17 The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Speak to the people of Israel. Get 12 walking sticks from them. Get 1 from the leader of each tribe. Write the name of each man on his stick. 3 On the stick from Levi, write Aaron’s name. There must be 1 stick for the head of each tribe. 4 Put them in the Meeting Tent. Place them in front of the Ark of the Covenant, where I meet with you. 5 I will choose one man. His stick will begin to grow leaves. And I will stop the Israelites from always complaining against you.”
6 So Moses spoke to the Israelites. Each of the 12 leaders gave him a walking stick. And Aaron’s walking stick was among them. 7 Moses put them before the Lord in the Tent of the Agreement.
8 The next day Moses entered the Tent. He saw that Aaron’s stick had grown leaves. (It stood for the family of Levi.) It had even budded, blossomed and produced almonds. 9 So Moses brought out to the Israelites all the walking sticks from the Lord’s presence. They all looked, and each man took back his stick.
10 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Put Aaron’s walking stick back. Put it in front of the Ark of the Covenant. It will be a sign to these people who are always turning against me. This will stop their complaining against me. Now they won’t die.” 11 So Moses obeyed what the Lord commanded him.
12 The people of Israel said to Moses, “We are going to die! We are lost. We are all lost! 13 Anyone who even comes near the Holy Tent of the Lord will die. Will we all die?”
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