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Aaron’s Walking Stick Blooms and Produces Almonds

17 The Lord told Moses:

2-3 Call together the twelve tribes of Israel and tell the leader of each tribe to write his name on the walking stick he carries as a symbol of his authority. Make sure Aaron’s name is written on the one from the Levi tribe, then collect all the sticks.

Place these sticks in the tent right in front of the sacred chest where I appear to you. I will then choose a man to be my priest, and his stick will sprout. After that happens, I won’t have to listen to any more complaints about you.

Moses told the people what the Lord had commanded, and they gave him the walking sticks from the twelve tribal leaders, including Aaron’s from the Levi tribe. Moses took them and placed them in the Lord’s sacred tent.

The next day when Moses went into the tent, flowers and almonds were already growing on Aaron’s stick. Moses brought the twelve sticks out of the tent and showed them to the people. Each of the leaders found his own and took it.

10 But the Lord told Moses, “Put Aaron’s stick back! Let it stay near the sacred chest as a warning to anyone who might think about rebelling. If these people don’t stop their grumbling about me, I will wipe them out.” 11 Moses did what he was told.

12 The Israelites cried out to Moses, “We’re done for 13 and doomed if we even get near the sacred tent!”

The Budding of Aaron’s Staff

17 [a]The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and get twelve staffs(A) from them, one from the leader of each of their ancestral tribes.(B) Write the name of each man on his staff. On the staff of Levi write Aaron’s name,(C) for there must be one staff for the head of each ancestral tribe. Place them in the tent of meeting(D) in front of the ark of the covenant law,(E) where I meet with you.(F) The staff belonging to the man I choose(G) will sprout,(H) and I will rid myself of this constant grumbling(I) against you by the Israelites.”

So Moses spoke to the Israelites, and their leaders gave him twelve staffs, one for the leader of each of their ancestral tribes, and Aaron’s staff was among them. Moses placed the staffs before the Lord in the tent of the covenant law.(J)

The next day Moses entered the tent(K) and saw that Aaron’s staff,(L) which represented the tribe of Levi, had not only sprouted but had budded, blossomed and produced almonds.(M) Then Moses brought out all the staffs(N) from the Lord’s presence to all the Israelites. They looked at them, and each of the leaders took his own staff.

10 The Lord said to Moses, “Put back Aaron’s staff(O) in front of the ark of the covenant law, to be kept as a sign to the rebellious.(P) This will put an end to their grumbling against me, so that they will not die.” 11 Moses did just as the Lord commanded him.

12 The Israelites said to Moses, “We will die! We are lost, we are all lost!(Q) 13 Anyone who even comes near the tabernacle of the Lord will die.(R) Are we all going to die?”

Footnotes

  1. Numbers 17:1 In Hebrew texts 17:1-13 is numbered 17:16-28.