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The Budding of Aaron’s Rod

17 [a]The Lord instructed Moses, “Tell the Israelis to take a rod—one from each ancestral house, that is, one from every leader, for a total of twelve rods. Write each tribal name on his rod. You are also to write Aaron’s name on the tribe of Levi, since there is to be one rod for every leader of their ancestral tribes.

“Then lay them there in the Tent of Meeting in front of the Ark of the Covenant[b] where I’ll meet with you. The rod that belongs to the man whom I’ll choose will burst into bloom. That’s how I’ll put a stop to the complaints of the Israelis, who are complaining against you.”

So Moses spoke to the Israelis, and each of the tribe leaders gave him a rod, one for each leader, according to their ancestral tribes, for a total of twelve rods. Aaron’s rod was one of them. Then Moses laid out the rods in the Lord’s presence, inside the Tent of Testimony. The next morning, Moses went to the Tent of Testimony and the rod of Aaron of the tribe of Levi had burst into bloom! It sprouted buds, bloomed blossoms, and produced fully ripe almonds! Then Moses took out all the rods from the Lord’s presence to show[c] all the Israelis. Everybody looked, and then each man took his rod.

10 Then the Lord instructed Moses, “Return Aaron’s rod before the testimony[d] to be kept for a reminder[e] against the rebels[f] so that you may put an end to their complaints against me and so that they won’t die.”

11 So Moses did exactly what the Lord had commanded him to do. 12 Then the Israelis told Moses, “We’re sure to die! We’re all going to perish—all of us! 13 Anyone who comes near or approaches the Lord’s tent is to die. Are all of us going to die?”


  1. Numbers 17:1 This v. is 17:16 in MT
  2. Numbers 17:4 Lit. testimony
  3. Numbers 17:9 The Heb. lacks show
  4. Numbers 17:10 I.e. the Ark of the Covenant
  5. Numbers 17:10 Lit. sign
  6. Numbers 17:10 Or sons of rebellion

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