Saturday, August 6, 2016

Numbers 16

Verse 1 opens with a verb that has no object and requires one. I do not like the solution that puts 'and he took' at the end of the verse. It violates the principle of rest implied by the accent on Levi. So I am guessing that the verb used for take, receive, lay hold of, may allow a blunt objectless gloss that implies the whole chapter in one word: insubordination. (Or one could render consecutive vavs as both Dathan and Abiram - but this is to blame the incident on Korah alone.) What part of the character of the mutineers gives rise to the problem I think you can figure out. It's not uncommon for the unqualified to seek what looks like desirable influence and to gather around himself some equally supposedly influential collaborators.

I have highlighted what I think are some significant frames in the conversation and story.

Quarry is an odd gloss. It could be as simple as tradition suggests - put out, root out or the like. (One other time somewhere in Judges it may be used for this.) It's a place-holder for now. Again the word give (נתן) has a wide range, here rendered as yield.

Is it the land or the earth that develops the convenient sink-hole? I think it is land, that specific gift that God gives for our usage but whose ownership remains with God. The promised land is slighted by the chief spokespersons. They know how to insult.

Numbers 16
וַיִּקַּ֣ח קֹ֔רַח בֶּן־יִצְהָ֥ר בֶּן־קְהָ֖ת בֶּן־לֵוִ֑י
וְדָתָ֨ן וַאֲבִירָ֜ם בְּנֵ֧י אֱלִיאָ֛ב וְא֥וֹן בֶּן־פֶּ֖לֶת בְּנֵ֥י רְאוּבֵֽן
1 And he took, Korah child of Yitshar child of Kohath child of Levi,
and Dathan and Abiram, the children of Eliab and On child of Peleth, the children of Reuben,
14
22
וַיָּקֻ֙מוּ֙ לִפְנֵ֣י מֹשֶׁ֔ה וַאֲנָשִׁ֥ים מִבְּנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל חֲמִשִּׁ֣ים וּמָאתָ֑יִם
נְשִׂיאֵ֥י עֵדָ֛ה קְרִאֵ֥י מוֹעֵ֖ד אַנְשֵׁי־שֵֽׁם
2 And they arose before Moses with men among the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty,
principals of the assembly, acclaimed of appointment, men of renown.
24
13
וַיִּֽקָּהֲל֞וּ עַל־מֹשֶׁ֣ה וְעַֽל־אַהֲרֹ֗ן וַיֹּאמְר֣וּ אֲלֵהֶם֮ רַב־לָכֶם֒ כִּ֤י כָל־הָֽעֵדָה֙ כֻּלָּ֣ם קְדֹשִׁ֔ים וּבְתוֹכָ֖ם יְהוָ֑ה
וּמַדּ֥וּעַ תִּֽתְנַשְּׂא֖וּ עַל־קְהַ֥ל יְהוָֽה
3 And they convened against Moses and against Aaron and they said to them, Much is for yourselves, but all the assembly, all of them, are holy, and in their midst is Yahweh.
Why then do you lift yourselves up over the congregation of Yahweh.
37
12
וַיִּשְׁמַ֣ע מֹשֶׁ֔ה וַיִּפֹּ֖ל עַל־פָּנָֽיו 4 And Moses heard and he fell onto his face. 11
וַיְדַבֵּ֨ר אֶל־קֹ֜רַח וְאֶֽל־כָּל־עֲדָתוֹ֮ לֵאמֹר֒ בֹּ֠קֶר וְיֹדַ֨ע יְהוָ֧ה אֶת־אֲשֶׁר־ל֛וֹ וְאֶת־הַקָּד֖וֹשׁ וְהִקְרִ֣יב אֵלָ֑יו
וְאֵ֛ת אֲשֶׁ֥ר יִבְחַר־בּ֖וֹ יַקְרִ֥יב אֵלָֽיו
5 And he spoke to Korah and to all his assembly saying, Morning, and Yahweh will make known who is his and is the Holy, and the one who will approach him.
And whom he will choose in him, he will bring near to himself.
35
11
זֹ֖את עֲשׂ֑וּ
קְחוּ־לָכֶ֣ם מַחְתּ֔וֹת קֹ֖רַח וְכָל־עֲדָתֽוֹ
6 Do this:
take for yourselves the censers of Korah and all his assembly,
3
12
וּתְנ֣וּ בָהֵ֣ן ׀ אֵ֡שׁ וְשִׂימוּ֩ עֲלֵיהֶ֨ן קְטֹ֜רֶת לִפְנֵ֤י יְהוָה֙ מָחָ֔ר וְהָיָ֗ה הָאִ֛ישׁ אֲשֶׁר־יִבְחַ֥ר יְהוָ֖ה ה֣וּא הַקָּד֑וֹשׁ
רַב־לָכֶ֖ם בְּנֵ֥י לֵוִֽי
7 And yield in them fire, and set in them incense in the presence of Yahweh tomorrow, and it will be that the man whom Yahweh will choose, he is the Holy one.
Much is for yourselves, children of Levi.
35
7
וַיֹּ֥אמֶר מֹשֶׁ֖ה אֶל־קֹ֑רַח
שִׁמְעוּ־נָ֖א בְּנֵ֥י לֵוִֽי
8 And Moses said to Korah,
Hear if you will, children of Levi.
8
6
הַמְעַ֣ט מִכֶּ֗ם כִּֽי־הִבְדִּיל֩ אֱלֹהֵ֨י יִשְׂרָאֵ֤ל אֶתְכֶם֙ מֵעֲדַ֣ת יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל לְהַקְרִ֥יב אֶתְכֶ֖ם אֵלָ֑יו
לַעֲבֹ֗ד אֶת־עֲבֹדַת֙ מִשְׁכַּ֣ן יְהוָ֔ה וְלַעֲמֹ֛ד לִפְנֵ֥י הָעֵדָ֖ה לְשָׁרְתָֽם
9 Is it insignificant to you that the God of Israel has differentiated you from the assembly of Israel to bring near you to him,
to serve the service of the dwelling of Yahweh and to stand before the assembly to minister to them?
28
23
וַיַּקְרֵב֙ אֹֽתְךָ֔ וְאֶת־כָּל־אַחֶ֥יךָ בְנֵי־לֵוִ֖י אִתָּ֑ךְ
וּבִקַּשְׁתֶּ֖ם גַּם־כְּהֻנָּֽה
10 And he brings you near and all your kin, the children of Levi with you.
And you seek even the priesthood?
16
8
לָכֵ֗ן אַתָּה֙ וְכָל־עֲדָ֣תְךָ֔ הַנֹּעָדִ֖ים עַל־יְהוָ֑ה
וְאַהֲרֹ֣ן מַה־ה֔וּא כִּ֥י תַלִּ֖ינוּ עָלָֽיו
11 Therefore you and all your assembly are engaged against Yahweh.
And Aaron, who is he that you grumble against him?
16
12
וַיִּשְׁלַ֣ח מֹשֶׁ֔ה לִקְרֹ֛א לְדָתָ֥ן וְלַאֲבִירָ֖ם בְּנֵ֣י אֱלִיאָ֑ב
וַיֹּאמְר֖וּ לֹ֥א נַעֲלֶֽה
12 And Moses sent to call to Dathan and to Abiram the children of Eliab,
and they said, We will not come up.
20
7
הַמְעַ֗ט כִּ֤י הֶֽעֱלִיתָ֙נוּ֙ מֵאֶ֨רֶץ זָבַ֤ת חָלָב֙ וּדְבַ֔שׁ לַהֲמִיתֵ֖נוּ בַּמִּדְבָּ֑ר
כִּֽי־תִשְׂתָּרֵ֥ר עָלֵ֖ינוּ גַּם־הִשְׂתָּרֵֽר
13 Is it insignificant that you brought us up from a land gushing with milk and honey to have us die in the wilderness
so that you could have influence over us, even the ultimate influence?
25
11
אַ֡ף לֹ֣א אֶל־אֶרֶץ֩ זָבַ֨ת חָלָ֤ב וּדְבַשׁ֙ הֲבִ֣יאֹתָ֔נוּ וַתִּ֨תֶּן־לָ֔נוּ נַחֲלַ֖ת שָׂדֶ֣ה וָכָ֑רֶם
הַעֵינֵ֞י הָאֲנָשִׁ֥ים הָהֵ֛ם תְּנַקֵּ֖ר לֹ֥א נַעֲלֶֽה
14 But not to a land gushing with milk and honey have you brought us nor yielded us an inheritance of field or vineyard.
The eyes of these men will you quarry? We will not come up.
29
16
וַיִּ֤חַר לְמֹשֶׁה֙ מְאֹ֔ד וַיֹּ֙אמֶר֙ אֶל־יְהוָ֔ה אַל־תֵּ֖פֶן אֶל־מִנְחָתָ֑ם
לֹ֠א חֲמ֨וֹר אֶחָ֤ד מֵהֶם֙ נָשָׂ֔אתִי וְלֹ֥א הֲרֵעֹ֖תִי אֶת־אַחַ֥ד מֵהֶֽם
15 And Moses burned excessively, and he said to Yahweh, Do not prefer their gift.
Not one ass from them have I lifted up, nor have I hurt one of them.
21
21
וַיֹּ֤אמֶר מֹשֶׁה֙ אֶל־קֹ֔רַח אַתָּה֙ וְכָל־עֲדָ֣תְךָ֔ הֱי֖וּ לִפְנֵ֣י יְהוָ֑ה
אַתָּ֥ה וָהֵ֛ם וְאַהֲרֹ֖ן מָחָֽר
16 And Moses said to Korah, You and all your assembly be before Yahweh,
You and they and Aaron tomorrow.
21
10
וּקְח֣וּ ׀ אִ֣ישׁ מַחְתָּת֗וֹ וּנְתַתֶּ֤ם עֲלֵיהֶם֙ קְטֹ֔רֶת וְהִקְרַבְתֶּ֞ם לִפְנֵ֤י יְהוָה֙ אִ֣ישׁ מַחְתָּת֔וֹ חֲמִשִּׁ֥ים וּמָאתַ֖יִם מַחְתֹּ֑ת
וְאַתָּ֥ה וְאַהֲרֹ֖ן אִ֥ישׁ מַחְתָּתֽוֹ
17 And take each his censer and you yield on them incense and have them brought near before Yahweh, each his censer, two hundred and fifty censers,
and you and Aaron each his censer.
35
11
וַיִּקְח֞וּ אִ֣ישׁ מַחְתָּת֗וֹ וַיִּתְּנ֤וּ עֲלֵיהֶם֙ אֵ֔שׁ וַיָּשִׂ֥ימוּ עֲלֵיהֶ֖ם קְטֹ֑רֶת
וַֽיַּעַמְד֗וּ פֶּ֛תַח אֹ֥הֶל מוֹעֵ֖ד וּמֹשֶׁ֥ה וְאַהֲרֹֽן
18 And they took each his censer and yielded on them fire so they might set up on them incense,
and they stood at the door of the tent of engagement, and Moses and Aaron.
24
17
וַיַּקְהֵ֨ל עֲלֵיהֶ֥ם קֹ֙רַח֙ אֶת־כָּל־הָ֣עֵדָ֔ה אֶל־פֶּ֖תַח אֹ֣הֶל מוֹעֵ֑ד
וַיֵּרָ֥א כְבוֹד־יְהוָ֖ה אֶל־כָּל־הָעֵדָֽה
19 And Korah convened against them all the assembly, to the door of the tent of engagement,
and the glory of Yahweh appeared to all the assembly.
20
12
וַיְדַבֵּ֣ר יְהוָ֔ה אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֥ה וְאֶֽל־אַהֲרֹ֖ן לֵאמֹֽר 20 And Yahweh spoke to Moses and to Aaron saying, 15
הִבָּ֣דְל֔וּ מִתּ֖וֹךְ הָעֵדָ֣ה הַזֹּ֑את
וַאַכַלֶּ֥ה אֹתָ֖ם כְּרָֽגַע
21 You be differentiated from the midst of this assembly,
so I may devour them in a moment.
10
9
וַיִּפְּל֤וּ עַל־פְּנֵיהֶם֙ וַיֹּ֣אמְר֔וּ אֵ֕ל אֱלֹהֵ֥י הָרוּחֹ֖ת לְכָל־בָּשָׂ֑ר
הָאִ֤ישׁ אֶחָד֙ יֶחֱטָ֔א וְעַ֥ל כָּל־הָעֵדָ֖ה תִּקְצֹֽף
22 And they fell onto their faces and they said to the God of the spirits belonging to all flesh,
Will one person sin and over all the assembly will you be enraged?
21
15
וַיְדַבֵּ֥ר יְהוָ֖ה אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֥ה לֵּאמֹֽר 23 And Yahweh spoke to Moses saying, 10
דַּבֵּ֥ר אֶל־הָעֵדָ֖ה לֵאמֹ֑ר
הֵֽעָלוּ֙ מִסָּבִ֔יב לְמִשְׁכַּן־קֹ֖רַח דָּתָ֥ן וַאֲבִירָֽם
24 Speak to the assembly saying,
Get yourselves up from around the dwelling of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.
8
17
וַיָּ֣קָם מֹשֶׁ֔ה וַיֵּ֖לֶךְ אֶל־דָּתָ֣ן וַאֲבִירָ֑ם
וַיֵּלְכ֥וּ אַחֲרָ֖יו זִקְנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל
25 And Moses arose and went to Dathan and Abiram,
and after him went the elders of Israel.
15
11
וַיְדַבֵּ֨ר אֶל־הָעֵדָ֜ה לֵאמֹ֗ר ס֣וּרוּ נָ֡א מֵעַל֩ אָהֳלֵ֨י הָאֲנָשִׁ֤ים הָֽרְשָׁעִים֙ הָאֵ֔לֶּה וְאַֽל־תִּגְּע֖וּ בְּכָל־אֲשֶׁ֣ר לָהֶ֑ם
פֶּן־תִּסָּפ֖וּ בְּכָל־חַטֹּאתָֽם
26 And he spoke to the assembly saying, Depart if you will from the tents of these wicked men and not do touch all that is theirs,
lest you be added in all their sin.
37
9
וַיֵּעָל֗וּ מֵעַ֧ל מִשְׁכַּן־קֹ֛רֶח‬ דָּתָ֥ן וַאֲבִירָ֖ם מִסָּבִ֑יב
וְדָתָ֨ן וַאֲבִירָ֜ם יָצְא֣וּ נִצָּבִ֗ים פֶּ֚תַח אָֽהֳלֵיהֶ֔ם וּנְשֵׁיהֶ֥ם וּבְנֵיהֶ֖ם וְטַפָּֽם
27 And they came up from the dwelling of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram from every side.
And Dathan and Abiram emerged and stood firm at the door of their tents, and their wives and their children and their little ones.
19
27
וַיֹּאמֶר֮ מֹשֶׁה֒ בְּזֹאת֙ תֵּֽדְע֔וּן כִּֽי־יְהוָ֣ה שְׁלָחַ֔נִי לַעֲשׂ֕וֹת אֵ֥ת כָּל־הַֽמַּעֲשִׂ֖ים הָאֵ֑לֶּה
כִּי־לֹ֖א מִלִּבִּֽי
28 And Moses said, In this you will know that Yahweh sent me to do all these deeds,
that they are not from my heart.
29
4
אִם־כְּמ֤וֹת כָּל־הָֽאָדָם֙ יְמֻת֣וּן אֵ֔לֶּה וּפְקֻדַּת֙ כָּל־הָ֣אָדָ֔ם יִפָּקֵ֖ד עֲלֵיהֶ֑ם
לֹ֥א יְהוָ֖ה שְׁלָחָֽנִי
29 If as death for every human, these die, or the visitation of every human is visited on them,
Yahweh has not sent me.
25
7
וְאִם־בְּרִיאָ֞ה יִבְרָ֣א יְהוָ֗ה וּפָצְתָ֨ה הָאֲדָמָ֤ה אֶת־פִּ֙יהָ֙ וּבָלְעָ֤ה אֹתָם֙ וְאֶת־כָּל־אֲשֶׁ֣ר לָהֶ֔ם וְיָרְד֥וּ חַיִּ֖ים שְׁאֹ֑לָה
וִֽידַעְתֶּ֕ם כִּ֧י נִֽאֲצ֛וּ הָאֲנָשִׁ֥ים הָאֵ֖לֶּה אֶת־יְהוָֽה
30 But if Yahweh is creating creation and the ground gapes her mouth to swallow them up and all that is theirs and they descend living, to Sheol,
then you will know that these mortals spurned Yahweh.
39
17
וַיְהִי֙ כְּכַלֹּת֔וֹ לְדַבֵּ֕ר אֵ֥ת כָּל־הַדְּבָרִ֖ים הָאֵ֑לֶּה
וַתִּבָּקַ֥ע הָאֲדָמָ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר תַּחְתֵּיהֶֽם
31 And it happened as he finished speaking all these words,
that the ground split that was under them.
17
13
וַתִּפְתַּ֤ח הָאָ֙רֶץ֙ אֶת־פִּ֔יהָ וַתִּבְלַ֥ע אֹתָ֖ם וְאֶת־בָּתֵּיהֶ֑ם
וְאֵ֤ת כָּל־הָאָדָם֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר לְקֹ֔רַח וְאֵ֖ת כָּל־הָרֲכֽוּשׁ
32 And the land opened her mouth and swallowed them and their houses,
and every earthling that was of Korah and all the property.
19
17
וַיֵּ֨רְד֜וּ הֵ֣ם וְכָל־אֲשֶׁ֥ר לָהֶ֛ם חַיִּ֖ים שְׁאֹ֑לָה
וַתְּכַ֤ס עֲלֵיהֶם֙ הָאָ֔רֶץ וַיֹּאבְד֖וּ מִתּ֥וֹךְ הַקָּהָֽל
33 And they descended, they and all that was theirs, living, to Sheol.
And the land covered them over and they perished from the midst of the congregation.
15
16
וְכָל־יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל אֲשֶׁ֛ר סְבִיבֹתֵיהֶ֖ם נָ֣סוּ לְקֹלָ֑ם
כִּ֣י אָֽמְר֔וּ פֶּן־תִּבְלָעֵ֖נוּ הָאָֽרֶץ
34 And all Israel who were round about them withdrew at their voice,
for they said, Lest the land swallow us.
17
11
וְאֵ֥שׁ יָצְאָ֖ה מֵאֵ֣ת יְהוָ֑ה
וַתֹּ֗אכַל אֵ֣ת הַחֲמִשִּׁ֤ים וּמָאתַ֙יִם֙ אִ֔ישׁ מַקְרִיבֵ֖י הַקְּטֹֽרֶת
35 And fire came forth from Yahweh.
And it devoured the two hundred and fifty persons bringing near the incense.
8
18


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