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17 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying:

Speak to the children of Israel, and take of every one of them a rod by their kindreds, of all the princes of the tribes, twelve rods, and write the name of every man upon his rod.

And the name of Aaron shall be for the tribe of Levi, and one rod shall contain all their families:

And thou shalt lay them up in the tabernacle of the covenant before the testimony, where I will speak to thee.

Whomsoever of these I shall choose, his rod shall blossom: and I will make to cease from me the murmurings of the children of Israel, wherewith they murmur against you.

And Moses spoke to the children of Israel: and all the princes gave him rods one for every tribe: and there were twelve rods besides the rod of Aaron.

And when Moses had laid them up before the Lord in the tabernacle of the testimony:

He returned on the following day, and found that the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi, was budded: and that the buds swelling it had bloomed blossoms, which spreading the leaves, were formed into almonds.

Moses therefore brought out all the rods from before the Lord to all the children of Israel: and they saw, and every one received their rods.

10 And the Lord said to Moses: Carry back the rod of Aaron into the tabernacle of the testimony, that it may be kept there for a token of the rebellious children of Israel, and that their complaints may cease from me lest they die.

11 And Moses did as the Lord had commanded.

12 And the children of Israel said to Moses: Behold we are consumed, we all perish.

13 Whosoever approacheth to the tabernacle of the Lord, he dieth. Are we all to a man to be utterly destroyed?

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.

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