Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Burden of Kohathites - A carry load of a foot soldier.

In many of my previous posts I have stated,  that a reasonable estimate of a maximum carry load that a relatively physically fit man can carry for long distances - is about ~23kg. However, I think it would be best for me to elaborate a little bit and provide you with a sources of such information.

The following quote is from a military bulletin, that is called "Comparative studies of the field equipment of the foot soldier of the french and foreign armies" by Commandant LAVISSE (January 1, 1906, Stanford): 
What is the maximum limit which the weight of the foot soldier should not exceed?

Quite interesting experiments in this line have been made in Germany.

In the month of April, 1894, on the formal invitation of the military authorities, the medical students of the Frederick-William Institute put on the uniform, carried the campaign load of the German foot soldier, and executed a series of marches with the idea of studying the limit of resistance of the human body amid the fatigues of war.

The marches undertaken by these medical students varied from 24 to 75 kilometers. They were executed under varying conditions of temperature, and with loads of from 22 to 31 kilograms.

The conclusions drawn from this series of experiments were the following: When the load of the foot soldier is moderate, not exceeding 22 kilograms, a march of from 25 to 28 kilometers, under mean temperature conditions, has no ill effect on the health of the soldier, and he maintains his muscular activity.

A similar march, but under conditions of great heat, causes a slight disturbance of the organs—abundant perspiration, precipitate beating of the pulse, too rapid respiration, abnormal circulation of the blood. These symptoms are not grave, disappear after a few hours of rest, and do not diminish in any way the power of resistance to fatigue during the following days.

A weight of 27 kilograms carried during marches of from 22 to 28 kilometers, executed in favorable weather, is also easily borne by the soldier, and does no injury to his health. But this same load carried during very warm weather causes in the human body perturbations, the injurious influence of which makes itself felt afterwards.

The weight of 27 kilogram must then be considered as the maximum with which the average soldier can be loaded during marches of from 25 to 28 kilometers executed in summer.

As to the load of 31 kilograms, it has a bad effect on the physique of the man, even during average marches and cool temperatures.

In the matter of training to support the campaign load, it may be remarked that a light weight of 22 kilograms is no longer fatiguing at the end of a few days of practice, while that of 31 kilograms never ceases, even after a long series of marches, to cause a gradual enfeeblement of physical endurance.
So, as you can see, that even though the Kohathites were to carry their burden upon their shoulders, a ~22-23kg weight (which is considerate a moderate weight) would be highly justified and a reasonable one. And even if we would take in the account all specific details about the transportation of their burden, including the fact that they would have to carry their burden under high temperature conditions of the desert, such carry weight would still be reasonable and justified.

Here are some other books that you might want to check out, that mention similar numbers, as well as provide some additional information on the subject:

And here is a relatively modern book on the subject (2005):

 And of'course, you can find many other books on the same subject in My Google Library or on the Internet.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Several articles related to the Transportation of The Mishkan

It has been long time since I have been adding any articles to my blog, so here it is - five more interesting articles, related to the Transportation of the Mishkan.

The articles bellow describe different nuances of the capabilities, handling and care of the bovines. This information is very useful, especially when one is trying to figure out the design and carrying capabilities of the Covered Wagons, that were used to transport the Mishkan parts.

  1. Building an Ox Yoke
  2. Dairy Cow Comfort - Free-stall Dimensions
  3. Oxen Logging
  4. Modernization of Draught Animal Power
  5. Estimating Ox-Drawn Implement Draft
Take you time to read them all, and I'm sure that you will learn something new.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Review of the Transportation of the Copper Laver, The Altar of Burnt Offering and the Service Utensils of the Tabernacle

The Transportation Copper Laver is one of several problems that cannot be solved without properly and simultaneously analyzing all of the parts and artefacts of the Mishkan. This is where my Mishkan Calculator become an indispensable tool, that helps to solve this problem. 

If you remember, the original text does not provide any explicit directions as to how the Copper Laver was transported. Therefore, one would have to rely on implicit clues in the text, as well as the weight calculations that would confirm or reject a particular assumption.

Since the Copper Laver was considered a Holy artefact (Ex. 30:28-29) because it had been anointed with the Holy Anointing Oil, it could not have been transported independently from the rest of the parts of the Mishkan. Moreover, there are only three possibilities as to whom could transport the Laver:

  1. By Kohathites, together with the Altar of Burnt Offering
  2. By Merarites, together with all the Frame Parts of the Tabernacle.
  3. By Kohathites, together with the Vessels of the Sanctuary (Service Utensils)
I'm still pretty certain, that the Laver could not have been transported by Merarites because just like the Gershonites and by implication, they were only responsible for Framework of the Tabernacle(Num. 3:24-37). None of the stand-alone artefacts of the Mishkan are mentioned in the description of their burden.

Therefore, my first assumption was that the Copper Laver would be transported by Kohathites, together with the Altar of Burnt Offerng. My reasoning was such:
  1. The Copper Laver is almost always mentioned together with the Altar of Burnt Offering (i.e Ex. 30:18; 30:28; 31:9 e.t.c)
  2. The Copper Laver was made out the same metal as the Altar of Burnt Offering - Copper.
These reasons were satisfactory to me to make the above stated assumption, and since I could not verify the weight of the Altar of Burnt Offering (together with the Laver) at the time, I've had no other choice but to stop looking any further into this matter.

However, once I have got the calculator up and running, the results of the calculations have shown me a completely different picture...

According to my calculator and some clues from the text, the Altar of Burnt Offering would have to weigh no more than ~100kg in order for it to be light enough for the 4 men to carry for long distances. Also, from Ex. 38:29-31 we know that the total donations of Copper were 70 Talents and 2400 Shekels, or 70.8 Talents.
By implication from Ex. 38:27, we can deduce that each of the Copper Sockets of the Mishkan weighted 1 Talent of Copper. And by subtracting the total of 65 Talents(60 Courtyard Sockets+5 Tent Door Pillars Sockets), we are left with 5.8 Talents of Copper.

By implication from Ex. 38:28, we can also deduce that 2400 Shekels(0.8 Talents) of Copper were used up to make the Copper Pins(Stakes) for the Tent and for the Courtyard Pillars of the Mishkan. Once we subtract 0.8 Talents from the remaining 5.8 Talents, we are going to end up with exactly 5 Talents of Copper left to make the Altar of Burnt Offering and the Laver.

Now, assuming that the 1 Talent of Copper weighted ~17kg, we arrive at the total of 85kg of Copper. Also, since the long distance carrying load for a man is ~23kg, and we have 4 men carrying the Altar, we have the total carrying capacity of 23*4=92kg.

It seems to look right, save for the fact that the Altar of Burnt Offering had not been made entirely from Copper, but also contained Shittim Wood Frame and Poles. Also, the Altar was covered with several Coverings and, after the Sin of Korach, it was also supposed to be covered with the Copper Cover. All this extra weight had to be carried by the very same 4 bearers.

And this is where more or less precise approximation of the weight of the Altar comes very handy.

Once we add the weight of 5 Talents of Copper, weight of wood, fabric covers, copper cover and the Laver, the total weight of the Altar of Burnt Offering would be around ~120kg. This resulting weight is far above of what 4 bearers can carry (95kg).

Therefore, we have left with only one possibility - to move the Laver to other bearers. And the only possible and textually justified place to move the Laver is the Service Utensils bearers. Here is why:
  1. Once we remove the Copper Laver from the Altar of Burnt Offering, the total weight of the Altar drop to more or less belivable 90-100kg. This also tells us that the assumption of the weight of the Laver being 1 Copper Talent (maximum 2) is a reasonable and plausible one.
  2. Once we add the Laver to the Service Utensils bearers, their carrying load, even though doubles, still falls withing their carrying capacity of ~2*23=46kg.
  3. There is a textual basis to believe that the Copper Laver was considered as the Service Utensil (or Vessel). As Ex.40:30-32 states, the Laver was not exclusively used for the Altar service, but it was also used for the Tent of the Tabernacle service as well.
Therefore, just like the Service Utensils (Silver Chargers, Golden Incense Cups and Silver Sprinkling Bowls), the Copper Laver was utilized for service throughout the Mishkan. And therefore, it is safe to assume that the expression "Vessels of the Ministry" INCLUDE the Copper Laver. This solution seems to resolve all weight problems with these artefacts.

Here are the updated illustrations for the changes...

All Service Utensils of the Tabernacle would look like this:

Once the Service Utensils of the Tabernacle needed to be transported, they would be placed upon the Blue Cloth Covering, like so...

Wrapped with the same Blue Cloth Covering, like so:

And covered with the Covering of Tachash Skins, like so:

Resulting in this:

Just like I noted above, the Service Utensils (now including the Copper Laver and his Copper Foor), would still be transported upon a wooden Carrying Pole by two bearers, like so:

On the other hand, inside of Altar of Burnt Offering without the Laver would look like so: (Note, that there is no Laver inside the Altar now.)

This is why it is so important to take every single fact about the Tabernacle into the account, including the weight of all the parts, as this would help to properly understand and verify the design of the entire structure. 

P.S. I have updated my post about the Sin of Korach with the last image, as I see no need to make a review of the Altar all over again.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Online Sefer Torah Scrolls

One thing that is indispensable when studying Pentateuch is ... well.. an authoritative Pentateuch text itself. As of today, there are many resources available that provide all conceivable versions of the Bible known to man. However, there is usually no way to see an actual  Torah Scroll, unless you own one or can access one at the nearby synagogue.

Fortunately, there are more and more resources become available on the Internet every day, so I was finally able to track down and collect several great resources, that one can use to supplement usual copy of the Bible. I would suggest first to read this article about Torah, if you are not familiar with the differences between available texts.

Let's begin with the Kosher Sefer Torah Scroll resources...

What is most important about this first link bellow, is that these images would allow you to look at the original Hebrew text of Pentateuch that is actually being used in a synagogue, as well as to make copies of the Torah (that is why it is a Kosher Scroll).
  1. Five Sefer Torahs of Congregation Beth Emeth (Conservative Judaism) of Northern Virginia.
For example, here is an image of the part of the Torah Scroll that discusses the Courtyard of the Mishkan(right top paragraph, after the first break):

Unfortunately, this is the only web site that I know of for now that contains such a valuable study tool. If I will find any more web sites, I will add it to my blog as well.

Here are some more resources, that also contain the text of the Pentateuch(and in some cases, the entire Tanach). However, these are simply replicas of the Torah Scroll according to the rules of masora; meaning that the text is written and formatted as if it was an actual Torah Scroll. These resources are not as valuable as the one above, but they provide some other advantages to the user (such as cross referencing the text with the translation, different styles, e.t.c)

  1. Sefer Torah Scroll (with some of the Megillot and useful comments on writing the scroll). May be Kosher Torah, but I'm not sure that I would trust it due to low resolution of the images.

  2. Torah by World ORT (with translation, transliteration and chanting)
I think this is it for now, but I will try to add more resources like that as they become available.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Tabernacle (Mishkan) Calculator and Analyzer

Dear readers,

It is my great pleasure to present you with the first in the world (yes!) complete calculator for the Tabernacle (The Mishkan), all of its parts and artefacts.

Also, this calculator would give you an opportunity to play with different values of different parts of the Mishkan and see how it would affect an overall result and textual agreement.

For example (with current default values as of the date of this post), this calculator would show you, that the Ark of the Covenant would weigh approximately 100kg and consume about 2.73 out of 29 Talents of Gold, that were donated for the Mishkan. Also, this calculator would tell you, that Ark's Weight of ~100kg seems to be reasonable weight for four men to carry for long distances.

You can also use this and this articles as a good comparison and reference point.

Of' course, this calculator is not perfect and there is still some work that needs to be done on it. Therefore, please keep in mind the following:
  1. This calculator uses simplified model of the Mishkan and its parts (i.e. the Crown of the Ark of The Covenant is calculated as a simple rectangular frame, instead of an actual Crown-like Border of an elaborate design).
  2. This calculator has very limited error-checking capabilities, so it is your responsibility to enter proper values and use correct system of units.
  3. This calculator may contain mistakes, so you are highly advised to re-check results yourself, if you plan on using these results in your study. But if you find one, please let me know.
  4. There are still some inconsistencies with the chosen values for the Altar of Burnt Offering and The Laver- I'm still working on it (i.e weight of the copper for the Altar, Grate, Laver)
Regardless of the above shortcomings, the results that this calculator produces are much more precise than anything available at the moment. And this is why I hope that this calculator will be a great tool in the study of the Pentateuch.

I hope you enjoy it,


Aleksandr Sigalov

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Comparison of opinions on the shape of the Boards (Kerashim) of The Tent of the Mishkan

I wanted again to review and compare different opinions on the shape of the Boards of the Tent of The Tabernacle. This time, I wanted to concentrate on the resulting weight of the Shittim Wood that would be required to build the Boards of the Tent according to each opinion.

Since two out of three dimensions for the Boards of the Tent are given explicitly in the original text(Ex. 26:16), the only question remains is as to their thickness.

Let's take a look:

As you can see from the image above, there are three main opinions on the matter of the thickness of the Boards of the Tent.

  1. Opinion #1 (according to Pentateuch) relies on the modern insights and research, as well as the scientific and logical realities. Each Board of The Tent according to this opinion is approximately ~1cm thick.

  2. Opinion #2 (according to Rab. Yehuda - Talmudic Sources). This opinion relies on different traditional interpretations of the text and traditional opinion on the thickness of the boards. Each Board of The Tent according to this opinion is approximately 1 cubit thick.

  3. Opinion #3 (according to Rab. Nehemiah - Talmudic Sources). This opinion also relies on different traditional interpretations of the text and traditional opinion on the thickness of the boards. Each Board of The Tent according to this opinion is approximately 1 cubit thick on the bottom and about 1-2 cm at the top. Boards in this opinion are of a rather odd triangular prism shape.

Here is the diagram for the Opinion #1...

Here is the diagram for the Opinion #2. This image is courtesy of Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld ( @ )

This is how individual Boards of the Tent looked like, according to the Opinion #2. This image is courtesy of Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld ( @ )

And this is the diagram for the Opinion #3. This image is courtesy of Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld ( @ )
And this is a schematic drawing of the back of the Tent, according to the Opinion #3. This image is courtesy of Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld ( @ )

And here you can see the resulting Frame of the Tent of The Mishkan for each of the Opinions.
And this is an addendum to the image above, that shows the design and approximate weight of Wood, that would be required to make each Board of the Tent, as well as a total weight of all Boards of the Tent. 

Therefore, if we would take the density of Shittim Wood as 780 kg/m^3, we would get:

  1. Opinion #1: 23kg of wood for each Board, and 1151kg for all Boards of the Tent.

  2. Opinion #2: 1066kg of wood for each Board, and 51168kg for all Boards of the Tent.

  3. Opinion #3: 533kg of wood for each Board, and 25584kg for all Boards of the Tent.
Even if we would take the density of Shittim Wood as 78kg/m^3, Cubit as 0.45m and the least "heavy" traditional scenario of the Opinion #2, we would still end up with highly excessive and unmovable weight for all the Boards of the Tent. 

Therefore, relatively thin (1cm) design of the Boards of The Tabernacle(Opinion #1) is the only reasonable and mathematically sound scenario in this case.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Numbers 16:1-50 - The Altar of Burnt Offering and The Sin of Korach

The chapter 16 of The Book of Numbers provides us some additional  and very important details about the Altar of Burnt Offering. Whereas the actual events of this chapter are usually covered by the commentators in much details, one thing is always overlooked and omitted - namely, the look of the Altar after the punishment of Korach and his accomplices. Let's take a look:

Numbers 16:1-50

1 Now Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men:

2 And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown:

3 And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the LORD?

4 And when Moses heard it, he fell upon his face:

5 And he spake unto Korah and unto all his company, saying, Even to morrow the LORD will shew who are his, and who is holy; and will cause him to come near unto him: even him whom he hath chosen will he cause to come near unto him.
6 This do; Take you censers, Korah, and all his company;

7 And put fire therein, and put incense in them before the LORD to morrow: and it shall be that the man whom the LORD doth choose, he shall be holy: ye take too much upon you, ye sons of Levi.

8 And Moses said unto Korah, Hear, I pray you, ye sons of Levi:

9 Seemeth it but a small thing unto you, that the God of Israel hath separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself to do the service of the tabernacle of the LORD, and to stand before the congregation to minister unto them?

10 And he hath brought thee near to him, and all thy brethren the sons of Levi with thee: and seek ye the priesthood also?

11 For which cause both thou and all thy company are gathered together against the LORD: and what is Aaron, that ye murmur against him?

12 And Moses sent to call Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab: which said, We will not come up:

13 Is it a small thing that thou hast brought us up out of a land that floweth with milk and honey, to kill us in the wilderness, except thou make thyself altogether a prince over us?

14 Moreover thou hast not brought us into a land that floweth with milk and honey, or given us inheritance of fields and vineyards: wilt thou put out the eyes of these men? we will not come up.

15 And Moses was very wroth, and said unto the LORD, Respect not thou their offering: I have not taken one ass from them, neither have I hurt one of them.

16 And Moses said unto Korah, Be thou and all thy company before the LORD, thou, and they, and Aaron, to morrow:

17 And take every man his censer, and put incense in them, and bring ye before the LORD every man his censer, two hundred and fifty censers; thou also, and Aaron, each of you his censer.

18 And they took every man his censer, and put fire in them, and laid incense thereon, and stood in the door of the tabernacle of the congregation with Moses and Aaron.

19 And Korah gathered all the congregation against them unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the congregation.

20 And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,

21 Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.

22 And they fell upon their faces, and said, O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and wilt thou be wroth with all the congregation?

23 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

24 Speak unto the congregation, saying, Get you up from about the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.

25 And Moses rose up and went unto Dathan and Abiram; and the elders of Israel followed him.

26 And he spake unto the congregation, saying, Depart, I pray you, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of their's, lest ye be consumed in all their sins.

27 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.

28 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.

29 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.

30 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.

31 And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that was under them:

32 And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods.

33 They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation.

34 And all Israel that were round about them fled at the cry of them: for they said, Lest the earth swallow us up also.

35 And there came out a fire from the LORD, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense.

‎1 ‏וַיִּקַּ֣ח קֹ֔רַח בֶּן־יִצְהָ֥ר בֶּן־קְהָ֖ת בֶּן־לֵוִ֑י וְדָתָ֨ן וַאֲבִירָ֜ם בְּנֵ֧י אֱלִיאָ֛ב וְא֥וֹן בֶּן־פֶּ֖לֶת בְּנֵ֥י רְאוּבֵֽן׃

‎2 ‏וַיָּקֻ֙מוּ֙ לִפְנֵ֣י מֹשֶׁ֔ה וַאֲנָשִׁ֥ים מִבְּנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל חֲמִשִּׁ֣ים וּמָאתָ֑יִם נְשִׂיאֵ֥י עֵדָ֛ה קְרִאֵ֥י מוֹעֵ֖ד אַנְשֵׁי־שֵֽׁם׃

‎3 ‏וַיִּֽקָּהֲל֞וּ עַל־מֹשֶׁ֣ה וְעַֽל־אַהֲרֹ֗ן וַיֹּאמְר֣וּ אֲלֵהֶם֮ רַב־לָכֶם֒ כִּ֤י כָל־הָֽעֵדָה֙ כֻּלָּ֣ם קְדֹשִׁ֔ים וּבְתוֹכָ֖ם יְהוָ֑ה וּמַדּ֥וּעַ תִּֽתְנַשְּׂא֖וּ עַל־קְהַ֥ל יְהוָֽה׃

‎4 ‏וַיִּשְׁמַ֣ע מֹשֶׁ֔ה וַיִּפֹּ֖ל עַל־פָּנָֽיו׃
‎5 ‏וַיְדַבֵּ֨ר אֶל־קֹ֜רַח וְאֶֽל־כָּל־עֲדָתוֹ֮ לֵאמֹר֒ בֹּ֠קֶר וְיֹדַ֨ע יְהוָ֧ה אֶת־אֲשֶׁר־ל֛וֹ וְאֶת־הַקָּד֖וֹשׁ וְהִקְרִ֣יב אֵלָ֑יו וְאֵ֛ת אֲשֶׁ֥ר יִבְחַר־בּ֖וֹ יַקְרִ֥יב אֵלָֽיו׃

‎6 ‏זֹ֖את עֲשׂ֑וּ קְחוּ־לָכֶ֣ם מַחְתּ֔וֹת קֹ֖רַח וְכָל־עֲדָתֽוֹ׃

‎7 ‏וּתְנ֣וּ בָהֵ֣ן׀ אֵ֡שׁ וְשִׂימוּ֩ עֲלֵיהֶ֨ן קְטֹ֜רֶת לִפְנֵ֤י יְהוָה֙ מָחָ֔ר וְהָיָ֗ה הָאִ֛ישׁ אֲשֶׁר־יִבְחַ֥ר יְהוָ֖ה ה֣וּא הַקָּד֑וֹשׁ רַב־לָכֶ֖ם בְּנֵ֥י לֵוִֽי׃

‎8 ‏וַיֹּ֥אמֶר מֹשֶׁ֖ה אֶל־קֹ֑רַח שִׁמְעוּ־נָ֖א בְּנֵ֥י לֵוִֽי׃

‎9 ‏הַמְעַ֣ט מִכֶּ֗ם כִּֽי־הִבְדִּיל֩ אֱלֹהֵ֨י יִשְׂרָאֵ֤ל אֶתְכֶם֙ מֵעֲדַ֣ת יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל לְהַקְרִ֥יב אֶתְכֶ֖ם אֵלָ֑יו לַעֲבֹ֗ד אֶת־עֲבֹדַת֙ מִשְׁכַּ֣ן יְהוָ֔ה וְלַעֲמֹ֛ד לִפְנֵ֥י הָעֵדָ֖ה לְשָׁרְתָֽם׃

‎10 ‏וַיַּקְרֵב֙ אֹֽתְךָ֔ וְאֶת־כָּל־אַחֶ֥יךָ בְנֵי־לֵוִ֖י אִתָּ֑ךְ וּבִקַּשְׁתֶּ֖ם גַּם־כְּהֻנָּֽה׃

‎11 ‏לָכֵ֗ן אַתָּה֙ וְכָל־עֲדָ֣תְךָ֔ הַנֹּעָדִ֖ים עַל־יְהוָ֑ה וְאַהֲרֹ֣ן מַה־ה֔וּא כִּ֥י תלונו תַלִּ֖ינוּ עָלָֽיו׃

‎12 ‏וַיִּשְׁלַ֣ח מֹשֶׁ֔ה לִקְרֹ֛א לְדָתָ֥ן וְלַאֲבִירָ֖ם בְּנֵ֣י3 אֱלִיאָ֑ב וַיֹּאמְר֖וּ לֹ֥א נַעֲלֶֽה׃

‎13 ‏הַמְעַ֗ט כִּ֤י הֶֽעֱלִיתָ֙נוּ֙ מֵאֶ֨רֶץ זָבַ֤ת חָלָב֙ וּדְבַ֔שׁ לַהֲמִיתֵ֖נוּ בַּמִּדְבָּ֑ר כִּֽי־תִשְׂתָּרֵ֥ר עָלֵ֖ינוּ גַּם־הִשְׂתָּרֵֽר׃

‎14 ‏אַ֡ף לֹ֣א אֶל־אֶרֶץ֩ זָבַ֨ת חָלָ֤ב וּדְבַשׁ֙ הֲבִ֣יאֹתָ֔נוּ וַתִּ֨תֶּן־לָ֔נוּ נַחֲלַ֖ת שָׂדֶ֣ה וָכָ֑רֶם הַעֵינֵ֞י הָאֲנָשִׁ֥ים הָהֵ֛ם תְּנַקֵּ֖ר לֹ֥א נַעֲלֶֽה׃

‎15 ‏וַיִּ֤חַר לְמֹשֶׁה֙ מְאֹ֔ד וַיֹּ֙אמֶר֙ אֶל־יְהוָ֔ה אַל־תֵּ֖פֶן אֶל־מִנְחָתָ֑ם לֹ֠א חֲמ֨וֹר אֶחָ֤ד מֵהֶם֙ נָשָׂ֔אתִי וְלֹ֥א הֲרֵעֹ֖תִי אֶת־אַחַ֥ד מֵהֶֽם׃

‎16 ‏וַיֹּ֤אמֶר מֹשֶׁה֙ אֶל־קֹ֔רַח אַתָּה֙ וְכָל־עֲדָ֣תְךָ֔ הֱי֖וּ לִפְנֵ֣י יְהוָ֑ה אַתָּ֥ה וָהֵ֛ם וְאַהֲרֹ֖ן מָחָֽר׃

‎17 ‏וּקְח֣וּ׀ אִ֣ישׁ מַחְתָּת֗וֹ וּנְתַתֶּ֤ם עֲלֵיהֶם֙ קְטֹ֔רֶת וְהִקְרַבְתֶּ֞ם לִפְנֵ֤י יְהוָה֙ אִ֣ישׁ מַחְתָּת֔וֹ חֲמִשִּׁ֥ים וּמָאתַ֖יִם מַחְתֹּ֑ת וְאַתָּ֥ה וְאַהֲרֹ֖ן אִ֥ישׁ מַחְתָּתֽוֹ׃

‎18 ‏וַיִּקְח֞וּ אִ֣ישׁ מַחְתָּת֗וֹ וַיִּתְּנ֤וּ עֲלֵיהֶם֙ אֵ֔שׁ וַיָּשִׂ֥ימוּ עֲלֵיהֶ֖ם קְטֹ֑רֶת וַֽיַּעַמְד֗וּ פֶּ֛תַח אֹ֥הֶל מוֹעֵ֖ד וּמֹשֶׁ֥ה וְאַהֲרֹֽן׃

‎19 ‏וַיַּקְהֵ֨ל עֲלֵיהֶ֥ם קֹ֙רַח֙ אֶת־כָּל־הָ֣עֵדָ֔ה אֶל־פֶּ֖תַח אֹ֣הֶל מוֹעֵ֑ד וַיֵּרָ֥א כְבוֹד־יְהוָ֖ה אֶל־כָּל־הָעֵדָֽה׃ פ

‎20 ‏וַיְדַבֵּ֣ר יְהוָ֔ה אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֥ה וְאֶֽל־אַהֲרֹ֖ן לֵאמֹֽר׃

‎21 ‏הִבָּ֣דְל֔וּ מִתּ֖וֹךְ הָעֵדָ֣ה הַזֹּ֑את וַאַכַלֶּ֥ה1 אֹתָ֖ם כְּרָֽגַע׃

‎22 ‏וַיִּפְּל֤וּ עַל־פְּנֵיהֶם֙ וַיֹּ֣אמְר֔וּ אֵ֕ל אֱלֹהֵ֥י הָרוּחֹ֖ת לְכָל־בָּשָׂ֑ר הָאִ֤ישׁ אֶחָד֙ יֶחֱטָ֔א וְעַ֥ל כָּל־הָעֵדָ֖ה תִּקְצֹֽף׃ פ

‎23 ‏וַיְדַבֵּ֥ר יְהוָ֖ה אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֥ה לֵּאמֹֽר׃

‎24 ‏דַּבֵּ֥ר אֶל־הָעֵדָ֖ה לֵאמֹ֑ר הֵֽעָלוּ֙ מִסָּבִ֔יב לְמִשְׁכַּן־קֹ֖רַח דָּתָ֥ן וַאֲבִירָֽם׃

‎25 ‏וַיָּ֣קָם מֹשֶׁ֔ה וַיֵּ֖לֶךְ אֶל־דָּתָ֣ן וַאֲבִירָ֑ם וַיֵּלְכ֥וּ אַחֲרָ֖יו זִקְנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃

‎26 ‏וַיְדַבֵּ֨ר אֶל־הָעֵדָ֜ה לֵאמֹ֗ר ס֣וּרוּ נָ֡א מֵעַל֩ אָהֳלֵ֨י הָאֲנָשִׁ֤ים הָֽרְשָׁעִים֙ הָאֵ֔לֶּה וְאַֽל־תִּגְּע֖וּ בְּכָל־אֲשֶׁ֣ר לָהֶ֑ם פֶּן־תִּסָּפ֖וּ בְּכָל־חַטֹּאתָֽם׃

‎27 ‏וַיֵּעָל֗וּ מֵעַ֧ל מִשְׁכַּן־קֹ֛רֶח דָּתָ֥ן וַאֲבִירָ֖ם מִסָּבִ֑יב וְדָתָ֨ן וַאֲבִירָ֜ם יָצְא֣וּ נִצָּבִ֗ים פֶּ֚תַח אָֽהֳלֵיהֶ֔ם וּנְשֵׁיהֶ֥ם וּבְנֵיהֶ֖ם וְטַפָּֽם׃

‎28 ‏וַיֹּאמֶר֮ מֹשֶׁה֒ בְּזֹאת֙ תֵּֽדְע֔וּן כִּֽי־יְהוָ֣ה שְׁלָחַ֔נִי לַעֲשׂ֕וֹת אֵ֥ת כָּל־הַֽמַּעֲשִׂ֖ים הָאֵ֑לֶּה כִּי־לֹ֖א מִלִּבִּֽי׃

‎29 ‏אִם־כְּמ֤וֹת כָּל־הָֽאָדָם֙ יְמֻת֣וּן אֵ֔לֶּה וּפְקֻדַּת֙ כָּל־הָ֣אָדָ֔ם יִפָּקֵ֖ד עֲלֵיהֶ֑ם לֹ֥א יְהוָ֖ה שְׁלָחָֽנִי׃

‎30 ‏וְאִם־בְּרִיאָ֞ה יִבְרָ֣א יְהוָ֗ה וּפָצְתָ֨ה הָאֲדָמָ֤ה אֶת־פִּ֙יהָ֙ וּבָלְעָ֤ה אֹתָם֙ וְאֶת־כָּל־אֲשֶׁ֣ר לָהֶ֔ם וְיָרְד֥וּ חַיִּ֖ים שְׁאֹ֑לָה וִֽידַעְתֶּ֕ם כִּ֧י נִֽאֲצ֛וּ הָאֲנָשִׁ֥ים הָאֵ֖לֶּה אֶת־יְהוָֽה׃

‎31 ‏וַיְהִי֙ כְּכַלֹּת֔וֹ לְדַבֵּ֕ר אֵ֥ת כָּל־הַדְּבָרִ֖ים הָאֵ֑לֶּה וַתִּבָּקַ֥ע הָאֲדָמָ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר תַּחְתֵּיהֶֽם׃

‎32 ‏וַתִּפְתַּ֤ח הָאָ֙רֶץ֙ אֶת־פִּ֔יהָ וַתִּבְלַ֥ע אֹתָ֖ם וְאֶת־בָּתֵּיהֶ֑ם וְאֵ֤ת כָּל־הָאָדָם֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר לְקֹ֔רַח וְאֵ֖ת כָּל־הָרֲכֽוּשׁ׃

‎33 ‏וַיֵּ֨רְד֜וּ הֵ֣ם וְכָל־אֲשֶׁ֥ר לָהֶ֛ם חַיִּ֖ים שְׁאֹ֑לָה וַתְּכַ֤ס עֲלֵיהֶם֙ הָאָ֔רֶץ וַיֹּאבְד֖וּ מִתּ֥וֹךְ הַקָּהָֽל׃

‎34 ‏וְכָל־יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל אֲשֶׁ֛ר סְבִיבֹתֵיהֶ֖ם נָ֣סוּ לְקֹלָ֑ם כִּ֣י אָֽמְר֔וּ פֶּן־תִּבְלָעֵ֖נוּ הָאָֽרֶץ׃

‎35 ‏וְאֵ֥שׁ יָצְאָ֖ה מֵאֵ֣ת יְהוָ֑ה וַתֹּ֗אכַל אֵ֣ת הַחֲמִשִּׁ֤ים וּמָאתַ֙יִם֙ אִ֔ישׁ מַקְרִיבֵ֖י הַקְּטֹֽרֶת׃ פ
First, let's see what the names of the punished men mean, as well as let's see what tribes they were from:

  1. Korach (name means - "the bold/crafty one"), from the Tribe of Levi, from the Family of Kohath (the bearers of the Holy Artefacts of the Tabernacle.

  2. Dathan (name most likely means - "the serving one/the bowing one"), from the Tribe of Rueben

  3. Abiram(name most likely means - "father of the exalted/great ones"), also from the Tribe of Rueben

  4. 250 Accomplices from Princes of the Assembly (not sure what that means)
Now, as the first part of the text states, the Korach, Dathan, and Abiram, their two hundred and fifty (250) accomplices as well as their entire families, were swallowed by the earth in front of the Gate of the Mishkan, leaving only their Copper Censers as the only reminder of them.

The text continues as follows(in hebrew JPS bible it is chapter 17):

36 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

37 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.

38 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.

‎1 ‏וַיְדַבֵּ֥ר יְהוָ֖ה אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֥ה לֵּאמֹֽר׃

‎2 ‏אֱמֹ֨ר אֶל־אֶלְעָזָ֜ר בֶּן־אַהֲרֹ֣ן הַכֹּהֵ֗ן וְיָרֵ֤ם אֶת־הַמַּחְתֹּת֙ מִבֵּ֣ין הַשְּׂרֵפָ֔ה וְאֶת־הָאֵ֖שׁ זְרֵה־הָ֑לְאָה כִּ֖י קָדֵֽשׁוּ׃
‎3 ‏אֵ֡ת מַחְתּוֹת֩ הַֽחַטָּאִ֨ים הָאֵ֜לֶּה בְּנַפְשֹׁתָ֗ם וְעָשׂ֨וּ אֹתָ֜ם רִקֻּעֵ֤י פַחִים֙ צִפּ֣וּי לַמִּזְבֵּ֔חַ כִּֽי־הִקְרִיבֻ֥ם לִפְנֵֽי־יְהוָ֖ה וַיִּקְדָּ֑שׁוּ וְיִֽהְי֥וּ לְא֖וֹת לִבְנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃
So, they took these 250 Copper Censers that remained...

39 And Eleazar the priest took the brasen censers, wherewith they that were burnt had offered; and they were made broad plates for a covering of the altar:
40 To be a memorial unto the children of Israel, that no stranger, which is not of the seed of Aaron, come near to offer incense before the LORD; that he be not as Korah, and as his company: as the LORD said to him by the hand of Moses.

‎4 ‏וַיִּקַּ֞ח אֶלְעָזָ֣ר הַכֹּהֵ֗ן אֵ֚ת מַחְתּ֣וֹת הַנְּחֹ֔שֶׁת אֲשֶׁ֥ר הִקְרִ֖יבוּ הַשְּׂרֻפִ֑ים וַֽיְרַקְּע֖וּם צִפּ֥וּי לַמִּזְבֵּֽחַ׃
‎5 ‏זִכָּר֞וֹן לִבְנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל לְ֠מַעַן אֲשֶׁ֨ר לֹֽא־יִקְרַ֜ב אִ֣ישׁ זָ֗ר אֲ֠שֶׁר לֹ֣א מִזֶּ֤רַע אַהֲרֹן֙ ה֔וּא לְהַקְטִ֥יר קְטֹ֖רֶת לִפְנֵ֣י יְהוָ֑ה וְלֹֽא־יִהְיֶ֤ה כְקֹ֙רַח֙ וְכַ֣עֲדָת֔וֹ כַּאֲשֶׁ֨ר דִּבֶּ֧ר יְהוָ֛ה בְּיַד־מֹשֶׁ֖ה לֽוֹ׃

And they made a Covering Copper Plate (in the original text it seems to be singular noun - "overlay" - צפוי )
Most likely it had cut-outs at the four corners, to accommodate the Horns of the Altar. And most likely it had also side borders, so that the Cover would sit tightly upon the Altar and would not fall off of it.
The dimensions of this Copper Cover were most likely slightly larger than the dimensions of the Altar, or slightly more than 5x5 cubits.

And so, as you recall from Numbers 4:13-14, before the Altar was to be transported, it was cleaned, covered with the Purple Cloth. Upon this covered Altar, inside, they would put all of the Copper Utensils of the Altar. Like so:
Now, this is where it gets interesting....

Before the Sin of Korah, the Altar would have been simply covered with the Tachash Skins Covering. However, now, after the sin, before the Tachash Skins Covering could have been placed upon the Altar, the Copper Covering Plate had to be put first. Like so:

Only after the Copper Covering Plate was put upon the top of the Altar, only then the Altar could have been covered with its Tachash Skins Covering. Like so:

Other than that, the process of Transportation of the Altar remained the same, so after it was covered with the Tachash Skins Covering, Altar's Copper Staves would have been put into its Rings and the Coverings were tucked between the Staves and the Altar, resulting in this:

And here is the resulting covered Altar of Burnt Offering being carried...

As you can see, the only difference in the look of the Altar after the Sin of Korach, was the way the top Tachash Skins Covering was covering the Altar...

You can use the image below to compare the Altar of Burnt offering before the Sin of Korach and After.
This is how the Covered Altar looked BEFORE the Sin of Korach...

The rest of the Chapter 16(17 in JPS bible) of the Book of Numbers deals with a punishment to the rest of the congregation for the Sin of Korach, but I'm not going to be quoting the rest of the text here.

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