"And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the congregation, saying, Get you up from about the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. And Moses rose up and went unto Dathan and Abiram; and the elders of Israel followed him. And he spake unto the congregation, saying, Depart, I
pray you, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest ye be consumed in all their sins. So they gat up from the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, on every side: and Dathan and Abiram came out, and stood in the door of their tents, and their wives, and their sons, and their little children. And Moses said, Hereby ye shall know that the Lord hath sent me to do all these works; for I have not done them of mine own mind. If these men die the common death of all men, or if they be visited after the visitation of all men, then the Lord hath not sent me. But if the Lord make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit; then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the Lord." As Moses ceased speaking, the earth opened, and their tents, and all that pertained unto them, were swallowed up. They went down alive into the pit, the earth closed over them, and they perished from among the congregation.
As the children of Israel heard the cry of the perishing ones, they fled a great distance from them. They knew that they were in a measure guilty, for they had received the accusations against Moses and Aaron, and they were afraid that they would also perish with them. But the judgement of God was not yet finished. A fire came from the cloud of glory and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense. These were princes; that is, men generally of good judgement and of influence in the congregation, men of renown. They were highly esteemed, and their judgement had often been sought in difficult matters. But they were affected by a wrong influence, and became envious, jealous, and rebellious. They perished not with Korah, Dathan, and Abiram because they were not the first in rebellion. They were first to see the end of the leaders in the rebellion, and have an opportunity to repent of their crime. But they were not reconciled to the destruction of those wicked men, and the wrath of God came upon them and destroyed them also.
"And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest, that he take up the
censers out of the burning, and scatter thou the fire yonder; for they are hallowed. The censers of these sinners against their own souls, let them make them broad plates for a covering of the altar: for they offered them before the Lord, therefore they are hallowed: and they shall be a sign unto the children of Israel."