Then the Presence of the Lord appeared to the whole community, and the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, "Stand back from this community that I may annihilate them in an instant!" But they fell on their faces and said, "O God, Source of the breath of all flesh! When one man sins, will You be wrathful with the whole community?"
The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to the community and say: Withdraw from about the abodes of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram." Moses rose and went to Dathan and Abiram, the elders of Israel following him. He addressed the community, saying, "Move away from the tents of these wicked men and touch nothing that belongs to them, lest you be wiped out for all their sins." So they withdrew from about the abodes of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. Now Dathan and Abiram had come out and they stood at the entrance of their tents, with their wives, their children, and their little ones.
And Moses said, "By this you shall know that it was the Lord who sent me to do all these things; that they are not of my own devising: if these men die as all men do, if their lot be the common fate of all mankind, it was not the Lord who sent me. But if the Lord brings about something unheard-of, so that the ground opens its mouth and swallows them up with all that belongs to them, and they go down alive into Sheol, you shall know that these men have spurned the Lord."
Scarcely had he finished speaking all these words when the ground under them burst asunder, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up with their households, all Korah's people and all their possessions. They went down alive into Sheol, with all that belonged to them; the earth closed over them and they vanished from the midst of the congregation. All Israel around them fled at their shrieks, for they said, "The earth might swallow us!" And a fire went forth from the Lord and consumed the two hundred and fifty men offering the incense.
The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Order Eleazar son of Aaron the priest to remove the fire pans--for they have become sacred--from among the charred remains; and scatter the coals abroad. [Remove] the fire pans of those who have sinned at the cost of their lives, and let them be made into hammered sheets as plating for the altar--for once they have been used for offering to the Lord, they have become sacred--and let them serve as a warning to the people of Israel. Eleazar the priest took the copper fire pans which had been used for offering by those who died in the fire; and they were hammered into plating for the altar, as the Lord had ordered him through Moses. It was to be a reminder to the Israelites, so that no outsider--one not of Aaron's offspring--should presume to offer incense before the Lord and suffer the fate of Korah and his band.
Next day the whole Israelite community railed against Moses and Aaron, saying, "You two have brought death upon the Lord's people!" But as the community gathered against them, Moses and Aaron turned toward the Tent of Meeting; the cloud had covered it and the Presence of the Lord appeared.