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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

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?”


  1. Numbers 17:1 In Hebrew texts 17:1-13 is numbered 17:16-28.

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