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.
To be a memorial unto the children of Israel,.... The whole body of them; this explains what is meant by sign, Numbers 16:38; that it was to put or keep in mind what follows:
that no stranger which is not of the seed of Aaron come near to offer incense before the Lord; not only any Gentile but any Israelite, and not any Israelite only, but any Levite; none but those of the family of Aaron might offer incense before the Lord;
that he be not as Korah and as his company; this makes it clear that Korah perished at this time, though it is nowhere expressed; and it seems pretty plain from hence that he perished by fire, as his company, the two hundred fifty men with censers, did:
as the LORD said unto him by the hand of Moses; either to Korah, who is the immediate antecedent, and who perished as the Lord had told him by Moses he should; so some understand it, mentioned by Aben Ezra and Jarchi; or else to Aaron, as they interpret it; and then the sense is, that none but those of Aaron's seed should offer incense, as the Lord had declared to him by Moses; see Numbers 3:10; or it may be rather to Eleazar, as Abendana, who did as the Lord spake to him by Moses, took up the censers of the men that were burnt, and got them beaten into broad plates, and covered the altar of burnt offering with them.