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Aaron’s Staff Grows

17 [a]Yahweh said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites, and get 12 staffs from them, one from the leader of each of their tribes.[b] Write each man’s name on his staff. Write Aaron’s name on the staff for Levi because there must be one staff for the head of each tribe. Put them in the tent of meeting where I meet with you, in front of the words of my promise. The staff from the man I choose will begin to grow. In this way I will silence the frequent complaints the Israelites make against you and Aaron.”

So Moses spoke to the Israelites. Their leaders gave him 12 staffs, one from the leader of each of their tribes. Aaron’s staff was among them. Moses put the staffs in Yahweh’s presence in the tent of the words of God’s promise.

The next day Moses went into the tent. He found that Aaron’s staff for the tribe of Levi had not only begun to grow, but it had also blossomed and produced ripe almonds. Moses brought out the staffs fromYahweh’s presence and showed them to all the Israelites. They looked at them, and each man took his staff.

10 Yahweh said to Moses, “Put Aaron’s staff back in front of the words of my promise, and keep it there as a sign to warn any other rebels. Then you will stop their complaints about me, and they won’t die.”

11 Moses did exactly what Yahweh commanded him to do.

12 The Israelites said to Moses, “Now we’re going to die! We’re lost! We’re all lost! 13 Anyone who comes near Yahweh’s tent will die! Are we all going to die?”


  1. Numbers 17:1 Numbers 17:1–13 in English Bibles is Numbers 17:16–28 in the Hebrew Bible.
  2. Numbers 17:2 There is a play on words here. Hebrew matteh can mean “staff” or “tribe.”