17 1-5 God spoke to Moses: “Speak to the People of Israel. Get staffs from them—twelve staffs in all, one from the leader of each of their ancestral tribes. Write each man’s name on his staff. Start with Aaron; write Aaron’s name on the staff of Levi and then proceed with the rest, a staff for the leader of each ancestral tribe. Now lay them out in the Tent of Meeting in front of The Testimony where I keep appointments with you. What will happen next is this: The staff of the man I choose will sprout. I’m going to put a stop to this endless grumbling by the People of Israel against you.”
6-7 Moses spoke to the People of Israel. Their leaders handed over twelve staffs, one for the leader of each tribe. And Aaron’s staff was one of them. Moses laid out the staffs before God in the Tent of Testimony.
8-9 Moses walked into the Tent of Testimony the next day and saw that Aaron’s staff, the staff of the tribe of Levi, had in fact sprouted—buds, blossoms, and even ripe almonds! Moses brought out all the staffs from God’s presence and presented them to the People of Israel. They took a good look. Each leader took the staff with his name on it.
10 God said to Moses, “Return Aaron’s staff to the front of The Testimony. Keep it there as a sign to rebels. This will put a stop to the grumbling against me and save their lives.”
11 Moses did just as God commanded him.
12-13 The People of Israel said to Moses, “We’re as good as dead. This is our death sentence. Anyone who even gets close to The Dwelling of God is as good as dead. Are we all doomed?”