Targum Jonathan on Numbers

Week 38

Chapters 16:1-18:32


Chapter 16


But Korach bar Tizhar bar Kehath, bar Levi, with Dathan and Abiram the sons of Eliab, and On bar Peleth, of the Beni-Reuben, took his robe which was all of hyacinth,

and rose up boldly, and in the face of Mosheh appointed a (different) observance in the matter of the hyacinth. Mosheh had said, I have heard from the mouth of the Holy One, whose Name be Blessed, that the fringes are to be of white, with one filament of hyacinth; O but Korach and his companions made garments with their fringes altogether of hyacinth, which Yahuah had not commanded; and two hundred and fifty men of the sons of Israel, who had been made leaders of the congregation at the time when the journeys and encampments were appointed, by expression of their names, supported him.

And they gathered together against Mosheh and Aharon, and said to them: Let the authority you have (hitherto had) suffice you, for all the congregation are holy, and Yahuah’s Shekinah dwelleth among them; and why should you be magnified over the church of Yahuah?

And Mosheh heard, as if every one of them was jealous of his wife, and would have them drink of the trial-water on account of Mosheh; and he fell on his face for shame.

And he spake with Korach and all the company who supported him, saying: In the morning Yahuah will make known him whom He hath approved, and hath consecrated to approach unto His service, and who it hath pleased Him should come nigh in ministering, unto Him.

Do this: Let Korach and all the company of his helpers take censers,

put fire in them, and lay incense upon them before Yahuah, tomorrow; and the man whom Yahuah shall make known, he it is who is consecrated. Let it suffice to you, sons of Levi.

And Mosheh said to Korach and his kindred: Hear now, ye sons of Levi:

Is it too little For you that the Elohim of Israel hath set you apart from the congregation of Israel to draw near to do His service to fulfil the ministry of Yahuah’s tabernacle, and to stand before the congregation to minister to them?

But so hath he brought nigh thee and all the sons of Levi with thee and now do ye demand the high-priesthood also?

Therefore art thou and all the company of thy helpers gathered together against the Word of Yahuah: and Aharon, what is he, that you murmur against him?

And Mosheh sent men to summon Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, to the house of the great judgment; but they said, We will not come up.

Is it a little thing, that thou hast brought us from Mizraim, a land that produceth milk and honey, to kill us in the wilderness, that ruling thou mayest domineer over us?

Neither hast thou brought us into the land producing milk and honey to give us an inheritance of fields and vineyards. Wilt thou blind the eyes of the men of that land, that thou mayest overcome them? We shall not go up thither.

And Mosheh was very wroth, and said before Yahuah: I beseech thee, look not upon their offering, the portion of their hands; for not an ass have I taken from one of them, nor to any of them done an injury,

And Mosheh said to Korach, Thou, and all the company of thy helpers, come together to the house of judgment before Yahuah tomorrow, thou, they, and Aharon.

And take every one his censer, and put incense upon them; and let each offer his censer before Yahuah, two hundred and fifty censers; thou also, and Aharon, each man his censer.

And they took every one his censer, and put fire in them and sweet incense with it, and stood at the door of the tabernacle of ordinance on one side; but Mosheh and Aharon on the other side.

And Korach gathered to them the whole congregation at the door of the tabernacle. And he had brought forth, from his riches, two treasures which he had found among the treasures of Joseph filled with silver and gold, and sought with them to drive the riches of Mosheh and Aharon out of the world; but the glory of Yahuah revealed itself to all the congregation.

And Yahuah spake with Mosheh and Aharon, saying:

Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may destroy them quickly.

But they bowed down upon their faces in prayer, and said: El Eloha, who hast put the spirit of life in the bodies of the children of men, and from whom is given the spirit of all flesh, – if one man hath sinned, wilt Thou be angry with all the congregation

And Yahuah spake with Mosheh, saying:

I have accepted thy prayer for the congregation. Now speak thou with them, saying: Remove away from the tents of Korach, Dathan, and Abiram.

And Mosheh arose, and went to remonstrate with Dathan and Abiram; and the elders of Israel followed.

And he said to the congregation, Remove now away from the tents of these men of sin, who have been worthy of death from (the days of) their youth in Mizraim, for they betrayed my secret when I slew the Mizraite; they provoked Yahuah at the sea; at Alush they profaned the Sabbath, and now are they gathered together against the Word of Yahuah; and therefore is it fit that their wealth should be scattered abroad and destroyed. Touch not, then, anything that is theirs, nor be smitten on account of their sins.

And they went apart from the tents of Korach, Dathan, and Abiram round about. But Dathan and Abiram came out, with reviling words, and arose and provoked Mosheh at the door of their tents, with their wives, their sons, and their little ones.

And Mosheh said, By this you shall know that Yahuah hath sent me to do all these works, and that (I do them) not from the thoughts of my heart.

If these men die after the manner of dying in which all men die, and the (common) account of all men be accounted upon them, Yahuah hath not sent me.

But if a death which hath not been created since the days of the world be now created for them, and if a mouth for the earth, which hath not been made from the beginning, be created now, and the earth open her mouth and swallow them and all they have, and they go down alive into Sheol, you will understand that these men have provoked Yahuah to anger.

And it came to pass, when he had finished speaking these words, the earth beneath them clave asunder;

and the earth opened her mouth and swallowed them up, and the men of their houses, and all the men who adhered to Korach, and all their substance.

And they went down with all that they had alive into Sheol; and the earth closed upon them, and they perished from the midst of the congregation.

And all Israel who were round about them fled from the terror of their voice, as they cried and said, Righteous is Yahuah, and His judgment is truth, and the words of His servant Mosheh are truth; but we are wicked who have rebelled against him: and the children of Israel fled when they heard; for they said, Lest the earth swallow us up.

And a fire came out in wrath from before Yahuah, and devoured the two hundred and fifty men who offered the incense.


Chapter 17


And Yahuah spake with Mosheh, saying:

Bid Elazar bar Aharon the priest to take away the censers from among the burnings, and scatter the fire hither and thither; for the censers of these guilty men who have been punished by the destruction of their lives are consecrated;

and make of them broad plates for the covering of the altar, because they bare them before Yahuah, therefore they are consecrate; and they shall be for a sign to the children of Israel.

And Elazar the priest took the brasen censers which they who had been burned had carried, and beat them out for a covering for the body of the altar, as they had before used them for the service of the altar:

for a memorial to the sons of Israel, that no common man, who is not of the sons of Aharon, may offer incense before Yahuah; and that no man should behave himself factiously to obtain the priesthood, as did Korach and the company of his helpers; and whose end would be to perish, not (indeed) with a death like that of Korach and his company, by being burned by fire, and being swallowed up by the earth, but punished with leprosy: as when Yahuah said to Mosheh, Put thy hand into thy bosom, and his hand was stricken with leprosy; so would it be with him.

But on the following day the whole congregation murmured against Mosheh and Aharon, saying: You have been the occasion of the judgment of death against the people of Yahuah.

And it was, that when the congregation had gathered against Mosheh and Aharon to kill them, they looked towards the Tabernacle of Ordinance, and, behold, the Cloud of the Glory of the Shekinah covered it, and the Glory of Yahuah was revealed there.

And Mosheh and Aharon went from the congregation to the door of the tabernacle.

And Yahuah spake with Mosheh, saying:

Separate from the midst of this congregation, and I will consume them at once. But they bowed themselves on their faces in prayer.

And Mosheh said to Aharon, Take the censer, put fire in it from the altar, and sweet incense on the fire; bear it quickly into the congregation, and make atonement for them: for a destruction like that which consumed them in Horeb, whose name is Burning, hath begun by commandment to kill, from the presence of Yahuah.

And Aharon took, as Mosheh had said, and ran into the midst of the congregation, and, behold the destructive burning had begun to destroy the people: but he put on incense, and made atonement for the people.

And Aharon stood in the midst, between the dead and the living with the censer, and interceded in prayer; and the plague was restrained.

But the number who had died by the plague was fourteeen thousand and seven hundred, beside those who had died in the schism of Korach.

And Aharon returned to Mosheh at the door of the tabernacle; and the plague was stayed.

And Yahuah spake with Mosheh, saying:

Speak with the sons of Israel, and take of them severally a rod, according to the house of their fathers; twelve rods; and upon each rod thou shalt inscribe its (tribe) name.

But on the rod of Levi thou shalt write the name of Aharon: for there is but one rod for each head of their father’s house.

And thou shalt lay them up in the tabernacle before the testimony, where My Word is appointed to meet you.

And the man whose rod germinateth shall be he whom I approve to minister before Me; and I will make the murmurings of the sons of Israel with which they have murmured against you to cease from Me.

Mosheh spake, therefore, with the sons of Israel, and the chiefs of them gave him severally their rods, according to the house of their fathers, twelve rods; and Aharon’s rod was among theirs.

And Mosheh laid up the rods before Yahuah in the tabernacle of ordinance.

And it came to pass, the day after, when Mosheh went into the tabernacle of the testimony, that, behold, the rod of Aharon had germinated; it had shot forth branches, blossomed with flowers, and, in the same night, produced and ripened almonds.

And Mosheh brought out all the rods from before Yahuah to all the sons of Israel, who recognised and took severally their rods.

And Yahuah said to Mosheh, Take back the rod of Aharon, before the testimony, to be kept for a sign for the rebellious children, that their murmurings may cease from before Me, lest they die.

And Mosheh did so; as Yahuah commanded so did he.

And the sons of Israel spake with Mosheh, saying: Behold, some of us have been consumed with the flaming fire; some of us have been swallowed up by the earth, and have perished! Behold, we are accounted as if all of us are to be destroyed.

Any one who approaches the tabernacle must die: are we not doomed to destruction?


Chapter 18


And Yahuah said unto Aharon, Thou, and thy sons, and the house of thy fathers with thee, shall bear the iniquity of the consecrated things, when you nave not been heedful in offering them; and thou and thy sons with thee shall bear the iniquity of your priesthood, when you have not been heedful of their separations.

And thy brethren also of the tribe of Levi, who are called by the name of Amram thy father, shalt thou bring near to thee, that they may consociate with and minister to thee. But thou, and thy sons with thee, (only) shall stand before the tabernacle of the testimony.

And they shall keep thy charge, and have charge of all the tabernacle; yet to the vessels of the sanctuary and to the altar they are not to come near, lest both they and you die.

And they shall have appointment from thee without, and keep charge of the tabernacle of ordinance for all its service; and a stranger shall not come near you.

And you shall keep the charge of the sanctuary and of the altar, that there may be no more the wrath that hath been upon the children of Israel.

And, behold, I have taken your brethren the Levites from among the sons of Israel; to you they are given, a gift before Yahuah, to perform the work of the tabernacle of ordinance.

But thou, and thy sons with thee, shall keep the charge of your priesthood in all things that pertain to the altar, and (those) within the veil, and shall minister by lots, according to the service. So, provision of food have I given you, on account of the anointing of your priesthood; and the stranger who cometh near shall die.

And Yahuah said to Aharon, And I have been pleased to give you the charge of My separated offerings; the cakes of the firstfruits, and all the consecrated things of the children of Israel, to thee have I given them, on account of the anointing, and to thy sons, by an everlasting statute.

They shall be to thee most sacred; whatsoever remaineth of the sheep offered by fire, all their oblations, of all their minchas, of all their sin offerings, and of all their trespass offerings which they present before Me, they are most sacred for thee and for thy sons.

Thou mayest eat it in the sanctuary; every male may eat thereof; on account of the holy anointing it shall be thine.

And this is what I have set apart to thee of their separated minchas, and of all the uplifted things of the sons of Israel, to thee have I given them, and to thy sons and thy daughters with thee by an everlasting statute. Whoever is clean in thy house may eat of it.

All the best of the olive oil, of the grape wine, and of the wheat of their firstfruits which they present before Yahuah, I have given unto thee.

The firsts of all the trees of their ground which they present before Yahuah shall be thine; every one who is clean in thy house may eat them.

Every devoted thing in Israel shall be thine.

Whatever openeth the womb, of all flesh among animals which they offer before Yahuah, as the regulation concerning men, so the regulation concerning cattle, it is to be thine: only thou art to redeem the firstborn of man by the five shekels, and the firstlings of the unclean animal thou shalt redeem with lambs.

And the redemption of a man child of a month old thou shalt make, according to thy estimation of him, by five shekels of silver in the shekel of the sanctuary, which is twenty meahs.

But the firstlings of oxen, of sheep, or of goats thou mayest not redeem, for they are sacred; but thou shalt sprinkle their blood upon the altar, and burn their fat for an oblation to be accepted before, Yahuah.

And their flesh shall be thine, for food; as the breast of the elevation, and as the right shoulder, it shall be thine.

Every thing set apart of the sacred things which the sons of Israel consecrate to Yahuah have I given to thee, to thy sons and thy daughters with thee, by a perpetual statute not to be abolished; as the salt which seasoneth the flesh of the oblation, because it is an everlasting statute before Yahuah, so shall it be for thee and for thy children.

And Yahuah said to Aharon, Thou wilt not receive a possession in their land as the rest of the tribes, nor wilt thou have a portion among them: I am thy Portion and thy Inheritance in the midst of the children of Israel.

And, behold, I have given to the sons of Levi all the tenths in Israel for a possession, on account of their service with which they serve in the work of the tabernacle of ordinance.

And the sons of Israel shall no more come near the tabernacle to incur the sin unto death;

but the Levites shall minister in the work of the tabernacle, and shall bear their sin if they be not diligent in their work. It is an everlasting statute for your generations; but among the sons of Israel they shall have no possession.

Therefore the tenths of the children of Israel, which they set apart for a separation before Yahuah, have I given to the Levites for a possession, because I have said to them that among the sons of Israel they shall possess no inheritance.

And Yahuah spake with Mosheh, saying:

Speak to the Levites, and bid them take from the sons of Israel the tenth which I have given them for their possession; and (then) shall you separate from it a separation before Yahuah, a tenth from the tenth;

and your separation shall be reckoned to you as the corn from the threshing floor, and as the wine from the fulness of the winepress:

so shall you set apart your separation before Yahuah from all your tenths, which you may receive from the sons of Israel, and give thereof a separation before Yahuah unto Aharon the priest.

Of all your gifts you shall set apart a separation before Yahuah, of all the finest and the best therein.

And say thou to the priests, When you have set apart the finest and the best of it and in it, then shall it be reckoned to the Levites as the setting apart of corn from the threshing floor, and of wine from the winepress.

And you may eat it, you, the priests, in any place, you and the men of your house; for it is your remuneration for your service in the tabernacle of ordinance.

And you shall not contract guilt by it, at what time you set apart the finest and best of it, by any one eating of it who is unclean; neither shall you profane the consecrated things of the children of Israel, lest you die.