thin sheet to overlay the altar. Since these burners were used in the LORD ’s presence, they have become holy. Let them serve as a warning to the people of Israel.”
39 So Eleazar the priest collected the 250 bronze incense burners that had been used by the men who died in the fire, and the bronze was hammered into a thin sheet to overlay the altar.
40 This would warn the Israelites that no unauthorized person—no one who was not a descendant of Aaron—should ever enter the LORD ’s presence to burn incense. If anyone did, the same thing would happen to him as happened to Korah and his followers. So the LORD ’s instructions to Moses were carried out.
41 But the very next morning the whole community of Israel began muttering again against Moses and Aaron, saying, “You have killed the LORD ’s people!”